The Intelligent Money British GT Championship bursts back into life this Easter weekend at Oulton Park, with some of the best GT racers to have ever graced a race track set to do battle as part of an entry that’s fit to burst.
A mega field of 36 cars has been assembled, with an equal split between the GT3s and GT4s – the latter bouncing back from a few leaner years – and GT REPORT is going to talk you through the entries from top to bottom.
You thought last year was good? You’ve seen nothing yet. It’s fair, and easy, to say that British GT has staked a claim at being the most competitive race series in the UK and even Europe at not-too-far a stretch, with more factory drivers than you can shake a stick at.
Leading the way is the mighty #1, as GT ace Jules Gounon starts his second season in Britain alongside reigning champion – and arguably the strongest driver in the series – Ian Loggie. The pair are back in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 but have shuffled across to a new team as the pair join 2 Seas Motorsport to defend Loggie’s crown.
The team have two cars and their second is stacked full of talent, with multiple champion Jonny Adam moving to unfamiliar territory as leaves the comfortable surroundings of Aston Martin to race the three-pointed star for a full-season, having made a one-off appearance alongside Flick Haigh last year.
Speaking of mouth-watering entries, RAM Racing has pulled something remarkable out the bag. Having shrunk down to a single entry this year, John Ferguson has ensured the excitement factor will still be enormous as he secures the services of the always ace Raffaele Marciello. Imagine what the racing will be like. Lord knows we have.
Elsewhere, erstwhile McLaren team Greystone GT have been selected to run Mike Price’s Mercedes and he is joined by his regular GT Cup team-mate and coach Callum Macleod for his British GT graduation.
Making a relatively surprising return is the father-and-son duo of Richard and Sam Neary, the latter dovetailing a season with Grasser Racing Team in GT World Challenge Europe in the family Team ABBA Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 – this the previous generation machine bedecked in dazzling metallic green.
McLaren 720S GT3s are out in force with no less than nine entered in the top category. The most intriguing comes from the Orange Racing by JMH entry of reigning GT Cup champions Simon Orange and Michael O’Brien. The pair dominate GT Cup last year, and put on an impressive performance in their debut in British GT at last year’s Donington Decider.
They’ll have strong competition to be the best of their marque, though, as Morgan Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton enter the season with their Enduro Motorsport machine continuing to be the perfect vehicle for their increasing pace and they should be focusing on a title charge in 2023.
Also representing the 720S GT3 is Martin Plowman and Mark Smith in the Paddock Motorsport entry, while Rob Bell and Mark Radcliffe will be in Optimum Motorsport colours this year. GT World Challenge regulars Marvin Kirchhöfer and Alex West have joined Garage 59, with all three making a return to British shores, with Chris Froggatt and Kevin Tse also committing to another season in Britain in a Sky Tempesta Racing entry.
Rounding out things for McLaren are James Kell and Iain Campbell for RACE LAB, one of two cars for the squad – the other being Lucky Khera and Euan Hankey. Finally, Andrey Borodin will be going out of the frying pan and into the fire as he moves up from GT Cup to British GT alongside Ollie Webb, aiming to reach greater consistency than he has previously.
Barwell Motorsport is back to running two cars and this year it’s the fearsome looking Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo. One car is being run by close pairing Mark Sansom and Will Tregurtha, who’ll be able to showcase their speed in a better steed than their previous Bentley.
In a surprise move, the second car features Shaun Balfe, who has elected to just drive rather than have the pressure of running a full team. He’s got a good thing going, as he joins Lamborghini factory driver and 2020 champion Sandy Mitchell.
To provide a bit of variety, Darren Leung – who had a successful part-season in 2022 – is making his return alongside BMW factory driver Dan Harper in the Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT3.
Finally, Aston Martin is making a now-rare appearance. Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard has come back home to the Vantage after trying a Mercedes-AMG GT3 last year and he’ll be joined by ace Aston racer and well-known face to the championship – Ross Gunn.
After a couple of years where things were a bit – underwhelming – in the secondary class, GT4 has really bounced back this year with a healthy mix of Pro-Am pairings with Gentleman racers making their first steps into GT at a high level, and youngsters looking to start their sportscar careers.
We’ll go marque-by-marque once again, and start with the newest of the GT4 machinery – the McLaren Artura GT4. Up first is Paddock Motorsport, who’ve got an entry which will be very familiar to followers of our GT Cup coverage as Tom Rawlings plays Pro to Kavi Jundu’s Am. The latter had decent pace last year, and will be one to watch in the Pro-Am championship.
Enduro Motorsport has expanded to become a multi-class entry and brings an Artura for former Caterham racer Harry George and Mini Challenge Trophy champion Harry Nunn – the pair making a serious step up to British GT.
Also moving into both classes is RACE LAB, with Ian Gough continuing with the team from a season in the British Endurance Championship where he’ll be joined by Tom Wrigley who is making his full-season racing return for the first time since 2019.
Yet another team representing both classes is Optimum, with Charles Clark – more familiar behind the wheel of Porsches – moving up from Porsche Sprint Challenge and GT Cup to a McLaren. Jack Brown – something of a regular in British GT4 now – will sit alongside him.
It’s a combination of Ginetta Junior alumni in the final entry, with DTO Motorsport running Aston Millar and Josh Rowledge as the pair step up to powerful GT4s – although Millar did race in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup last year.
Team BRIT return too, its specially adapted McLaren 570S GT4 is remaining in the series for Bobby Trundley and Aaron Morgan. It’s a welcome return for the pair, who were really hitting their stride by the end of 2022.
Elsewhere, there is a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT4s, one being run by One Motorsport for Ed McDemott and Michael Broadhurst, and the other is for Sam Maher-Loughnan and James Wallis – the pair inter-twining a GT3 season in GT Cup with GT4 in British GT. Taking wins already this year in the former series, Wallis and Maher-Loughnan will enter Oulton Park with plenty of confidence.
There are four Ginettas gracing the track this season – the most representation for the Yorkshire company in many a year – with two each for Raceway Motorsport and Toro Verde GT.
For Raceway, ex-BTCC racer Michael Crees is sharing one car with Ginetta GT Academy racer Thomas Holland, while Freddie Tomlinson – son of Ginetta owner Lawrence – is with Stuart Middleton, who has travelled around various GT competitions in the last few years.
Toro Verde GT’s star signing is arguably ex-DTM racer Esmee Hawkey who is looking to continue her GT career with her first appearance in British GT, she’s alongside Joe Wheeler who made his debut alongside Tomlinson last year.
The second car is the only Am entry on the entire grid – including GT3 – with Ian Duggan and James Townsend joining forces.
Academy Motorsport is continuing to represent the prancing horse with not one but two Mustangs. One has USF2000 racer Erik Evans teaming up with the increasingly quick Matt Cowley, while team-owner Matt Nicoll-Jones re-activates his long-standing partnership with Will Moore in the other.
Elsewhere, there’s a single Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport for Team Parker Racing duo Dan Vaughan and Zac Meakin, one BMW M4 GT4 for Michael Johnston and Chris Salkeld. Finally, Seb Hopkins jumps from a Porsche to an R Racing Aston Martin Vantage alongside Josh Miller, who had a cracking debut season in 2022.
The Intelligent Money British GT Championship gets underway with an Easter bonanza on April 7&9 with a pair of 60-minute races around leafy Oulton Park. GT REPORT will have live coverage of both races!
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