The Avon Tyres British GT Championship will return to UK shores this weekend for the penultimate round of the 2014 season on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.
Ecurie Ecosse man Marco Attard leads the points’ standings into the Kent track following a second victory of the year when the British series visited Spa-Francorchamps in mid-July. He will again share the team’s BMW Z4 GT3 with Alexander Sims, who lies second in the points, 19 points behind Attard by virtue of having missed June’s Snetterton event.
Beechdean AMR duo Jonny Adam and Andrew Howard – winners at Brands Hatch last year – lie 4.5 points further behind sharing third place ahead of the Oman Racing Team line-up of Michael Caine and Ahmad Al Harthy and Trackspeed teammates Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen. Both teams have scored two wins this season, Minshaw and Keen having won the first of the two races in Belgium last month.
The Trackspeed team has been at the epicentre of a dramatic change on the British GT grid. Since the Spa weekend Warren Hughes and Jody Firth have moved across the pitlane from the Porsche squad to Triple Eight Race Engineering’s BMW stable. Hughes and Firth scored their first points of a tough season at Spa, but still made the move to Ian Harrison’s outfit.
The pair will share the #8 BMW engineered by former Trackspeed team manager Keith Cheetham as Triple Eight team expand to a three car operation. Elsewhere in the team Ryan Ratcliffe will make his first GT3 British GT start alongside Lee Mowle in the #88 car with Joe Osborne, previously Mowle’s co-driver, partnering Derek Johnston aboard the #888.
Hughes and Firth’s departure left a gulf in Trackspeed’s line-up which, for the Brands event at least, will be filled by former series champion David Ashburn and Porsche works driver Nick Tandy. Both drivers will be making their first British GT starts of 2014, though they were in contention for the title until the final round of the 2013 campaign.
Also making welcome returns to the British GT fold are Matt Griffin and Jann Mardenborough. Griffin joins Pasin Lathouras in AF Corse’s #29 Ferrari while Mardenborough, will partner Chris Hoy in the #80 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN entry. Hoy stood on the podium for the first time in the British GT career at Spa and in Mardenborough has a formidable teammate for this weekend’s two hour race. Now a regular in single-seater series Mardenborough announced himself on the racing landscape two years ago as a British GT debutant, putting in a fabulous drive to win at Brands by a margin that remains the smallest in series history.
Formerly Ginetta stalwarts Colin White and Tom Sharp will take control of MP Motorsport’s Aston Martin at the event while John McCullagh will make his first start on the long version of the Kent track alongside Matt Bell in United Autosports’ Audi with Mark Patterson busy racing on the continent.
Beechdean AMR and TF Sport’s teams shared the GT4 class wins at Spa and go into the final part of the season first and second Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings leading the points by 19 points over TF Sport pairing Andrew Jarman and Devon Modell.
However, with extra points on offer for the longer races at Brands Hatch and the final round at Donington Park the identity of the 2014 champions remains very much unknown.