This year’s Avon Tyres British GT Championship burst into life at Brands Hatch earlier today with the annual pre-season Media Day.
While several on-track sessions offered the 28 assembled cars an opportunity to test ahead of Oulton Park’s season opener in less than two weeks, it was also a chance for the series to unveil a raft of new partners, teams and drivers.
Chief among the announcements was a bumper 34-car entry list featuring an equal number of GT3 and GT4 cars representing nine manufacturers and run by 27 different teams.
The announcements began early this morning with Motorbase Performance unveiling a third Aston Martin V12 Vantage for BTCC race winner Mat Jackson and Phil Dryburgh. The pair are confirmed for Oulton Park’s Easter weekend date and could enter further rounds thereafter. Hot on their heels was AmDTuning.com who confirmed they would be stepping up to the championship with a Porsche 997 GT4 for Shaun Hollamby and Graham Coomes.
Series stalwarts Rosso Verde will once again feature Hector Lester and Benny Simonsen behind the wheel of their Ferrari 458 GT3, and Preci-Spark’s Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 is also set to return in the hands of Joneses David and Godfrey.
A prior commitment for James Nash sees former LMP2 World Endurance Champion Martin Plowman join UltraTek Racing at Oulton Park, while RLR Motorsport will also be entering the fray with their Ginetta G55 from Rockingham onwards.
The championship also unveiled a new official lubricants partner in the form of Petronas, whose deal compliments the previously announced return of Sunoco as fuel supplier. Equally, series title sponsor Avon Tyres took the opportunity to announce that a new slick compound will be used in 2015 that boasts both improved durability and performance.
The new alliance between British GT and the Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship was also discussed by SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO, Stephane Ratel, and Chief Executive of the MSV Group, Jonathan Palmer, who addressed the gathered media during lunchtime’s press conference.
Stephane Ratel: “We’re delighted to be running our fourth-straight year of British GT at full capacity, particularly now that we’ve found the perfect balance with 17 entries in both the GT3 and GT4 categories. I think the strong field adds a high level of competition to the series, which is important for the drivers and teams. We’re really pleased with the global growth of the GT category, especially here with British GT, which is probably the best national championship in the world. I’m also pleased that the partnership with Jonathan [Palmer] has allowed us to add the BRDC Formula 4 Championship and maintain a strong single-seater platform as part of the package.”
Jonathan Palmer: “It’s great to see so many cars and teams at Brands Hatch today. We’re very excited here at MSV, not only to be hosting the series but also about how prestigious British GT has become over the past few years. SRO does a great job of understanding the category and that, combined with our hard work to make the circuits what they are, is a powerful combination. I am very much looking forward to this year.”
The opening round of this season’s British GT Championship takes place over Easter Bank Holiday weekend at Oulton Park (April 4-6).