Touring Car drivers Gordon Shedden and James Nash will join the Avon Tyres British GT Championship this weekend as part of packed grid at Donington.
While Shedden, as reported on The Checkered Flag yesterday, will share in Hector Lector's Ferrari 458 GT3 debut, Nash will pair up with Phil Glew in a GT4 class Lotus Evora. The race will be Nash's first ever racing outing in a sportscar.
Shedden, on the other hand, has some GT and endurance racing experience behind him, with a fourth place finish in the GT2 of the Spa 24 Hours in 2008 driving for CRS Racing. It will however, be his first British GT appearance, taking the place of Lester's regular co-driver Allan Simonsen.
“It's a bit of a Scottish/Irish thing,” said Shedden. “John Buchan, who runs the Rosso Verde car, is from Edinburgh and I've shaken down their 430 Scuderia a few times over the last year or so. When Allan Simonsen was unavailable, Hector picked up the phone and asked if I fancied it and I thought 'Why not?'”
“It's a new challenge for me. I did the Spa 24 Hours so I am not totally new to Ferraris, but this is a new car and it should be fun. It's a fair while since my last GT outing, but a racing car is a racing car with four wheels and an engine, so we'll see how we go. There is no pressure, and there are no expectations, as the car is completely new and won't have turned a wheel before we get to Donington. There is a lot stacked against us but if we get our heads down and get the set-up right, hopefully we can have a good run in the race.”
The new Ferrari will be run under same Rosso Verde banner as the Ferrari 430 Scuderia Lester and Simonsen have driven in the previous rounds of the season, and ensures half a dozen of Maranello's latest GT3 runner will be present at Donington.
As well as the Scuderia Vittoria example, and the two CRS Racing entries MTECH will bring a brace of 458s to the East Midlands track, Julien Draper and David Back joining regulars Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron.
A GT3 category that features the first UK appearance of the Nissan GTR in British competition also includes Ginetta G55 for Martin Short and brother Benji and Freddie Hetherington – reunited in British competition for the first time since their GT4 victories in the second half of last year. The new driver combinations join the established grid of Porsches, Audis, Aston Martins and Mercedes for the series' longest race of the year.
The championship is currently led by CRS’ father and son pairing Jim and Glynn Geddie who, despite not having won a race so far this season, took the lead at Rockingham from United Autosports' Michael Guasch and Matt Bell.
The GT4 class, too welcomes a larger grid to Donington, with the return of Aston Martin squad Secure Racing. Sergio Lagana and Alan Hellmeister join regular Peter Erceg in the car. The class points are led by ABG Motorsport drivers Marcus Clutton and Peter Belshaw lead the class, but under increasing pressure from the Lotus and Ginetta drivers of the class. Scuderia Vittoria pairing Dan Denis and David MacDonald took a double win away from Rockingham, and with extra points on offer from the Donington Park weekend because of the longer race the result could have as bigger impact in the GT4 class as in the premier category.