> Biggest full-season entry in four years
> GT3 class features seven factory drivers and six manufacturers
> Record GT4 grid includes eight marques
> Full-season entry list
A capacity full-season entry of 36 supercars will contest this year’s British GT Championship, which officially launched its 26th season during the series’ annual Media Day at Donington Park this morning.
The regular entry, which has been capped at 36 cars due to pitlane restrictions, comprises 13 GT3s, 23 GT4s and a total of 10 manufacturers. It represents British GT’s largest full-season entry since 2014, while further cars are expected at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps’ Formula 1 venues, both of which enjoy greater capacity.
Six manufacturers will fight for overall honours, with Aston Martin, Bentley, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG and Nissan all amongst the GT3 ranks. What’s more, the class’ professional driver roster is stacked with official factory talent courtesy of seven works drivers representing three different brands, while the number of full-season GT3 entries has also increased since 2017.
The class also features a multitude of race and championship winners. Between them the 26 drivers have already won 69 British GT races (outright) and 10 British GT titles (all classes), as well as five Le Mans 24 Hours, five ELMS crowns, two Blancpain GT Series championships, two overall Total 24 Hours of Spa, and two FIA World Endurance Championships. Two of the reigning Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Pro winners, plus International GT Open Pro/Am and outright GT Cup champions, will also be on the grid battling, amongst others, 2017 British GT3 champion Rick Parfitt Jnr.
Elsewhere, Barwell Motorsport has entered three Lamborghini Huracans as part of its GT3 Teams’ title defence, although only its top two finishing cars will score points towards that particular championship.
GT4’s meteoric rise also continues in 2018 with three new manufacturers – BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-AMG – joining five existing brands: Aston Martin, Ginetta, McLaren, Nissan and Toyota. Together they represent the largest and most diverse full-season entry assembled in British GT4’s 11-year history, with 23 cars and eight manufacturers split across 14 teams.
With reigning Drivers’ champions Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton moving to the GT4 European Series this year, the path has been left clear for new challengers to emerge. HHC Motorsport, who claimed both the Teams’ and Drivers’ crowns in 2017, have increased their Ginetta contingent by one in an effort to fend off renewed and fresh threats from an incredibly competitive class that features at least eight Silver Cup and 11 Pro/Am crews.
Teams that remained unannounced before the full-season list was issued include Stellar Performance and its two Toyota GT86s, as well as Richardson Racing, which has entered a Mercedes-AMG GT4. Elsewhere, Nick Jones and Scott Malvern will announce their Team Parker Racing-run car before the opening round, while the driver line-up for Century Motorsport’s second BMW M4 GT4 also remains TBC for now.
Aside from the entry list, McLaren and British GT also used today’s Media Day to announce an extension to their official Safety Car partnership. The deal, now in its third season, will see a variety of McLaren Sports Series models – including the 540C Coupe, 570S Coupe, 570GT and recently-launched 570S Spider – taking charge of all nine races throughout 2018.
Championship Manager Benjamin Franassovici: “2018’s British GT Championship entry list features all the ingredients necessary to serve up a classic season, and in terms of quality – drivers, teams and manufacturers – it could well turn out to be the best in our history. Both classes look exceptional, with GT3’s Pro driver roster understandably grabbing most of the early headlines. But it’s also great to see new teams and Am drivers joining the class, while we’re delighted to welcome back full-season Nissan and McLaren entries. An influx of new cars has also helped GT4 take another step forward; it’s incredible to have 23 full-season entries represented by eight manufacturers this year, and more to come on a race-by-race basis at our larger venues as 2018 progresses. There’s also plenty of talent lurking amongst the GT4 grid that wouldn’t look out of place in GT3 – hopefully many of those drivers will take the opportunity to progress with us over the coming seasons.”
This year’s seven-round, nine-race British GT Championship gets underway at Oulton Park over Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (March 31 & April 2).