Photo: Paren Raval.
Ahead of the pre-season Media Day for the British GT Championship, Daventry-based JRM Racing announced that 2017 GT3 Drivers Champions Rick Parfitt Jnr. and Seb Morris would be returning to the grid for 2019, driving the team’s #31 new-generation Bentley Continental GT3. Rick Parfitt Jnr had taken a break for the 2018 season to take care of, not only his business and band commitments, but also his health, suffering as he does from Crohn’s Disease. EnduranceandGT Editor Andy Lloyd caught up with Nottingham-based lead singer of the RPJ Band and Creative Director of the R&R Agency at Donington Park to ask how the deal with JRM Racing had come about and the adjustments that he would be making heading into the new season.
It’s great to see you back on the British GT Championship grid, Rick. How close to the start of the season was the final decision about this deal made?
“Genuinely I was retired until very recently. I think we only put ink to paper maybe two or three weeks ago. JRM worked incredibly hard to make the deal happen and they moved heaven and earth to make sure that Seb and I were together. Their vision for the future is phenomenal. The personnel they have involved, the actual group themselves with their manufacturing prowess and their history as a race team is very impressive.
“Coupled with the new-generation Bentley is the fact that Seb and I are a great partnership as everyone knows. We’ve been called the ‘Dream Team’ and I’m happy to say that, just on the level of the way we get on and push each other along. It worked in 2017. We’re still very close away from the circuit as well.
“JRM did everything they could to make sure that we had exactly the right team, coupled with their expertise. From that perspective, and the investment they’re putting into it, it was just a deal that I absolutely could not say ‘no’ to.”
During the 2017 season you mentioned that managing your health was critical. What preparations and adjustments will you be making going in to the 2019 season?
“My health hasn’t been great as people knew last year and towards the end of the year and the early part of this year it’s been a real struggle. When the (Crohn’s Disease) flare-ups come lately they are vicious, and it floors me, so I have made a lot of adjustments, working very much with the dietician. I’ve got new immunosuppressants and my diet is now 30 – 40 percent liquid now so there will be periods where I’m just on liquids and supplements, especially coming into race weekends. I’ll be doing everything I can to try and make sure that it doesn’t flare up. So yes – there are a lot of adjustments and this links to JRM because they’ve taken a keen interest in my health.
How will JRM Racing be supporting you with your health during the season?
“What’s been amazing is that the team has been in touch with my doctors and are making preparations for me for race weekends from food through to drink supplements and energy gels. I’ve never had this amount of attention! This all comes back to what I was saying about the whole proposition that I genuinely hadn’t ever experienced before. The team is taking this immensely seriously and it’s brilliant. Coupled with everything else I’m back with Seb who is absolutely ballistic! He’s a really good mate and there couldn’t be a better partnership. Essentially the Dream Team is back!”
The 2019 British GT Championship season gets underway at Oulton Park over the weekend of April 20 – 22. Tickets can be obtained here.