With the arrival of the next generation of GT3 classification cars soon to arrive in GT championships across the world, you could be forgiven for overlooking a car which is about to embark on its third season of competition, the Ferrari F430 Scuderia GT3. Not so if you’re stalwarts of the British GT Championship, Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox.
Regular podium finishers for the last two years, Burton and Wilcox are again hoping to challenge for overall honours, despite the arrival of Ferrari 458s, a Mercedes SLS and a host of new machinery to the popular championship.
Opting for the Scuderia again having suffered a tough time with reliability last year is not a move based on money; rather a clear sign of confidence in both the car and the FIA regulations that govern the Championship. Wilcox explains, “It’s a well known fact that the GT3 cars can’t keep getting faster, as we are already very close to GT2 performance. We have been informed that the powers that be are aware of this and the Scuderia GT3 will still remain competitive throughout the 2011 season against the [likes of the] new Ferrari 458 for example.”
Interestingly, a significant strip down and rebuild of their Ferrari by Gerry Wainwright Motorsport revealed a number of problems which have now been resolved. Rowan Racing, the previous preparation team are now no longer working with Burton and Wilcox, and its a move worth noting.
Last year Burton was on a number of occasions one of the quicker gentlemen drivers on the grid. Had it not been for mechanical gremlins, results would’ve been better. As the duo seek to improve fortunes in 2011, they’ve identified that this is their biggest challenge, as Wilcox explains, “We have had some misfortune in British GT, but that said we were always up there and on the pace when it was all together. [Following the rebuild] We are all confident we can be right at the front of the field yet again but this time come away with the results. We lost a couple of chances for victory last year due to minor problems; hopefully 2011 will be our year for some luck.”
When asked about the United Autosports team and their pair of Audi R8s (a machine homologated at roughly the same time as the Scuderia and a strong challenger for the title), Wilcox is resilient and unflustered, “The Audis I guess are in the same boat as they have been around as long as the Scuderia and they were very fast in the hands of Richard Dean at Oulton Park last year, but one things for sure, the mix of cars this year will be an awesome spectacle which after all is what GT racing is all about.”
Tasked with creating that spectacle is the likeable championship manager, Benjamin Franassovicci, who firmly shares Burton and Wilcox’s positivity about the balance the regulations will create, ” I am sure that they will be a competitive force with the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, which I expect to be competitive this season even with the arrival of new machinery.”
With a grid of 20 cars almost confirmed, the British GT Championship looks to be in good shape despite the swell of GT3 championships in Europe. Whether new machinery is essential for success remains to be seen, but Burton and Wilcox are both experienced and their confidence I doubt is misguided