Nearing the season-opener for the 2021 Goodyear Britcar Endurance Championship, a monster grid of over 35 cars is set to descend on the home of British Motorsport, Silverstone. This is the biggest and most diverse grid in Britcar championship history.
New for 2021 sees a Praga specific category separate from the usual endurance classes. The four classes see a wide variety of machinery from homologated GT3 and GT4 cars to factory TCR cars and even a few homebrew specials such as the MacG Racing Taranis and the Moss Motorsport BMW 1M E82.
Praga is moving out of Class 1 and into its own specific category (racing alongside the Endurance category), such has been the sheer performance from the miniature prototypes. This means the Praga’s will score points separate from the four endurance classes and feature their own podiums.
So far, nine full-season entries have been confirmed with seven making the grid at Silverstone whilst two cars will join later in the season.
Reigning champion, Jem Hepworth returns to the championship to retain her title in the new Praga R1T. Her teammate for this assault will be popular YouTuber Jimmy Broadbent who makes his real-world debut in sportscar racing having had his 2020 programme affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jem is already ready and raring to go.
“I am really excited to be back in Britcar racing in the new Praga R1T with Jimmy as my team-mate,” says Hepworth. “It will be great to have more seat time to improve the skills I gained last year. As the returning champion, I hope I can pass on some racing tips to Jimmy, and in turn, Jimmy can pass on some sim racing skills to me!
“It’s going to be an exciting season and I am grateful to my loyal sponsors who have made it possible again – thanks all of you for making it happen!”
Experienced racer Charlie Martin joins the rapid Jack Fabby, who finished third in last year’s standings in the generation five R1T. They will be ones to watch throughout the season due to their prior motorsport experience.
Another all-star line-up sees the seriously fast Abbie Eaton partnered with the up-and-coming Gordie Mutch. Having spent the past two seasons competing in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, the Praga will be a big step up for the Scotsman.
“Almost everything is different: Longer races, driver swaps, more traffic, strategies and of course the car is a hell of a lot faster,” Gordie explains.
“It’s my first time with aero, and with a turbo. It’s way faster than what I have ever driven but I’ve adapted well and have looked fast in testing along with Abbie Eaton who is looking fast as always. So the confidence is high going into race one.”
The first announcement of the new Praga category came from Chris Wesemeal and Richard Morris. Wesemael’s team, CW Performance, will run the car for the entirety of the season and aim to challenge for the overall title from the get go.
A family pairing of twins, Chris and Ed Bridle has teamed up with VR Motorsport for an assault on the 2021 Praga title. Whilst not having the experience with aero cars, the duo does have endurance racing experience however, having competed in the FunCup series and been successful within.
The Praga art car makes its return, this time as part of Tim Grey Motorsport. The new Motorsport Woman livery features a predominantly white car with particular attention shown to the curves of the car being painted in Petronas blue and matte black.
Whilst the car is the previous generation of R1, the hope is to still be competitive within the championship and compete for the category title. The drivers are Richard Wells and Alex Kapadia, who both have extensive motorsport backgrounds. Wells comes from a rallying background whilst Kapadia is experienced in aero cars having raced at Le Mans in 2020 and also competed in the Revolution Race Cars F1 support race last year.
The next full season entry is the Praga heritage livery car by Frank Stephenson. This special car will be driven by YouTubers James Walker and Miles Lacy. However, they have not managed to make the grid for Silverstone, with Lacy instead racing for Motus One in its Cupra TCR. They aim to be on the grid for round two at Snetterton.
The final entry sees ex-SAS soldier Jay Morton make his motorsport debut at the wheel of an R1. Having never raced before this will be a huge challenge but one he is very much up for. He is set to join the championship at Snetterton in May as he is still in the process of obtaining his race licence.
Despite the loss of the Praga cars from the class, Class 1 still sees four full season entries.
MacG Racing has announced its intentions to compete once again with the monstrous Taranis. It’s a consistent frontrunner within the championship but they’ll have their work cut out by their class competitors this season. Team-owner Jonny MacGregor will continue to drive his creation alongside Ben Sharich who partnered with him during the 2020 campaign.
Reigning champion Danny Harrison also returns to the championship, however this time he switches from the Praga to the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 for Fox Transport (who won last year’s title with Hepworth and Harrison). Team-owner Richard Wheeler will partner Harrison for his GT3 debut after five years of experience racing tin-tops within the Classic Sports Car Club.
Harrison in particular is itching to get underway in his new car: “It’s going to be really exciting returning to Britcar for the 2021 championship,” he says. “As the current title holder I don’t particularly feel under any additional pressure but just see another challenge to step up to.
