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In another packed edition we have news from the British GT Championship, the Blancpain GT Series, the Blancpain GT World Challenge America, the Pirelli GT4 America championship and the Asian Le Mans Series.
British GT Championship
As excitement builds ahead of the 2019 British GT Championship, there was a flurry of announcements ahead of the Media Day for the new season at Donington Park on March 5.
High-Wycombe-based GT Marques has announced that it is to enter a new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 in the championship, to be driven by the Pro-Am pairing of Chris Car and Dino Zamparelli.
Zamparelli brings extensive Porsche racing experience to GT Marques, having contested the Porsche Carrera Cup GB for the past four seasons, finishing runner-up between 2016 and 2018 while Chris Car began his racing career in 2013 and has competed in the Radical SR1 Cup, the Radical Sprint Championship and the Ginetta GT4 Supercup.
Chris Car is looking forward to the challenges of the 2019 British GT Championship.
“I’m very excited to be competing in British GT 2019,” said Chris Car. “I have long wished to take part in GT endurance racing and I think British GT is the best platform to do this in the UK. What has made this proposition so exciting, and convinced me to take this step, is to be teaming up with Dino and having him as co-driver as his speed and success is second to none.”
You can read the full story here.
There was further news of the Stuttgart manufacturer’s return to the British GT Championship this week when Lenham, Maidstone-based G-Cat Racing announced that it will be campaigning what is believed to be the first new-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R for the forthcoming season.
The Am class entry will be piloted by Shamus Jennings and team owner Greg Caton.
The team has considerable experience with the German manufacturer following four years of contesting the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
“British GT represents an exciting next step for G-Cat Racing and doing so with Porsche makes it even more special,” said Caton. “We have an excellent relationship with Porsche from our time in the Carrera Cup and their latest evolution of the 911 GT3 R is a fantastic piece of engineering. The high standard is exactly wheat we’ve come to expect from Porsche and, coupled with their first-rate customer support, we couldn’t be happier to be entering into this venture with one of their cars.”
Read more about G-Cat Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 R here.
The GT3 grid for 2019 is looking highly competitive and the excitement was added to this week with the announcement by Fenny Compton-based Century Motorsport that it will enter a second BMW M6 in the senior class to be piloted by the Pro-Am partnership of Dominic Paul and Ben Green. Paul and Green join Adrian Willmott and Jack Mitchell who had been previously announced to be driving for the team in the GT3 class.
Ben Green, who finished runner-up in the 2018 British GT GT4 Drivers Championship, driving the team’s #5 BMW M4 GT4 alongside teammate Ben Tuck, is delighted at the opportunity to move into the GT3 class for the forthcoming season.
“I’m really excited to get started this year racing again with Century Motorsport in British GT,” said ben Green. “It’s great to be stepping up to the Gt3 category and racing in the BMW M6 GT3. The M6 has been very successful in Europe since its release and it’s a great feeling to be introducing the BMW brand to the British GT3 category, especially after our success last season racing the M4 GT4 in British GT.”
More on Century Motorsport’s second BMW M6 GT3 can be found here.
Turning now to the GT4 class, 2018 GT3 drivers champions Optimum Motorsport will return to the GT4 class in 2019 with not one but two new Aston Martin Vantage GT4s.
The Wakefield-based team announced this week that 2016 GT4 champion Mike Robinson will return from his break from racing to join young Danish driver Patrik Matthiesen.
“I’m extremely delighted to be returning to Optimum Motorsport,” said Mike Robinson. “We have a great history of success together in the British GT Championship. Since leaving at the end of 2017 they have great relationship with Aston Martin Racing and having had the chance to test an early version of the 2019 Aston Martin GT4, I was extremely impressed with the car and the direction they have taken the car in. Added to that, I am extremely pleased to be partnering with Patrik.”
Adding to the excitement from the GT4 grid, Tolman Motorsport has announced that it has renewed its partnership with the McLaren Driver Development Programme and will campaign a pair of 570S GT4s for the forthcoming season.
James Dorlin, Jordan Collard, Josh Smith and Lewis Proctor have been confirmed as the driver line-up with the exact pairings to be revealed later.
19-year old BRDC Rising Star James Dorlin finished second in the 2018 Renault UK Clio Cup, driving the Westbourne Motorsport Renault Clio Sport 220 Trophy and took six victories across the season.
“Preparation have been intense and I’m confident we will be the best equipped drivers on the grid come the opening round of the season,” said Dorlin. “I have a fantastic network of people and great resources at my disposal and my goal is to finish on top in the British GT4 standings. Tolman Motorsport came close last year and I hope I can make McLaren proud by translating race victories into a championship title.”
Blancpain GT World Challenge America.
The 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge America season opens at Circuit of The Americas on March 1 with the first two ninety-minute rounds of the series taking place on March 2 – 3.
23 cars are entered for the opening weekend with seven representatives from Porsche and Ferrari.
Representing the Stuttgart manufacturer, Alegra Motorsports and Wright Motorsports are campaigning two examples apiece of the new Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) while K2R Motorsports, GMG Racing and Autometrics Motorsports each have a single entry.
For the Italian manufacturer, seven Ferrari F488 GT3s will be on the grid in Texas. R. Ferri Motorsports returns with the #61 car driven by Miguel Molina dn Toni Vilander whilst One11 Motorsports fields two entries, one in the Pro/Am category to be driven by Matt Plumb and Alfred Caiola and an Am entry to be piloted by Christopher Cagnazzi and Brian Kaminskey.
You can read a full preview of the opening weekend of the 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge America here.
Asian Le Mans Series.
The 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series reached its season finale with the 4 Hours of Sepang. After taking second place at the previous round in Thailand, victory went to the #24 Algarve Pro Racing entry, driven by Andrea Pizzitola, Harrison Newey and Ate Dirk De Jong. The #24 entry finished 1:43.092 ahead of the #22 United Autosports Ligier. Second place was sufficient, however, for the #22 United Autosports entry to secure the championship.
The #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3, driven by Jakub Smiechowski and Martin Hippe took the win in the LMP3 class while Car Guy made it four-in-a-row when James Calado brought the #11 Ferrari F488 GT3 home for the victory in the GT class.
Wherever you are and whatever your plans are, the EnduranceandGT team hopes you have a great weekend!