British GT Goes Dutch For Zandvoort Double Header


The Beechdean Aston Martin drivers lead the championship to the Netherlands (Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

The Avon Tyres British GT Championship heads to Holland, the seaside circuit of Zandvoort hosting the series’ continental weekend for the first time as part of the Trophy of the Dunes weekend.

The trip to the famous Dutch circuit comes at a crucial point in the 2013 season, with just the finale at Donington Park to be left on the calendar once the teams return to British shores.

A first win of the season in the last round at Brands Hatch pushed Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam to the top of the points standings, Adam trailing his teammate by six points due to penalty points incurred at Snetterton in June. However, with a maximum of 50 points on offer for a Dutch double of 60-minute races several teams remain within striking distance of the points lead with seven teams capable of leaving in the lead, though only with the help of problems for their rivals.

Leading the hunt to take the lead at Ecurie Ecosse drivers Oliver Bryant and Marco Attard. The duo finished third at Brands Hatch and the fast sweeps of the back of the Zandvoort track are likely to play to the strengths of the BMW Z4 GT3 that has emerged as one of the series’ front runners this year.

Defending champions Motorbase Performance sit 25.5 points off the points lead, Michael Caine and Ahmad Al Harthy looking to continue their run of scoring points in every race of the year. Between them and the Ecurie Ecosse crew are Matt Bell and Mark Patterson.

The Anglo-American partnership are still seeking their first win of the year in a campaign that already includes three podium visits. Their United Autosports team are – in part – one of the high profile absentees from the weekend as they choose to focus the remainder of the season on Bell and Patterson’s Audi R8 LMS ultra after a difficult season with the McLaren MP4-12C. The Jones brothers’ example is also to skip the double Dutch weekend as are the Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin – the team racing elsewhere on the weekend – and the Von Ryan Racing McLaren that Duncan Tappy brought to second place at Brands Hatch.

There are additions to the ‘normal’ entry list. British Endurance Championship race winners Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz will line up as the only entry in the GTC class in a Ferrari 458 Challenge entered by Horsepower Racing with assistance from Scuderia Vittoria.

Perhaps the most interesting changes to the normal entry list are among the Ginetta teams of the series for a weekend that could be considered something of a home event for them given the Yorkshire manufacturer’s penchant for Orange.

After looking strong at Brands Hatch before ill fortune, including a flying door, intervened there will be an extra G55 GT3 on the grid this weekend with MTECH swapping their Ferrari 458 for one and taking on the driving services of Luke Hines for the weekend. Hines showed pace last season in races in Optimum Motorsport’s G55 GT3 and will on hand to help Derek Johnston get to grips with the new car. In another driving change Rob Smith joins Mike Simpson in Team LNT’s entry after being a late addition to the entry list in place of regular driver Richard Sykes for the Brands Hatch weekend.

There are also changes amongst Ginetta’s GT4 teams. The Optimum Motorsport team of Ryan Ratcliffe and Rick Parfitt Jr that leads the points remains intact but it will now be Declan Jones and team principal Nathan Freke that have the task of chasing them down in the Century Motorsport with Zoe Wenham set of miss the remainder of the season.

The Dutch GT Championship will add its GT4 runners to the grid for the weekend. However, unlike the three-hour race at Silverstone earlier in the year they will not be running for points in the British championship.

The Checkered Flag will have full coverage of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship weekend with reports on every session from the track.