A sixth manufacturer has been announced ahead of the 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship, with 2019 GT4 Pro-Am champions Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman returning in a JRM Racing Bentley Continental GT3.
The pair intended to run the Bentley last season, but the COVID-19 pandemic meant we only got to see the JRM Bentley at 2020’s Media Day at Snetterton.
One of a host of regulation changes ahead of the 2021 season is the outlawing of the Silver Cup class, placing more emphasis on Am drivers. This ought to create a more level playing field and give Pro-Am pairings like those of 2020 champion Sandy Mitchell and Adam Balon at Barwell Motorsport, and Phil Keen and Michael Igoe at WPI Motorsport, a better shot at the overall title.
Fletcher presented British GT’s live pitlane and grid coverage last season after their 2020 Bentley project was curtailed, and the former Emmerdale actor won ITV’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2019, making it a double triumph alongside the 2019 GT4 Pro-Am title.
He’s excited for the season ahead having missed out on track time last year. “We’ve kept ourselves busy, but nothing beats actually being out in the car and Brands Hatch can’t come soon enough.
“We’ve still only completed a handful of laps in the Bentley – 2020’s Media Day was my first and only meaningful running with the car, but we’ll be putting that right before the season starts.
“And we’ll need to because the championship’s renewed emphasis on Pro-Am has resulted in some very strong GT3 driver combinations.”
Plowman, who won the FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 title in 2013, has also competed in IndyCar and the American Le Mans Series. He points out, “We were the top GT4 Pro-Am crew in 2019 so there’s no reason why we can’t mix it with the established guys.
“Yes, they’ll have a head-start in terms of experience: the likes of Jonny Adam and Phil Keen have seen it all before.
“But Kelvin’s a fast learner and JRM know enough about the car from 2019 to get the best out of it and us.”
The Bentley Continental GT3 has proven pedigree at this level. Rick Parfitt Jr and Seb Morris took its first British GT win in 2019, but the model hasn’t been seen in any championship since the 2019 season finale.
JRM Racing Team Manager Elliot Dason-Barber added,
“We’ve developed a really close relationship with Kelvin and Martin that goes beyond the usual roles of team and drivers, which I’m sure will help us initially and moving forwards.
“We know they’ve got the potential to be one of GT3’s fastest Pro-Am pairings, but British GT often boils down to the most consistent crew over the course of a season, so that’s something we need to be mindful of.
“Of course, being able to share a second crew’s data is always useful, and that’s something we’re also working on.
“Another JRM-run Bentley isn’t out of the question at this stage.”
Bentley are the sixth GT3 manufacturer to be announced for 2021, alongside Mercedes-AMG, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Porsche and McLaren.
The Intelligent Money British GT Championship is set to get underway at Brands Hatch on 22/23 May. Teams have been testing privately after the Championship announced it would not be running its traditional Media Day, but would instead run Friday testing days at several rounds, as would the BRDC British F3 Championship.