“Driving the GT-R GT3 is truly special. In testing, Richard has been putting in some impressive lap times and although we haven’t had a chance to push the car hard in the dry, I’m confident we will be competitive.”
Joining them in Class 1 will be GT Cup frontrunners, JMH Automotive with John Seale and Jamie Stanley once again piloting their Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo. After recent success at their season-opener at Donington Park, they will be tough to beat come race day.
The final GT3 entry sees Silverstone-based Motus One enter a McLaren 650s GT3 for Will Powell and Dave Scaramanga. The duo entered selected rounds throughout the 2020 season in a Ginetta G55 GT4 in preparation for 2021.
Powell is no stranger to high-performance machinery having claimed a debut victory for the Brabham BT62 back in late 2019.
Former Britcar Sports & Touring champion, Mike Moss marks his return in his BMW 1M hoping to claim his fourth title. The car has undergone significant development since its debut in the championship by Moss Motorsport and its associates at Woodrow Motorsport. Powered by a 5 litre BMW V10 producing 680bhp, their competition will have their work cut out trying to beat the black and day-glo green BMW.
His main competition will come from fellow full season entrant, Michael Jones. This will be a big step up for Jones who has been driving a VW Golf within the VW Cup series. This year he switches the Golf for a Ferrari 488 Challenge car with significantly more power and downforce than he has experienced so far. It will be a tough challenge but one he is willing to take. The team running this venture is JW Bird Motorsport which has previous experience with GT machinery having run an Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 in the British GT Championship.
Also competing at the season-opener is reigning Ferrari Challenge UK champion, Lucky Khera who will be joined by Ross Wylie. These two are no strangers to racing together having claimed three victories from four races during the 2020 GT Cup round at Silverstone. Being run by the familiar team, Simon Green Motorsport, they will be ones to watch as the lights go out.
The final Class 2 entry sees another Ferrari 488 Challenge car, this time run by RNR Performance Cars (who are also running a 458 Challenge) and driven by Wayne Marrs and Charlie Hollings. This particular pairing were originally slated to enter in 2020 however unforeseen issues prevented this so they are back to make amends this year in their ‘Fresh n Fruity’ Ferrari.
Class 3 sees an eclectic collection of GT machinery with Porsches, Ferraris, BMWs and even a Ginetta taking centre stage.
Reigning class champions Marcus Fothergill and Dave Benett return to defend their crown once again in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Having been competing in the Britcar championship from the very beginning, they are two of the most experienced drivers on the grid despite their backgrounds coming from outside of motorsport. Fothergill having been a Land Rover specialist whilst Benett is a society/celebrity photographer and has won the Photographer of the Year award twice.
Joining them in a Porsche Cup car, albeit the 997 variant, is father and son duo Peter and Mark Cunningham. Finishing second in last year’s class standings, they are looking to go one better and topple the newer machinery and prove there’s life in the old dog yet.
Nathan Wells is back for more after impressing during his debut campaign last year. Once again in his BMW E46 M3 GTR, he will be hoping for better reliability to mount a consistent title challenge. He is joined in the car by Mark Steward who has an extensive track record in racing Minis, Caterhams and even BMWs.
The car meanwhile once served life as a super tourer but has since been built to GTR specifications featuring a rebuilt S54 straight six engine for the season ahead.
Another BMW makes its presence felt with Simon Baker entering his BMW 1 Series coupé. As with the 1 Series run by Mike Moss, this particular car has been built by Woodrow Motorsport and will be run by them for the entire campaign. Baker has previous Britcar experience having competed in Class 4 back in 2017.
As with Class 2, Ferraris are a prominent feature here in Class 3. Not one but two 458 Challenge cars will compete throughout the course of the season.
The full-season entry comes from the aforementioned RNR Performance Cars team which will be running Chris Compton-Goddard. Chris has previous experience racing in Ferraris and in endurance racing so he is fully prepared for the challenge that lies ahead.
Bonamy Grimes and Johnny Mowlem will steer the remaining 458 Challenge courtesy of Silverstone-based Ferrari specialists FF Corse. These two will be tough to beat with Johnny a fully-fledged professional driver and Grimes now having four years of racing under his belt including an outing in the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours (driving with Mowlem).
Stewart Lines ensures there is a Ginetta on the grid once again. Driving for his own Maximum Motorsport team, he will pilot a Ginetta G55 Supercup car complete with a front end facelift with the aim of improving performance at the front of the vehicle. Lines himself has previous Britcar, TCR and BTCC experience making him one of the most rounded drivers on the grid.
Valluga will make their return to the championship, albeit this time with a Porsche 911 Cup car rather than the Cayman GT4 in which they ran last season. No drivers have been announced at this stage but with Nick Phelps competing for the team at Donington recently, he will surely be a contender for the seat in Britcar too.
