After the 2021 season exceeded all expectations, the 2022 GT Cup season sets out to build upon that success. Having started out 2021 with a record grid of 38 cars, 2022 sees 40 cars split across four categories. GTO, GT3, GTC and GTH all return and the sheer interest has left no space for the GTB and GTA categories this year.
A closer look can be had at these cars from our pre-season test day gallery.
The calendar remains unchanged from last season with seven rounds at the UK’s best circuits. The highlight being Brands Hatch where GT Cup will support GT World Challenge Europe in its only UK round of the season.
Also unchanged is the popular format of practice, qualifying and two races each day apart from the one-day race at Oulton Park in July.
GTO sees four full-season entrants, one up on 2021. A few familiar faces return along with a spectacular new entry to the championship.
Richard Chamberlain returns for another crack at the title in his homebrew bright orange Porsche 935. He will be hoping for better reliability this season after technical issues cut short a few rounds last season.
He will not have things his own way, however. The mightily impressive RAW Motorsports Radical RXC held its own against the GT3 machinery last season – even claiming an outright victory.
An unchanged driver line-up of Ben Dimmack and Steve Burgess should aid their progress within the class and put up a fierce challenge to the reigning class champions.
The reigning champions themselves have hit issues before the season has even begun. Paul Bailey and Ross Wylie will once again pilot the Brabham BT62 but troubles with the car will see its appearance delayed. In the meantime, the McLaren 12C GT3 Can-Am that finished the 2021 season will continue its service for the opening rounds of 2022.
The thunderous new entrant will certainly win the hearts of fans whilst having the pedigree to compete at an international level. The MARC Gen II returns to the UK with Simpson Motorsport who are no strangers to the Mustang-styled monster. Former BTCC racer, James Kaye will be joined by TCR racer, Sacha Kakad in what is set to be a highly competitive class.
A huge amount of interest has evolved around the GT3 category with 11-cars set to take the green flag at Donington Park. The bulk of the entries consists of the McLaren 720s GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT3, proving just how popular these cars are at the moment.
It comes as no surprise that reigning champions, Team Abba are back for another crack at the title. Instantly emerging as early favourites, the father-son pairing of Richard and Sam Neary will be tough to beat.
However, fellow British GT rivals Enduro Motorsport in its McLaren are not ones to back down from a challenge. Claiming an outright victory at Donington in both GT Cup and British GT certainly sees them also as early favourites. An unchanged line-up of Marcus Clutton and Morgan Tillbrook will set their eyes on the prize.
Continuing on the theme of McLarens, Orange Racing powered by JMH have upgraded theirs. Simon Orange didn’t get to grips with the GT4-spec machine but pairing with former British GT race winner (in a McLaren GT3) Michael O’Brien puts him in good shape.
Also upgrading from a GT4 McLaren is the Paddock Motorsport pairing of Steve Ruston and John Whitehouse. The 2019 champions are back after a difficult campaign last year but face stiff competition being an all AM pairing.
In what has been a successful winter for the McLarens GT3 programme sees yet another team convert from a GT4 car. This time Greystone GT will enter both of its McLaren 720s GT3s after making successful appearances at the end of last season. Andrey Borodin will reunite with Ed Pead in the quest for further podium placings whilst GT4 converts Iain Campbell and former WEC driver Oli Webb aim to be right on the pace as the lights go out.
Whilst the Neary duo continue with their older spec Mercedes, the remaining entrants have all opted for the Evo spec car.
Another British GT entrant in RAM Racing has confirmed a full season campaign with both of its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos.
Ian Loggie, fresh from Imola, will commandeer the bright pink car on his own for maximum track time whilst RAM returnee, Callum MacLeod will partner yet another McLaren GT4 convert in Mike Price who claimed three class victories last year with MacLeod in the Balfe GT4 programme.
