Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ascari, Mosler, Ford and Dodge will all be represented this Sunday at Silverstone; the Northamptonshire circuit is set to play host to a truly thrilling two-hour endurance race, the first of two this season. With Le Mans stalwart, Darren Turner and BTCC star, Steven Kane also making guest appearances, the packed grid could throw up some real surprises.
Championship leader, David Ashburn of Trackspeed Racing has one eye on the title, but he won't have it easy this weekend. The Porsche driver is opting for strength in numbers this weekend, and his Trackspeed team are fielding a second Porsche 997 GT3. Trackspeed's second Porsche will be in the hands of reigning FIA GT2 Champion, Richard Westbrook and experienced sportscar driver, Philip Walker, who drove a Ford GT last time out at Rockingham. Alongside Ashburn again is Porsche Cup star, Glynn Geddie. The Scotsman is a more than able recruit and will see out the season for Trackspeed having proved a more than capable accomplice to Ashburn.
CHAD Racing is a team long overdue a British championship win, having enjoyed success in the European GT3 series this year. Joining regulars Dan Brown and Chris Hyman, and Tom Ferrier and Paul Warren at the Silverstone round is BTCC star Steven Kane, sharing driving duties with his Iain Dockerill. Kane and Dockerill will drive a third CHAD prepared Ferrari 430 Scuderia – it was hoped it would be a fourth, however the Argentine duo of Juan Garriz and Jose Balbiani will not be making an appearance this weekend, despite a stronger showing last time out at Rockingham. The STP sponsored Scud of Dan Brown and Chris Hyman finished fourth in the last race, missing the podium by just a few seconds and will be hoping to improve this time out.
Craig Wilkins and Aaron Scott were the drivers who denied Brown and Hyman a podium at Rockingham, but nobody in the paddock would deny the hugely likeable pair that result. To say it's been a torrid season would be an understatement. In the championship opener at Oulton Park, Wilkins all but wrote off the Dodge Viper. Subsequent races saw the team hampered by brake issues. More is expected this weekend however; the longer race format should play to the strengths of Wilkins and Scott.
Three Aston Martins will be in action this weekend on the Silverstone GP circuit. One of which will be driven by Aston Martin works driver Darren Turner, who is joining forces with Andrew Howard at the wheel of the Howard's Beechdean Motorsport DBRS9. Turner and Howard will fancy their chances this weekend; Turner knows the DBRS9 inside out and earlier in the year was unstoppable in the GT1 World Championship races on the new Arena circuit. The other two Aston's are entered by Vantage Racing and former British GT Championship-winning outfit, Barwell Cadena. Barwell Cadena has flirted with the British GT Championship this year, making appearances at Oulton Park and Spa Francorchamps, narrowly missing out on a podium in Belgium.
Tom Black and 2009 British GT race winner Stuart Hall team up for Vantage Racing. Managed by Hugh Chamberlain, the team are keen to make a mark this weekend and won't be short of experience. Chamberlain is one of the best known names in motorsport and for many years has been a dominant figure in the world of endurance sports car racing. Over a career spanning more than 30 years, Chamberlain-managed teams have won three World Championships, two European Championships including the Le Mans Series prototype Championship, nine National Championships and endless class wins at Le Mans.
British GT Championship manager Benjamin Franassovicci is thrilled by the line-up and believes a great battle will unfold. Earlier this week he added, “The Trackspeed car of Ashburn and Geddie will have a tough time fighting against the rest of the field after gaining 40kg of success ballast following Rockingham. Ricki Martino's team will do a great job, but MTECH and the others will give them trouble. With at least 11 cars in GT3, the Silverstone two-hour race is really going to be exciting; I'm looking forward to this race.”
There has also been a rumour doing the rounds that an eight marque, Audi, in the form of United Autosports may well be making an appearance with its glamorous R8 GT3's. However, at the time of writing, this wasn't confirmed and it was solely a G4 class Ginetta that the team would be bringing for brothers Matt and Rob Bell.
Elsewhere, it's been a disappointing year for the reigning champions, the Jones brothers, who – Knockhill wins aside – have endured all sorts of mechanical problems. David and Godfrey are hoping that a pre-race test will prove positive and that the Team Preci-Spark Ascari will be on the grid ready to challenge once more the menacing Mosler of Rollcentre Racing's Martin Short who will be there or thereabouts depending on weight penalties.
Just six points behind championship leader, Ashburn, and keen to get back to winning ways, are MTECH duo Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin and their Ferrari 430 Scuderia. They will be hoping to repeat the victory they scored at Silverstone last year, their first in the championship. A further two Ferrari's will feature on the grid; the Rosso Verde-run car of Hector Lester and International GT star Allan Simonsen, and the beautiful Predator CCTV Scuderia of Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox.
Team RPM Ford GT, which featured last time out at Rockingham, will be in the hands of Alex Mortimer and Peter Bamford. Mortimer drove the car to a memorable victory in the Donington two-hour race last year; expect a strong challenge again this year from a team that knows how to produce a winning car.