BRSCC PREPARES FOR INTERNATIONAL GT OPEN ACTION AT SILVERSTONE


The British Racing & Sports Car Club gets back on track this weekend as it oversees the UK rounds of this season’s International GT Open championship at Silverstone on the GP circuit.

With three weekends left in 2019, the race for the International GT Open title is looking as close as it’s ever been in recent years. Two teams head to Silverstone tied on points, with the pairing of Albert Costa and Giacomo Altoe at the top of the table in the Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan sitting above the Teo Martin Motorsport McLaren 720s of Henrique Chaves and Martin Kodric. Costa and Altoe have two wins to their name, so despite also suffering a DNF they head the way due to Chaves and Kodric yet to visit the top step. Behind them comes a tight three-way scrap for 3rd place, with the second Teo Martin McLaren of Fran Rueda and Andres Saravia looking to fend off the SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes SLS AMG of Fabrizio Crestani and Miguel Ramos, while Mikael Grenier and Norbert Siedler sit just a point behind in 5th in the second Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini; Grenier and Siedler are also the most successful pairing of the season so far, having clinched three race wins this season to date.

There’s set to be plenty of British interest too, especially in the fight for Pro-Am honours. Former BTCC star turned sportscar racer Tom Onslow-Cole leads the way here co-driving alongside Valentin Pierburg, with both keen to build on their 11 point gap in the lead. Other crews featuring UK drivers include the Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage of newly named BRDC Rising Star Ollie Wilkinson, sharing with former Le Mans winner Darren Turner, while a trio of Ferrari 488s will also feature with British drivers in each line up. Duncan Cameron once again joins up with Irishman Matt Griffin for Spirit of Race, with their half-teammates Chris Froggatt and American racer Eddie Cheever III also being supported by Tempesta Racing. Plus, the well-known Kessel Racing squad make their GT Open return with a 488 provided for John Hartshorne and the experienced and fast Oliver Hancock.

Alongside the main GT racing action, there are also single-seaters to be enjoyed courtesy of Euroformula Open. The main man here which everyone in the grandstands will be cheering on is Billy Monger, as he chases his third win of the season aboard his specially adapted, hand control operated Carlin Formula 3 car. Ahead of him in the championship fight, it’s currently a runaway title situation with Japanese hotshot Marino Sato holding a lead of almost 100 points and while he won’t quite wrap things up this weekend, two strong races will certainly help him put one hand on the title when the series heads to Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona in a couple of weeks time. Look out for Lukas Dunner, Liam Lawson and Yuki Tsunoda to be his main challengers, while former British F4 stars will also be on the grid including Linus Lundqvist, Jack Doohan, Nicolas Kjaaergard and the aforementioned Monger. Dennis Hauger, a 2018 British F4 graduate, will also make his series debut this weekend too.

Adding to the GT flavour is the GT Cup Open with two races over the weekend which accommodates a mix of current and former single-make sportscar “cup” or “trophy” cars with purpose-built machines eligible to race in categories such as GT4. Niki Leutwiler holds the lead in the points standings after the previous rounds at the Hungaroring, followed by Glauco Solieri, Hans-Peter Koller, JP Mauro and Rodolfo Toni all in close pursuit to try and close him down. Finally, we’re pleased to see the first visit to the UK for the new Elf Alpine Europa Cup featuring the reborn contemporary version of the classic Alpine A110 sports coupe. Marc Guillot holds the points lead here, with his main rivals set to be Gael Castelli, Mateo Herrero, Jean-Baptiste Mela and Mike Parisy, with Belgian GT racing expert Vincent Beltoise just behind them.

Scott Woodwiss