Both Avon Tyres British GT Championship class titles could be decided at Snetterton this weekend (August 22/23) as the 2015 campaign reaches its penultimate two rounds.

The 13-turn, 2.969-mile Norfolk venue has never witnessed a driver crowned British GT champion but that could all change when Barwell Motorsport/Ecurie Ecosse’s Marco Attard and Alexander Sims (GT3), and Beechdean AMR’s Jamie Chadwick and Ross Gunn (GT4) line up for the second of Sunday’s one-hour races.

Standing in their way is a cast of hopefuls eager to take the title chase down to the wire at Donington Park’s final round next month. Here’s how both classes stand ahead of British GT’s second double-header of the year.

GT3: FOUR CREWS, ONE TITLE

34 points. That’s the advantage reigning champion Attard and co-driver Sims enjoy over their nearest rivals, Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam, following Ecurie Ecosse’s second victory of the season at Brands Hatch last time out. With a maximum of 50 points available across both races the pressure’s on the latter pairing to reduce their deficit ahead of Donington’s two-hour season finale where an additional 37.5 points will be up for grabs.

The BMW Z4 GT3’s 15-second pit-stop success penalty ensures it’s unlikely to be a victory candidate in Snetterton’s opening encounter, giving Howard and Adam a chance to make up ground before potentially incurring their own handicap in race two. That they won last year’s second one-hour sprint certainly stands them in good stead.

Beechdean AMR’s Aston Martin V12 Vantage isn’t the only contender, though. Indeed, two other pairings – Oman Racing Team’s Liam Griffin and Rory Butcher, and Triple Eight Racing’s Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne – still harbour genuine hopes of claiming this year’s Drivers’ title.

Of the two it’s fourth-placed Mowle and Osborne, currently 47.5 points adrift of the lead, who have the most momentum following their edge-of-the-seat second place at Brands Hatch. A non-score at Spa aside, the #888 BMW has carried a consistent podium threat this year but will need a little help from those ahead in the points to realistically feature in the title fight should it come down to Donington.

The same can be said of Griffin and Butcher who saw a likely rostrum turn into only sixth place – their joint-worst result of a remarkably consistent campaign – at Brands Hatch. They therefore head to Snetterton 40 points adrift of Attard and Sims knowing that a first victory since the season opener at Oulton Park is imperative if they’re to remain championship contenders.

Only on Sunday evening will the fluctuating fortunes of all four crews determine whether the British GT3 Drivers’ title is won ahead of the final round for the first time since 2010.

Elsewhere, both TF Sport Aston Martins showed improved pace at Brands, culminating in Derek Johnston and Matt Bell scoring their maiden podium of the year. And with Andrew Jarman and Jody Fannin also running well in the sister V12 Vantage before an accident ended their hopes, you’d expect both to feature once again at Snetterton.

Team LNT regular Tom Oliphant’s Ginetta GT4 SuperCup title ambitions see him skip Snetterton in favour of Knockhill. Rick Parfitt Jnr is therefore joined in the #44 Ginetta G55 GT3 by Ryan Ratcliffe, the pair teaming up for the first time since winning the GT4 title together in 2013.

The 16-strong GT3 field is bolstered by the returning #12 Von Ryan Racing McLaren 650S in the hands of Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey.

Meanwhile, the Teams’ Championship battle continues to rage between Barwell Motorsport and Oman Racing. The two-car operations are separated by just 21 points, with Beechdean AMR – which only runs a single Aston Martin – 52 further back.

GT4: CAN ANYONE HALT BEECHDEAN AMR?

34 points. That’s the advantage reigning champion Attard and co-driver Sims enjoy over their nearest rivals, Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam, following Ecurie Ecosse’s second victory of the season at Brands Hatch last time out. With a maximum of 50 points available across both races the pressure’s on the latter pairing to reduce their deficit ahead of Donington’s two-hour season finale where an additional 37.5 points will be up for grabs.

The BMW Z4 GT3’s 15-second pit-stop success penalty ensures it’s unlikely to be a victory candidate in Snetterton’s opening encounter, giving Howard and Adam a chance to make up ground before potentially incurring their own handicap in race two. That they won last year’s second one-hour sprint certainly stands them in good stead.

