Preview: 2017 British GT Championship – Donington Park


Both the GT3 and GT4 title fights will be decided at Donington Park (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)

Team Parker Racing and Barwell Motorsport are set to battle for the 2017 British GT crown, with the title fight to be decided at the upcoming season finale at Donington Park.

A memorable victory for Rick Parfitt Jr and Seb Morris at Brands Hatch powered Team Parker Racing into a 10.5 point GT3 title advantage with a round to go – but face a 20 second success penalty as a result at Donington. A meagre fifth meanwhile for Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen at Brands sees Barwell without a success penalty this weekend as the championship duel reaches its climax.

The points outlook means that a win for either crew at Donington would be enough to guarantee top spot in the standings, with Parfitt Jr in the #31 Bentley Continental gunning to become the first driver in British GT history to claim both the GT4 and GT3 crowns. A Lamborghini victory however would see Minshaw and Keen seal the title and become the winningest duo in GT3 history, currently locked on 11 wins with reigning champion Jonny Adam.

Parfitt Jr could become the first GT3 and GT4 champion in series history. (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)

Hoping to aid the #33 Lamborghini Huracan to title glory, Liam Griffin and Sam Tordoff will be acting as rear gunners to their championship-battling teammates, whilst also hoping to contribute towards Barwell’s pursuit of the GT3 teams’ crown.

A fierce scrap to be named ‘best of the rest’ in GT3 sees Griffin and Tordoff facing off against both of the TF Sport Aston Martins, with Adam and Derek Johnston only three points back of the #6 Lamborghini.

Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes in the #11 Aston Martin Vantage meanwhile find themselves fifth in the standings, but could easily rocket up to third if they can best their TF Sport teammates and the second Lamborghini.

Omissions from the GT3 field this weekend include Silver Cup duo Jack Mitchell and James Littlejohn‘s #24 Macmillan AMR Aston Martin, whose hopes of claiming a maiden victory were dashed at Brands after a cruel electrical failure whilst leading.

Joining Macmillan on the sidelines are Spirit of Race SA, whose racing commitments elsewhere mean Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin won’t be challenging to bag a first win of the season at Donington.

A boost to the GT3 category however sees the long-awaited return of the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, with JRM Racing pairing promising young guns Charlie Fagg and Ben Green together in the newly built, 2018 specification #08 Nissan that’ll be hoping to make an instant impact at the season finale.

Nissan return to the GT3 fold for the first time since 2014. (Credit: NISMO/ Motul Team RJN)

Century Motorsport return to the top class with the #69 Ginetta G55 GT3, pairing Brands debutant Ben Tuck alongside team boss Nathan Freke – who replaces Tom Hibbert.

A tight tussle also rages in the duel for the title in GT4, as HHC Motorsport protect a 25 point lead over Lanan Racing, with a maximum of 37.5 points still up for grabs. A steering issue at Brands saw Alex Reed and David Pittard stripped of the championship lead, but the duo still maintain a slender chance of overhauling teenage pairing Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton‘s comfortable points lead.

Finishing atop the standings at Donington would see Tregurtha and Middleton become the youngest combined British GT champions, snatching the record away from 2015 GT4 champions Ross Gunn and Jamie Chadwick.

With the drivers’ title firmly in reach, HHC will be looking to double up by clinching the teams’ championship, currently guarding a 18.5 point advantage over Black Bull Garage 59 – who have the benefit of two team cars contributing to their overall total.

Tregurtha and Middleton will be hopeful of clinching both the drivers’ and teams’ titles. (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)

Macmillan AMR‘s untimely withdrawal eliminates the #42 Aston Martin pairing of Jan Jonck and Will Phillips‘ outside hopes of rocketing to the GT4 Silver Cup title, with the trophy now to be fought solely between Lanan Racing and HHC Motorsport.

Arguably the series’ closest championship battle lies in the GT4 Pro/Am Category, with three crews separated by merely 16 points.

Spa-Francorchamps winners David Pattison and Joe Osborne will be eager to defend their slim 8.5 point lead in the #56 Tolman Motorsport McLaren 570S, but will face stiff competition from reigning GT4 drivers’ champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson‘s #501 Optimum Motorsport McLaren.

An all-McLaren Pro/Am championship fight is completed by the #72 Track-Club pairing of Adam Balon and Adam Mackay, who despite a dismal second half of the season could steal top spot if they can register a third GT4 win of the year.

Brands Hatch winner Phillips join forces with GT4 race-winner Matthew Graham in the #14 In2Racing McLaren 570S, after Macmillan AMR’s late withdrawal had left the former without a seat.

2016 GT4 Pro/Am runner-up Abbie Eaton makes her return to the British GT in the Team HARD-prepared #36 Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta alongside Jake Giddings, replacing Brands duo Benjamin Wallace and Adam Hatfield.

Hatfield shifts into the sister #63 Team HARD Ginetta, partnering Chris Milford in place of Matt Chapman.