“British GT is set for much change in ’16” ”
Welcome to the New Year everybody, and welcome too to the new-look British GT Championship.
This year marks one of the largest yet for Britain’s premier sportscar championship, with change in abundance over the winter months.
We’ve had a flurry of announcements in recent weeks – from disabled drivers starting their own teams with the backing of Aston Martin factory squad Prodrive and established names switching teams and cars, to virtually every new or existing GT4 team being linked with buying a couple of new Porsche Cayman Clubsport GT4S.
In truth, consistency won’t be found in many areas of the pitlane come the start of this season, and that’s a good thing for the title battle.
British GT showdowns in recent years have been terrific, and even last year’s was a nail-biter, despite it being a transitional year for GT3. With new cars on the horizon for 2016, most teams played the hand they were dealt – retaining the same drivers, cars and overall combinations.
This year it’s all change. The new generation of GT3 challengers is here. Barwell has new Lamborghini Huracans, Optimum has the new Audi R8 LMS, FF Corse has ordered the Ferrari 488 GT3 and there are heavy upgrades to existing machines – plus a new fleet of factory Bentley Continentals courtesy of Team Parker Racing.
There’s also been upheaval in the driver market. Reigning champion Jonathan Adam now sits in with TF Sport alongside Derek Johnston, while Andrew Howard will return in the no.1 Vantage, but with rising star Ross Gunn alongside him.
Former champion Marco Attard won’t be on the grid, leaving Alexander Sims to race a partprogramme alongside Liam Griffin. Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen have ditched their BMW in favour of a Lambo, and Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne will now run under the Amdtuning.com banner as Triple Eight effectively confirms a sad GT exit to refocus on touring cars.
Add all of that up and not one of the pairings that finished inside the top 10 in the championship last year returns on the same, consistent footing.
Then add in GT4, which is enjoying an explosion of interest thanks to new models and better affordability against GT3.
Yes, there will be Caymans. Sources confirm that at least three are headed to UK shores for various parties, but don’t expect all of the bought cars to start the season. The Cayman was announced relatively late, and had yet to be fully homologated into full GT4 spec at launch. Most deliveries are also not slated until March, giving teams little time for testing. Insiders close to the project suggest the car is a weapon though.
Beechdean has a GT4 Vantage for BRDC F4 graduates Jordan Albert and Jack Bartholomew, and there’s interest from new teams such as In2 Racing, Lanan and Team Hard.
GT4 may well outnumber GT3 this year, but not by much. And judging by the quality signing up in the GT3 division, we could be set for two superb and extremely unpredictable title battles.