Aston Martin Vantage GT3

Season Preview 2019 – Hidden Champion of the GT World? – Racing Blog

On the Easter weekend, the British GT awakens one of the most entertaining GT championships from its seven-month winter break. Once again this year, the national SRO series will be thrilling with an extraordinary mix of classic-rustic routes, varied formats and exciting characters in the GT3 and GT4 classes.

At the beginning of the preview, according to the occasion, our wonderful BTCC expert and GB motorsport connoisseur Sebastian quoted, who launched his great annual preview with the following words: Brexit out, Brexit here – for us motor sport addicts, the United Kingdom is back in 2019 again very high in the course. In this chorus, of course, the GT-wing of the blog likes to agree with the current distinguished British GT truly happy. Because with 35 entries (13 GT3, 21 GT4 and a Cup Porsche), the field is as busy this year as never before and thanks to the still improved stream situation can now track large pieces and especially all races of the season live. A condition that seemed completely utopian just a few years ago.

The debut year of the current British GT is considered in historical review as one great fixture of GT sportsas we know it today. In 1993, next to her, the Japanese Grand Touring Championship (since 2005 Super GT) saw the light of the series world and also GT racer were admitted for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This accumulation of events was not just a coincidence, but is related to the then forming GT1 / 2 systems, which were formulated by 1994 at the latest.

The BRDC National Sports GT Challenge opened however only 1995 for the two world categories and took in the course also the more prominent title British GT. Legendary cars such as the McLaren F1 GTR and the Lister Storm GTL were allowed to run riot on the English character trails until the millennium limit – until the spiral of costs had once turned too often.

As in many other GT championships, they then braced themselves first with emergency solutions such as the GT2 and Cup structures and waited eagerly for a GT revolution. This should take place in 2006 in the form of the GT3, when the production management was handed over to the SRO. In 2007, the GT3 finally became the main class; In 2008, the GT4 debuted as a new substructure.

Despite the successful rebuild the British GT slipped in the international context but more and more in the triviality. It took several years for the fields to recover sustainably, and in most cases there was not much of the events to see. 2017 then celebrated new streaming service rather casually its introduction, as it was offered in parallel to a British sports channel, which had thankfully recognized the upward trend of the series. Although the station has now given up, the YouTube / Facebook stream is already in its third year. Thank God!

Although the British GT may seem reminiscent of its sister series anywhere on the planet at first glance, it does have some exciting differences to offer. In addition to the classics such as Pirelli standard tires, the balance of performance and driver changes, for example, it offers flexible racing formats that are based on the routes. For one thing, there are weekends with two one-hour races – like Easter Monday in Oulton Park. On the other hand, two and three hours (in Silverstone) are part of the current calendar. The GT3 and GT4 teams will not only be tested for their sprinting skills, but also have to have long-range qualities. A very refreshing difference to many other championships!

Another interesting feature, but rather random, is the overhang of GT4 cars in the nominal list. By comparison, in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia, the GT4 class plays a very subordinate role and in America, it was even finally taken out of the mix. The latter is discussed again and again in the British GT, but so far dominated the insight that the current class struggle The championship is good and dividing into two series is too risky.

That's why you can look forward to classics such as the McLaren 570S GT4, the BMW M4 GT4 or the Mercedes AMG GT4 again in 2019. There are also the specially built for the British GT Jaguar F-TYPE SVR GT4 and other exciting faces like the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4, two semi-factory Ford Mustang GT4 and an exotic KTM X-Bow GT4. As in the GT3, Silver and Pro / Am crews are also in this division – also a notable difference to some GT series, whose GT4 classes mainly accommodate amateurs.

You will also find a worthwhile graphical presentation of other significant features at the end of the preview of the useful links and information.

Old-school British heritage trails, Silverstone's run-off desert, and a summer vacation in Spa: The running schedule has worked well, as in recent years. Compared to last season, however, a second race was added at Donington Park, which will take the place of the discontinued "Rovals" in Rockingham – little melancholy one could say in this regard, the calendar has become even better.

The runs in the overview:

April 20-22, 2019 – Oulton Park (UK) – two one-hour races
18th – 19th May 2019 – Snetterton Circuit (UK) – two one-hour races
08. – 09. June 2019 – Silverstone Circuit (Great Britain) – three hours
June 22-23, 2019 – Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit (UK) – Event I – two hours
20-21 July 2019 – Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) – two hours
03. – 04. August 2019 – Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit (Great Britain) – two hours
14th – 15th September 2019 – Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit (UK) – Event II – two hours

Although there has been a good base in terms of quality and quantity in recent years, the current list of nominees is again big leap forward, Thus, in both divisions various new vehicles have arrived and also with the drivers there are again many well-known names to see. The two classes in the overview:

GT3

The top class of the series is made up 13 GT3 cars (eleven in the pro-am and two in the silver category) and a lone cup Porsche from WPI Motorsport (Michael Igoe / Adam Wilcox) together. In the ranks of the pure GT3 can be found Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Lamborghini, McLaren and Mercedes. A "big" Porsche is also expected later in the season and will be used by G-Cat Racing.

