Return of historic Lotus brand and new Ginetta GT4 machine stimulates growing category
Following the announcement last week that the first entry for the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship had been received, today series organisers SRO Motorsports Group have announced a further three full-season entrants, all in the popular GT4 class of the top sports car series.
Three teams running three different type of car have announced their intentions to challenge for the GT4 class crown next season. Bringing the highly popular Lotus name back to the grid is a new team, ISSY Racing. Featuring Gavan Kershaw and Ossy Yusuf, the UK team will run a Lotus Evora GT4 – a car last seen on the grid in 2012 when Phil Glew and Sailesh Bolisetti campaigned an Evora engineered by the Lotus Sport UK outfit.
Neither driver is a stranger to British GT, having competed sporadically over the past ten years. Kershaw has been a longtime ambassador for Lotus in the UK, regularly driving Lotus cars in competition on behalf of factory and customer entries. In 2011, Kershaw shook down an Evora at Snetterton in the lunch-break of the British GT meeting, debuting the stylish and pacey GT4 to the crowd. After a short break from racing, Yusuf returns to British GT where he last raced in 2010 alongside multiple British GT race winner, Joe Osborne in a Ginetta G50 GT4.
A brand new car in the GT4 class next year will be the Ginetta G55 GT4. Bringing the G55 GT4 to the grid is Fox Motorsport and the steely pairing of Jamie Stanley and Paul McNeilly. Both drivers have current experience of British GT; Stanley is the 2010 GT4 Champion and he and McNeilly competed together in the Silverstone round of the 2013 Championship in a FF Corse prepared Ferrari 430 GT3.
The G55 GT4 car will use the in-house Ginetta developed 3.7 Ford V6 engine, producing 355bhp. The drivetrain starts with the Hewland six-speed sequential gearbox with optional Ginetta factory-developed pneumatic paddle-shift system.
After a trial run in the 2013 season finale at Donington Park, leading British sportscar racing squad Team Parker Racing, will enter the GT4 class under the Twisted Team Parker name with a Ginetta G50 GT4 for former British GT champion Bradley Ellis and Caterham Tracksport racer Adrian Barwick.
Ellis, 26, won the 2007 British GT title in a Dodge Viper and was also a race winner with the Ford GT in the FIA GT3 European Championship. Barwick began racing in the Caterham Academy in 2011, moving into Caterham Roadsport last year, and has this season competed in Team Parker Racing’s Caterham Tracksport line-up, taking one podium finish in 2013 at Donington and one fastest lap at Brands Hatch.
In another exciting move for the 2014 season, SRO Motorsports Group has also announced that the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of Great Britain will become a support race at four rounds of British GT including the jewel in the crown meeting at Silverstone.
Osman Yusuf, driver, ISSY Racing:
”I am truly excited about returning to British GT, and even more so with such an iconic brand as Lotus; the choice of car was an easy one once I had visited the factory, and I was drawn by the passion from everyone when I said I would be entering British GT. I have a driving partner in Gavan that knows the car inside out; In the words of the late Colin Chapman, ‘If you’re not winning, you’re not trying’. Believe me when I say this, we will be trying!”
Adrian Barwick, driver, Twisted Team Parker Racing:
“After 3 years of sports car racing I decided to purchase a GT4 car and started researching my options for 2014/2015. It rapidly became an easier task than anticipated. In terms of cost, sponsorship impact and professionalism the British GT package is hands down the place for us to be, proven after our ‘taster’ round at Donington. We look forward to competing in the series in 2014.”
Benjamin Franassovici, Championship Manager, British GT:
“This season we saw a close, often thrilling GT4 championship story develop. Rick and Ryan did a fantastic job to close the title in the final race of the year, but had strong challenges from a tight field. Next year we want to build on this success and keep momentum in the class. GT4 has begun to grow in Europe and the UK motorsport scene is a perfect place for it to form part of the GT curriculum. With Porsche, BMW, Toyota, Lotus, Ginetta and Aston Martin all making competitive GT4 cars, there is a bright future for this inexpensive, competitive classification.”