29 April 2013 London, England – Top International GT team ProSpeed Competition will join rivals from across Europe when it joins the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at the end of May for the huge, three-hour Silverstone 500 event at the Silverstone GP circuit in Northamptonshire, with British challengers Stark Racing, FF Corse and Blendini Moto adding cars for the big race which takes place on Sunday 26th May.
The Belgian squad is the third top continental team with experience of British GT’s European ‘brother’ the SRO-run Blancpain Endurance Series, to compete in 2013 after full season entries from AF Corse and Vita4One Team Italy. More entries from overseas are expected for the 180-minute race on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.
ProSpeed, founded by Rudi Penders and Luc Goris, will field a 2013 Porsche 997 GT3 R for American drivers Charlie Putman (bronze) and Charles Espenlaub (silver) who are embaring on a tour of top European racing circuits with the Belgian team.
Putman and Espenlaub began their European adventure at Monza under a month ago in the first round of the Blancpain Endurance Series and the pair are long-time friends and regularly drive together for the Dempsey Racing squad in North America.
The three-hour jewel-in-the-crown event for British GT, which will be televised live in its entirety for the first time on Motors TV across Europe, will mark the race debut for the two American drivers at Silverstone and the series.
Wyoming-born Putman is a regular participant in North American touring and sports car scene having begun racing in 2006. In 2010 he won the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS Championship, driving with long-time friend and co-driver Espenlaub.
Florida resident, Espenlaub has been a Mazda sports car driver for several years and a key part of Dempsey Racing since it entered GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT competition at the end of the 2007 season. Espenlaub is a regular in the team’s endurance event activity.
Joining ProSpeed’s Porsche entry is a former full-season entrant, Ian Stinton with his 2012 specification Ginetta G55. Stinton, who is having a break from racing this year to concentrate on his impending nuptials is returning for a one-off appearance to keep his eye in for a return next season.
The 45-year old from Belbroughton, Worcestershire is yet to name his co-driver but has confirmed the car is being prepared by the Ginetta factory and run by his own Stark Racing team.
GT3 season regulars FF Corse will also run a Ferrari 458 Challenge car at Silverstone, details on who will be driving this car will be confirmed shortly.
In addition the GT4 class will swell to over fifteen cars for the first time in years with the arrival of around 8-10 contenders from the SRO-run European GT4 Cup.
Also joining the Silverstone GT4 party is GT3 team Blendini Moto, who will run a Ginetta G50 GT4 for Rory Bryant and Anthony Rodgers from Silverstone and then for the remaining four rounds of the year.
Bryant is the 2010 and 2011 Scottish Ford Fiesta Champion and last year competed in the MSA British Endurance Series with a Piranha Motorsport prepared Ginetta G40. Rodgers spent 2012 driving a Mazda MX-5 in the MSA Production Sportscar Series and finished inside the top ten of the first race this season in the same car.
More details on the Silverstone 500 will be made available after this weekend’s (5th/6th May) second round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, at the super fast Rockingham Speedway in Corby, Northamptonshire.
Benjamin Franassovici, British GT Championship Manager:
“Adding ProSpeed is a big coup for us. We have a strong selection of Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, McLaren and Audi teams racing with us already, so adding more depth to our ranks can only be a good thing. The Silverstone event has evolved significantly and with live television coverage for the entire race guaranteed, we’re hopeful of reaching more eyes and getting more people to our events over the second half of the season. Ultimately we’re trying to add to what we do to benefit the championship and our customers, the competitors, the most. We’re hoping to be able to announce an entry list of over 45 cars in the coming weeks.”
Frédéric VIGER, Head of Programming, Motors TV:
“British F3 and GT have been a major part of Motors TV line-up for several years now, not only on a UK basis but also on a pan-European perspective. After the success of last year’s delayed coverage from Donington Park, going fully live for the Silverstone 500 event was an easy decision to make! We are fully confident that the pinnacle of UK racing deserves live TV exposure, and that the show will definitely be worth watching!”
Charles Espenlaub, Driver, ProSpeed Competition Porsche 997 GT3 R:
“I am really looking forward to running with ProSpeed at Silverstone in British GT. We did our first laps on a test day at Silverstone in March and I loved the track instantly. Very easy to see why it is a world famous track, its reputation is well deserved. Also, I cannot wait to be racing in British GT; the competition looks extremely fierce. Three hours at Silverstone among the best teams and drivers in the world, I will be needing a few pints after that… good times.”
Charlie Putman, Driver, ProSpeed Competition Porsche 997 GT3 R:
“We are running the British GT race at Silverstone because our ‘American’s Adventure in Europe’ had to include the best tracks of Europe. Silverstone is certainly a must do on that list! It will be an honor to get to race at this distinguished and historic track with some of the most distinguished sports car drivers in the world. The ProSpeed team has made our transition to the east side of the Atlantic a fun experience, and just reminds me of how much we racers and race fans are all alike, regardless of what country we call home.”
Ian Stinton, Team Owner / Driver, Stark Racing Ginetta G55 GT3
I’m really pleased to be back, if only for one race. I couldn’t miss being part of such a big grid at the home of UK motorsport. With the wedding planning going very well and my business having a fantastic first four months of the year, I had to be there. The car will be a 2012 spec G55, but as it’s a 3-hour race we shouldn’t be at much of a disadvantage over the 2013 spec; we won’t have ABS or traction control, so driver skill will be key. I believe it will be a really good weekend and we are bringing 50 customers to experience the thrills of British GT and promote my businesses services and products, I can’t wait.”
Rory Bryant, Driver, Blendini Moto Ginetta G50 GT4:
“The British GT GT4 class is a cost effective way for the team and lead sponsors, Scott & Co, to be involved in a high profile championship that offers a good step forward for both drivers careers. We hope to contest the full season in 2014 to challenge for the GT4 championship, so this year is primarily about gaining experience at this level to hit the ground running in 2014. Anthony and I have had success in other series winning championships and many races, so the goal for this season has to be podiums and race wins towards the end of the year.