Nathan Read and Jamie Ross, co-owners of Norwich-based R Racing, recently announced their intention to enter the 2022 Intelligent Money British GT Championship with Aston Martin. 16-year-old R Racing pilot Josh Miller, who finished eighth in the 2021 Ginetta Junior standings, was the first driver announced for the new programme.
R Racing’s Jamie Ross spoke to EnduranceandGT editor Andy Lloyd about the team’s decision and their ambitions for the future.
With this big step-up for R Racing, Nathan and yourself must be very excited for next year.
“It is exciting. Nathan and myself, before we owned the team, had experience in running bigger cars so car-wise I feel quite comfortable. I feel we can draft some good people in to make it happen and I think, from a status point of view, the team going and doing it, and us doing it on our own rather than working for another team, is very exciting. I can’t wait to get going.”
With alternatives of other highly competitive domestic GT series available, what was your reason for choosing the Intelligent Money British GT Championship?
“I really like making an impact. If we went and entered a support series that hinted towards doing British GT in a few years time, I feel that that would have always been the end goal. There are other great series and it’s the same car but I feel it would have been a stepping-stone on the way to British GT and personally I’d rather just go and do it.
“We can draft the people in we need to do it and I think everyone as a team, Josh included, are going to relish the challenge. That was the main reason – to dive in at the deep end and make an impact and say here we are and let’s go and attack it.”
You’ve announced Josh as the first driver of the programme and he’s very much at the start of his career. How will you be supporting him as he makes this transition into a very competitive field?
“We will support Josh as best we can. He joined the team at the start of this year and we instantly got on really well. He and his family are the kinds of people that you gel with straight away. We’re all interested in the same thing and I think that’s what probably steered us towards British GT – their interest and their love for cars and brands. They loved our branding when they came to the team and Aston Martin, as a brand, is quite cool.
“As you say, Josh is at the start of his career but he’s very capable and I think, for him, the GT4 car will be an extension of a Ginetta Junior. I don’t think we will treat 2022 much differently in that respect. You’re still trying to make your drivers the best you can and form a good relationship with them. Hopefully in five or ten years time you can look at them succeeding as drivers and realise you had something to do with their career. I think that’s the end goal.”
Your coaches Ash Sutton and Phil Glew have significance experience of competing at, and winning at, the highest levels of motorsport. Where for you will their experience be of most value as you enter the British GT arena?
“It’s massive – just to have their names associated with the team is massive for us. Phil and Ash have got a huge amount of respect in the paddock. To be honest, I think that’s the difference that makes us who we are.
“Phil has his management company Edge Motorsport and, for Phil and Eddie (Reynolds – Sponsorship and Logistics), GTs is their area of expertise and that was the reason we went down this route.
“We’ve got a nice working relationship with them, not just on the coaching side but also managing young drivers and seeing where they can go.
“The respect that Ash and Phil have got in the paddock is massive for us and it pushes everybody to aspire for more. With the success that Ash has had, who wouldn’t want to follow in their footsteps? It’s nice to have people like that close by.”
You’ve chosen the Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 for your inaugural campaign. What guided you down the Aston Martin route?
“We had to think hard about it because there were a lot of options but I think it’s just really good all-round package. Aston Martin won the GT4 championship in 2019 and I think, performance-wise, the car’s really good. To be associated with a company like Aston Martin is quite cool and ever since we started talking to Aston and Prodrive, they’ve been really supportive.
“They want to back our young drivers as Aston young factory drivers which is nice and that’s a good sales pitch for us that our drivers can be associated with the manufacturer rather than just racing for the team. I think that as soon as that was dropped in front of us, that we could get the young driver programme, the decision to go with Aston Martin was a no-brainer for us. That was kind of the cherry on top.”
How does this announcement affect your hugely successfully Ginetta Junior campaigns. Will British GT be an extension of what you’re are doing there?
“Yes, it is. As I said earlier, that’s what we’re going to treat it like. If a young driver wants to go down the GT route, then GT4 is the first place to go so we’re just going to treat it as an extension of Ginetta Juniors.
“The last thing it will do is affect our Ginetta programmes. That’s our bread and butter and that’s where we started and we’d be silly to never have that because they can feed any future programmes we do including GTs.”
British GT’s 2022 entry process formally opens on December 1 with the opening weekend of the new season on April 16 – 18 at Oulton Park.