61 cars will travel across the English Channel for the British GT Championship’s away-day to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.
The British GT regulars will be bolstered by a number of one-off entries preparing for the 24 Hours of Spa in the GT3 category, with a couple of extra entries in GT4 – which itself is being joined once again by the Competition102 GT4 European Series.
We’re two entries down compared to the last round at Silverstone, with the FF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 staying true to its word and staying as a one time only entry. Also missing is the PFL Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage, the incident that befell the team at Silverstone is still wrangling on so unfortunately they can’t carry on their strong form from the last time out.
That said, we’re now up four entries thanks to teams looking to get some running in before the Spa 24 Hours. First up is a car making it’s British GT debut, the Mercedes AMG GT3, there’s going to be two entered by Black Falcon a Pro/Am entry for Oliver Morley and Dani Juncadella and a Silver Cup entry for Miguel Toril and Abdulaziz Al Faisal – giving some competition for Will Moore and Ryan Ratcliffe in their Optimum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS in that sub-class.
Also looking for some endurance practice is GRT Grasser Racing Team who are bringing two Pro/Am Lamborghini Huracan GT3s for British Touring Car Championship regular Hunter Abbott, who’ll race alongside Rolf Ineichen, and a second car for Ronald Holling and Michele Berertta.
Doing much the same is Team Parker Racing, who are bringing their second Bentley Continental GT3 to the party with Callum MacLeod and Ian Loggie looking to get more track time before their 24 Hour endurance test at the end of the month.
For the championship regulars, there’ll be glances cast towards TF Sport and Jonny Adam & Derek Johnston. Two wins in a row at the start of the season has slipped to no podiums in the last three races and their championship lead has slipped to just 11.5 points, they’ll be hoping past experience – and FIA WEC experience in Adam’s case – will help them reignite their championship push.
Eager to close the gap are Silverstone winners Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw in their Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan, but they need to keep a close eye on their Barwell team mate Liam Griffin who – with new team mate Alexander Sims – is only ten points behind and looking for a good result in Belgium.
Two new entries join the GT4 class for the trip overseas with Stratton Motorsport returning to the championship since their appearance at Brands Hatch with an Aston Martin Vantage for David Tinn and Andrew Jarman.
The second entry is also an Aston Martin and is the second V8 Vantage of Beechdean AMR which will be raced by 2015 GT4 Champion Jamie Chadwick – making her return to the series after competing in the first two rounds for Generation AMR SuperRacing – and star of the Great British Bake Off Paul Hollywood. He’s making his debut in British GT after a 2015 season where he scored a number of good finishes in Britcar.
However, all eyes will no doubt be on the other side of the Beechdean garage thanks to Jordan Albert and Jack Bartholomew leading the GT4 drivers championship with 91 points to the 87.5 points of PMW World Expo Racing’s Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson thanks to good results for both teams in the first five races of this season.
Lagging behind, possibly in no small part thanks to their exclusion from the Rockingham round, is the Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 of Nathan Freke and Anna Walewska on 66 points. That said, with 37.5 points available for a win this weekend a good result will see them close that gap right back up going into the double header of one-hour races at Snetterton in August.
Competition102 GT4 European Series
Joining the British GT Championship grid for the second time in two rounds, the continent’s dedicated GT4 series itself boasts a number of additional entries from teams finding it easier to get to Spa than make the leap overseas to Silverstone.
Notably in the field are the KTM X-Bow GT4s of the Reiter Young Stars programme – a scheme to promote the best in driving and engineering talent who’ll have to make sure they have their wits about them with GT3 traffic flying past them around Spa.
Also joining the grid is what feels like every Porsche Cayman GT4 that has ever been built and raced in Europe with PROsport Performance entering an extra PRO4 spec Cayman.
Lucky to be getting out onto the grid is V8 Racing International, a fire ripped through their base and rendered their glorious Chevrolet Camaros out-of-action, as well as the BMW M3 GT4 of Las Moras Racing Team and top GT driver Lisette Braams. Thankfully for V8 Racing at least, they struck a deal with Mathol Racing to run two Aston Martin Vantages for this weekend.
The fifth round of the British GT Championship takes place on Friday and Saturday with full coverage provided by The Checkered Flag, click here for the full entry list.