Though a capacity grid will crowd onto the grid this weekend at Oulton Park a trio of manufacturers will start the season with just one representative in the field. That trio, however, includes one the longest running driver pairings in the championship, potential champions and a car and driver combination capable of springing surprises.
#22 – David Jones/Godfrey Jones
The Jones brothers are a barometer of how far British GT has come in only a few seasons. They won the championship in 2009, now unfortunately, you expect as the only truly ‘Am-Am’ line-up in the series they will be lucky to pick up too many points over the course of the season against the Pro-Am pairings that have become the norm in the championship.
They will be the only pairing fielding a McLaren MP4-12C GT3 this year, United Autosports standing by their decision to shelve their examples after a difficult 2013.
Audi R8 LMS ultra
#23 – Mark Patterson/Matt Bell
Last year’s nearly men as a victory in the last round of the championship pulled them up to only 1.5 points short of pipping Andrew Howard to the title.
Bell has grown into one of the best GT drivers around, an achievement recognised by his increasing international engagements as he started the year with TUDOR Championship outings at Daytona and Sebring and with the departure of Nick Tandy and Richard Westbrook from the British GT fold he is one of the drivers vying for the title of the series’ very best.
Coupled with Patterson – one of the series’ top ‘Am’s for a second season there is no reason why further race wins and title challenges shouldn’t follow last year’s near miss.
Ginetta G55 GT3
#40 – Colin White/Tom Sharp
Both of the Ginetta G55 GT3 that completed the full season in 2013 showed strong pace – both over the course of a single lap and in a race – but proved to almost be magnets for issues. Fires, flying doors, other people’s accidents they all seemed to find a GT3 G55.
The car continues to be improved – the small Yorkshire brand punching well above its weight in competing against the likes of Aston, Ferrari and Porsche. Should one of those improvements be reliability to help sustain the pace then improved results – Sharp and White recorded only a single point scoring finish last year – and maybe even a giant killing or two should follow.