SRO, organisers of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship have today confirmed they expect a 48-car grid at this weekend’s third round, the Silverstone 500, at the 3.66 mile Towcester track. Fifteen new entries will join the already burgeoning ranks of the predominantly GT3 and GT4 series as It prepares for its annual high-point, the three-hour race at the home of British motor racing.
This weekend marks a landmark for a number of reasons, firstly the grid size is the biggest in British GT history, and secondly the Silverstone event will be the first to be shown live on UK television, with all 180-minutes being covered by top motorsport broadcaster, Motors TV.
Trackspeed are the form team having won all three of this season’s races. The 2010 drivers champion, David Ashburn and Porsche factory driver Nick Tandy, sit atop the points standings in the #31 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R with 43 points, but just half a point behind them are Mark Patterson and Matt Bell in the United Autosports Audi R8 LMS ultra. Third in the points are winners last time, Gregor Fisken and Richard Westbrook in the #32 Trackspeed Porsche on 37.5 points.
Ferrari fans will have plenty of ‘Cavallino Rampante’ to choose from this weekend. Top International Ferrari team, AF Corse, arrive with three Ferrari 458 Italia GT3s having recruited the services of front running British GT drivers Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin (car #29) and top Italian GT driver Michele Rugolo and Australian racer, Steve Wyatt. Regular drivers Aaron Scott and John Dhillon will welcome the assistance en-mass unlocking further potential from the latest version of the 458.
Based just near the entrance gates of the Silverstone circuit, FF Corse can officially claim this to be its ‘home’ race. This weekend the team bring three Ferraris to British GT, two GT3 variants and a GTC car for promising South African driver Jacques Duyver and the popular Brit, Charlie Hollings.
Already this season Rob Barff and Gary Eastwood have shown FF Corse can run at the front and at Rockingham, Barff, took the 458 GT3 to fifth having taken over from Eastwood in twentieth place. Joining Barff and Eastwood and the 458 GTC of Duyver and Hollings this weekend is 2010 GT4 co-champion, Jamie Stanley and Paul McNeilly. The pair will drive in a Ferrari 430 GT3, which will be the sole entry in the GT3B class, a category for pre 2008 GT3 cars.
As previously announced, top International GT team ProSpeed Competition will field a 2013 Porsche for American drivers Charlie Putman and Charles Espenlaub who are embarking on a tour of top European racing circuits this season. In addition, Ian Stinton will now be partnered in the #17 Ginetta G55 by Century Motorsports team principal, and racer in his own right, Nathan Freke.
Blendini Moto, which runs an Audi R8 LMS in the GT3 class will have a two-car line-up at Silverstone with the arrival of a Ginetta G50 GT4 for Rory Bryant and Anthony Rodger. Bryant is a double Scottish Ford Fiesta Champion and he and Rodger are keen to make a good start in this their maiden British GT weekend. The pair have signed up for remainder of the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT season, and will join the hotly-contested battle for the GT4 crown.
Declan Jones and Zoe Wenham lead the British GT GT4 class with a huge 77 points from the first three races. The Century Motorsports pair are now 39.5 points ahead of Complete Racing drivers Tom Wilson and Steve Chaplin; the Aston Martin GT4 duo gave the GT4 Vantage its first victory in British GT at Rockingham. In doing so Wilson and Chaplin nicked second in the points from Optimum Motorsports Rick Parfitt Jnr and Ryan Ratcliffe.
Linking up with the top British GT series for one round only is the Avon Tyres GT4 Trophy, a wholly new competition created by SRO following conversations with teams from its predecessor, the European GT4 Cup. Eight cars are expected to join the six from British GT, competing for points over the course of five rounds as they battle for the Avon Tyres GT4 Trophy.
Track action at Silverstone gets underway on Saturday at 9am, with the first of the two free practice sessions. Free practice two begins from 12pm midday until 1pm and qualifying starts at 4:30pm for 45-minutes. After a quick ten-minute warm-up on Sunday morning at 9am, the three-hour race begins at 1pm, finishing at 4pm.
Benjamin Franassovici, British GT Championship manager
‘We’re pleased to welcome the new teams and the returning old faces this weekend. We look forward to a great battle on the fantastic Silverstone track. British GT has grown into something truly sensational this season and is now attracting the best GT cars and drivers in the world, with such prestigious brands as Aston Martin, Ferrari, Audi, Porsche, McLaren and BMW competing for the overall honours. This weekend also sees us have live, dedicated coverage on Motors TV, a new experience for us and something we hope will build interest with motorsport fans who are yet to witness British GT, as well as with those dedicated fans unable to come to Northamptonshire this weekend.’
Claude Surmont, SRO’s Technical Director and GT4 manager
‘Across Europe GT4 grids didn’t evolve much these past few years, and teams came to me and said, “last time you had a European cup it went well, why don’t you do another European competition?” For me it seemed like a good way to boost GT4 grids of national series, but with the incentive of scoring points for an overall trophy too. The aim is that this trophy boosts the popularity of GT4 as a category across Europe, and that teams that would only normally race in their own country, are encouraged to try a race in Holland, Sweden or the UK. The racing will be close, and we look forward to a successful trophy this year with our partners Avon Tyres.’
Avon Tyres British GT Championship – Silverstone
Silverstone Arena GP Circuit, 3.66-mile, 18-turn race circuit, Towcester, Northants
May 25th – May 26th, 2013
British GT Championship: Round #3 of 7
Race Duration: 1 x 180 minutes
British GT TV Broadcast:
Motors TV: LIVE, Sunday May 26th 12:45 pm – 4:05pm
Channel 4: Highlights, Saturday June 1st, 7:00 am – 7:30 am
Motors TV: Highlights, Sunday May 26th 10:05 pm – 10:50 pm
More listings here: http://www.britishgt.com/television.php
British GT Online Race Coverage:
www.twitter.com/britishgt – for live text commentary
Schedule (All times GMT):
Saturday, May 25, 2013:
Free Practice 1: 09:00 am – 10:00 am
Free Practice 2: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Qualifying: 4:30 pm – 5:15 pm
Sunday, May 26, 2013:
Warm up: 09:00 am – 09:10 am (All Classes)
Race 1: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm (3 hours)