London, England (7 June 2013) – Yet another big grid of over thirty cars are expected at round four of the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship next weekend, as the leading national GT series makes its annual visit to Snetterton and for two days challenges the traditionally tranquil nature of the Norfolk countryside.
The 2.96 mile ‘300’ circuit will play host to two 60-minute sprint races and for the first time this year we have a non-Trackspeed entered car leading the points standings. Following a stunning strategic victory in the three-hour race at Silverstone, Ecurie Ecosse pair Marco Attard and Oliver Bryant lead David Ashburn and Nick Tandy’s Trackspeed Porsche by a healthy 17.5 points.
Attard and Bryant’s win in the three-hour race gave them a big 37.5 point haul, building on their double points score at the opening round at Oulton Park, and enabling them to overtake the 2010 Champion and Factory Porsche driver in the points standings.
Despite none of the three Trackspeed Porsches finishing the race at Silverstone, the commanding start to the season where each car won one of the first three races, ensures that they all still remain in contention for the championship lead; Ashburn and Tandy lie second (43 points), Gregor Fisken and Richard Westbrook fourth (37.5 points) and Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw sit eleventh (25 points). For this race, Porsche star Stephen Jelley will replace Le Mans-bound Westbrook as Fisken’s team-mate in the #32 ‘Tartan Terror’ Porsche.
Third in the points are United Autosports’ Mark Patterson and Matt Bell. Up until Silverstone the pair had taken points in every race and after overcoming a suspension related issue that blighted their qualifying, the Patterson and Bell were confident of a good result at Silverstone. However, a sticking wheel nut during the first mandatory pit stop dropped them down the order and even with a strong fightback, the Audi finished seventeenth. Bell is a two-time previous winner at the Norfolk circuit and a victory in either race this weekend will see the United drivers in contention before the championship heads for it’s summer break.
Unlike the Audi duo, Beechdean AMR had a strong race at the Towcester circuit taking their first podium finish of the year, and drivers Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam head to Snetterton in buoyant mood with their championship challenge is back on track. The Aston Martin drivers are fifth in the standings with 36 points, three points ahead of Fortec Motorsport’s Benji Hetherington and a further half point ahead of 888Optimum’s Steve Tandy and Dan Brown who joined Beechdean and Ecurie Ecosse on the podium, finishing third.
Reigning drivers champion, Michael Caine heads to his home-circuit in eighth position, just like he did last year, and despite carrying additional weight in the Oman Air Motorbase Porsche car he shares with the talented Omani driver, Ahmad Al Harthy, the drivers are very much in contention; the Motorbase drivers are the only crew to collect points in every race this season.
Warren Hughes and Rembert Berg are ninth in the standings, the pair lost their fourth place finish at Silverstone due to a regulatory infringement at Silverstone, but both team and drivers are learning more about the 2013 specification Audi R8 LMS ultra with every round, and will continue to challenge for podiums. Rounding out the top ten in the points is Jason Minshaw, now driving with Benji Hetherington in the Fortec prepared Mercedes AMG SLS GT3. The combination of Hetherington and Minshaw has shown consistency of late and the pair are likely to use the width of their muscular Mercedes to their advantage at Snetterton.
Italian team AF Corse will run just one Ferrari 458 this weekend after a three-car effort at Silverstone. Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron have a calendar clash with an alternative series, so John Dhillon and Aaron Scott will be the sole charges for the Amato Ferrari’s team. Fellow Ferrari team and Italian rivals, Vita4One Team Italy has withdrawn from the 2013 series. The Milanese squad are now looking for a ‘bronze’ graded driver to fill the seat vacated by the outbound Jay Palmer.
After a tenth-place finish at Silverstone, GT4 Championship leaders Zoe Wenham and Declan Jones are just twenty points ahead of Optimum Motorsports’ Rick Parfitt Jnr and Ryan Ratcliffe. The two Ginetta teams are very evenly matched and have provided some sensational racing over the previous three rounds with the Century Motorsport team having a slight edge. That was until Parfitt Jnr and Ratcliffe scooped a strong third-place at Silverstone amidst more experienced opposition from the Avon Tyres GT4 Trophy contingent that joined the British series for a round.
Also showing their mettle were Complete Racing AMR and APO Sport. The Aston Martin team built on their victory at Rockingham earlier in May with a sixth place finish for Steve Chaplin and Tom Wilson, bagging twelve points which keeps them ahead of APO Sport’s James May and Alex Osborne by 4.5 points, despite the APO Ginetta finishing one place ahead of them at Silverstone in fifth.
Redgate Lifetime Racing took pole position at Silverstone and drivers Dan Eagling and Matt Smith were pleased with the performance of their Ginetta G50 GT4, but a tough race saw the team finish seventh, bagging a handsome nine points to ensure they keep sight of their fourth-placed APO Sport rivals.
Looking to score their first points of the year after debuting at Silverstone are Blendini Motorsport duo Rory Bryant and Anthony Rodgers. After getting experience of the series at Silverstone, the young pairing are back and will compete in the GT4 class for the remainder of the series.
Track action gets underway at Snetterton on Saturday 15th June, with free practice one at 9 am, quickly followed by the second session of free practice at 11:55 am. Qualifying is the final session for the GTs on Saturday, the half an hour session beginning at 3:50 pm. Sunday starts with an early warm-up session from 9 am, before race one begins at 10:45 am and race two at 3 pm.