With the return of 24 Hour racing to the UK only three days away, we continue our look at the runners and riders for the Dunlop 24 Hours at Silverstone. On Monday we took a look at the top class while yesterday we focused on the second of the five groups. There are thirty-four cars entered into the race and class three holds the lions share.
Any one of the twelve cars entered into the class could potentially take the win so we will start with the single manufacturer entry. Aston Martin Racing are tried and tested veterans of the endurance racing world. Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd are not as decorated but still have a decent history, mainly at the Nurburgring where the company has a habit of driving a road car with a roll cage to the 24 hours and competing with it.
The Gaydon outfit have got a Vantage GT4 to race and have drafted in Andrew Palmer, Marek Reichman, Andrew Frankel and F3 and GP2 racer Alice Powell to peddle it. Aston Martin will have some very stiff competition though as Andrew Howard is bringing his GT4 Vantage too. The Beechdean Motorsport outfit have got form, the 2013 British GT GT3 title went to Howard while the car he is racing, affectionately known as the ‘Baby Beechdean’ took the GT4 title last year. There is no official word on co-drivers but we know that Great British Bake-Off star Paul Hollywood has spent this month working flat out on gaining his National A license so he can compete.
Ginetta loyalists Speedworks Motorsport have strayed from the Yorkshire manufacturer in favour of the Vantage too but have no drivers confirmed at all.
Saxon Motorsport are former class winners at the Nurburgring with their V10 powered 1-Series but they are bringing a new car to the party. The 135d is similar to their petrol powered machine but is a little down on downforce, and cylinder count, and horsepower. Nick Barrow, Tom Barrow, Clint Bardwell and Richard Corbett, are new to the car, but the chassis took second in class when it made its racing debut in the opening round of the Dunlop Sports and Touring Car Championship last month.
A strong challenge will come from Ian Carvell, Rob Carvell, Tom Witts and Dave Carvell in another Nurburgring class winner. The Jaguar XF-S is a self-built diesel powered super-saloon car which ran very well at the 2012 Britcar 24 Hours, until the rains came and dumped it in the gravel at Copse. Avoiding the same fate could well give the car a podium or even a win. After all, it was driver time not fuel consumption which ended each stint three years ago.
A trio of petrol powered BMWs also grace the class, the E46 M3 of Moss Motorsport with Mike Moss at the wheel is a good shout for a class podium, provided the three empty slots are filled with capable drivers. Rollcentre Racing have a better chance in their GTR version of the E46, mainly due to the full driver line up. Martin Short, the team boss is joined by Richard Neary, James Cottingham and Max Girado. A second GTR from Ian Mitchell, co-driven by Adam Sharpe and two mystery drivers is the third.
APO Sport will leave their traditional Ginetta at home in favour of a Porsche 911 Cup Car for Alex Osbourne, James May and Paul May while Cor Euser Racing have the expected Lotus Evora, but are missing their most famous driver. Cor Euser isn’t driving in the 24 but has sent his regular 24 hour co-drivers Hal Prewitt and Jim Brody who will share with Alistair Mackinnon and Dirk Schulz. The little GT4 Chevron GR8 of Corum Motorsport will be driven by Darron Anley and David Jospeh. Two slots on the driving roster remain vacant but the team should worry about the alarming attrition rate for Chevrons in Britcar races.
Picking a winner is mission impossible but a betting man would be silly to ignore either of the diesels. That being said both the Aston Martin Lagonda entry and the Beechdean car will be impressively quick from the off. The question remains will the outright speed of the GT4 Vantage be enough to counter the stamina of a racing diesel?