Local racer Dan Jones is to make his debut in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup this weekend when he joins the field for the fifth round of the 2013 season at Croft.
The 37-year-old Newcastle racer will compete in the G50 class with defending teams champions Richardson Racing as he makes the switch into shorter, sprint races, having spent recent years competing in longer, endurance events.
Dans deal with the Grantham-based team will see him back behind the wheel of a Ginetta G50 for the first time since he competed in the Britcar 24 Hours in a GT4 variant of the car back in 2011.
The same season saw him secure the biggest result of his career to date, when he was part of the Duwo Racing team that secured A4 class honours in the annual Dubai 24 Hours. Dan has also enjoyed success in Belgian Touring Cars, the Fun Cup and Supercoupes during his career to date.
Dans agreement with Richardson Racing is currently for his home event only, although discussions are ongoing about other potential outings in the second half of the season.
"Ive never raced on the British Touring Car Championship package before but have always wanted to, and the deal to join Richardson Racing is the perfect opportunity to sample the Supercup and see what it's all about," Dan, who will be sponsored by long-term backers Wylam Brewery and Norsound for his series debut, said. "Ive been competing in endurance races for a long time now, so its going to be interesting to see how I get on in the shorter, sprint races as they need a completely different approach.
"It requires a different mentality when you are behind the wheel and I've got to make sure I get myself switched on for a short race where you are attacking non-stop, rather than a longer race where you are managing the car and the tyres. There are other things to throw into the mix as well, like the fact that its a long time since I did a standing start in a race!
"Sprint racing is something Im keen to do more of in the future so this is the ideal chance to give it a go, and Ive already spoken to the team about the possibility of doing more races later in the year if it goes well. Im not sure how many G50s there will be this weekend, but my aim is to be at the front of the pack and hopefully mix it with the rear of the G55s. Thats the target Im setting myself and well see what happens."
Dans decision to sign with Richardson Racing for the Croft meeting extends the teams links with the local area, with team principal Gwyn Richardson originally hailing from nearby Newton Aycliffe.
Gwyn himself used to compete at Croft during his own racing career but will now oversee Dans Ginetta GT Supercup debut while also continuing to run son Andrew in the British Formula Ford Championship.
"I raced at Croft when I was younger, although the circuit has changed a lot since those days, and it's a place that holds a lot of good memories," he said. "It's great to welcome Dan into the team at a 'home' circuit, and it will be good to make a return to the G50s given the success we have enjoyed in recent years. Dan is a quick driver and hopefully he can add to that success this weekend."
Dan will be in action three times over the course of the weekend, with the opening ten lap race due to start at 3.50pm on Saturday. Two further races of 15 laps will then take place on Sunday at 12.45pm and 4.25pm (schedule changes permitting).