British GT stalwarts Barwell Motorsport have added a third, full-time Lamborghini Huracan to their squad ahead of their 2018 GT3 championship challenge – announcing four new drivers along with the return of veteran Pro/Am duo Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw.
Despite earning GT3 Teams’ title honours in 2017, the latest British GT campaign ended disappointingly for Barwell, with Minshaw and Keen beaten to top stop by Bentley rivals Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jr. after a ragged, season-long scrap for first place in the senior category.
After consecutive second-place finishes in the GT3 standings alongside pro partner Keen, a determined Minshaw hopes it’ll be third time lucky as the pairing prepare for yet another title assault beginning at Oulton Park across the Easter Weekend.
“I love driving the Huracan GT3 with Keeny,” Minshaw said.
“British GT continues to be the best Pro/Am championship in Europe, which is why I’ll be back to challenge for another year.”
Sportscar veteran and former British GT champion Jonny Cocker spear-heads Barwell’s second Lamborghini lineup, being joined by inexperienced Am competitor Sam De Haan – replacing the outgoing Sam Tordoff and Liam Griffin who struggled to make their mark in 2017.
Cocker became the youngest ever British GT senior class champion in 2004, winning the N-GT category and the overall title aged only 18 years and six days old in a GruppeM Porsche. Having also won the European Le Mans Series GTE Pro title in 2012, Cocker brings a rich vein of talent and success to an already high-quality Barwell lineup, and is confident of making a successful return to the series alongside De Haan in 2018.
“I’m extremely happy to be joining Barwell Motorsport again for what will be my fifth season’s racing with the team, and going back into a championship with so many great memories.
“I’ve been working with Sam now for a little while and he’s already showing strong potential, so I’m expecting our 2018 effort to continue this potential towards achieving some good results. I can’t wait!”
Barwell complete their three-pronged attack for next year by drafting in Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup duo Patrick Kujala and Leo Machitski, who both competed under the Barwell banner in separate cars last season, leading the team’s two-car Pro/Am title ambitions in the international series.
21-year-old former GP3 competitor Kujala stormed to second in the Pro/Am category, losing out only to British GT mainstay Jonny Adam‘s Oman Racing/TF Sport Aston Martin.
Russian Machitski joins Cocker as the second former British GT champion to join Barwell’s ranks for 2018, beating the latter to the GT3 category title in 2006.
With a potentially pulsating intra-team Barwell battle in store, Kujala made his intentions known and has set his sights on first place in 2018.
“I’m very happy to be going into another season with Barwell, and to team up with Leo for the first time,” Kujala said.
“Our goal is to win the championship and if everyone works hard throughout the season then I’m confident we can achieve this.”