The 2021 GT Cup Championship will get underway next week with an entry list to be feared. 38 cars are set to compete in the season opener at Donington Park, the most ever for GT Cup at the East Midlands circuit.
With six classes there is set to be action right through the field. Ranging from homologated GT3 cars to GT4 machines and even the full-season debut of the Brabham BT62.
Plenty of familiar faces remain in the series but the ever-increasing popularity of GT racing has sparked a surge of pro-am lineups, especially in GT3 and GTH.
After seeing no full-season entries last year, GTO is back in business with three spectacular entries lined up.
Richard Chamberlin returns in his ever-improving Porsche 935 for a full-season assault on the title. He won’t have it easy though, SB Racing will give the Bramham BT62 its full season racing debut in the hands of 2020 Britcar runners-up, Paul Bailey, and Ross Wylie. Also stepping over from Britcar are Steve Burgess and Ben Dimmack who will remain in their Radical SXC GT3.
Competition is too close to call with three completely different machines with their own strengths and weaknesses. If Chamberlin has sorted the reliability issues that have previously plagued the Porsche, he will be one to watch as the season gets underway.
GT3 sees a heavily boosted entry from the 2020 season. With five full-season entries confirmed via three manufacturers, it is set to be a titanic battle between them all.
Early favorites are Graham Tilley and Will Tregurta who return in the ex-RJN Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3.
Despite only claiming three wins throughout the 2020 season, their pace certainly wasn’t lacking with Tregurtha putting on a masterful display at Brands Hatch to claw back what looked like an unassailable deficit.
Will, in particular, is ready and raring to go for the new season
“Racing the Nissan is a huge rush, I’m completely addicted to it. It’s such an awesome car and I genuinely love racing with Grahame and TripleM, the nicest lot in the paddock! GT Cup is great fun and I’m always looking forward to the race weekends.
“The Nissan is a total rocket-ship down the straights, but a bit of a cruise ship in the corners! So you have to hustle it hard for results, which Grahame has got the hang of so we are hoping for lots of nice shiny trophies this year!”
Abbie Eaton will make her GT3 debut as she fills in for JMH regular, Jamie Stanley to partner John Seale in the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo. She is very much looking to get stuck in straight away.
“I’m filling in for Jamie Stanley as he can’t make the first two rounds. I had a quick go in the car a couple of weeks ago and it’s a fantastic machine. Looking forward to partnering John and getting stuck in for my first race of 2021.”
After initially announcing his return in the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo, John Dhillon has confirmed a programme to run a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo in this year’s campaign. Partnering once again with Phil Quaife, they could be ones to watch once they get up to speed with the new car.
Also switching to the Lamborghini is Lucky Khera who makes the switch from Ferrari Challenge and Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
The final full-season entry sees Lewis and Stuart Proctor competing in the Balfe Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3. This will give Stuart the valuable extra seat time to help improve his consistency in the car ready for this year’s British GT championship.
The season opener at Donington sees a couple of wildcard entries competing too. Phil Keen will get his first taste of the WPI Motorsports Lamborghini in race conditions as he partners Michael Igoe in preparation for their British GT title assault.
The Team Abba duo of Sam and Richard Neary are also competing. They will be hoping for redemption after their last visit to the GT Cup circus. Comfortably winning both sprint races but a clever strategy from JMH saw Marcus Clutton overhaul, Sam, in the closing stages of Race 2. Race 4 saw Neary win on the road but the subsequent disqualification for ignoring yellow flags handed victory to the G-Cat Porsche.
A completely new lineup for GTC sees two teams switch classes to compete in the fire-spitting Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeos.
The first announcement of the season came from Topcats Racing who announced their brand new Lamborghini for a full-season campaign. Team owner, Warren Gilbert and long-time co-driver, Jensen Lunn will pilot the Italian machine which is a drastic departure from their usual 1998 Marcos Mantis GT.
The next announcement was rather a surprise, Stanbridge Motorsport switched from their troublesome Lotus Evora and will now field two Lamborghini’s instead. They are not doing it by half either, having enlisted the assistance of former Aston Martin factory driver, Stuart Hall to be one of their pro drivers for the season.
Running two cars will allow the team to gather twice the data and use that to their advantage to constantly improve race setup and continually get the drivers comfortable in the new machinery.
Regular drivers, James Simon and Fraser Smart will pilot the first of the new cars. Graham Wilson will also take over driving duties at two rounds as Smart will be unavailable due to other commitments. This doesn’t detract from the team’s hopes at a clean run to the GTC title this year.
Chris Kemp and Stuart Hall will commandeer the second car. Having competed together at last year’s season opener, they hope this added trust alongside Halls experience will assist in a flawless start to their campaign.
The class in which the overall title nearly went to also sees a reshuffle. Sam Randon returns once again in the Team HARD Porsche 911 Cup Car but this time is partnered by former BTCC racer, Richard Marsh. This pairing could prove tricky to beat, especially with Randon having a year under his belt in the Porsche already.
Also competing in Porsche Cup cars is David Frankland for 24/7 Motorsports and Nick Phelps for Valluga Racing.
Topcat’s may have a new Lamborghini, but that hasn’t stopped them from running the classic Marcos Mantis. Charlotte Gilbert will pilot the Mantis solo after having shown some seriously strong pace towards the tail end of last season. Especially at Brands Hatch where at times, she was the 5th fastest car on track (only behind the far superior GT3 and GTC machinery).