The final Mercedes is an ex-RAM car that now belongs to the ever-popular Grahame Tilley. Whilst his Nissan GT-R GT3 was hugely popular, it was lacking in outright performance against the newer cars:
“I am very excited to be driving a Mercedes AMG GT3 this season in the 2022 GTCup and hopefully the car will allow me to be more competitive. The Nissan is still a great car, but it was manufactured in 2015 and GT3 cars have evolved over the last 7 years with better brakes and a lot more downforce.
“So although we won’t be going down the straights any faster, we should improve our overall lap times by braking later and going through the corner faster.
“The car is a 2020 model and required a lot of work to get it ready for the season, so I have only driven the car once and although I was immediately quicker than I in the Nissan I would have liked a bit more testing before the first race.
“This year I will again be partnered by Will Tregurtha, or Sennan Fielding when Will races in Europe. They both tested with me and were both very fast within a few laps.
“I hope that we will be very competitive running somewhere near the front but the entry for the GT Cup this year looks fantastic so I am not going to make any predictions other than that, we should be somewhere near the front”.
Adding to the mix in GT3 are two returning teams to the championship. Scott Sport and John Dhillon have once again teamed up in what has proven to be an effective combination in the past. There’s no Phil Quaife this year as Dhillon initially elected to go it alone, but has called in Lamborghini Super Trofeo champion Andrea Amici to join him at Donington.
The final GT3 entry is the G-Cat Porsche 911 GT3 R as Greg Caton’s team sets about its first full GT Cup campaign. He will once again be joined by the ever flamboyant Shamus Jennings, who has proven to be quite the character in the GT Cup paddock.
Following on from Silverstone 2021, GTC has seen quite the resurgence as more and more entries piled in to create a rather impressive line-up.
Class champions Topcats Racing are back in a big way with not one but two Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evos. Warren Gilbert will partner with the returning Jensen Lunn who will race once again after his surgery last season.
The sister car will be piloted by an all-female line-up of Charlotte Gilbert, who switches from the brutal Marcos Mantis, and promising young star, Charlotte Birch. Birch rounded out the 2021 season with a class win in the Britcar Endurance Championship and is already hungry for success in the raging bull:
“I’m raring to get the weekend at Donington Park underway, being new to the car and the team it’s an exciting weekend ahead.
“I will be looking to get familiar with the car having not driven it before. The team are so professional and having Charlotte Gilbert for my teammate, I’m confident we can get some great results”
2019 title runners up Tom and James Webb are back full-time after two years away. Their older spec Super Trofeo Huracan still proving competitive after besting the Topcats machine at Silverstone last year. They are ones truly never to be discounted.
Sticking with Italian machinery but this time with a prancing horse. Two Ferrari 488 Challenge Evos will take to the grid. Roy Millington and Benny Simonsen partner up once again for a full-season campaign. Enlisting the services of FF Corse, there’s no question that this is a serious threat to the title. Lucky Khera meanwhile brings back his trusty Ferrari for a solo campaign for the newly formed Racelab team.
Porsche makes a return to the category thanks to Motus One and Team HARD who have partnered up for this next entry. Former champion Chris Murphy returns having missed a large portion of last season whilst the Team HARD scholarship winner, James Taylor will partner him in Stuttgart’s finest:
“Really looking forward to getting to learn the Porsche 911 GT car, it’s completely different to anything I’ve raced before. I’m hoping to get some strong results this year in our class. Having sat out last year without a drive my main focus is learning the car as fast as I can and pushing for sponsorship for next year.
“Being the Team HARD scholar I’m looking forward to showing the team what I can do. As it’s my first time sharing a drive I’m excited to learn the new skills that a required to produce a race winning team”
No UK championship would be complete without a Ginetta and that’s exactly what we have. The final GTC entry comes courtesy of Ginetta stalwarts Century Motorsport, as Alex Stevenson and James Kellett team up for their third GT Cup season together. This time the new G56 GT4 is their weapon of choice, the 500bhp V8 certainly can provide them with the power to clinch more race victories.
As with GT3, the winter has been great for McLaren’s customer GT programme. 50% of the GTH entries will be running the McLaren 570s this season, certainly the car to beat at this stage.
