Tag Archives: British GT Championship

Invictus Games Racing To Compete in the 2018 British GT Championship (11.01.18)

Photo: EnduranceandGT.co.uk

A team of wounded, injured and sick (WIS) veterans of the British Armed Forces will compete in the 2018 – 19 British GT Championships in a specially designed Jaguar.

The team, named Invictus Games Racing, is a collaboration between the co-founder of the clothing brand Superdry James Holder and the Invictus Games Foundation. Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations division was commissioned by Holder to develop and build two F-Type SVR cars to GT4 specification.

The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for WIS servicemen and women and the Invictus Games Foundation was established to manage the process of selecting the hosts for future games and overseeing their delivery.

James Holder, who competed in the 2016 British GT Championship, was inspired to create Invictus Games Racing after watching the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando.

Holder has overseen the design and development of the cars and has funded the project himself.

“Invictus Games Racing will enable ex-servicemen and women who have experienced physical or psychological trauma during service to compete against each other and the rest of the top-level racing field, in cars that are tailor-made for them,” said Holder. “We wanted to give these men and women the chance to compete in a professional racing competition with the established teams.”

“Over the last six months, leading experts Mission Motorsport have held trials to identify and train four drivers from the Armed Forces best suited and most likely to gain personally from this experience,” continued Holder. We have worked closely with Jaguar to construct GT4-specification supercars that accommodate each individual drivers needs.”

“This dream won’t happen overnight but during the journey I can promise fans that we will have inspirational drivers, great stories, innovative technology and the coolest looking and sounding cars on the circuit.”

The four drivers and two driver-mentors were presented at Autosport Live at the NEC, Birmingham on January 11.

In the #22 car, Ben Norfolk and Basil Rawlinson will be mentored by professional driver Jason Wolfe. In the sister #44 car Matthew George will mentor Steve McCulley and Paul Vice.

Ben Norfolk served on several operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Royal Airforce Sergeant. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder, combined with depression meant that he was discharged from the RAF in November 2017.

Basil Rawlinson served in the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment, serving on a tour of Afghanistan between 2010-11. Rawlinson was discharged after suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and several degenerative discs in his back.

Paul Vice suffered a traumatic brain injury after being injured by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) whilst on his fourth tour of Afghanistan. The injury resulted in the paralysis of his right arm. He also underwent a below-knee amputation.

Steve McCulley was nearly killed by an IED whilst leading 172 Royal Marines in Helmund Province. He lay in a coma for three weeks after which he underwent a grueling two-year physical rehabilitation programme.

The two Jaguar F-TYPE SVRs were in development for a year and have only recently been delivered to the team.

The opening round of the 2018 British GT Championship takes place at Oulton Park on March 31 – April 2.

Thiim And Sørensen Join TF Sport For 2018 British GT Campaign (27.12.17)

Photo: TFSport.co.uk

After the recent announcement that double British GT GT3 champion Jonny Adam would be driving for Optimum Motorsport in the coming season, Salfords, Surrey-based TF Sport has announced that the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro champions Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen will be joining Derek Johnston and Mark Farmer for an assault on the British GT GT3 title.

Thiim is already well known to TF Sport, having driven the team’s Aston Martin Vantage in the 2017 European Le Mans Series alongside Euan Hankey and Salih Yoluc.

Thiim, who will be partnered with Mark Farmer, is excited at the opportunity to compete in the premier national GT series.

Continue reading Thiim And Sørensen Join TF Sport For 2018 British GT Campaign (27.12.17)

Optimum Motorsport Announces 2018 British GT Championship GT3 Campaign With Aston Martin, Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam (21.12.17)

Photo: optimum-motorsport.com

Wakefield-based Optimum Motorsport has announced that it will contest the 2018 British GT Championship in the GT3 category with an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to be piloted by 2015/16 GT3 drivers champion Jonny Adam and Optimum Motorsport regular driver Flick Haigh.

Haig contested the 2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup with the team in its Audi R8 LMS, with Joe Osborne completing the driver line-up. The #75 Optimum Motorsport entry finished fourth in the GT3 Teams Championship with Haigh and Osborne finishing joint fifth in the drivers standings.

“I’m really excited about this and I’m very much looking forward to getting back behind the wheel,” said Flick Haigh. “It’s like starting again. We have the right car, the right teammate and we’ll be flat out to make the best of amazing opportunity.”

“I’ve already met with Jonny and he’ll be a pleasure to work with,” continued Haigh. “He’s very down to earth and we know his track record in the Aston is sensational. It’s a while since I’ve raced in the UK but the new challenge will be very exciting and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Continue reading Optimum Motorsport Announces 2018 British GT Championship GT3 Campaign With Aston Martin, Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam (21.12.17)

“Le Mans – We were very proud to have been there. I hope we can do many more” – TF Sport’s Tom Ferrier Talks With EnduranceandGT.co.uk (12.12.17)

Photo: tfsport.co.uk

2017 was a year of incredible highs and some deep frustrations for Surrey-based TF Sport. The team’s 2016 form in the British GT Championship seemed to elude it on occasions and a one-point lead in the LMGTE class in the European Le Mans Series going into the final round turned into a two-point deficit as the chequered flag fell in Portimáo. Those events were, however, were balanced by the team clinching the 2017 Blancpain GT Endurance Cup Pro/Am crown with Jonny Adam and Ahmad Al Harthy and contesting its first 24 Hours of Le Mans.

