A healthy mix of new teams and drivers are set to join series stalwarts as the Avon Tyres British GT Championship further builds upon the success of 2011.
Joining the 2012 grid are three Ferrari 458 Italia GT3s, two entries to be fielded by 2010 team championship runners-up Mtech, and a third by Hector Lester’s Rosso Verde team. Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron will again partner in the first Mtech entry, and Aaron Scott and John Dhillon graduate from the GT3B class, which they won in 2011, to partner in the main GT3 category. Mtech are set to announce another car in the coming weeks too.
"I'm really pleased to be moving back into the GT3 class of British GT this season", said Scott. “My team-mate, John has been working hard and he improved tremendously through last season, so I am confident we can challenge at the front this year."
At Rosso Verde, Lester will take the reigns of the 458 he debuted in the penultimate round of last season at Donington; Lester’s driving partner is yet to be confirmed.
This year will again see the 458’s older brother, the Ferrari 430 Scuderia participate in the experienced hands of Adam Wilcox and Phil Burton; the black 360 Vision prepared Scuderia will seek to upstage the newer 458s, and will no doubt continue to be a crowd favourite as in previous years.
In addition to these prime slices of Maranello machinery, the series sees the return of another popular car, the sensational Mercedes AMG SLS GT3. After a season getting acclimatised to the SLS, Preci-Spark return as a full season entry for a serious attempt at the 2012 titl
After debuting its new G55 GT3 car last season, Ginetta will be represented on the GT3 grid by at least two teams, Stark Racing with Hepworth and Team WFR. Stark return to the championship with Ian Stinton at the helm, alongside him is Welsh charger, Jake Rattenbury. Yorkshire-based Team WFR will run a G55 and a Ginetta G50 in the GT4 class. The Ginetta G55 will finalise national homologation papers and will take part in an official balancing test in March.
With vast experience of the category obtained in past seasons, Century Motorsport return to the GT4 class for a two-car attack in 2012. Fielding a pair of the latest Ginetta G50 GT4s, Century is yet to fully finalise its driver pairings, but has already signed one driver, the 2011 Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Champion, Dominic Evans.
“My ambition has always been to race GT’s at the highest level,” said Evans. “Some of the alternative championships simply do not have the mix of cars, the levels of professionalism, TV exposure or Kudos needed to make racing at this level a viable option, so for me British GT was the only credible option. I can’t wait to get stuck in”
Also joining the Ginetta ranks in the GT4 category are Barwell Motorsport. Having recently announced its intention to run a GT3 specification BMW Z4, the Surrey-based team will again assist gentleman driver Peter Erceg, who switches from the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 that he used on his way to a podium at Spa-Francorchamps last season; Erceg’s co-driver in the G50 will be announced shortly.
With over 14 applications already received and several weeks to go ahead of the final entry deadline on the 29th February, interest and enthusiasm for this year’s British GT championship is immense,” said Benjamin Franassovici, British GT Championship Manager.
Franassovici added, “We are currently working hard on adding new brands and models to the already exciting GT field we have, and more will be revealed between now and the Media Day on 21st March at Silverstone. Last year was good, this year will be better.”
Sporting regulations and adjustmentsDuring the one-hour format races, the pit stop window will be between minute 25 to minute 35 of the race, as per the FIA GT3 races, adding clarity for teams and drivers alike. Silver / Silver pairing will have an adjusted 4 seconds pit stop added to their mandatory stops.
Two car teams will be able to score points with both cars, rather than with solely the highest placed entry. And, in 2012 tyres will be allowed to be heated prior to use, however heat retention devices such as tyre blankets, are forbidden.
“We are pleased to welcome the introduction of tyre heating tents for the 2012 British GT season,” said Mike Lynch, Technical Manager, Avon Tyres Motorsport. “The introduction of these devices will have numerous economic and safety benefits for both teams and drivers. Importantly for a Pro-Am championship like British GT, it will increase the number of useful laps that a gentleman driver can complete in any given session.”