After looking at the GT3 class in part one, the second half of GT REPORT’s British GT Championship preview looks at the GT4 class which this year has reached a mammoth 23 entries from eight manufacturers.
The formerly secondary class has continued its explosion in recent years with 2018 breaking the record for entries in what used to be considered the ‘junior’ class.
Over the off-season the biggest news for the class came from Jaguar, the British manufacturer has taken its first proper steps back into British racing for years as they built two F-Types for Invictus Games Racing – a racing spin-off of the sports competition for wounded, injured or sick ex-servicemen and women led by Prince Harry.
As it is supporting former members of the military to get into the top-level of motorsport, the line-up features a Pro and two Ams in each of the cars. The first car is anchored by Pirelli World Challenge TCA champion Jason Wolfe, he’ll be joined by Ben Norfolk and Basil Rawlinson for the season as the pair split the season between them.
The second car will see Matthew George joined by Steve McCulley and Paul Vice.
Reigning champions HHC Motorsport will be without their title-winning drivers Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton as they’ve left to conquer the continent in the GT4 European Series. The Ginetta G55 team will be expanding to a pair of cars though with one for Mike Newbould and Will Burns, with a second for Ginetta SuperCup champion Callum Pointon and Patrik Matthiesen.
There’s still a lot of other competition in the class though – even just from the new-for-2018 cars. That starts with the Mercedes-AMG GT4 with three entries confirmed.
The first comes from Scott Malvern and Nick Jones. The pair – who raced a Porsche Cayman last year – have swapped one German machine for another as Malvern praised the ‘drivability’ of the Mercedes for gentleman drivers.
Also confirmed in a Mercedes is Fox Motorsport’s Mark Murfitt and Michael Broadhurst, while Richardson Racing does have entry but hasn’t confirmed drivers yet.
BMW is back in the class, a year after the Z4 turned its last lap, as Century Motorsport picks up a pair of M4s to replace its Ginettas. The first car will be driven by a set of Bens – Green and Tuck – while the second car still lacks drivers.
While there are some brand-new machines, there are plenty of more established brands continuing their pursuit of GT4 glory one of whom is McLaren.
The Woking brand’s 570S will have plenty of representation on the grid this year as Tolman Motorsport – which ran Joe Osborne and David Pattison to Pro/Am success last year returns with a car for the pair and extra two examples for McLaren young drivers Jordan Albert, Lewis Proctor, Michael O’Brien and Charlie Fagg.
European GT4 front-runners Equipe Verschuur have also joined British GT with a McLaren for Finlay Hutchinson and Daniel McKay while Track-Club are back with Adam Balon getting a new team-mate in the shape of McLaren factory driver Ben Barnicoat.
Finally for McLaren, 2016 champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson return once again with Balfe Motorsport now taking over the running of their car.
As well as the two HHC Ginettas, the only other examples of the Yorkshire car in the field are the two Team HARD Racing cars with Anna Walewska and Callum Hawkins-Row taking one, and Ben Wallace and Nick Worm in the other. A sign perhaps that the Ginetta is falling out of favour with the influx of new models?
Aston Martin has just two GT4 cars in the field, both for Academy Motorsport as Will Moore and Matt Nicoll-Jones partner up once again, with Macmillan AMR’s Jan Jonck returning to the championship alongside Tom Wood.
There will be some Japanese representation in the class as well with UltraTek Racing bringing back its Nissan 370Zs for Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman in the number 53 and Stephen Johansen and Jesse Antilla in the number 54.
Toyota is also back after a stop-start few years under the new guise of Steller Motorsport. The first GT86 will have young stars Sennan Fielding and Tom Canning behind the wheel, while the other has Dean Macdonald – who raced for Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren last year – partnering Alex Quinn who is fresh out of the British F4 Championship.