The 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship heads to the longest race track of the year with potentially the biggest grid of the season at Spa Francorchamps on July 11/12 and in a contrast to certain other events running at the iconic circuit, general access is free, with paddock access a mere €10.
Spa’s two 60-minute races – with both occurring on Saturday 12th – will feature almost 40 cars, with an influx including three AF Corse Ferraris with Le Mans class winning drivers Toni Vilander and Emmanuel Collard amidst the driver line-up across the total five cars run by the squad.
Snetterton stand-in Jonny Cocker is out once more with a new squad, Team Russia by Barwell, with Russian driver Timur Sardarov in the #78 BMW Z4 GT3, whilst Alexander Sims returns to partner Marco Attard in the #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3.
Attard and Sims have work to do, after Jonny Adam and Andrew Howard in the #1 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage moved ahead of the #79 BMW after victory in an eventful last race at Snetterton. Howard and Adam currently lead the GT3 drivers’ battle with 105 points ahead of Attard's 93.5. whilst the GT3 teams’ championship sees Beechdean AMR on 105 and Ecurie Ecosse with 93.5.
Reigning champion Howard not only tops the GT3 tables, but currently heads Attard in the Blancpain Gentleman Driver Trophy order too, with 127.5 points to Attard’s 101, with Trackspeed’s Jon Minshaw in third spot on 61.
Elsewhere in GT3 sees United Autosports’ Mark Patterson return to the team alongside Matt Bell in the #23 Audi R8 LMS Ultra's after Ian Dockerill deputised at Snetterton, whilst Wolfgang Reip remains alongside Chris Hoy in the #80 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN GT-R for Reip’s home event.
GT4 sees the return of the #69 APO / Alex Osborne Porsche 911 with Osborne and James May. The GT4 title race intensified in Snetterton as the #407 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings edged ahead of the #49 TF Sport Aston Martin of Andrew Jarman and Devon Modell.
While Wylie and Giddings enjoy a gap of seven points at the top, the in-form duo of Adrian Barwick and Bradley Ellis in the #46 Twisted Team Parker G55 Ginetta GT4 will be hoping for a strong weekend as their 88.5 point total sees them trail the TF Sport duo's 105 points.
Barwick and Ellis' race two victory catapulted the duo towards a GT4 title challenge, but in the first race of the two Snetterton sprints, it was the #77 ISSY Racing of Gavan Kershaw and Oz Yusuf who took the class victory.
British GT action gets underway at Spa on Friday 11th July with practice from 09:00 - 10:00 and 11:05 -12:05, before qualifying at 15:50 – 16:05 and 16:10 – 16:25. On Saturday the hour-long races start at 09:15 and 13:50.
Provisional Entry List
# Team / Entrant Car Driver 1 Driver 2 Class1 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Andrew Howard Jonny Adam GT32 Generation Bentley Racing Bentley Continental GT3 Steve Tandy James Appleby GT33 Rosso Verde / Hector Lester Ferrari 458 Italia Hector Lester Benny Simonsen GT34 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Ahmad Al Harthy Michael Caine (+75) GT35 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Jeff Smith Rory Butcher GT36 PGF - Kinfaun AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Phil Dryburgh John Gaw GT312 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R Jody Firth Warren Hughes (+75) GT313 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia John Dhillon Aaron Scott GT314 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia Filipe Barreiros Francisco Guedes GT315 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia Yannick Mallegol Toni Vilander (+10) GT316 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia François Perrodo Emmanuel Collard (+10) GT317 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 Humaid Al Masaoud Steven Kane GT318 FF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia Gary Eastwood Adam Carroll (+10) GT321 Strata 21 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Paul White Tom Onslow-Cole GT322 Preci –Spark McLaren MP4 12C David Jones Godfrey Jones GT323 United Autosports Audi R8 LMS Ultra Mark Patterson Matt Bell GT328 HorsePower Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Paul Bailey Andy Schulz GT329 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia Pasin Lathouras Richard Lyons (+75) GT338 MP Motorsport AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Mark Poole Richard Abra GT340 IDL CWS Racing G55 Ginetta GT3 Colin White Tom Sharp GT363 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R Jon Minshaw Phil Keen GT378 Team Russia By Barwell BMW Z4 GT3 Timur Sardarov Jonny Cocker GT379 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3 Marco Attard Alexander Sims (+10) GT380 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan GT-R GT3 Chris Hoy Wolfgang Reip GT388 Triple 8 BMW Z4 GT3 Lee Mowle Joe Osborne GT3888 Triple 8 BMW Z4 GT3 Derek Johnston Luke Hines GT341 Optimum G55 Ginetta GT4 Jade Edwards Matt Draper GT442 Century Motorsport G55 Ginetta GT4 Rick Parfitt Tom Oliphant GT443 Century Motorsport G55 Ginetta GT4 Aleksander Schjerpen Morten Dons (+30) GT444 Team Parker Racing Porsche 911 GT4 Barrie Baxter Dan Cammish GT446 Twisted Team Parker G55 Ginetta GT4 Adrian Barwick Bradley Ellis GT448 Fox Motorsport / Paul McNeilly G55 Ginetta GT4 Paul McNeilly Jamie Stanley GT449 TF Sport Aston Martin GT4 Challenge Andrew Jarman Devon Modell (+30) GT455 Academy Motorsport G55 Ginetta GT4 Oli Basey-Fisher Matt Nicoll-Jones (+30) GT469 APO / Alex Osborne Porsche 911 GT4 James May Alex Osborne (+30) GT477 ISSY Racing / Oz Yuzuf Lotus Evora GT4 Oz Yusuf Gavan Kershaw GT4407 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin GT4 Challenge Jake Giddings Ross Wylie (+30) GT4
Jonny Adam - #1 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3:It’s great to go back to Spa and it’s going to be busy month at the track with Spa 24 Hour a few weeks after British GT. The car is performing very well at the moment and Andrew's driving has been brilliant this year. The aim is to try and achieve some podium finishes and consistency in our push for the Championship.
