The sixth running of the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup promises to be an intriguing one this season, as the class of 2016 battle it out to follow Adam Morgan, Carl Breeze, Tom Ingram, Charlie Robertson and Tom Oliphant onto the roll call of champions.
The championship is entering a new era this season with the absence of Breeze from the grid for the first time since the series was introduced in 2011, meaning we head into the campaign guaranteed to have a new name at the top of the standings come October.
The early favourites to take the title are a familiar duo in Jamie Orton and Will Burns, though in an entry full of new teams and drivers, it’s all change for them both too as they switch teams from HHC Motorsport, who have left the series after a successful two year spell.
Orton has headed to a new team in Triple M Motorsport for 2016, an outfit headed by former HHC duo Alan and Nick Mugglestone, following the most successful of his four Supercup campaigns so far last season with five race wins, ten other podiums and third in the final standings.
Burns meanwhile has teamed up with Douglas Motorsport for the upcoming campaign, his third different team in three Supercup seasons, after firmly establishing himself as a front-runner last year with eleven podium finishes, including hat-tricks at Thruxton and Knockhill.
Hoping to take on the experienced names and mount a title challenge will be Tom Wrigley, who returns with Rob Boston Racing after bursting on the scene halfway through 2015 with back-to-back reverse grid wins at Snetterton and Knockhill, plus a pole position at Silverstone.
One driver looking to turn all his experience into regular podium results this year is Reece Somerfield, who enters his fifth consecutive Supercup campaign having shown last season he can be a presence at the front of the field with a maiden win at Brands Hatch and another podium at Croft.
Following an introductory three weekend spell last year, Callum Pointon enters the Supercup full-time this season with Total Control Racing. He has the potential to be a front-runner, having been a multiple race-winner and title contender in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge in 2015.
Another young driver moving up the Ginetta ladder is Ben Green, who makes the big step up to the Supercup with family team SuperGreen Racing after just a single season in the Juniors, meaning this will be a learning year as he adjusts to the more powerful G55 machinery.
On the other end of the Ginetta experience spectrum is Rob Gaffney, who returns to the Supercup for his G55 debut having previously contested 44 races in the series between 2011 and 2013 in a G50, before taking the same car to the GTA crown in the GT Cup last season.
Gaffney will be reunited on the grid with one of his GT Cup competitors in Tom Hibbert. After winning races in his class in that series, Hibbert made his Supercup debut in the final two meetings of 2015 and now returns for a full season as a privateer entrant.
Another driver to have competed in the closing meeting last season as a taster for 2016 was Rob Wheldon, and he made an immediate impact at Brands Hatch with a top ten finish and the outright fastest lap in the final race.
The final Pro driver on the entry is a potential surprise package in Carl Boardley. The former Hot Rod World Champion returns for his second full Supercup campaign having shown his potential with podium finishes at Thruxton in 2013 and last year’s Brands Hatch season finale.
Alongside the Pro drivers, the AM class returns after its successful introduction last season, with Ginetta stalwart Colin White leading the entry as he defends his class title with CWS Racing, having dominated with 14 class wins in 22 races last season.
White will be renewing rivalries with two of the other class front-runners from 2015, as Fraser Robertson and Chris Ingram return to the grid. Robertson took a sole class win at Rockingham last year, while Douglas Motorsport’s Ingram collected six podium finishes.
Joining the class this season is Grahame Tilley, who swaps Radical racing for a Supercup bow, Ginetta Racing Drivers Club graduates Mike Newbold (Douglas) and John Wall (Century Motorsport), and reigning AMOC Intermarque vice-champion James Guess (Century).
After being run over 27 races in each of the last five years, the Ginetta GT4 Supercup has a reduced 22 race, eight weekend calendar for 2016, with the championship missing out the usual visits to Thruxton in Hampshire and Croft in North Yorkshire.
The shortened schedule kicks off next weekend (2/3 April) around the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, with visits to Donington Park, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Knockhill, Rockingham and Silverstone following before the return to Kent and the Brands GP layout for the season finale.