Preview: 2017 British GT Championship – Brands Hatch


Both the GT3 and GT4 title fights are finely poised heading to Brands Hatch. (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)

Barwell Motorsport will be eager to defend their slender championship lead from the chasing Team Parker Racing at this weekend’s penultimate round of the British GT season at Brands Hatch.

Race one victory in the Spa-Francorchamps double header last month saw Lamborghini duo Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw extend their narrow advantage at the top of GT3 to 21 points over Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr in the #31 Bentley Continental.

A late-race spin by Minshaw from the front in race two handed the Bentley pairing a much-needed lifeline however, with the two contenders now separated by only 12 points heading to Brands.

Both parings face minimal success penalties at Brands after a difficult final Spa outing, with Keen and Minshaw finishing ninth whilst Morris and Parfitt Jnr claimed seventh, which should see an equal battle with neither set to be hampered by lengthy pit-stop times.

Macmillan AMR Aston Martin partners Jack Mitchell and James Littlejohn maintain an outside chance of snatching the title, and will looking to seal a first win of the season at Brands to keep their championship aspirations alive heading into the season finale at Donington Park in September.

Jonny Adam returns to the British GT as the newly-crowned Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Pro/Am category champion, after an impressive second-place at the Total 24 Hours of Spa last weekend alongside Ahmed Al Harthy. The reigning British GT champion – also a winner at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans – will be hoping that surge of momentum can help he and partner Derek Johnston battle back from a difficult Spa weekend.

Jonny Adam will be looking to add to his collection of GT silverware this season with victory at Brands Hatch. (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)

Heavy rear-side damage after a 160mph practice smash at Blanchimont forced the #21 Spirit of Race SA Ferrari 488 of Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron to withdraw from action at Spa, a cruel blow to the pairing’s title hopes, plummeting them from third to seventh in the overall standings as a result. A first win of the season at Brands after beong stripped of top spot at Rockingham would certainly help forget a bruising Belgium excursion.

Ginetta and Century Motorsport return to the GT3 category this weekend, with silver duo Tom Hibbert and Ben Tuck taking the reigns of the G55 GT3 – the car’s first outing since the Silverstone 500 in June. Currently fourth in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup series, Hibbert will be hoping to bring his Ginetta expertise – including experience with Ginetta’s newly built G57 prototype – to good use at Brands.

Caterham Supersport competitor Tuck battled to victory in his first GT race at Silverstone in the GT4 category of the GT Cup Championship in July, and will be hoping to make a similar splash in his British GT debut.

A third Aston Martin joins the GT3 ranks at Brands, with former BTCC racer Mike Brown and Matt Manderson returning to the British GT after last featuring at the 2016 Silverstone 500.

In GT4, the fierce fight for top spot sees the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta of Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton lead the way by only 2.5 points ahead of the #51 Lanan Racing Ginetta of Alex Reed and David Pittard, with both pairings locked at two wins apiece this campaign.

Outside challengers for the title are reigning champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson‘s Optimum Motorsport McLaren 570S, who will also have an eye on their GT4 Pro/AM category lead this weekend.

Reigning GT4 champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson will be hoping to keep their hopes of retaining the crown at Brands Hatch. (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)

 

Debutants Rob Boston Racing switch to the British GT at Brands, with Lotus Cup racers Jason Baker and Adam Gore taking control of a Ginetta G55 in a bid to impress in the series.

All change at In2Racing sees former Porsche Carrera Cup GB contestants Daniel McKay and William Goff piloting the #14 McLaren 570S, replacing Jacques Duyver and Charlie Hollings.

Ex-Ginetta Junior ace Niall Murray debuts for Century Motorsport in the #43 Ginetta alongside Jacob Mathiassen, whilst Chris Milford becomes the latest Team HARD driver to pair up with Matt Chapman in the #63 Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta.