The 2019 British GT Championship season will field the largest ever full season entry. A full 9 round live TV package also makes the headlines for the domestic GT series which enters its 27th season.
The big numbers start with 38, the number of cars entered for the full championship. Series organisers, the Stephane Ratel Organisation, were forced by demand to push the entry past the previous 36 car maximum to 38 for 2019. The new limit, imposed by circuit capacity limits at some venues, will be exceeded at the bigger events on the calendar. The 2019 Silverstone 500, the annual trip to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and the series finale at Donington Park traditionally attract several single round entries.
GT4 Remains Dominant Class.
23 GT4 cars form the bulk of the 38 car grid. Eight manufacturers are represented including KTM for the first time since 2011 when the open top version of the Austrian machine claimed the GT4 title. McLaren are back in force with four of the highly successful 570S GT4 while Aston Martin have increased their representation from just two chassis in the 2018 season to seven in 2019.
Ford Performance Racing return to the championship with the Mustang. Factory team Multimatic Motorsports field two of the Mustang GT4 machines alongside the factory FIA World Endurance Championship Ford GT GTE cars they run. RACE Performance also bring a single Mustang, making 2019 the first year since 2007 that the legendary Pony has run in the UK series. Two BMW M4 GT4‘s from Century Motorsport and two Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries from Team Parker Racing and Fox Motorsport wrap up the multi entry marques.
Joining KTM in the one-car club are Porsche with the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. Making its series debut, the new GT4 from Stuttgart also brings in an experienced team who are new to the championship, GT Marques. A single Jaguar F-TYPE SVR GT4 from Invictus Games Racing rounds out the confirmed GT4 machines though a TBC from Stellar Motorsport could mean the return of Toyota, a ninth manufacturer if it comes.
GT3 Stages Grid Size Comeback.
The GT3/GTC class offers 14 cars across seven marques. Topping the car count in both GT3 and the GT4 class is Aston Martin, this time with the European debut of 2019 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3. Four of the brand new race cars will grace the field. Four two car brands come in the form of Mercedes-AMG GT3, Bentley Continental GT, BMW M6 GT3 and Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO.
Porsche blur the lines with two chassis but two different cars. The European debut of the 992 shape 911 GT3-R forms the GT3 entry while WPI Motorsport have a 991 shape GT3 Cup car in the reborn GTC class. McLaren round out the entry with a single 720S GT3, another European debut. In fact only the two Mercedes-AMG machines have raced in the British GT Championship before and only the WPI Porsche Cup car can be added to the list of second season chassis.
Improved TV Package.
Organisers from the SRO, led by Championship Manager Benjamin Franassovici, have also arranged a new and improved live coverage package for the 2019 season. Previous improvements saw all the UK rounds streamed live on Facebook and Youtube during 2018.
Fans have enjoyed access to the series without geoblocking and free of charge on these feeds but the international round of the series, the annual trip to Francorchamps in Belgium has always been highlights only.
2019 marks the first year in championship history where every one of the nine rounds will be available live and uninterrupted on the series website and social media channels. Additionally the content will be made available on the SRO GT World channel on Youtube, bringing British GT racing to a larger and world wide audience.
Benjamin Franassovici says, “The response from existing and new teams and drivers has once again surpassed our expectations. We previously limited ourselves to a maximum of 36 full-season entries but the unprecedented level of demand since registration opened last October has required us to re-evaluate.
“GT4 remains as popular as ever and I’m delighted to welcome so many new teams, drivers and cars. Greater capacity would have seen us break 2018’s class records, but we should still be extremely pleased to have matched the same number of entries and manufacturers. In any case, we will undoubtedly see more race-by-race entries as the season progresses.
“Likewise GT3 where we have one more full-season entry than last year. However, it’s the abundance of new models that has impressed and excited me the most. Investment like this demonstrates our teams’ commitment to and belief in British GT, as well as again proving GT3 and GT4’s status as the most suitable platforms for amateur, young and professional drivers alike.”