EnduranceandGT.co.uk editor Andy Lloyd caught up with TF Sport Director Tom Ferrier as the team prepared to depart for the Gulf 12 Hours of Abu Dhabi.

The 2017 British GT Championship, from the outside, looked like a very frustrating season for you. How did it feel from your perspective?

“That’s probably the right word – frustrating. Obviously we had come off the back of a really strong year. Mark and Jon were ever improving and we thought they were going to be in a place for a real title bid and we didn’t quite get it together. We were pretty strong at Oulton in the first round. Rockingham looked great and we qualified one and two but the Am drivers just had a bad race there. Starting first and second and finishing seventh and eighth was the worst outcome we could have had.”

“After that we discovered that Derek and Jonny had had a bit of a handling issue with the car which carried through to Silverstone as well. We eventually found it was due to some of the chassis glue had come away but it took us a long time to get to the bottom of it. That lost us the mid-part of the season with Derek and Jonny which was frustrating and I think that had a bit of an effect on Mark and Jon as well because the sister car wasn’t doing quite so well and I think that heads dropped a little bit in the camp. But then we were all up and singing at Brands Hatch and Donington.”

“It was just a mid-season lull which I would say affected the confidence of everyone a bit – the drivers and team. But you learn from it and it was lovely to end on a high to re-establish a bit of a boost back into the drivers and they’re all geared up now for next year.”

TFS2 a.a. 17.12.12

Photo: tfsport.co.uk

Derek Johnston and Mark Farmer have both already committed for next year. Does that give you a lot of confidence, to be able to plan for 2018 at this stage of the year?

“Absolutely. Being an Aston Martin team and wanting to stay an Aston Martin team, it’s not the easiest seeing as how the car is in its last year and she’s an old girl. To have that faith from our two Am drivers this early on has been lovely going in to the winter, that’s for sure.”

Stepháne Ratel has always been very clear about the balance between Am and Pro drivers in the British GT Championship. Do you feel that the regulations are about as good as they can get now for a national GT series?

“Yes, I would say so. There’s definitely nowhere else to go and race as a Pro/Am pairing. I think Derek Johnston summed it up. He was unsure if he wanted to do British GT or not mid-way through the year because he was obviously quite down. He went and looked at other options but to race in the UK there isn’t a more prestigious, well turned-out paddock with tougher competition. It’s the only place to be. We’ll just keep going hopefully. There’s rumours of GT3 slumping. There’s a cost issue there – these are expensive cars to run – but if you look at the quality of the teams that are in it, it’s very high so we’re very happy to be there.”

Looking at your European Le Mans Series campaign, the final round at Portimão looked to be heart-breaking bearing in mind how dominant you were in the earlier part of the season?

“Yeah, I’m still grumpy about it now, to be honest! It’s the worst way, isn’t it, to have led every round and to lose it by two points at the last race. I think, without getting political, things were against us. If you look at our Pro driver Nicky Thiim who’s one of the fastest men on the planet in a GT car and how he could qualify a second and a half off the pole position of a Ferrari is unheard of, really. I don’t think things were in our favour and we chose one way with the strategy and things didn’t go our way.”

“If the first full course yellow had happened five minutes later, we would probably have won the race by 45 seconds but as it happened it was the other side of the five-minute window and it hurt us. But that is GT racing. It was sad because the boys had done a great job on the car, our drivers were on-form and we were definitely dominant and not to come away with it was a bit disappointing. I’m greedy and I wanted to win two championships!”

Silverstone Salih Yoluc (TUR) / Euan Hankey (GBR) / Nicki Thiim (DNK) - TF SPORT - Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Photo: tfsport.co.uk

Your season this year included the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That must have been an incredible experience.

“That was the word to sum it up. It was absolutely mind-blowing from start to finish. It was lovely to be involved with the Aston Martin camp through our first Le Mans. That helped us a lot and it helped me more than anyone, probably. What an event! I couldn’t sum up the size of it, to be honest. Everyone absolutely loved it – the drivers, the team, everyone. We were very proud to have been there. I hope we can do many more.”

Was there one moment in that whole race week that you look back on and think: that was the moment?

“No, it was all a bit of a blur, to be honest. Obviously when we finished that was absolutely lovely. Having Jonny win the race was an incredible moment as well, as we were part of that camp. It was just a great event. We finished British GT on the Sunday night and I drove the van with Jonny in the back and some of the mechanics and we drove over night to Scrutineering. Every day you woke up, it was an exciting day because it was the first time doing it. And to get to the end of it, it was lovely to finish for all the boys who put the effort in – it was great. I think we have the potential to do more there but next time… as they say!”

