Back To Track: British GT Returns At Brands Hatch

by James Broomhead
Avon Tyres British GT Championship (Credit: Jakob Ebrey)

The Avon Tyres British GT Championship returns to action this weekend with a two hour race on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent.

Trackspeed drivers Nick Tandy and David Ashburn lead the series points after a topsy-turvy first half of the season that included two wins alongside three retirements. The Porsche pair head United Autosports’ Matt Bell and Mark Patterson by just a point with Marco Attard and Oliver Bryant just another point in arrears representing Ecurie Ecosse.

Though it has been nearly two months since the last British GT races – at Snetterton – few of the teams and drivers have spent the time away from the race tracks of the world.

Having won their first British GT race (despite their 2012 title) reigning champions Motorbase Performance start the second half of the GT season on home turf, Michael Caine and Ahmad Al Harthy’s Porsche run from a workshop a near stone’s throw from the track. Dave Bartrum’s team’s summer away from competition ended last week with a return to form in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) while Al Harthy was one of many drivers to be in action at last month’s Total 24 Hours of Spa.

The most notable addition to the grid for this weekend is another team that was part of the Spa-Francorchamps.

Having started the season with M-Sport Rembert Berg and Warren Hughes swap to Team WRT (the de facto Audi works team in GT circles) for the rest of the season. The Belgian based team ran a total of four cars in the 24 hour race, their best entry completing the overall podium in a difficult race for the R8 LMS ultra.

Another Audi R8 – that of PE Group/Blendini Motorsport – returns to the grid this weekend, the team (and drivers Tom Roche and Dom Evans) having missed the Snetterton races. The team’s Ginetta G50 also returns after missing the Norfolk weekend, Anthony Rodgers and Rory Bryant rejoining the GT4 class of the series, led into the weekend by Optimum Motorsport pairing Rick Parfitt Jr and Ryan Ratcliffe.

Also returning to the series for a second race – following May’s three hour race at Silverstone – are Charlie Hollings and Jacques Duyver who will be the lone GTC entrant as they join GT3 teammates Gary Eastwood and Rob Barff in the FF Corse garage.

In another Ferrari, run by AF Corse, Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron, return to the championship a fortnight after being half of the team that won the Pro-Am Cup category at Spa-Francorchamps with a fifth place overall.

One Ferrari that will be missing from the Brands Hatch grid will be the Rosso Verde #3 following the tragic loss of Allan Simonsen at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the first British GT race weekend since his death all the series’ cars will run with modified number panels. The front row of the grid will also be left clear as a mark of respect with a minute of roaring engines also planned to mark his passing before the beginning of the race on Sunday afternoon.

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