Johnson And Robinson Move Up To GT3 For British GT Season Finale (12.09.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com

2016 GT4 champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson have announced that they will race in the GT3 class for the season finale of the 2018 British GT Championship at Donington Park on September 23.

Johnson and Robinson will take over the Balfe Motorsport McLaren 650S GT3, previously campaigned in 2018 by Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell.

Johnson and Robinson are excited at the prospect of racing in the premier category, possibly preceding a move into the GT3  class for 2019.

“When you’ve spent almost four years watching, being overtaken by and drooling over GT3 exotica from the cabin of your GT4, it’s perhaps inevitable that one day the temptation to race in the top league will prove too much!” said Johnson.

“Everything fell into place for the guest appearance,” continued the 2016 GT4 champion. “Balfe had a McLaren GT3 going spare, and Mike and I can’t feature in the top-two of the GT4 championship for the first time since we started competing in British GT, so we’ve nothing to lose by jumping ship and everything to gain because, yes, we are evaluating GT3 with a view to potentially making the jump for the 2019 season.”

“We’re not expecting to be on pole at Donington but, at the same time, we’ve never turned up just to make up the numbers. As the race draws closer, Mike and I are like kids looking forward to Christmas Day, but when the lights go out, we’ll be looking for a decent result.”

Track action for the final round of the 2018 British GT Championship gets underway for FP1 at 09:40 at Donington Park on Saturday September 22 with the lights going out for the two-hour race at 13:35 on Sunday September 23.

Optimum Motorsport Wins British GT Appeal – Increases GT3 Drivers Lead By 10 Points (05.09.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Wakefield-based Optimum Motorsport has announced that it has won its appeal against a decision taken during the opening round of the 2018 British GT Championship at Oulton Park.

A 30-second post-race had penalty had been applied, dropping the driving duo of Flick Haigh and Jonny Adan from fourth at the chequered flag to ninth.

Team Principal Shaun Goff was delighted at the news.

“I’m very happy at the decision,” said Shaun Goff. “We never accepted this incident was anything other than a racing accident. We’re delighted with the outcome and now  we can look forward to a strong showing at Donington where we stand a good chance of taking the championship honours.”

The decision means that the Haigh and Adam enter the final round of the 2018 British GT Championship with a 27.5-point advantage over Jon Minshaw and Phil keen. Nothing less than a victory for the crew of the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 will now be sufficient for a shot at the drivers title.

Round 9 of British GT Championship takes place at Donington Park on September 23.

 

 

G-Drive’s Gutiérrez To Miss Final Rounds Of ELMS (27.08.18).

Photo: Jose Gutiérrez (L) / Enzo Guibbert (C) / James Allen(R) (Credit: Jakob Ebrey)

Sources close to the Graff-run #40 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07 have told EnduranceandGT that Jose Gutiérrez will not be part of the driver line-up for the team’s entry into the remaining two rounds of the 2018 European Le Mans Series season.

The 22-year old Mexican driver had competed in the opening three rounds of the premier European prototype championship alongside James Allen and Enzo Guibbert, with Garry Findlay replacing Guibbert for Round Four, the 4 Hours of Silverstone. Gutiérrez, Allen and Guibbert also contested the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In contrast to a spectacular year for the #40 car in the 2017 European Le Mans Series with victories in the final two rounds and a third-place finish in the LMP2 Teams Trophy standings, 2018 has proved frustrating, despite an immense amount of hard work by the team and drivers. An opening round 6th place finish at the opening round at Circuit Paul Ricard promised much with the hope that the team could continue with the momentum it had built up at the end of the previous year.

#40 a.a. 18.08.27

Photo: Jakob Ebrey / JEP

Round Two at Monza saw the #40 not classified after a big accident for Enzo Guibbert at the Variante Ascari. The incident was later attributed due to a braking problem. Round Three at Red Bull Ring saw the #40 car hampered with a traction control issues which resulted in the traction control system having to be switched off and a 13th place finish.

The #40 G-Drive Racing ORECA looked to be on course for a possible podium finish at the 4 Hours of Silverstone on August 18 and was running in second place in the early stages of the race with the young Australian driver James Allen at the wheel. An electrical problem, however, forced the #40 entry into the garage and the team finally finished in 13th place.

James Allen has driven in every round of the team’s 2018 European Le Mans Series campaign, twice being entrusted with qualifying the car, resulting in an eighth-in-class grid position at Red Bull Ring and fifth-in-class at Silverstone.

The #40 entry currently lies twelfth in the LMP2 Teams Classification.

Gutiérrez joined G-Drive Racing for the 2018 season from PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports where he finished twelfth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype Drivers standings, driving the team’s #52 Ligier LMP2 with teammates Olivier Pla and Julien Canal.

Round Five of 2018 European Le Mans Series takes place at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on September 23.

Ben Wallace To Promote Diabetes UK At Ormskirk Motorfest 2018. (22.08.18)

Ben Wallace, driver of the #88 Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4 in the 2018 British GT Championship, will be appearing at Ormskirk Motorfest on Sunday August 26. Ben will be displaying his Ginetta race car at the Moor Street P2 area.

Ben, who has Type 1 diabetes, will be fundraising  for Diabetes UK at the event to promote the work of the UK’s leading charity for people affected by diabetes.

“The August Bank Holiday weekend is the perfect time to relax with family and friends and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than displaying my Ginetta G55 GT4 race car at the North-West’s biggest festival of motoring, Ormskirk Motorfest,” said Ben. “As an athlete competing at the highest level of national GT racing, I have been very grateful for the support of Diabetes UK and I am delighted to be able to join their fundraising at this prestigious event.”

