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British GT Returns To Spa For Round Four

The Intelligent Money British GT Championship moves to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for Round Four of the 2021 season, the UK’s premier domestic GT racing series having by-passed the iconic Belgian circuit in 2020 due to the global pandemic.

The British GT Championship round forms part of the programme for the opening weekend of SRO Speedweek which also includes the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, the Formula Regional European Championship by ALPINE, the Championnat de France FFSA GT and the Fanatec GT2 European Series.

Sadly, for fans of GT racing, Speedweek is being held behind closed doors. On-line streaming of much of the weekend can, however, be found on the series organiser’s YouTube channel, ‘GT World’.

22 cars will be on the grid for the British GT Championship – 10 in the GT3 class, one entry in the GTC category and 11 in the GT4 class.

In the GT3 class, two entries from the previous round at Donington will be missing. The #11 Paddock Motorsport Bentley Continental GT3 entered and driven by Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman will not be on the grid at Spa. Also missing will be the #77 Enduro Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 piloted at Donington by Morgan Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton.

There will be two additions to the GT3 grid. Leipert Motorsport has entered its #10 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to be driven by Fidel Leib and Brendon Leitch. Leib and Leitch have been teammates in Leipert’s 24H Series entry and both drivers will be making their British GT entry at Spa.

Returning to the championship will be 2020 GT4 Pro-Am champions Mia Flewitt and Euan Hankey. Flewitt and Hankey have graduated to the senior class for selected rounds in 2021 and previously competed at Silverstone in the #21 Team Rocket RJN McLaren 720S GT3 where they finished 12th overall.

A sole GTC entry will be on the grid courtesy of FF Corse who has entered its Ferrari 488 Challenge EVO 2019 with Omar Jackson and Charlie Hollings sharing the driving duties.

In the GT4 category two entries who were on the grid at Donington will not be making the journey to Spa. The #25 Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport driven by Dave Whitmore and Jake Kiddings will be missing as will the #40 Fox Motorsport McLaren 570S GT4 of Nick Halstead and Jamie Stanley, both having been side-lined by logistical considerations and other business commitments.

Photo: British GT / JEP

There is currently a four-way tie for the lead in the overall drivers standings. Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam head the standings on 67.5 points courtesy of two podium finishes so far in 2021. The 2016 championship-winning pairing finished second in the opening round at Brands Hatch and third in Round Three at Donington.

RAM Racing’s Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman share the lead in the standings on 67.5 points but have enjoyed only one podium finish to date in 2021 – a second place finish last time out at Donington.

2020 champion Sandy Mitchell, along with current teammate Adam Balon complete the top three on 52.5 points. Balon and Mitchell finished first of the points scoring entries at Silverstone in Round Two.

With strength in depth across the GT3 class, picking a winner for Sunday July 25’s two-hour contest is almost impossible. The #7 Beechdean crew combines factory success at the highest level as well as multiple domestic championship wins so expect Howard and Adam to be starting from the front row and competing for the top step of the podium.  The RAM Racing duo of Loggie and Buurman have combined pace and consistency so far in 2021 and will be looking to take the championship lead at Spa.

The #8 Team ABBA Racing father-and-son crew of Richard and Sam Neary has proved formidable in domestic competition this season, taking their first British GT win last time out at Donington. Confidence in the #8 camp will be sky-high currently and a victory for the green Mercedes-AMG GT3 must be a strong possibility.

Photo: British GT / JEP

In the GT4 class, the pair of Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4s have two wins and two second places between them so must be considered strong favourites for victory on Sunday in the Ardennes. However with a field of both experienced pro drivers and up-and-coming young professionals all looking to make their mark in GT competition, class podiums will be hotly contested.

The weather at Spa, as it has been across much of Northern Europe, has proved devastating to many of the local residents recently  and track officials have had to work quickly to facilitate circuit access at the start of the centrepiece of the SRO calendar. Forecasts for race weekend are again changeable and the grid could see regular thunderstorms throughout the weekend.

Track action for the fourth round of the 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship gets underway at 10:10 local time on July 24 with the first practice session. Qualifying begins at 17:20 local time later that day with the lights going out for the two-hour race at 12:35.