Blancpain this year was brilliant for you. That must have counter-balanced some of the frustrations in the other championships.

“I was fully aware of how tough Blancpain is but winning at Monza was probably one of my highlights of the year because it was the first race and the first time and the first time the crew had been together. It was a lot of firsts and to come away with such a dominant victory was awesome and then the rest of the year kept rolling on really well.”

“The Spa 24 was fantastic for us. We went there to try to win the championship and that was our strategy for the race. I think we could have fought for the win in the race had we not been trying to collect so many points along the way. Another great event. I think both 24 hour races this year have been awesome. Somewhat tiring but awesome!”

Jonny Adam’s drive at Monza was staggering. That, and his win at Le Mans, were my highlights of the year.

“He got the bit between his teeth. The car had been fast all weekend. Again we probably had favourable BoP there. We got the fastest lap of the race. But he didn’t put a foot wrong. There wasn’t a way we weren’t going to win that one once he got in the car. Hats off to him – he’s been wonderful to have in the team for the past two years.”

TFS4 a.a. 17.12.12

And now you’re off to the Gulf 12 Hours of Abu Dhabi. What are your thoughts on the final race of the season?

“It’s an event we’ve not done before so we have a bit of learning to do. We’ve got Euan Mckay, who’s not driven with us before, as one of the silver drivers so it will be good to see how he gets on. We have Tom Jackson, Le Mans support race-winner in ‘Road to Le Mans’ and we have Ahmad Al Harthy. Obviously the aim is to win Pro/Am and see where we can get to overall. It’s nice to have a race in the winter, to be honest. It’s such a long off-season, it’s nice to get everyone revved up again.”

Are you at a stage where you can say what your commitments will be in 2018 to Blancpain and the European Le Mans Series?

“I can tell you we’ll be in British GT definitely. We’re pretty much there with the FIA World Endurance Championship deal with Salih and Euan and a TBC driver. It’s not 100% confirmed yet. Then we’re looking at either the European Le Mans Series or Blancpain – it’s one or the other. We’re not quite sure which way it will go yet.”

The Gulf 12 Hours of Abu Dhabi takes place on December 16.

GT4 Champions HHC Motorsport Announces Two-Car Entry To 2018 British GT (06.12.17)

Photo: britishgt.com

GT4 Teams and Drivers champions HHC Motorsport has announced that it will campaign two cars in the GT4 class of the 2018 British GT Championship.

Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion Callum Pointer will be joined by Ginetta Junior Rookie of the year, Patrick Matthiesen in a Silver Cup-entered Ginetta G55 GT4.

In the sister car 2017 BTCC driver and 2016 Ginetta GT4 Supercup vice-champion Will Burns will partner Mike Newbould in the Pro/Am entry.

Talking to Motorsport News, team manager Charlie Kemp described how he felt with the new driver line-ups announced for 2018.

“We’re really excited about British GT for next season and we’ve definitely got two driver line-ups that can impress,” said Kemp. “In Callum we have a very proven young driver, who’s coming into British GT knowing the G55 inside-out but from a sprint race format. Patrick we ran to the Ginetta Junior Rookie title in 2015 and we know his pace. He’s brining endurance racing experience so together they should be right at the front.”

Continue reading GT4 Champions HHC Motorsport Announces Two-Car Entry To 2018 British GT (06.12.17)

Prestigious BRDC Awards For British GT Stars Parfitt, Morris, Tregurtha, Middleton and Adam (04.12.17)

The British Racing Drivers Club honoured stars from the British GT grid at its annual awards on December 4.

Team Parker Racing duo Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris, 2017 Champions in the Team Parker Racing #31 Bentley Continental GT3, won the John Cobb Memorial Trophy, an award given to drivers racing a British car ‘who achieved success of outstanding character’.

Parfitt Jnr, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, a condition which caused him to race in considerable discomfort on occasions this season, was delighted to receive the award.

“This is the pinnacle, really,” said Parfitt Jnr. “It was such a privilege to be up on stage receiving both awards in from of my peers and so many incredible people from across motor racing. But it’s also very satisfying to achieve the level of credibility that comes from winning awards like these, and amazing to think that my name will forever be on the same trophies as so many greats from our sport.”

“That’s not something anyone can take away from you. Equally, it was nice that the difficulties I’ve had this year, and in previous years, were recognised, and that we’ve managed to achieve something special without always being at 100%.”

Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton, drivers with GT4 Teams Championship-winning HHC Motorsports were the first joint winners of the Henry Surtees Trophy, acknowledging the most outstanding performances by BRDC Rising Stars.

Two-time British GT champion Jonny Adam, along with Aston Martin Racing driver Darren Turner won the Woolf Barnato Trophy for the highest-placed British drivers in a British Car at Le Mans. Adam, who simultaneously held the British GT, Blancpain GT Series and Le Mans titles at one point in the 2017 season, won the Fairfield Trophy for an outstanding performance by a BRDC member.