Preview: 2017 British GT Championship – Spa-Francorchamps


Credit: British GT / SRO

Team Parker Racing‘s Rick Parfitt Jr and Seb Morris will be eager to snatch the GT3 title lead from Barwell Motorsport‘s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen at the upcoming British GT double-header at Spa-Francorchamps.

An emotional victory for Parfitt Jr and Morris at June’s blue riband Silverstone 500 event saw the Bentley duo whittle the #33 Lamborghini‘s championship advantage down to only four points, with the title battle finely poised heading to Belgium.

However, with three victories already this season – including an opening weekend clean sweep at Oulton Park – Minshaw and Keen won’t be easy to displace from top spot, and still remain on course to claim GT3 honours.

The GT3 title battle is finely poised heading to Spa-Francorchamps. (Credit: Craig Robertson/RacePhotography.net)

Having yet to claim victory so far this campaign, last year’s Spa winners Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes in the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin will be hoping for a repeat of their international success this time round.

In GT4, an equally fierce tussle for top spot rages, with Alex Reed and David Pittard in the #51 Lanan Racing Ginetta G55 currently atop the standings, 3.5 points ahead of Silverstone winners Adam Balon and Adam Mackay‘s #72 Track-Club McLaren 570S.

After winning race one at Snetterton, Stuart Middleton and Will Tregurtha of HHC Motorsport have slipped to third in GT4 after two nightmarish rounds, but remain only 5.5 points back of top spot with the title still firmly in reach for the young pairing.

Middleton and Tregurtha will look to rekindle their title hopes at Spa. (Credit: Craig Robertson/RacePhotography.net)

A bumper 34-car grid is set to tackle Eau Rouge on Friday and Saturday, with a number of guest entries in both the GT3 and GT4 categories adding to an already brimmed field of talented drivers.

Factory-backed Audi outfit Team WRT are set to make their British GT debut, fielding an Audi R8 LMS GT3 for experienced sportscar pairing Alain Ferte and Stuart Leonard. Having won a combined six teams titles in the Blancpain Endurance and Sprint series, WRT will be eager to impress their home crowd by battling with the GT3 title contenders this weekend.

Barwell bolster their ranks with a third entry this weekend, as Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Pro-Am category contenders Adrian Amstutz and Patrick Kujala take the reigns of a Lamborghini Huracan. The duo alongside Croatian Martin Kodric are fresh off consecutive category victories, including the marquee Paul Ricard 1000 km event, and will provide stiff competition for the series regulars.

Second-placed battlers in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup Pro-Am category Kessel Racing will also feature in GT3 at Spa, with Zolder qualifying-race winning pairing Piti Bhirombhakdi and Carlo Van Dam piloting a Ferrari 488.

Fellow Blancpain Sprint Cup Pro-Am competitors Kornely Racing return to action through the British GT, with Kenneth Heyer and Patrick Assenheimer‘s Mercedes-AMG GT3 completing a star-studded GT3 lineup.

The #14 In2Racing McLaren 570S returns to the GT4 grid, with Belgian Jacques Duyver the sole driver in the team’s second car that was most recently in the hands of Richard Marsh and Gareth Howell at Rockingham.

The #14 In2Racing McLaren 570S returns to the GT4 fold. (Credit: Jakob Ebrey)

A driver change in the #29 In2Racing McLaren sees Flying Finn Jesse Anttila replacing Matthew Graham, with the latter partnering Charlie Fagg in an Ebor GT-run Maserati GT MC. Ebor make their 2017 British GT debut after Marcus Hoggarth and Abbie Eaton powered the team’s Maserati to fourth in the GT4 standings last season.

It’s all change at Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing too, with Adam Hatfield and Ben Wallace debuting in the Team HARD-run #36 Ginetta G55 GT4, which races for the first time since Snetterton. The team’s second car will be piloted by Jake Giddings and Matt Chapman, with the former swapping from the #36 to the #63 after not featuring at Silverstone.

A final guest entry sees Belgian outfit Delahaye Racing fielding a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR under the guise of French duo Alexandre Viron and Emmanuel Orgeval, who most notably claimed 13th in the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Cup Am category.