“This year has been a busy one for me, combining my British GT Championship campaign with my driver-coaching work and studies,” continued Ben. “Planning my 2019 racing activities is now a priority for me and Ormskirk Motorfest is a fun and effective way to demonstrate how I work with my supporters.”

#88 a.a. 18.04.24

Photo: Ian Cutting

Diabetes UK is the leading UK charity for people affected by diabetes. From care and support to prevention, campaigning, fundraising and research, Diabetes UK is tackling the fastest-growing health threat in the UK.

Ormskirk Motorfest is organised and run by the Aintree Circuit Club and expects to welcome 30,000 visitors and have over 300 motor vehicles on display. Ben’s Ginetta will be on display next to, amongst others, a 7.6ltr Ultima GTR, an Aston martin DB11 V12 Coupe, a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus and a 1934 Austin.

The event opens at 11:00 on Sunday August 26 and is completely free to attend. The organisers advise that, if you are planning to attend, you use public transport (Merseyrail Electric direct to Ormskirk Town Centre) or, if coming by car, use the Classic Bus Park and Ride from Edge Hill University.

Toyota Disqualified At Silverstone. Rebellion Take 1-2 In Round Three WEC. (20.08.18)

Photo: Paren Raval

Following post-race scrutineering, both Toyota TS050-Hybrids were disqualified from the 6 Hours of Silverstone after finishing 1 -2 on the track.

The #91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR, driven by Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni was also excluded.

Concerning the exclusion of the #7 and #8 Toyotas, Decision No 25 from the Stewards of the Meeting declared that; “The Technical Delegates measured the vertical deflection of the front part of the skid under a 2500 N load. The deflection was to be 9mm on both sides of the front part of the skid block. The measurement was witnessed by the competitors’ technical representative John Litjens and he confirmed to the stewards that the measurement was done correctly.”

The decision promoted the two Rebellion Racing Rebellion R13s to first and second place, with the #3 entry, piloted by Mathias Beche, Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes taking the win and the sister #1 car, with the driver line up of Neel Jani and André Lotterer, moving into second place. The final podium position is now occupied by the #17 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1.

The LMP2 results still stood, with a 1 -2 for Jackie Chan DC Racing, its #38 ORECA 07 piloted by Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Stéphane Richelmi winning the class by just 1.971 seconds from the sister #37 entry driven by Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan and Nabil Jeffri. Completing the top three in the LMP2 category was the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470 with the driver line-up of Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet.

The #51 AF Corse Ferrari F488 GTE of Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado took the win in the LNGTE Pro and, after the disqualification of the #91 car for ground clearance issues, the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi team UK Ford GT moved up to second place with the #91 Porsche in third.

Porsche won the LMGTE Am category with the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR taking the chequered flag 46.878 seconds ahead of the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage.

Round Four of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship takes place at Fuji International Speedway on October 12.

“I Think We’ve Hit The Sweet Spot” – President Of Aston Martin Racing David King Discusses GT3 And GT4 Development. (19.08.18)

Photo: astonmartin.com

President of Aston Martin Racing David King, speaking ahead of Round Four of the FIA World Endurance Championship, has indicated that the Gaydon-based manufacturer is pleased with the reception of the new Vantage GT3 and is looking to develop the brand in the key North American market.

“We’re deep into the customer testing now and have lots of orders,” said David King. “GT3 is a very competitive market place. There are lots of good offerings from all the manufacturers but I think there’s something special about racing an Aston. It’s a competitive car and good value for money. The outgoing car, the V12, is a fan favourite but I think the new car will be very exciting. The art of developing a GT3 car is to make it useable for the gentleman driver and still suit the professional driver as well. I think we’ve hit that sweet spot.”

The recent announcements by the SRO Motorsports Group concerning the development of the World Challenge in North America has offered Aston Martin an additional platform to present its products and David King is looking to take full advantage of the opportunity, as well as explore other US-based series .

“We aren’t fully exploiting the opportunities in North America yet and it’s no secret to say we are actively seeking a partner in North America to work alongside the Prodrive AMR team to help with the distribution and support of customer cars,” said David King. “Ideally as well (to offer support) to get an IMSA programme running for us. I’m talking about an aspiration rather than a plan at the moment but, yes, we’d like to race in GTLM in IMSA. It’s a massive market and a fantastic series and we’re not there yet.”

In addition to its presence in the British GT Championship and the Blancpain GT Series, Aston Martin would like to increase its presence in other European championships but not before the new GT3 car has been proven with customer teams in its existing markets.

“It’s more important in the first year that we don’t flood the market with cars when we’re not quite ready,” said King. “We want to place GT3 cars with a few key customer teams so they can go out and demonstrate how good the car is for us and then we can sell more in the second and third year. It’s about quality rather than quantity in GT3 in the first year. We need to see some strong teams running in Blancpain Endurance and British GT. ADAC GT Masters in Germany is important – we haven’t been represented there at all for a few years so we’d like to get a strong partner team in Germany as well.”

The new Aston Martin GT4 was presented at Le Mans this year but is not quite as far advanced in development as its sister GT3 car.

“The new GT4 is in development at the moment based on the new V8 Vantage and we’re not quite doing customer drives yet but we’ll be doing so fairly soon,” said David King. “GT4 is a massive market for us and it’s a very good way to link our road-car customers to racing and as an intro to racing and track days as well. We were first in to GT4 back in 2007 when SRO launched it so we’ve seen it grow and flourish. We’ll continue to play a big part in that.”