Two new BMW M4 GT4s will join the Intelligent Money British GT Championship this season following confirmation of Century Motorsport’s driver line-ups.
Chris Salkeld, returning for a third year with the team, is joined by debutant Michael Johnston while reigning Porsche Sprint Challenge Am champion Carl Cavers partners Lewis Plato who is set to make his first appearance since 2015.
Century received the first of its new G82-based M4 GT4s at the end of last year and has already collected silverware at the Dubai 24 Hours where its four British GT drivers joined forces to clinch a class podium.
Nathan Freke’s outfit first became a BMW Motorsport customer in 2018, since when it has won teams’ and drivers’ titles with each of the manufacturer’s two M4 iterations.
The original F82 model, with which Jack Mitchell won the championship in 2018, was upgraded to Evo spec in time for 2021 when Gus Burton and Will Burns dominated the season en route to the drivers’ crown.
The BMW programme also saw Century become the first and to date only British team to operate the new-for-2022 M4 GT3, which claimed victory at Donington’s season finale. That entry also looks set to be confirmed shortly.
Meantime, Johnston – who has just one full season of racing under his belt from Ginetta GT Academy with Century last year – is learning everything he can from new co-driver Salkeld.
“Almost 20 years ago, I played a computer game called TOCA Race Driver. The game had British GT Championship cars and I dreamt of having the opportunity to race in the championship,” he revealed. “In 2023, the dream has turned to reality. I am so happy and proud to say that I am a British GT driver with Century Motorsport in the BMW M4 GT4.
“Last year was my first full season of motorsport, racing in the Ginetta GT Academy. Prior to that, I’ve competed in a couple of Ginetta G40 races so my experience is very limited. I’m under no illusions that I’m going to have to work extremely hard to get myself to the standard of the other bronze drivers if we want a successful season.
“Dan Hughes of Radix has been a massive part of this journey, so a special thanks to him for all his help and support. We will also have our charity partner, Andy’s Man Club, on the car this year – I look forward to spreading awareness about a charity that’s close to my heart.
“I must also thank and apologise to Chris Salkeld who’s had to answer my endless stupid questions, but on a serious side he has brought my pace and race craft along massively in only four race weekends last year. It’s brilliant to be racing alongside him this season. I’m also delighted to jump into Harriott’s Chariot – it’s a real honour and hopefully we can get a few trophies in the Chariot!”
Salkeld confirmed that his new partnership with Johnston was no coincidence…
“I’m over the moon to be returning to British GT for a third season and to be partnering with MJ is a project years in the making,” he said. “I’ve been working closely with MJ during his debut season in motorsport where he raced in the Ginetta Academy and to be joining forces this year is very special for both of us.
“I’m also very happy to confirm that the legendary Harriott’s Chariot will be returning and as always a huge thank you to Ainsley and his team for their continued support this year along with my other sponsors.
“I have to give a special thank you to MJ for putting his faith in me this season and for taking me along for the ride. We had a great start to the year in Dubai with Carl and Lewis alongside us for the 24-hour race and here’s hoping both cars can build on that debut podium and continue the momentum into the season.”
Century’s second BMW features British GT debutant Cavers who has also previously contested Ferrari Challenge UK, GT Cup and the British Endurance Championship.
“After a successful 2022 season in the Cayman GT4 it feels like a logical step to enter British GT and take my racing to the next level,” he said. “It’s going to be special sharing the car with Lewis [Plato] who has coached me for the last three years. Century Motorsport have a great reputation and have demonstrated they have what it takes to win at this level. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of their new BMW M4 GT4.”
His co-driver’s previous British GT experience came in the GT3 class some eight years ago with RAM Racing and a Mercedes SLS AMG. He’s predominantly raced Porsches since, most notably in Carrera Cup GB but also in GT Cup where he partnered Cavers throughout 2021.
“I am excited to be making my British GT return this year – 2015 feels like, and is, a very long time ago!” said Plato. “Century is a great team that has had lots of success over the years, and I hope to continue that with Carl [Cavers] in the Pro/Am class. This will be our fourth year of working together and British GT will be a great platform to keep the development moving forward.”
Century’s new BMWs will make their public debut during British GT’s media day at Donington on March 14 before Oulton Park opens this year’s campaign less than a month later (April 8 & 10).
Please consider making a donation so we can keep bringing you our best content from the racetrack.