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The Bri­tish GT3 grid could hit its low­est en­try for seven years at Snet­ter­ton fol­low­ing a num­ber of high-pro­file with­drawals, in­clud­ing the reign­ing cham­pion Beechdean As­ton Martin team.

An­drew Howard and Ross Gunn have been forced to skip the dou­ble-header in Nor­folk next week­end due to the heavy dam­age sus­tained to their Van­tage GT3 dur­ing the pre­vi­ous race at Spa.

Howard was hit by an er­rant GT4 car at the first turn in Bel­gium, rip­ping a wheel off the Van­tage in the process.

Howard, who is now ninth in the points along­side Gunn, said: “I am hugely dis­ap­pointed the car will be un­able to take part at Snet­ter­ton. We al­ways knew that this was go­ing to be a devel­op­ment year for us, and some­times you have to take the rough with the smooth. Bri­tish GT is an im­por­tant se­ries to us and we will con­tinue to take part in the cham­pi­onship, de­spite this set back. I hope the cham­pi­onship con­tin­ues to be the prov­ing ground for the am­a­teur driver.”

Beechdean will con­tinue to run its two GT4 divi­sion en­tries for Jack Bartholomew/jor­dan Al­bert and Paul Hol­ly­wood/ Jamie Chad­wick.

An­other GT3 on the brink is the Op­ti­mum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS after the team parted com­pany with driv­ers Ryan Rat­cliffe and Will Moore.

Rat­cliffe and Moore are 11th in the cham­pi­onship, hav­ing scored points in just two races. De­spite the split, Rat­cliffe will con­tinue to race with the team in the Creven­tic 24 Hour Se­ries.

Team head Shaun Goff said: “We’re look­ing for a new driver pair­ing for the fi­nal two rounds as we want to show what the Audi can re­ally do and we’ve had var­i­ous is­sues this year which meant we couldn’t.

“We’re look­ing for a bronze driver now to pair with ei­ther a quick sil­ver like Ryan or a gold driver [Craig Dolby is the team’s driver coach], so hope­fully we can sort a deal to keep the car on the grid.”

Rat­cliffe and Moore’s with­drawal means there will be no all-sil­ver pair­ing on the grid for Snet­ter­ton. It also means the GT3 en­try might fall to just 11 cars, its low­est num­ber since 2009. The GT4 en­try is ex­pected to keep the grid in the mid-20s.

Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey, Danny Wal­ton

Beechdean car was dam­aged in Spa clash

Op­ti­mum Audi has strug­gled this year

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