Often in 2012 it looked as if Porsche was the dominant brand in the championship, the five 997 GT3 R often congregating at the top of session timesheets and at the top of the race order, Despite this, though the title went to a Porsche team, it did so to a team without a win all season – though they did take the greatest number of podiums. Half of the title winning team returns to defend the title, and though the numerical advantage Porsche had in 2012 the updated car should keep them at the front.
#1 – Ahmad Al Harthy/Michael Caine
After winning the title with Daniele Perfetti on Motorbase’s British GT debut Caine returns to the championship to defend his title, bringing the #1 plate for the side of the Oman Air backed Porsche he will drive for the season.
The backing comes from Ahmad Al Harthy who follows Motorbase from the Porsche Carrera Cup GB after winning the Pro-Am1 class of that series last year is emphatic fashion. Entering the British GT fold down the same path as Perfetti, and with the Pro-Am1 title Perfetti was beaten to suggests that Motobase will be challenging for the title (and hopefully race wins) once again. Perfetti ended the season as one of the best ‘amateur’ drivers in the championship, Al Harthy could pick-up where he left off in another of the series’ most balanced partnerships.
#31 – David Ashburn/Nick Tandy
#32 – Gregor Fisken/Richard Westbrook
#33 – Jon Minshaw/Phil Keen
With two car efforts from MTECH, 888Optimum and a three car attack from United Autosports Trackspeed face stronger opposition than ever if they are to retain their teams’ title to continue their championship streak. Ashburn – who retired at the end of 2012 – and Tandy’s #31 is currently only entered for the Oulton Park weekend, with only two cars confirmed for the full season left to battle for the team honours.
Both the #32 and #33 line-ups are potential race winners. Fisken returns to Trackspeed after winning two races with the team in 2011 partnering long-time Trackspeed hired gun Westbrook, undeniably one of the fastest drivers in the championship on the British GT dates he fits in around Corvette commitments in the US.
It remains to be seen who will fill in for Westbrook on weekends when commitments elsewhere keep him from UK tracks, but with Duncan Tappy one potential name Westbrook’s busy diary is unlikely to impact badly on Trackspeed – or Fisken’s – aspirations. In Phil Keen one man who has been called on to deputise for Westbrook in recent season gets a full season drive with the team, occupying the seat left vacant by Tim Harvey alongside Jon Minshaw in the Demon Tweeks sponsored #33.
The #32 – especially with Westbrook in the starring role – is the stronger of the two confirmed cars for the full year, though they may need the third car on a more permanent basis if they are to retain the teams’ championship for another year.