John­son joined by O’brien

Autosport (UK) - - CLUB AUTOSPORT | NATIONAL NEWS - JAMES NEWBOLD

Former Bri­tish GT4 cham­pion Gra­ham John­son has re­joined Balfe Mo­tor­sport to drive a Mclaren 570S GT4 next year, but has split with long-time co-driver Mike Robin­son and will team up with Mclaren Driver Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme grad­u­ate Michael O’brien.

It ends a long part­ner­ship be­tween John­son and Robin­son, who raced to­gether in en­durance kart­ing events in the early 2000s and have paired up in Bri­tish GT since ’15, win­ning the ’16 GT4 ti­tle be­fore adding the Pro-am crown in ’17. They took one win this year at Brands Hatch.

“I would be sur­prised if we didn’t team up again in the fu­ture,” said John­son. “We’re great friends and we have fun rac­ing to­gether, but at some point you have to set your­self new chal­lenges.

“I’ve got to learn how to work with some­one new. I’ve worked so long with Mike that to work with some­one else is go­ing to be a real chal­lenge, but it’s gen­uinely ex­cit­ing to part­ner with Mclaren and work with one of their ris­ing stars.”

His­toric For­mula Ford grad­u­ate O’brien moves across from Tol­man Mo­tor­sport, where he fin­ished third in his de­but sea­son with fel­low Sil­ver-graded driver Char­lie Fagg. In ad­di­tion to the Pro-am ti­tle, O’brien is tar­get­ing an­other run at the out­right cham­pi­onship, hav­ing missed out by just two points to Jack Mitchell.

“Com­ing so close this year was very dis­ap­point­ing, so hope­fully we can go those cou­ple of places bet­ter next sea­son,” said O’brien.

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