The Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge enters its fourth season this year, and almost certainly it’s most competitive so far.
No less than 24 cars will line-up on the Outlon Park starting grid at this weekend’s season opener, with 17 drivers piloting the Ginetta G40’s in the premier class, and a further 6 drivers opting for the cockpit of a G20 for the seven rounds that await the series this season.
With 2013 drivers champion Oli Basey-Fisher moving on the pastures new for 2014, the series is wide-open, although a few names on the entry sheet stand-out above the rest in the race to be named ‘title favourites’.
Swede-star, Dennis Strandberg surges to the top of this list, after joining Academy Motorsport for 2014 having won the Swedish Ginetta GT5 Challenege title in only his first year of competitive sportscar racing,-the 20 year old claiming six wins and four pole positions on his way to the title.
Steering closer to home, and it’s Strandberg’s teammate at the 2013 championship winning team who is aiming to glory, with Matt Flowers rejoining the team he finished 9th with last season. The Epsom-born racer enjoyed a best finish of 5th in 2013, despite a large shunt at Oulton Park impacting his season.
The 25-year-old racer said he was happy a deal had been put together for 2014: “I’m really pleased to be returning to the Championship with Academy Motorsport. They’re a great team and I learnt a lot last season.
“I’m hoping that I can build on last years’ experience and challenge at the front.”
Elsewhere on the grid, and it’s Century Motorsport that have been making waves pre-season, after they announced their expansion into the GT5 Challenge for 2014, running Japanese driver Osamu Kawashima and Danish racer Frederik Mortensen. Kawashima joins the field after his U.K racing début came final round of the 2013 Ginetta Supercup at Brands Hatch. Mortensen meanwhile, will be competing in the UK for first time, joining the series with experience competing in the Sweden-based JTCC Clio Cup last season.
In the G20 class, it’s very much a case of de ja vu in 2014, with 2013 British & European Ginetta GT5 Challenge G20 Champion Stuart Pearson returning to defend his title against the likes of fellow-returnees Brian Murphy and David Pattison.
The season gets underway this Easter Weekend, where the chequered flag at the end of race one will give us our first real indication of who’s looking good for 2014 championship glory.