TO CAMPAIGN GT3 MOSLER
Two of the youngest drivers ever paired in a GT3 car are set to provide a challenge to the established order in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship in 2009. Twenty-four-year-old Stuart Hall, just recognized as one of the country's top young track talents, and his 17-year-old team-mate Daniel Brown will crew a Mosler MT900 for the super-successful Rollcentre Racing team, it is announced at Silverstone today (Tuesday).
Hall and Brown head a still-growing entry list for the UK's premier sports car series; the championship promoter, the SRO Motorsports Group, expects to see at least 20 cars on the grid for the opening rounds, at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend (11-13 Apr).
"There are still deals coming together and entries being formulated," says SRO Chairman Stephane Ratel. "What we can say with certainty at this stage is that the field that is gathering is one of the highest quality, with exciting cars and some top driving talent."
Rollcentre Racing hopes to field two MOMO-backed Mosler MT900s in the championship's upper class this season, and team boss Martin Short hopes himself to drive on occasion. "We are still talking to a number of drivers about the second car," says Short, "and it's looking promising. What is sure is that Stuart and Dan are going to make a very strong team, and that our team focus is very much on them, on the Mosler, and on regaining the championship title which we last won in 2003."
Both Hall and Brown are graduates of the British Racing and Sports Car Club's far-sighted T-Cars championship; Hall was T-Cars champion in 2000 and Brown won the series in 2007. Both are sons of racers. Stuart's father, Pete, is a successful historic saloons driver and Sean Brown was a hot-rod and production saloons champion in the 1980s.
Brown Jnr has a season's experience in Formula Palmer Audi under his belt, while Hall Jnr has enjoyed success in Formula Ford, Formula Renault and, more recently, in Le Mans Series sports cars. Stuart claimed a fourth-in-class finish at the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours at the wheel of a Rollcentre-prepared Pescarolo.
This month the British Racing Drivers Club rewarded Hall with 'Superstar' status. The club's Superstars scheme offers recipients direct assistance in all aspects of professional motor sport, including help with physical and mental training, career guidance, team building skills, sponsorship and marketing advice, access to motor sport seminars and workshops with BRDC members.
Other entries thus far confirmed for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship include a Ferrari 430 for Chad Racing, which will be crewed by successful international sports car exponents Chris Hyman and Paul Warren, an Aston Martin DBRS9 from the Barwell Motorsport/Beechdean team for Andrew Howard and Jamie Smyth, and an ABG Motorsport Dodge Viper for 2008 frontrunners Aaron Scott and Craig Wilkins.
The Ferrari 430 looks set to be numerically the British GT favourite this season, with an example entered by M Tech for Duncan Cameron and Ireland's Matt Griffin, another from VRS for Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox and fourth entered by the Rosso Verde squad for 2008 race winners Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen.
One of the most exciting cars in the field will be the RPM Motorsport Ford GT. The GT made a stunning British GT debut last season, winning on its debut at Snetterton, and the team - title winner in 2007 - is close to finalising a deal to bring it to the grid for a full season.
Further diversity is added by the Team Preci-Spark Ascari KZR1, which showed impressive pace last season in the hands of brothers David and Godfrey Jones, and the Lamborghini Gallardos of the Tech 9 and In2Racing teams; both squads are hopeful of appearances in the championship by the second meeting, Donington Park, at the latest.
The GT4 category looks set to be a fight between the ProMotorsport Nissan 350Z of Derek Palmer and Maxi Jazz, the two Stark Racing Ginetta G50s and the Aston Martin N24s of the Barwell/Beechdean outfit. Barwell will also be fielding, as a non-points scoring invitation class runner, a Ginetta G50Z. An innovation for 2009 is the Supersport class, and demonstrating the effectiveness of the so-called 'GT4 light' cars this season will be an ABG-run example of the KTM X-BOW.
The eight-meeting/14-race Avon Tyres British GT Championship features rounds at all of the UK's top circuits, and also a foray to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, where the championship will support the historic 1000km sports car race.
All the races are two-driver affairs featuring mandatory pit stops, all of 60 minutes duration save those at Donington Park and Silverstone, which are scheduled to be team-stretching two-hour endurance races. The championship is sponsored by Avon Tyres and is further supported by motorsport insurance specialist AON, by Sunoco Racing Fuels and by Anglo American Oil Company.
One of the UK's leading newspapers, The Independent, is to become the official media partner to the British GT Championship in 2009. The Independent will providing editorial coverage both in paper and online. "Supercars with mouth-watering names like Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche, Dodge and Lamborghini racing bumper to bumper is the ultimate thrill for all motor racing fans and The Independent believes that our readers will enjoy and appreciate coverage of this season's Avon Tyres British GT Championship," says Nick Duxbury, Deputy Sports Editor. "Nothing can beat GT cars for their striking muscle-bound looks and coupled with the drama the title race is certain to generate, the championship will make a compelling spectacle, which we aim to convey both in print and on our expanding website."