This weekend will see the British GT championship roar into Snetterton for the penultimate round of the season. At Snetterton there will be two one-hour races, this could see the 2016 GT3 and GT4 championships decided. The championship will run on the 300 circuit which consists of thirteen turns and runs for 2.969 miles. In 2015 Jamie Chadwick and Ross Gunn claimed the GT4 championship at the Norfolk based circuit. However, the championships have never been claimed at Snetterton apart from when Chadwick and Gunn did. Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston are looking to reassert their dominance in the fight for the GT3 title. The fight for the GT3 crown is between three different teams that are covered by just 10.5 points. Meanwhile in the GT4 class it is Beechdean AMR’s Jack Bartholomew who heads to Snetterton as the main rival to Optimum Motorsport/PMW Expo Racing’s Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson fighting for the title. There are fifty of the remaining eighty-seven and a half points still available at Snetterton during the weekend. this means there is still a chance of other teams heating up the title fights.
This is the second and happens to be the consecutive time the British GT4 title could be decided at Snetterton. This comes just twelve months after Jamie Chadwick and Ross Gunn sealed the championship crown this time last year. This time its Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson leading the championship as they head in to Norfolk. The chances of sealing the title is a lot slimmer than Chadwick and Gunn’s last year. The Beechdean team had a forty-two and a half point lead last year and this year PMW Expo Racing’s duo have a slim seventeen and a half points lead. The likelihood of them taking the title at Snetterton is very slim and unlikely especially with their opening race having a seven second success penalty after being runners up at the race at Spa-Francorchamps. With a total of fifty points available from the two races it is definitely not impossible for the PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport duo to take the title. They could become the first Ginetta drivers to take the GT4 crown since Ryan Ratcliffe and Rick Parfitt Jnr did back in 2013.
Since 2013 it has been Aston Martin and Beechdean AMR taking the two titles in 2014 and 2015. Jack Bartholomew and new co-driver Ross Gunn will be looking to take as many points as possible in hope of taking the title. The AMR team don’t need to win but as long as they score the full twenty-five points from at least one of the Sunday races, this would give the Ginetta rivals something to think about. If they do so it would make them the first Aston Martin V8 Vantage team to win a race in the British GT4 class at Snetterton. This year’s title looked set to be fought for between the two teams, there is just six and a half points covering positions three to seven in the drivers’ championship standings. This means there is always a chance that one of the other teams could find themselves in the fight for the title.
Century Motorsport’s Anna Walewska and Nathan Freke are currently sitting in third place with a thirty-nine and a half points between them and first place. If the duo have luck on their side they could make the most of Snetterton and grab as many points as possible to make sure they are still in the fight for the title at Donington’s finale if the title is not wrapped up at Snetterton. Just half a point further back in fourth is the first of the RCIB Insurance Racing’s pairings of Jordan Stilp and William Phillips, the two have been consistent throughout the season and have kept their hopes alive mathematically.
Ebor GT Maserati’s Marcus Hoggarth and Abbie Eaton are next up in the order after also having a fairly steady season. Lanan Racing’s Alex Reed and Joey Foster and RCIB Insurance Racing’s second pairing of Rob Barrable and Aaron Mason are also in the mix for the title fight. Last year it was a Lotus Evora that started on pole position and won at the Norfolk circuit, one of the models cars returns to the British GT4 grid this weekend with Stratton Motorsport running the car for Richard Taffinder and Martin Plowman. Bradley Ellis and Ade Barwick are reunited in a Ginetta run by the Simpson Motorsport team.
The current British GT lap record for the GT4 field is held by Marcus Clutton in a ABG Motorsport run KTM X-Bow from 2011 with a lap time of 1:59.458.
The timetable for the British GTs for this weekend is as follows:
09:25 – 10:25 – Free Practice One
12:15 – 13:05 – Free Practice Two
16:10 – 16:20 – Qualifying GT3 AM
16:24 – 16:34 – Qualifying GT3 Pro
16:38 – 16:48 – Qualifying GT4 AM
16:53 – 17:03 – Qualifying GT4 Pro
09:30 – 09:40 – Warm Up
11:50 – 12:50 – Race One
16:05 – 17:05 – Race Two
The drivers with pit stop success penalties are:
10 seconds – Joey Foster and Alex Reed
7 seconds – Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson
5 seconds – Matty Graham and Jack Mitchell
©Fay Tilley 5th August 2016.