Andy Robey makes a welcome return to the series after only making the first two rounds in 2020. This year he switches from his grumbling BMW to the roaring Mantis to ensure there are two Marcos on the grid once again.
2018 champion, Chris Murphy switches class for 2020, and for the second half of the season, the car will change too. Starting the season in his trusty last-generation Aston Martin V8 Vantage he will be looking for a consistent run before his new BMW M3 GTR is ready to join the fray.
GTH is the class to watch in 2021. With the highest number of cars and a large number of Pro-Am entries, the competition is set to be fierce right from day one.
Reigning champions, Josh Jackson and Simon Orange will step up to the GTH class with a new McLaren 570S and a new team. They have parted ways with Team HARD and Orange has formed his own team, Orange Racing powered by JMH. The expertise from the previous champions could prove vital as they step into a hugely competitive class.
Jackson already has his sites set on a second consecutive title and has been preparing hard over the winter months.
“Going into the season as the reigning champion will definitely put some more focus on us. But the approach will be as always to push from lap 1 of the season to the very last lap of the year and to give everything to repeat our success. Some may feel more pressure but for me as a driver, starting a new year the goal is the same and just because we had a great year last year, doesn’t mean anything is guaranteed. We have worked hard over the offseason to make sure we are in great shape for 2021 and I believe we will be stronger and in a better position this year.
“It’s a great achievement to win the 2020 GT Cup championship and we have fond memories of last year and enjoyed celebrating. This season we have a new challenge and it’s going to be exciting. I’m looking forward to getting the season underway, GT Cup is a great championship and looks as competitive as ever this year.”
The highest-profile entry to this year’s series is Feathers Motorsport who will once again be running James Guess but alongside him will be his business partner who just happens to be three times Le Mans winner, Darren Turner. Switching from a Ginetta G55 to the Aston Martin Vantage GT4. This will mark the first time that Turner has raced the Vantage GT4 within the UK, having only competed in the Nurburgring 24 Hours with this specific car.
2019 British GT Pro-Am champions Martin Plowman / Kelvin Fletcher will be running two cars with their new team, Paddock Motorsports. 2019 GT Cup champions and 2020 GTH champions, John Whitehouse / Steve Ruston will field one of the teams McLarens with young gun, Moh Ritson fielding the other.
After a one-off outing at Brands Hatch last year, Enduro Motorsport is back for the full season. Continuing with drivers, Morgan Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton, they will be on the pace right from the get-go. Even claiming a class win in the Saturday endurance race at Brands Hatch despite the tricky conditions thrown at them.
High-performance track day promotors, Greystone GT are stepping up to the plate this season with not one but three McLaren 570S GT4s. Not set on doing things by half, they have opted for three Pro-Am lineups with some well-established sportscar stars.
Richard Mason will be partnered with the 2015 ELMS champion, Jon Lancaster, Ian Campbell will be joined by current WEC driver, Oli Webb and Mark Hopton will benefit from the hugely experienced Adam Carroll (who himself has prior GT Cup experience back in 2019).
Not only are Balfe competing in GT3, but they have also announced a GTH campaign for Mike Price and former British GT star, Callum MacLeod.
The final full-season entry comes from Century Motorsport who will be running Adam Hatfield and David Holloway. The duo has previously competed during the 2019 season closer at Snetterton. Coming away with two podiums it was a successful weekend for the duo. COVID-19 put their 2020 season on hold but they are back for a full campaign in the Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
Donington Park will see a Porsche Cayman GT4 on the grid courtesy of Valluga Racing who will be joined by Carl Cavers and Carerra Cup GB frontrunner, Lewis Plato.
The final class for 2021 is GTA. Featuring a consortium of Ginetta G55 Supercup cars, the class which saw the overall title last year, has a lot to live up to.
Whilst Jackson / Orange are competing in GTH, they will also be competing in GTA. The two-day format in GT Cup allowing them to race the McLaren one day and the Ginetta the following day with no hindrance to their overall title defense.
Aaron Scott returns to the series after missing the second half of last season. He remains with his own Scott Sport team but will team up with Craig Wilkins who finished third in last year’s GTH class. They will be looking to go two better and claim the class title in their first season together.
Russ Lindsay and Patrick Collins return for another go. Joining Jackson / Orange in leaving Team HARD they will also join Orange Racing powered by JMH. The experience and expertise of the JMH outfit will prove incredibly useful to this duo who look to emulate their teammate’s success from last season.
Stephen Walton and Chris Hart reunite for a full campaign after a handful of strong appearances last season. They will continue with FunCup frontrunners, Makehappen Racing in their Ginetta G55 Supercup.
Century Motorsport will also be fielding a Ginetta G55 Supercup once again for Alex Stevenson and James Kellett. Having secured third place in GTA last season, they have all the hallmarks of being serious title contenders this year, especially with the added experience for Stevenson as Kellett continues to support him.
The final Ginetta on the grid is one that won’t be missed. Fox Motorsport are back and running a bright pink and purple livery. Getting ever stronger year on year, Ian Duggen and James Townsend are gunning for success with the GT specialists.
The wildcard for this class is Peter Jackson in his Vector Racing Lotus Exige. Donington Park will be the true test for the Norfolk bred sports car and he has his work cut out against the established Ginettas with nearly 10 years of experience.
The season gets underway on the 10/11th of April at Donington Park. Live streaming will be available for all rounds so there is no chance of missing out on what is set to be a thrilling season for this ever-growing series.
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