The British GT Entry list has been confirmed with the highest number of GT3 cars in six years being the highlight of a 35-car entry for the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship which also features a GT4 field stacked with talent.
In the top class, 19 entries have been accepted into GT3 with a number of old favourites mixing it with GT4 teams making the step up the ladder.
Championship manager Lauren Granville said: “I didn’t expect 19 GT3 entries, that was a very pleasant surprise. We opened the entries at the start of October and by the 11th slots were being filled and prospective GT4 entries were already being added onto the waitlist. It shows the success of multi-format racing.
“When you look at GT3, Tom Canning – our British GT4 champion – has stepped up to GT3 and a lot of Pro-Am crews like Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman and Scott Malvern and Nick Jones have also made the move into the top class and that shows the strength of the ladder of progression from GT4 and into GT3. We also still have a very strong GT4 class – British GT is in very good health.”
That’s not the only new news to come from British GT’s media day, as tyre supplier Pirelli confirmed a new construction of tyres for both classes, which should see a small increase in performance as well as being better suited for the newest generation of cars.
Jonathan Wells, Motorsport Manager at Pirelli UK, said: “This is the fourth generation of tyres for GT3 since we’ve been in British GT just to try and keep up to date with the new models coming in, mainly with a focus on durability, longevity and if we can get a little more performance we’ll take that as well.
“For GT4, this is the first new construction in probably six or seven years. When we came back into the championship in 2016, that was probably the first interaction with GT4 for a number of years, and since then there has been a big change in the cars and to be honest we were probably a bit behind the curve on what we were doing the tyre-side of things. We’ve looked at the tyre manufacturing processes to align those more with GT3.”
Champions Jonny Adam and Graham Davidson return for TF Sport, but split over two cars as Adam partners GT World Challenge Europe partner Ahmad Al Harthy and Davidson shares with last year’s GT4 champion Tom Canning in a pair of Aston Martin V8 Vantages.
More Astons are entered for Beechdean AMR, which expands to a two-car team for this year with team boss Andrew Howard partnering the driver he gave a first start in GT racing – 2015 GT4 champion and WEC racer Ross Gunn. In the second blue and white car, Valentin Hasse-Clot – who raced for the team on-and-off last year – will join GT3 race winner Jack Mitchell.
Elsewhere, the standard two-car Barwell Motorsport entry has been lodged with the team fielding two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evos for Adam Balon and Phil Keen, and a surprise entry from BTCC star Rob Collard, who will be partnered with Sandy Mitchell.
There’s two more Lamborghinis for WPI Motorsport – which is running Michael Igoe and Franck Perera – and JMH Automotive with John Seale sharing his bright green car with both Adam Hatfield and Jordan Witt.
Last year’s title contender Balfe Motorsport is back with its McLaren 720S GT3 for Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell. Bahraini squad 2 Seas Motorsport makes its international debut with two 720Ss with Angus Fender and Dean Macdonald in one car and Isa Al Khalifa in the other without a team-mate – for the moment.
Optimum Motorsport has swapped its Aston for a McLaren for Australians Nick Foster and Martin Berry.
Bentley has two entries in GT3 – both of which for crews that were GT4 regulars. The first is for Team Parker Racing with Scott Malvern and Nick Jones swapping their Mercedes-AMG for the Continental.
Last year’s GT4 Pro-Am champions Martin Plowman and Kelvin Fletcher have also waltzed their way into a Bentley in the JRM team.
There’s two Mercedes-AMG GT3s for Ram Racing with Yelmer Buurman returning to the championship to share with Ian Loggie, while Sam De Haan moves from Barwell to Ram to partner Patrick Kujala in a Silver Cup entry. Another Mercedes comes from Team ABBA Racing, with father and son Richard and Sam Neary tackling the championship together for the first time having previously raced together in Britcar.
A sole Porsche rounds out the list – setting aside the TBA entry that will be confirmed closer to the first round at Oulton Park – with Greg Caton returning in his G-Cat Racing 911 RSR alongside Shamus Jennings.
There are more McLarens than anything else in the 16-car GT4 field with Tolman heading the entry in a pair of 570S GT4s which features an entirely different line up to last year.
In the #4, Alain Valente is sharing with Michael Benyahia, while in the #5 Ginetta GT5 racer Katie Milner moves into British GT alongside Harry Hayek.
Balfe Motorsport also adds to its GT3 entry with a pair of GT4s for the returning Michael O’Brien and Graham Johnson, as well as a second for Pure McLaren champion Mia Flewitt and factory driver Euan Hankey.
There’s another pair of cars for HHC Motorsport, one of which still needs drivers confirmed but the other features Chris Wesemael and Guss Bowers. The final 570S is entered by Optimum Motorsport, with Brendon Iribe joining Ollie Millroy.
TF Sport – reigning champions in both classes – enter the only two Aston Martin Vantage GT4s on the grid as Connor O’Brien and Patrick Kibble join Jamie Caroline and Daniel Vaughan.
There’s two Ford Mustangs for Academy Motorsport with Will Moore joining team owner Matt Nicoll-Jones. Jordan Albert is the only driver so far in the other car but Matt Cowley tested the car at the Media Day.
Century Motorsport is returning with two BMW M4s and Andrew Gordon-Colbrooke and Ben Hurst are the first two drivers to be confirmed for them.
Audi is coming back with Steller Motorsport – the team haven’t confirmed any drivers though – but the most interesting addition to the grid is Speedworks Motorsport’s Toyota Supra which is set to be driven by Sam Smelt and James Kell.