James Appleby - #2 Generation Bentley Racing Bentley Continental GT3:“This could potentially be the best circuit for us on the calendar. It’s my favourite track, and I have fond memories from racing in the Aston Martin GT4 car. I think the Bentley should be good around Spa and we can pick up a good result.”
Michael Caine - #4 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3:“Spa is the best circuit we race on, and one that should be well suited to our car. Snetterton wasn’t an Aston Martin track, but Spa is much faster and similar in some ways to Silverstone, where we were strong all weekend. I don’t see any reason why we can’t go there and be challenging for the podium.”
Aaron Scott - #13 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia:“We had a mega test at Spa earlier in the year and I’m looking forward to it. It’s one of the best circuits there is and we’ll have to wait and see how it suits the Ferrari during the race weekend.”
Steven Kane - #17 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3:“I’m really looking forward to Spa, as it’s a circuit that both me and Humaid have raced at before. We’re going there with an event under our belt but we have to remember it’ll only be our second race weekend together in the car so our rivals have an advantage over us there. We’ve not tested at Spa, but I think the circuit should suit the Bentley. It’s a track that works the tyres and that is one of the strengths of our car.”
Adam Carroll - #18 FF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia:“I’m really looking forward to the event as Spa is a pleasure to drive. I have experience of the circuit in single-seaters and GT cars and it’s a fantastic place to race. The Ferrari should be strong and the approach we will take is to simply go there and do the best that we can to bring home a good result.”
Tom Onslow-Cole - #21 Strata 21 Aston Martin Vantage GT3:“I’m really looking forward to Spa. It’s a circuit that’s world-renowned and while everyone talks about Eau Rouge, there are some breathtaking corners. My only previous experience is in the passenger seat of a VW Cup car, so to race at Spa in a GT3 car will be something else! The opportunity to race at circuits like this was one of the major draws for me when I made the move from touring cars into GT racing, and I can’t wait for it.”
Matt Bell - #23 United Autosports Audi R8 LMS Ultra:“I can’t wait as Spa is one of those circuits that everyone wants to race at, and I’m pleased to see it back on the calendar as it’s my favourite track. Mark will be back in the car so it’s nice to return to the original line-up and the Audi should be strong in the second sector in particular. We might lose out a little in sectors one and two, but if we can qualify well, then we’ll be in good shape for the races.”
Jade Edwards - #41 Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:“When I knew this deal could be happening, I drove to Spa and back in a day just so I could spend some time on track. That was only in a VW Scirocco, so I can’t wait to race there. It’s a mega circuit, and it’s very quick and ballsy; which is the kind of track I really enjoy.”
Bradley Ellis - #46 Twisted Team Parker Ginetta G55 GT4:“We didn’t think we would do well at Silverstone and came away with a win, so hopefully it’ll be a similar situation when we get to Spa. The Ginetta is good in the quick corners and if we can get ourselves up to speed quickly then we could do well and fight towards the front. We’ll have to push hard, but I can’t wait for it.”
Jamie Stanley - #48 Fox Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:“Spa is one of the best circuits in Europe and it’s a real highlight on the calendar to be able to go and race there. Both Paul and myself have raced there in the past and I have happy memories of the circuit so I’m looking forward to it. While the team is new to the series, they are doing a great job and we are finding our feet. Although I think Spa may favour the Porsche and the Lotus over us, if we could get onto the podium, it would be a great result.”
Marco Attard - #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3:“Spa is fantastic circuit – especially the run through Eau Rouge! We’ve tested there before and went well and I think we could go well. The BMW is good through the faster corners and if we can get the quick stuff right, then it would put us in good shape.”
Lee Mowle - #88 Triple Eight BMW Z4 GT3:“I’ve only raced at Spa once before and I can’t wait to back; it’s a stunning circuit. I got involved with GT3 racing to compete on some of most iconic circuits there is, and Spa is one of those tracks that is always on your ‘bucketlist’. Hopefully it will be a circuit where the BMW is strong as it has run well in the Spa 24 in the past, albeit on different tyres. However, I’m confident that we can do well.”
Derek Johnston - #888 Triple Eight BMW Z4 GT3:“Although I wouldn’t say Spa is my favourite circuit, I love the challenge of Eau Rouge; it’s all about that section for me. I hope we’ll be quick when we get there, although it’ll be a track of two halves as the BMW will be good in the corners but we might lose out a bit on the straights. One thing that will be good is that the fact the circuit is larger will make traffic less of an issue in qualifying, so it should be easier to get a clear lap.”