At the end of a predictably combative season of racing the Avon Tyres British GT Championship titles will be decided this weekend with a two hour race at Donington Park.
A total of six driver pairings have a chance of at least one wheelman celebrating the title come Sunday night, with three able to guarantee themselves the title with victory in the race that yields extra points over the series’ more usual 60 minute encounters.
In the box seat by half a point – if there is such an advantage when the points standings are so close – is Andrew Howard. The Beechdean driver is one of two men able to take the title alone as a six point penalty for co-driver Jonny Adam has taken him out of contention for the title, though he remains third in the points. As well as the championship leader at the start of the weekend the Aston Martin contingent of the British GT grid also boasts two new members for the final weekend of the year.
In GT3 long-time co-drivers Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox return to the grid with the Predator CCTV team, though with a Vantage replacing the Ferrari 430 Scuderia the pair have previously campaigned. It will be their second appearance of the 2013 season, following on from their outing with MTECH at May’s Silverstone 500 meeting.
In GT4 works driver Richie Stanaway and Nick Whale share a second Vantage in the class, their entry joining the Complete Racing car of Steve Chaplin and Tom Wilson that rejoins the series having missed the Zandvoort races of early September. Also making a welcome return to the series are Mark Poole and Richard Abra, who missed the Dutch weekend as they were racing their Barwell Motorsport Vantage GT3 in Barcelona.
They are one of a number of teams who will race at Donington Park after opting out of the series’; foreign trip. Brands Hatch runners-up Von Ryan Racing – with drivers Duncan Tappy and Gregoire Demoustier – will line up, though they will be the lone McLaren MP4-12C GT3 on the grid following the withdrawal of United Autosports’ pair of scissor-doored machines and the decision of the Jones brothers to bring their Mercedes SLS back to domestic competition to close out the season.
Also in GT3 Jacques Duyver and Charlie Hollings will race an AF Corse Ferrari 458. The pair have previously driven a GTC class Ferrari under the FF Corse banner but have stepped up to the premier class to end the season. Having debuted in GTC at Zandvoort Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz continue their exploration of the series with another outing in the Horsepower Racing Ferrari 458.
Both the GT3 cars of Duyver and Hollings and Wilcox and Burton will be eligible for points – adding further complications for the men chasing the title. However, the additions to GT4 in the shape of the additional Aston Martin as well as the Twisted Team Parker Ginetta G50 of former champion Bradley Ellis and Adrian Barwick, will be ‘invisible’ in terms of the points standings, leaving the battle to the four full season entries who could take the title.
The full race will be broadcast live on MotorsTV at 1:05pm on Sunday. www.theCheckeredFlag.co.uk will have full coverage of every session in the build-up to the all-important title decider.