Team Parker Racing have confirmed their switch to the newly-released Mercedes-AMG GT4 for the 2018 British GT season, to be piloted by experienced TPR duo Nick Jones and Scott Malvern.
The reigning GT3 champion outfit failed to translate their top-class dominance into GT4 success in 2017 – finishing only 11th of 13 full-time team entrants across a middling season for Jones and Malvern that proved uneventful in the sole Porsche Cayman GT4 ClubSport MR of last year’s line-up.
Looking to ignite a 2018 title tilt, TPR become the third – and only returning – team in British GT to field Mercedes’ first GT4 chassis – a decision Jones is hoping can help turn the team’s fortunes around after a frustrating most recent campaign.
“Ever since I first started talking to Mercedes it’s clear the programme is just at another level,” Jones said.
“This year is going to be exciting – easily the most exciting of our time in British GT so far, and the Mercedes is going to give us a real chance to compete.”
An extensive preparation period with high-profile Mercedes factory unit Black Falcon leaves a reinvigorated Jones confident of unshackling the chains that prevented Team Parker Racing from launching a GT4 championship assault in 2017.
“The car is a huge step forward. We’ve been out testing it in Europe with the Black Falcon factory team, getting a grounding of it ahead of getting our own chassis this month. Team Parker has been with us every step of the way too, and that relationship will be important as they’re such a professional team.
“Racing for me is about going out and having fun, and having competitive machinery is key to that. Last year I felt I drove better than ever, but a lot of that progress was masked by the car’s outright pace. This year I think we can make a real step up the grid.”
2013 Walter Hayes Trophy winner Malvern gave a glowing appraisal of TPR’s new Mercedes machinery, lauding the manufacturer’s efforts to develop a competitive and balanced car capable of fighting at the sharp end of the grid in the coming calendar year.
“The Mercedes is a great bit of kit, and you can tell that the factory has worked a lot with its race teams and development drivers, because they seem to have thought of everything,” Malvern said.
“Looking at the car you’d think it’s just a straight-line warrior as it’s one of the larger GT4 cars out there, but the chassis has a brilliant balance and the handling is very impressive.”
Highlighting the Mercedes’ driveability and technological advantages over last year’s struggling Porsche, a determined Malvern is eyeing an immediate challenge for GT4 Pro/AM honours, and hopes to muscle TPR towards the front of the class field.
“The Porsche last year proved quite tricky for the amateur driver, whereas the Mercedes is accessible and has all of the technology needed to make it a real weapon in endurance racing.
“The aim this year is to be up there fighting for the Pro/Am championship and outright podium finishes. The entry this season is stronger than ever, so it’s going to be a challenge, but I feel we’ve got the right car and team to help us achieve that.”