A total of 18 GT4 cars will feature at Donington with an exciting line-up of professional and amateur drivers alike.
First off comes the Formula Woman squad. A pair of McLarens sees an all-female line-up following on from their recent competition. A gruelling contest of speed, consistency and versatility saw 75 of the UK’s best female racers whittled down to just six, four of whom will race in the GT Cup. Car #64 will feature Erika Hoffman / Anushriya Gulati whilst the #65 will be piloted by Jodie Sloss / Sara Misir.
Following on from this in another all McLaren line-up is Paddock Motorsport. Expanding on a very successful debut season, two cars feature in their stable once again with another impressive lineup. Former MX5 competitor Tom Roche will partner with karting star, Tehmur Chohan.
Meanwhile, Kavi Jundu partners experienced youngster Adam Hatfield. Hatfield himself has a variety of experience within GT machinery (including the 2018 GT Cup title) and is hugely eager to get underway:
“Really excited to be back in the GT Cup, have fond memories of the championship-winning title in 2018 and guest rounds in years after. It’s my first race back in over a year so I’m looking forward to getting on track and seeing what we can do”
Greystone GT is back with a vengeance. Three cars will once again feature their ever spectacular liveries. Mark Hopton returns and is looking for that debut podium finish that he came so close to in 2021. He will be joined by Euan Hankey for this season who certainly knows a thing or two about winning races.
Whilst they look for their first victory, Greystone’s next pairing is no stranger to victory lane. Richard Mason and former GP2 race winner Jon Lancaster are back for their second attempt at the GTH class. Unfortunately, Mason suffered a medical incident during the offseason and will be recovering for the time being. All being well, he will be back in the car for Round 4 at Oulton Park. Ron Trenka will take his place in the meantime.
A one-off outing for Phillip Carter / Michael Broadhurst at Donington has now transformed into the track day promoter’s final full-season entry completing their three-car team.
Fox Motorsport and Orange Racing by JMH make up the final McLaren GTH entries. TCR regular Tim Docker will partner Jordan Albert in the Fox entry whilst Russ Lindsay and Patrick Collins step up from their GTA Ginetta G55 into the GTH class winning McLaren vacated by Josh Jackson.
With the McLarens covered, Porsche is the next most represented manufacturer with four Cayman GT4s being entered, three of which by the rapidly growing Valluga Racing.
Fiesta Junior runner up, James Wallis makes his GT debut as the youngest driver on the grid at just 16 years of age. Conveniently his co-driver is Sam Maher-Loughnan who is a driver coach and aims to coach Wallis to victory.
Formula Ford race winners Neil Maclennan / Cameron Fenton form another formidable line-up with Chris Bates / Darren Burke rounding out the Valluga contingent.
A final Porsche comes courtesy of Carrera Cup veterans Parr Motorsport with Tim Creswick and experienced driver coach, Chris Dymond.
Stephen Walton / Chris Hart enter their second full season, this time switching the Ginetta for a Mercedes-AMG GT4. After finishing second in class GTA, they will be hoping to go one better in the switch to GTH. Makehappen Racing will run not one, but two Mercedes with Jon Currie running solo in the team’s second entry.
But they didn’t stop there. The team will run a third car for Greg Evans / Neil Burroughs with the Ginetta G55 GT4 being the weapon of choice for this duo.
2021 British GT4 runner up and 2022 GT3 driver, James Kell partners his father, Darren in the Track Focused Mercedes-AMG GT4. Both have experience racing together having competed in the 750 Motor Club – Club Enduro series together in a Mazda MX5.
The final GTH entry in this stacked field is Radical veteran and Porsche regular, David Frankland. 2022 sees a significant switch from his Porsche 911 Cup Car to an Audi R8 GT4. Not only this but for the first time in GT Cup he will have a permanent co-driver in Adriano Medeiros.
The 2022 GT Cup season commences this weekend at Donington Park in what is set to be their biggest season yet.
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