On the weekend where one pre-appointed man will be crowned the new King of Britain, 43 crews are set to do battle to see who will snatch the Intelligent British GT Championship’s Silverstone 500 crown – the biggest field since 48 entries graced the corners of Northamptonshire in 2012.
To make sure you don’t miss a single jot of the action that will no doubt explode into being this weekend – May 6&7 – we’ve explained who’s who from the new crop of hopefuls heading down to Silverstone.
24, check them, 24 GT3s are on the agenda for the coming weekend – the most since a European contingent took on some pre-Spa 24 Hours running in 2014 – and there’s talent to boot, with a ninth factory driver joining the field.
Before we get into who’s new, we’ll cover off a few pieces of housekeeping with a couple of changes taking place to the full-season entry that tackled Oulton Park last month. First of all, Jonny Adam will be tackling Silverstone having initially being set to skip the round to take on the European Le Mans Series at Imola instead. However, with the Italian event being cancelled, Adam will remain with James Cottingham in the 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Another change comes from Drivetac with Track Focused. Starting the season in GT4, the team is swapping to the GT3 it races in GT Cup. With no Silver Cup class in GT3, Sam Maher-Loughnan is having to stand down but in his place is an intriguing proposition as Chris Hart – again familiar to followers of GT Cup in his Makehappen Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 alongside Stephen Walton – will be joining James Wallis to make his GT3 debut.
Onward to the new entries and the first numerically is British Endurance Championship and GT Cup regulars Blackthorn, bringing a new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for Claude Bovet and David McDonald who will be joining a burgeoning Silver-Am class.
Indeed, quite a few of those new entries are in that sub-class with Greystone GT’s extra entry – a McLaren 720S GT3 for Fran Rueda and Andrew Gilbert – slotting into Silver-Am alongside a Porsche 911 991.2 GT3 R for Charles Bateman and Alex Martin.
That Porsche is being run by Team Parker Racing, and it’s not the only one in GT3, as its running a 992-generation Porsche for British GT returnees Scott Malvern and Nick Jones who are returning to British shores having elected for a Michelin Le Mans Cup campaign this year.
Rounding out the entry is McLaren racer Inception Racing, with the team bringing a 720S GT3 for Brendan Iribe – the Oculus founder returning to a familiar hunting ground having participated in a number of Silverstone 500s in the past. He’s joined by our aforementioned ninth factory driver, in the shape of Lexus’ IMSA hotshoe Ben Barnicoat who’s returning to British GT for the first time since a season in a track-club McLaren 570S GT4 in 2018.
There’s fewer new additions into the second of British GT’s two classes, but with the new arrivals – and Drivetac’s swap to GT3 – there’s still 19 GT4s slated for the Silverstone classic.
Again, there’s a bit of housekeeping to deal with as Darren Burke joins Harry George in Enduro Motorsport’s McLaren Artura to replace Harry Nunn, who had started the season with the squad.
That’s dealt with, so on with the new entries! The first is the return of a pairing that’s made a few one-offs here and there over the years, but tends to focus more on Creventic-run endurance events – namely the Dubai 24 Hours. That’s a third Century Motorsport entry in the class, but in the shape of an Aston Martin Vantage for Bradley Ellis and David Holloway.
There’s another BMW M4 GT4 too, as Simpson Motorsport returns. That car is going to be driven by James Kaye – a man who’s driven a bit of everything, everywhere, but not quite all at once. He’s joined by Cypriot Vasily Vladikin, a Clio Cup Middle East racer who raced with Kaye and Simpson Motorsport at the Dubai 24 Hours.
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