BTCC star Sam Tordoff will make his debut in the British GT Championship in 2017 as the race winning Yorkshireman is announced alongside Liam Griffin in a GardX-backed Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Winning races in the British Touring Car Championship, and in other TOCA support championships, Tordoff has decided to once again turn his hand to GT racing after a partial campaign in the 2015 European Le Mans Series in a JMW Motorsport Ferrari.
Racing alongside Tordoff in a Lamborghini which showed good pace throughout the 2016 season, is Liam Griffin. Griffin, a former BTCC racer himself, was on the title-race pace throughout the year before a rogue GT4 European Series driver at Silverstone wiped him – and his title chances – out in one quick action.
The pair won’t let that phase them in 2017 though, as they look to emulate teammates Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw – who are back for 2017 – and mount a strong British GT championship tilt.
Tordoff said: “I am really excited about 2017 as I embark on a new career in GT Racing. It is something we have looked at pursuing for a while, and when this opportunity presented itself with Liam and Barwell Motorsport it was the perfect time to jump ship. I’ve known Liam for a long time and I think together in the Lamborghini we have all the tools in place to mount a serious title challenge. The British GT Championship is going from strength to strength and I am very aware of the expectations of the Team to be at the sharp end of it – I cannot wait to get started!”
Barwell will get their season underway with a test in Barcelona and Griffin is looking to do everything he can to stop the Aston Martins that dominated the 2016 season: “I’m really pleased to be back in BGT for 2017 and with a new team-mate that might raise a few eyebrows! Sam had a great year in BTCC being both quick and consistent, attributes that are well suited to GT racing and ones that I hope rub off on me, to allow us to compete at the sharp end of the Championship. I think that the BGT is going to be incredibly competitive this year with any one of the current entries capable of winning a race. Consequently every second will count and I am hoping that another year with the Lamborghini, for both me and the team, will give us that extra bit of pace to finally topple those pesky Astons!”
Team Manager Mark Lemmer is looking forward to another strong season in Britain’s premier GT championship with two crews that are fully expected to be in the championship battle come the end of the season.
He said: “Sam has emerged as one of the UK’s most talented and successful star drivers, he has all of the ingredients that we would look for to make a top quality GT driver. It is an absolute pleasure to welcome him to the ‘Barwell family’ for his first full season in GTs to partner Liam. It’s great to welcome Liam back, I’ve got a really positive feeling about this pairing. We know that Liam is naturally super quick and can beat anyone on his day. I am sure he will benefit from Sam’s meticulous preparation and from it being his second season in the Lamborghini Huracan GT3. I think sharing with three different Pros last season wasn’t, in hindsight, the best situation for Liam, but having Sam as a full season team-mate should take Liam’s performance to another level.
“Also we must give credit to SRO for listening to the Teams and competitors regarding improvements to the GT3 class, and for implementing many really positive changes for 2017. It all makes drivers want to be a part of the Championship, and is helping to achieve yet another top quality GT3 entry for what is looking like very exciting 2017!”
The 2017 British GT Championship season begins at Oulton Park with the traditional easter weekend meeting on Saturday 15 April and Monday 17 April.