A 29-car field is expected at Silverstone on Saturday (8 October) for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship showdown, with several new entrants expected on the grid for the two-hour refuelling race which will close the 2011 season.
Among the fresh names joining the championship regulars are Simon Atkinson and James Pickford, who will return the Lamborghini name to British GT with their Backdraft Motorsport-prepared Gallardo GT3 ‘B’ entry. Barwell Motorsport will meanwhile field a double-strength Aston Martin squad, with a GT3 ‘B’ DBRS9 for Paul White and Andy Ruhan alongside the Beechdean Motorsport entry of Rockingham race winners Andrew Howard and Jonathan Adam.
The “Secure Racing with Barwell Motorsport” Aston GT4 car will be raced again by Peter Erceg, joined for the weekend by TV motoring pundit and ex-Ensign F1 racer Tiff Needell.
Silverstone will also mark the return of Ford to British GT, with Peter Bamford and 2007 Champion Bradley Ellis sharing RPM’s GT.
BTCC frontrunner Gordon Shedden is to return after his successful Donington Avon Tyres British GT debut to partner Hector Lester in the Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Italia, while in GT4 there will be an additional Ginetta G50, former class champion Stewart Linn returning to drive it with Chris Midmark. Former Aston driver Chris Holmes swaps to the Lotus Sport UK team for Silverstone, joining Phil Glew in the Evora GT4.
Reigning champion David Ashburn, who is one of 12 drivers gunning for the title at Silverstone, will have as his co-driver Richard Westbrook, with whom he shared his Trackspeed Porsche for his wins at Oulton Park and Spa.
In the GT Cup category, Jordan Witt and his co-driver Anthony Reid will face some opposition. For Silverstone there will be two Chevron GR8s in action, the second piloted by Jordan’s dad, David Witt, and Ray Grimes.
“In addition to it being the deciding round of the championship, the Silverstone race has attracted one of the biggest grids of the season,” says championship manager Benjamin Franassovicci. “We welcome the new teams and the returning old faces and look forward to a great battle on the track. British GT is now attracting the best GT cars in the world, with such prestigious brands as Aston Martin, Ferrari, Audi, Porsche and Lotus having enjoyed race or class victories this year. Interest for next year is already running high and with a very similar platform of seven GT meetings, and stable rules, 2012 is going to be as good, if not better.”
The British GT Championship is sponsored by UK tyre manufacturer Avon Tyres and is further supported by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and OAMPS.
Revised Silverstone timetable
Friday 7 October: 0900-0950 & 1120-1210 testing
Saturday 8 October: 1040 qualifying; 1555 Round 10 (120 mins)