IMPRESSIVE GT FIELD EXPECTED AT ROCKINGHAM
After the customary twin 60-minute races at the Nürburgring & Oulton Park, the 2012 Avon British GT Championship moves to the thrilling two-hour endurance format on a new layout at the Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby this weekend.
Heading the entries for round three of the exciting national championship is the Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin MTECH Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, victors last time out in race two at the Nürburgring, the pair lead the championship by fourteen points. However, a chasing pack of 2012 specification Porsches are hot on the heels of the leading Ferrari.
Trackspeed’s 2010 Champion David Ashburn and Richard Westbrook endured a trying weekend last time out, but came back with a solid haul of points to keep them in the title chase. Former Porsche Carrera Cup GB drivers Michael Caine/Daniele Perfetti impressed in their Motorbase Porsche 997 GT3 R, taking a second and third in Germany and now sit seventeen points off the MTECH duo.
In close succession are a variety of the latest GT3 machines; BMW, Nissan, Aston Martin, Audi, Mercedes and numerous Ferrari and Porsche entries cover the remaining top ten places, and with just twenty eight points separating eighteen drivers, the championship is the most competitive it has been across the entire field for years. In addition, this year British GT will race on the International Long circuit, which adds an extra few metres to the previous layout and has been well received by the drivers who tested on it last month.
Ian Stinton makes a welcome return to the championship with the StarkRacing by Hepworth prepared Ginetta G55, having missed the previous round due to technical challenges with the new car. Alongside Ian will be 18-year old Welsh driver, Jake Rattenbury who competed with Colin White’s CWS team in Germany, and last weekend took part in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo at Silverstone.
“As we arrive back in the UK, things couldn’t be closer. Rockingham is an unusual circuit and often provides opportunity for a different set of drivers to appear on the podium. We’ve had four different winners from four races now and the two-hour format should ensure we have a race that provides us with a few surprises,”says Benjamin Franassovici, British GT championship manager.
Anthony Reid and Jordan Witt rejoin the series for the Rockingham event, and will look to further the on-track development of the nimble new ChevronGT3, which will continue in the invitation class until homologation for the new car is successfully achieved.
Returning to the ultra-competitive GT4 class are Alistair Mackinnon and Marco Attard in the second Lotus Sport UK Lotus Evora. Experienced GT racer, Attard raced in a Rhino’s Leipert prepared Lamborghini LP600+ at the last round, but rejoins Mackinnon in the Evora with renewed vigor to challenge the leading five drivers who top the GT4 class.
Season-long leaders, Jody Fannin and Warren Hughes will be hoping that the bad luck experienced in race two in Germany doesn’t return at Rockingham. The Team WFR pair’s attempt at a double win was thwarted when driveshaft problems hit their Ginetta G50, and it was Lotus Sport UK’s Sailesh Bolisetti and Phil Glew who took to the top step, with Century Motorsport’s Ginetta of Zoe Wenham/Dominic Evans walking away with an armful of points following a third and second place finish in the two hour-long races. Fifteen points is all that separates Wenham from the lead of the class in this her first year of GT racing.
Franassovici adds, “This year, GT4 has given us some great entertainment. With the second Lotus and APO Sport’s Ginetta here again, we have another four drivers who can really challenge for the win. Expect fireworks from front to back!”
Qualifying begins at 16:30 on Saturday, and Sunday’s 120-minute feature race gets underway at 15:25. Live text commentary of all sessions will be available on Twitter throughout the weekend via the official championship Twitter feed, http://www.twitter.com/BritishGT