BRITISH GT’s EN ROUTE TO SPA


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Two Trackspeed Porsches are expected at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday. Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

The Lamborghini name is to return to the Avon Tyres British GT Championship after a year's absence from the country's leading sports car racing series, joining series regulars Ferrari, Porsche and Ascari, as well as the Ford GT and Aston Martin, at next Saturday's two-and-a-half-hour Spa-Francorchamps round.

The Lamborghini Gallardo will be fielded by crack German squad Reiter Engineering for Le Mans class winner Peter Kox and his co-driver Marc Hayek, head of the Swiss Blancpain watch firm.

Further excitement comes from the Trackspeed Porsche team, which will field two 911 GT3Rs for the first time in British GT this season. One of the team's cars will be in the hands of Oliver Bryant – a race winner last year in British GT – and Oliver Morley, with regular driver and championship frontrunner David Ashburn in the other Trackspeed 911, with a yet-to-be named co-pilot.

With RPM's Ford GT rejoining the championship at Spa, driven by Alex Mortimer and Philip Walker, and the Barwell-Cadena Aston Martin returning in the hands of Paul Whight and Michael Bentwood, the scene is set for a highly exciting event at the legendary Belgian track. "It is shaping up to be a very special grid at Spa," says championship manager Benjamin Franassovici, "with seven different marques represented in GT3. It's great to see a Lamborghini back in the championship, and I hope that it will lead to further outings."

The Spa race will be a strenuous test for all the competitors and teams, not only for its unusually long duration but also because each car will make two mandatory pit stops, and refuelling will be a factor also.

Ferrari drivers Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin are currently sitting on a provisional eight-point championship lead, and they and the MTECH team will be out at Spa to try to make sure of a strong points finish. They will of course have to contend with their closest points rivals, David and Godfrey Jones, the reigning champions, who drove their Preci-Spark Ascari to a second place finish at Spa last year.

Spa 2009 was the venue for the maiden British GT race win for the Aaron Scott/Craig Wilkins partnership and their Viper. Scott says they are hoping for an upswing in their championship fortunes: "We are looking forward to Spa. The fast open turns really suit the Viper and so we should be competitive. Obviously with the 2.5-hour race, team strategy and reliability also come into play, and we are hoping to score some big points."

A whole host of Ferraris will be in action in GT3 also: Chad Racing will field its usual three -Scuderias for Chris Hyman/Daniel Brown and Tom Ferrier/Paul Warren, and a 430 for Argentine aces Jose Balbiani and Juan Garriz, who came close to nabbing a win last time out. Rosso Verde will be in action with a Scud for Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen, and Predator CCTV Racing will field another for Phil Burton/Adam Wilcox.

The entry for the G4 class has yet to be firmed up, but there are confirmations from class points leaders Christian Dick and Jamie Stanley and their Speedworks Motorsport Ginetta G50, from their fellow Ginetta drivers Joe Osborne/Osman Yusuf, and from the KTM X-Bow pairing of Rory Butcher and Benjamin Harvey.

It's hoped that the Piranha Lotus 2-Eleven, which came so close to victory last time out at Knockhill in the hands of Chris Bialan and Simon Mason, will be in action also, and that there may also be a Ginetta present for Hunter Abbott, a class winner at Spa last year.

Jamie Stanley is hopeful that Spa will provide him and co-driver Christian Dick with an opportunity to enhance there G4 class lead. "I can't wait to get out there," he said. "I've been to Spa many times and won their twice in the Lotus On Track Elise Trophy last year. The car should be good, although we will be carrying a lot of success ballast and we will have to see how that affects things."

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