Beechdean AMR’s Aston Martin V12 Vantage isn’t the only contender, though. Indeed, two other pairings – Oman Racing Team’s Liam Griffin and Rory Butcher, and Triple Eight Racing’s Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne – still harbour genuine hopes of claiming this year’s Drivers’ title.

Of the two it’s fourth-placed Mowle and Osborne, currently 47.5 points adrift of the lead, who have the most momentum following their edge-of-the-seat second place at Brands Hatch. A non-score at Spa aside, the #888 BMW has carried a consistent podium threat this year but will need a little help from those ahead in the points to realistically feature in the title fight should it come down to Donington.

The same can be said of Griffin and Butcher who saw a likely rostrum turn into only sixth place – their joint-worst result of a remarkably consistent campaign – at Brands Hatch. They therefore head to Snetterton 40 points adrift of Attard and Sims knowing that a first victory since the season opener at Oulton Park is imperative if they’re to remain championship contenders.

Only on Sunday evening will the fluctuating fortunes of all four crews determine whether the British GT3 Drivers’ title is won ahead of the final round for the first time since 2010.

Elsewhere, both TF Sport Aston Martins showed improved pace at Brands, culminating in Derek Johnston and Matt Bell scoring their maiden podium of the year. And with Andrew Jarman and Jody Fannin also running well in the sister V12 Vantage before an accident ended their hopes, you’d expect both to feature once again at Snetterton.

Team LNT regular Tom Oliphant’s Ginetta GT4 SuperCup title ambitions see him skip Snetterton in favour of Knockhill. Rick Parfitt Jnr is therefore joined in the #44 Ginetta G55 GT3 by Ryan Ratcliffe, the pair teaming up for the first time since winning the GT4 title together in 2013.

The 16-strong GT3 field is bolstered by the returning #12 Von Ryan Racing McLaren 650S in the hands of Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey.

Meanwhile, the Teams’ Championship battle continues to rage between Barwell Motorsport and Oman Racing. The two-car operations are separated by just 21 points, with Beechdean AMR – which only runs a single Aston Martin – 52 further back.

GT4: CAN ANYONE HALT BEECHDEAN AMR?

Gavin Johnson, Avon Tyres Development Manager – Motorsport, runs the rule over Brands Hatch.

“2015 sees the Avon Tyres British GT Championship visit Snetterton in August following several years of the race being held in June. Weather conditions have traditionally play a big part in the action, with flash flooding quickly reverting to hot and dry conditions that provide a real challenge for engineers and drivers alike. Long-range forecasts show that the weather could play a big part in the race weekend, once again.

“As an old airfield, and now the second longest circuit in the UK, the modern day Snetterton 300 layout has been transformed into a circuit that offers a great mix of long duration high speed corners, long fast straights and tight technical turns. All this results in an exciting challenge for teams and drivers to extract the optimum performance from their tyres, which will be subjected to extreme loads as the cars are pushed to deliver the highest levels of traction, braking and lateral grip.

“The race format for the weekend will see two one-hour races, which places greater importance on qualifying in the best position possible. The track can be tight and narrow for cars at this high level of performance in such a competitive field, and past years have shown that off-track excursions can be punishing.”

Compounds
Dry = Medium: New for 2015 in British GT and designed for widest possible ambient temperature range (so operational from track temps of about 10°C to 40°C). Will reach temperatures during the races of around 110ºC.

Wet = Soft: Ensures maximum security and confidence for all drivers (especially the less experienced of the GT3 drivers). Typical temperatures of 50-60ºC.

Pressures start at around 1.4bar and reach 1.9 to 2.1bar in 3-5 laps.

The new-for-2015 tyre has optimised compound and construction to provide high levels of confidence for the gentleman drivers enabling them to develop their race craft, while allowing the pros to fully explore the limits of the car’s performance potential.

SNETTERTON WEEKEND SCHEDULE

Saturday 22 August
09:30 – 10:10: Free Practice 1
10:10 – 10:30: Bronze-only session
11:45 – 12:35: Free Practice 2
15:25 – 15:35: Qualifying GT3 Am
15:38 – 15:48: Qualifying GT3 Pro
15:51 – 16:01: Qualifying GT4 Am
16:06 – 16:16: Qualifying GT4 Pro

Sunday 23 August
09:25 – 09:35: Warm-up
12:55 – 13:55: Race 1 (1 hour)
16:30 – 17:30: Race 2 (1 hour)