BURGEONING BRITISH GT GRIDS READY TO RACE AT BRANDS
This weekend sees the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship burst back into life on Kent’s legendary Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, and the with over thirty cars due to line-up and race in the second of the three 120-minute races this season, it promises to be yet another sportscar spectacular for British motorsport fans.
Almost two months have passed since the last round of the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship, and as we head into the second half of the season things couldn't be tighter at the top of the standings. Ten points separate the top five crews, and with at least another six on the periphery, the series looks like it will go down to the wire for the third year in a row.
Changes have occurred in the break, with reigning Blancpain Endurance Series Champions, WRT signing up for the remainder of the series to run title contenders Dutch driver Rembert Berg and British racer Warren Hughes in their Audi R8 LMS ultra. The M-Sport team that did run Berg and Hughes will now concentrate of an intensive test schedule with the new for 2014 Bentley Continental GT, which is due to be race ready next season.
Joining the series for the second time this year are the capable pairing of South African Gentleman driver, Jacques Duyver and young British charger, Charlie Hollings. The pair’s black and white Itec liveried Ferrari 458 Italia will be racing in the GTC class as Duyver increases his growing mass of experience ahead of a potential full season campaign next year.
Making a welcome return having missed the race at Snetterton is the PE Group Blendini Motorsport team. In a boost to both classes, Blendini’s GT3 and GT4 entries will feature this weekend; team principals Dom Evans and Tom Roche will pilot the Audi R8 LMS ultra; Rory Bryant and Anthony Rodgers will again drive the Ginetta G50.
On a more sombre note, over the summer break the championship lost a huge spirit in the form of Danish driver, Allan Simonsen. The Rosso Verde racer lost his life at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a week after the Snetterton British GT event, and a number of details are planned across the weekend to remember the ‘Great Dane’ who raced in British GT for almost ten years. Firstly, the front row of the grid will be kept clear ahead of the 120-minute British GT race on Sunday; a 60-second roar of engines will also mark his passing. Finally, every British GT car will run with modified door number panels to acknowledge the loss to the series and the wider motorsport community.
As the series heads to the track, it is the Serbian driver and 2010 British GT Champion, David Ashburn and Trackspeed team-mate Porsche factory driver Nick Tandy who take the thinnest of leads into this the fifth round of the year. The pair are the only double victors this season, but are just half a point ahead of their nearest rivals, United Autosports’ Matt Bell and Mark Patterson.
In GT4 Ryan Ratcliffe and Rick Parfitt Jnr lead way having won not once, but twice at Snetterton, their Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G50 proving untouchable across the weekend. The pair won’t have it easy though, Declan Jones and Zoe Wenham who had begun to dominate the category in their Century Motorsport Ginetta, will be looking to get the second half of their season firing on all cylinders once more.