Aston Martin

Let's start our overview with one – how could it be otherwise – traditional British brand. The new Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 has already proven its potential, but at least in the results there is still some catching up to do. That's why the prelude of the British GT, the Optimum Motorsport (2018: Jonny Adam and Flick Haigh) could win last year, so as called. In addition to the triumphant team last season, they also have the WEC troop of TF Sport and Beechdean AMR in the squad. Since there is a pilot associated with Aston Martin Racing in each Vantage, defending the title is more than realistic.

# 2 TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 (Mark Farmer / Nicki Thiim)
# 47 TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 (Graham Davidson / Jonny Adam)

# 96 Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 (Oliver Wilkinson / Bradley Ellis) – Silver

# 99 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 (Andrew Howard / Marco Sørensen)

Bentley

Another local favorite is the new Bentley Continental GT3, which will make its debut in the British GT in two different versions. With JRM Racing, well-known from the good old GT1 times, and Team Parker Racing's Bentley specialists, two very interesting teams could be found right away as customers. Particular attention will be paid to the reunification of rock'n'roll son Rick Parfitt Junior and Seb Morris, who were separated from each other in 2017 for illness and classification purposes.

# 7 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 (Glynn Geddie / Ryan Ratcliffe) – Silver

# 31 JRM Racing Bentley Continental GT3 (Seb Morris / Rick Parfitt Junior)

BMW

Not so new, but still BritGT debutants, are the two announced by Century Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. Although the pairings are not bad, they are not given much chance. Even in the official, naturally fair weather season preview of the series is only the marginal note of a side note. Attention to success is quite conceivable and especially in the British GT happens too much unexpected to make such premature statements.

# 3 Century Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 (Dominic Paul / Ben Green)
# 9 Century Motorsport BMW M6 GT3
(Adrian Willmott / Jack Mitchell)

Lamborghini

One of the most absurd stories in the BritGT world has to be the bad luck of Barwell Motorsport, which always picks up on their Lamborghini Huracán GT3 just in time for the end of the season and closed it again last year. For the team from the southwest of the metropolitan area of ​​London, one can only hope that the two new Evo specifications can shake off the spirit of recent years. Because apart from that, the British, who also compete successfully in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, are well positioned as usual and thus title candidates.

# 69 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Sam De Haan / Jonny Cocker)
# 72 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Adam Balon / Phil Keen)

McLaren

Although the new McLaren 720S GT3 has not made many laps in its customer racing life yet, it has been able to attract a lot of attention right now. In direct comparison to the competition, he looks a lot more aggressive and is also the first genuine in-house GT3 of the English sports car manufacturer. As part of this new project, however, some problems piled up. For example, the production department and logistics ran behind the deadlines for various orders, forcing teams in Asia, among other things, to hand over a test carrier for their first races (!). Balfe Motorsport from the British GT, however, does not have this problem: the English-based residents of Nottingham have delivered their own 720S GT3 on the first of April and should be good for any surprises during the season.

# 22 Balfe Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 (Shaun Balfe / Rob Bell)

Mercedes

Rounding out the GT3 entry list of the kick-off of Mercedes. Unlike many other manufacturers, the current product remains faithful for a bit longer and, considering the first race results of the new GT3 year, will not be content with this decision. Also in the British GT should be able to have a say, thanks to two good driver pairings at least a word.

# 6 RAM Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 (Ian Loggie / Callum Macleod)

# 8 Team ABBA Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 (Richard Neary / Adam Christodoulou)

GT4

Following the somewhat longer explanations in the series presentation area, there are a few more additions to the GT4. The total 21 vehicles strong GT4 field consists of 15 Silver pairings, ie duos where riders are very similar in rating level, and six pro / am ranks. As in the GT3, the Silver teams are nominally better placed, but adjustments like pitstop success penalties and specifications (GT4: Silver cars with 14 seconds more service life and 15 kg of ballast) that the field remains balanced.

A special stroke of luck for the GT4 is the announcement of Multimatic Motorsports had wanted to put their Mustang GT4, developed together with Ford Performance, into the European showcase. For this one sent beside technicians also the Ford GT4 aces Scott Maxwell and Jade Buford across the pond, which will certainly bring a lot of action into the field.

Apart from the GT4 is praiseworthy but British shaped – be it the drivers or the teams. Also striking are the many double appearances by GT3 teams (Beechdean AMR, Balfe Motorsport, Optimum Motorsport, Century Motorsport, Team Parker Racing and TF Sport), who have chosen the same manufacturer where possible. For more details, we recommend looking at the nominal list (PDF).

Opening weekend: Although the first British GT weekend of the year will start tomorrow, ie on Holy Saturday, a small Easter break will be held on Sunday. The races take place on Easter Monday and are part of a long Oulton Park tradition. You will find the times as usual in our planner, which also includes all stream links of the very colorful framework program.

Live Timing: Like most other SRO series, the British GT works with TSL's live timing experts, who, along with colleagues from Al Kamel Systems, are the best possible source for motorsports. On their page you will not only find the event LTs, but also various statistics and result lists during the weekend.

Finally, we wish you a happy Easter, Monday hopefully embellished by the British GT and its frame series. If some of you have not really enjoyed the British Championship yet, we hope that our preview has put you in the nest for a thrilling motorsport egg.

Images Source / Copyright: British GT (SRO)

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