This weekend sees the British GT Championship roll into Silverstone, located in Towcester. The upcoming race weekend will see the teams face the a five-hundred kilometre race around the Silverstone GP circuit. This weekend will see the whole entire grid paying a tribute to the late Neil Cunningham, all teams, drivers and championship organisers will be invited to the front of the grid prior to the race start to have photos taken with a Racing4MND banner, Sunday would have been Neil’s 54th birthday.
For this weekend’s race there is a strong 51 car line up including both GT3 and GT4 class cars. The race will last for three hours on Sunday and will be shown live on Motors TV. It is looking to be an exciting race for the championship with such a high number of entries. The maximum points available to the winners of the race this weekend is 37.5, this will be a very important race for the current championship leaders as they will want to begin keeping the wins consistent to stay in the title fight.
Two weeks ago the championship was at Oulton Park, located in Cheshire for two one-hour races. The two races saw the results become interesting, this is looking very likely to play a key part in the results of this weekend. There is additional entrants to both the GT3 and GT4 classes as well as the added GT4 European Series entrants. There will be a total of eighteen GT3 cars, sixteen GT4 cars and seventeen GT4 European cars. The European class will not be eligible for points in the British GT championship but they will be racing for their own championship mixed in with the British GT championship on the same circuit at the same time.
Will Optimum Motorsport’s Johnson and Robinson be able to dominate the GT4 field once more?
Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson both managed to claim the pole positions at Oulton Park just two weeks ago. The duo also claimed both of the race victories around the Cheshire circuit. So far this season the pairing have won three out of the four races. They were runners up during last year’s championship campaign. This weekend the duo will have to endure a twenty-second success penalty added onto their pit stop. This should not rule them out of the chance of victory during the three-hour long race as they managed to win race two at Oulton Park with having the penalties. The driver pairing currently lead the championship by just nineteen points. Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert in their Beachdean Aston Martin will be looking for success after having a difficult weekend two weeks ago. The Beachdean duo will also have the data from last years’ Ross Gunn and Jamie Chadwick to look back over to help them at Silverstone.
RCIB Insurance Racing’s drivers have all adapted well to the British GT championship with both driver pairings having taken podiums during the season so far. They started out with some bad luck at the opening round of the season at Brands Hatch but after Wilson Thompson left the team and Aaron Mason joined he managed to help co-driver Robert Barrable take home a trophy after the duo were able to achieve a podium finish during the Oulton Park weekend. Jordan Stilp and William Phillips are currently third in the standings of GT4 but the duo will not have to endure a pit stop success penalty at Silverstone after they were not as successful during race two as they were in race one.
Ebor GT have become a fan favourite with their Maserati MC GranTurismo with Abbie Eaton and Marcus Hoggarth at the wheel, they had their maiden podium in the GT4 class of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park after they fought their way through to finish in second place during race two of the weekend. The team are expected to be able to show an even better performance at Silverstone this weekend as it has long straights and fast corners which the car performs better with.
This years’ Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse team chose to run a pair of young drivers in Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell in a McLaren 570S, they have consistently been close to claiming podiums but so far have not been able to finish the race in the podium positions due to multiple different reasons.
The biggest rival to Optimum Motorsport will be Century Motorsport’s Nathan Freke and Anna Walewska, the duo have been pushed down to sixth place in the standings after not being able to take the victories they could have claimed during the two previous race weekends. The duo will not have to serve any pit stop success penalty this weekend so could see them as victors or at least podium contenders.
This weekend sees the debut of Simpson Motorsport’s new Porsche Cayman in the British GT Championship with Nick Jones and Scott Malvern at the wheel.
The main talking point over the past few days has been the return of reigning teams’ champions Academy Motorsport this weekend with Dennis Strandberg and Matt Nicoll-Jones at the wheel of their Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Meanwhile Fox Motorsport will also be returning with regular drivers Paul McNeilly and Jamie Stanley. This weekend’s round of the championship will be shown live on Motors TV from 12:30 BST.
The current British GT lap records held on the Silverstone GP circuit are:
GT3: 2:03.599 ~ Jonny Adam ~ Beachdean AMR ~ Aston Martin V12 Vantage ~ 2015.
GT4: 2:16.016 ~ Ricardo van der Ende ~ Ekris ~ BMW M3 ~ 2013.
The timetable for the British GTs on track that you will need for the upcoming weekend is as follows:
Saturday 11th June:
09:30 – 10:30 ~ Free Practice One
12:10 – 13:00 ~ Free Practice Two
15:40 – 15:50 ~ Qualifying GT3 Am
15:54 – 16:04 ~ Qualifying GT3 Pro
16:08 – 16:18 ~ Qualifying GT4 Am
16:23 – 16:33 ~ Qualifying Gt4 Pro
Sunday 12th June
09:35 – 09:45 ~ Warm Up
12:50 – 15:50 ~ Race (Live on Motors TV)
The teams and drivers that will have to endure pit stop success penalties this weekend will be:
GT3: ~ 20 Seconds ~ Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris ~ Team Parker (#31)
15 Seconds ~ Alasdair McCaig and Rob Bell~ Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse (#79)
10 seconds ~ Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen ~ Barwell Motorsport (#33)
GT4: 20 seconds ~ Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson ~ Optimum Motorsport/PMW Expo Racing (#50)
15 seconds ~ Marcus Hoggarth and Abbie Eaton ~ Ebor GT (60)
10 seconds ~ Aaron Mason and Robert Barrable ~ RCIB Insurance Racing (#75)
©Fay Tilley 10th June 2016.