A grid of at least 30 entries set to compete in 13 different models of car
London, England 7 March 2013 –The Avon Tyres British GT Championship revealed it will for the first time in almost ten years feature over thirty full season entries, including thirteen different models of car from ten of the top GT3manufacturers in the world, at the 2013 season launch event in South Kensington, London tonight.
After progressively building stronger grids since 2010, this season looks set to top the early days of British GT when GT1 and then GT2 were the top categories on the grid and entries were regularly in excess of 28 cars per race.
Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ginetta, McLaren, Mercedes, Nissan, Porsche and Toyota will all be represented, with a total of 30 cars announced at the Championship’s launch evening in Central London.
With just over three weeks to go until the first round of the Championship at Oulton Park in Cheshire, new additions confirmed include a two-car Ferrari 458 entry from Mtech featuring the return of Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron for their fifth year driving together, and reigning GT Cup Champion, Derek Johnston alongside a yet to be announced driver.
Having Griffin and Cameron together in the series is another positive for the series, as Griffin is one of the fastest GT drivers in the world right now, and Cameron is widely regarded as a pacey ‘gentleman’ driver. The pair, runners-up in 2010, have been engaged in the title race for the past two seasons right up until the last round.
Rival Ferrari squad, and reigning Blancpain Endurance Series Endurance Champions Cup and Pro-Am vice-champions, Vita4One Team Italy announced in January it willfield a 458 Italia GT3. Today the team have confirmed Jay Palmer and team boss, Matteo Bobbi as drivers for the season. The pairing is highly capable, as Palmer is familiar with the circuits from a year of British GT in 2011 withUnited Autosports, and Bobbi is the 2003 FIA GT1 champion and 2006 FIA GT2 champion, and an ex-Minardi Formula 1 test driver.
World Rally Championship frontrunners, M-Sport today announced it will race in British GT as it prepares itself for bringing the Bentley name back to sportscar racing later in the year. Initially M-Sport will use an Audi R8 LMS ultra for highly experienced British driver Warren Hughes and Dutch amateur, Rembert Berg.
Top Mazda MX5 Championship team, Blendini Motorsport will run an Audi R8 LMS GT3 car for Welshman, Dom Evans, who moves up to the top category having finished third in GT4 last season; joining him in the car is Blendini boss, Tom Roche.
In addition, top single-seater squad, Fortec Motorsports has confirmed it will field a pair of Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, and will reveal driver pairings in the build-up to the first race.
The GT4 category will have at least six full season entrants too. The Ginetta G50, the proven weapon of choice for GT4 racing will appear four times in the hands of APO Sport, Century Motorsport, Optimum Motorsport, and Redgate Lifetime racing. Also featuring in the class is the powerful Aston Martin Vantage GT4 with Complete Racing, and the all-new Toyota GT86 GT4 from GPRM.
2013 Calendar and Formats
Race formats were also announced at the event, which will see three ‘sprint’ weekends comprising two 60-minute races (Oulton Park, Snetterton and Zandvoort), three ‘enduro’ weekends of a single 120-minute race with refuelling pit stops (Rockingham, Brands Hatch and Donington Park), and a 180-minute endurance race with refuelling pit stops at Silverstone in May, which will be referred to as the ‘Silverstone 500’ – named as such in reference to the kilometres covered during the race.
Extended Television Coverage
Television coverage for the Championship will be boosted by two weekends of live race action, firstly at Silverstone for the three hour ‘Silverstone 500’ meeting and then as the season reaches its climax, for the penultimate round at Zandvoort. Precise details of timings will be made available nearer the race meetings, but also new for 2013 is the inclusion of more in-car footage to enable fans to get a better sense of the race action. Channel Four coverage continues, and races will be televised the weekend after the event, a step forward on previous years where they were traditionally a fortnight after the races.
You can catch the new cars, teams and drivers at the first round of the season on the Easter Bank holiday (30/3-1/4) at the fast and flowing Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire.
BenjaminFranassovici, Championship Manager:
“Its great to see the series progress and get better and better over the last three seasons, seeing new teams, some from overseas, joining our loyal teams and drivers, means the platform is doing the right thing. We expect more cars to join us during the season, we will aim for 40 cars for the Silverstone 500 in May which will also be televised live on Motors TV, another first for us. With British GT being top bill at Zandvoort, we’re confident our overseas race will be another big success and its exciting to visit a new country with the series. I can’t wait for Oulton Park now to see the cars on track.”