The Avon Tyres British GT Championship will roar back into action this weekend at Rockingham, Northamptonshire with United Autosports duo Matt Bell and Michael Guasch holding a slender lead in the points standings.
The drivers have had eight weeks off since the previous rounds at Spa-Francorchamps and now return to the UK for the remaining three race weekends of the season.
Anglo-American pairing Bell and Guasch have just a two point advantage over CRS Racing's Jim and Glynn Geddie ahead of this weekend's pair of one hour races at the Rockingham roval – a unique track in Britain.
“I have twice tested at Rockingham, neither occasion in the R8 LMS, and found the track fun to drive,” said Guasch. “It has a little bit of everything – tight and technical turns plus high-speed ones and I believe the Audi will work well there. Since Spa, I've been testing my Pro Formula Mazda back home in California to stay in shape and will also take in a Formula Car Challenge Race at Infineon Raceway in California this coming weekend. The BGT Championship appears to get more competitive with every race. We must push hard, especially in qualifying.”
The two 60-minute races will be the first time the team's Audi R8 LMS cars have raced on the track – the latest new step in the team's maiden British GT Championship campaign.
Bell and Guasch took the championship lead after a fast start to the season, including a win at Snetterton in May, but their rivals have chased them down, presenting the prospect of a close finish to the season where all the contenders have, crucially, to avoid a DNF – such as befell the United Autosports squad at Brands Hatch.
A full field of over 20 cars is expected for this weekend's races with 16 entered in the premier GT3 class alongside the Audi R8 LMS cars of Bell, Guasch and their teammates Jay Palmer and John Bintcliffe.
Following this weekend at Rockingham the championship travels to Donington Park for a three hour endurance race on September 24-25. The finale takes place at Silverstone on the weekend of October 7-9.