Before the British GT Championship gets underway at Snetterton with their media day at the end of March, we thought we would recap what we know so far about this year’s championship.
There’s already there a notable gap with the Beechdean Team not running in this year’s championship. The team have decided to take a break from the British GT and concentrate their GT commitments elsewhere.
In the GT3 class Century Motorsport have been selected by Ginetta to run the factory GT-4 spec G55. Last season the team were running the G55 in the GT4 class, so this is a big step up for the team. Nathan Freke, touted as one of the fastest GT4 drivers, also moves up to the GT3 class driving for the team along with US newcomer Harry Gottsacker.
Barwell Motorsport return with their Lamborghinis and now have 2016 BTCC runner-up Sam Tordoff joing the ranks. In fact the pairing of Liam Griffin and Sam both have BTCC backgrounds. The pairing of Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw will want to do one better this year and claim that GT3 Team Championship and GT3 Drivers Championship that eluded them in 2016.
AmDTuning.com sees the switch from BMW Z4 to Mercedes’ AMG GT3 for the 2017 campaign. Drivers for the championship are so far un-confirmed.
Macmillian Racing are back for 2017 after making their debut in 2016 and this year stepping up to GT3 with an Aston Martin V12 Vantage. Jack Mitchell returns and is partnered by James Littlejohn (2016 Radical European Masters Champion) They will also be running an Aston in the GT4 class with Will Philips as the only other confirmed driver).
Team Abba with Rollcentre Racing swap their BMW Z4 for a Mercedes AMG GT3 for this year’s campaign. They keep the pairing of Martin Short and Richard Neary which makes it an all-Am line up (the other teams in the championship running pairings of Pro/Am).
The squad to beat this year will be 2016 GT3 Drivers’ and Teams’ Champions TF Sport. They will continue with their line-up from 2016 and who could blame them! They will be running two Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3s for Jonny Adam/Derek Johnston (reigning GT3 Champions) and Jon Barnes/Mark Farmer. The team will be hoping for more one-two finishes this year after ending the season on that high at Donington.
We are still not sure what Team Parker Racing, Motorbase Performace or Ecurie Ecosse are planning for 2017.
In the GT4 class, Team Hard will be looking at repeating the success they had last year by winning the Teams Championship, not bad on their debut year. They will be again running two Ginetta G55 GT4s but now have 2012 British GT Champion Michael Caine piloting one of them alongside Mike Newbould. The other Ginetta will be driven by Howard Fuller and Sam Webster.
HHC Motorsport (more familiar in the junior single-seater series) make they debut this year and bring with them Will Tregurtha (2016 Ginetta Junior Champion) and Stuart Middleton (2016 Ginetta Junior runner-up. The team will be running a Ginetta G55, building on their success from running the Ginetta G40 in the Ginetta Junior series.
Optimum Motorsport are back again for the 2017 campaign. Their 2016 season ended with a 1st in the Drivers’ Championship and a 2nd in the Teams. They will be hoping that retaining the pairing of Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson in their Ginetta G55 they can win both the Drivers’ and Teams’ championship this year, a feat the team last achieved in 2013.
Toleman Motorsport return to the GT4 class this year but in a customer McLaren 570S. They also have a new driver in the shape of Joe Osborne pairing up with the retained David Pattison.
Returning back to the GT4 are Track Club and they will be running the McLaren 570S GT4. They last raced in the Championship back in 2015 (one race only) and had a season in 2014. 2016 was spent in the Lotus Cup UK Supersport with a 1st and 3rd in the Drivers’ Championship. They will be bringing those drivers, Adam Balon and Adam Mackay with them to launch an assault on the GT4 class.
Academy Motorsport are returning back to championship this year (they only had one outing in 2016). The team will be racing an Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 with Will Moore and Matt Nicoll-Jones behind the wheel. They will be hoping to have similar success to their last full season in 2015 where they won the GT4 Teams Championship.
Lanan Racing are back for a second season and will still be running a Ginetta G55 GT4. They will be retaining Alex Reed (GT4 Spa winner 2016) and a return to racing David Pittard. Pittard is no stranger to the Ginetta as he contested the GT4 Supercup in 2014 with multiple wins.
RJN Motorsport (Nissan’s official factory team) are returning to the championship with a couple of 370Z GT4s racing under the UltraTek Racing name. One of the two Nissans will be driven by the pairing of Richard Taffinder and Martin Plowman, both UltraTek drivers with a long establishment with the team. The other 370z GT4 will be made up with the pairing of Tim Eakin (another stalwart of the team) and ex-BTCC runner Kelvin Fletcher, who makes his British GT debut this year.