Class 4 sees the highest number of entries with both GT4 and TCR cars featuring, similar to the IMSA Michelin Pilot Sport Challenge. Except here all cars have been equalised in performance and will fight it out between each other for class and even overall honours.
2020 class champions, Luke Davenport and Marcus Vivian are back behind the wheel of their deep blue Ligier JSR-2. The car is unique to GT racing in the fact that no road going variant is planned and it’s built specifically for racing to the FIA Group E category regulations.
The car never failed to finish outside of the top three in each race it was entered in last year and this consistency ensured they claimed the title despite missing the opening round at Croft.
Another GT4 entry sees Peter Erceg back for another go in the PB Racing Porsche Cayman 981 GT4 MR. Taking the unique stance of driving solo to ensure he will gain the maximum amount of track time possible throughout each event. The striking red and black livery featured last year will return for the full season making this car one to stand out in the early goings.
In what is a surprise announcement, RNR Performance cars will bring one of the lesser seen GT4 cars to the grid. The thundering Maserati Gran Turismo GT4 will return to UK competition at the hands of Vince Kearney and Richard Dougal and is sure to be a popular site on track with the growl from its 4.7 Litre naturally aspirated V8 engine.
The only other GT4 car on the grid is the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, of which there will be three competing at Silverstone (two for the full season).
An outstanding entry in Team BRIT makes its third consecutive appearance within the championship. Running a programme for disabled drivers to be able to compete within motorsport, they will utilise world leading removable hand controls in all of their cars to give anyone the opportunity to race.
For this year they will be running Bobby Trundley and Aaron Morgan who competed for the team in last years campaign also.
The second Aston Martin comes courtesy of Triple M Automotive and the second father and son pairing this year. Dale and Mark Albutt will once again pilot the car after their one off outing during the 2020 Silverstone round. The brightly coloured Aston is hard to miss out on track and with its naturally aspirated V8, can be heard all around the circuit too.
Chris Murphy has entered into Silverstone with his newly liveried Vantage V8. Running a dark blue NAPA livery since the tail end of last year, he will continue with this car until he makes a mid-season switch to the BMW M3 GTR he has acquired.
Next up comes a wide variety of TCR cars, mostly consisting of the ever popular Cupra TCR with four represented on the grid this year.
The first of which comes from Full Throttle Motorsport and Porsche club racers Nick Hull and Richard Avery. Whilst new to the Cupra, they are no strangers to motorsport and even sharing a car together with the past two years being spent sharing a Radical SR3. Despite their experience, this will be the first time either driver has raced a FWD car so the transition will be fascinating to see.
Next up is the EDF Motorsport car of Ashley Woodman and former Class 3 champion, Martin Byford. After finishing 3rd in class last season, their sights are set on going for gold and winning the Class 4 title. Once again in their Cupra TCR, Byford’s experience in Seat one make racing will come in handy as he passes his knowledge through to Woodman who is still relatively new to motorsport.
CTR Alfatune is fielding another of the Cupra TCR’s with one of the youngest pairings in the championship. Alex Day and William Foster have a combined age of just 46. Day has previous Britcar experience having raced an ex-Rob Austin BTCC Audi A4 back in 2018 whilst Foster has experience racing in a hugely competitive field within Formula Vee.
Alongside its Class 1 McLaren GT3 programme, Motus One is also entering a TCR Cupra. This time it’s for Danny Krywyj and popular YouTuber, Miles Lacy. Miles is supposed to be entering in the Frank Stephenson heritage-liveried Praga alongside James Walker however they have not made the grid for Round one and therefore Lacy will race in Class 4 for the weekend instead.
Maximum Motorsport once again will run a TCR car. Mixing it up, they will run a VW Golf in a very striking livery similar to a certain Formula One team. 2019 Class 4 champion, Tim Docker will return to the driving seat and will do so solo as he traditionally has in the past, including his successful title winning campaign.
The final TCR entry sees an Audi RS3 from Simpson Motorsport. Driven by Hugo Cook and Sacha Kakad will compete at Silverstone after having competed at the Silverstone round in 2020. Cook will also make his TCR UK series debut on the Sunday once his Britcar action is done and dusted.
The final Class 4 entry sees the Newbarn Racing Jaguar back on the grid after making their championship debut in 2020. In what was a brand new car, they have made several upgrades over the off-season in which they hope will make the car more competitive after a string of issues befell them. Adam and Callum Thompson will once again drive the British machine.
The 2021 Britcar Endurance Championship commences on the 24th of April at Silverstone on the International Circuit. With 40 cars scheduled to enter, this is one not to miss.
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