Thursday, 1 April 2010
2010 British GT Championship Preview
I visited Oulton Park last Easter for the opening round of the British GT championship, and although suitably impressed, it was a little disappointing to see just 13 entries spanning both classes. The Rollcentre Mosler dominated proceedings, before it was later disqualified from the championship as an ineligible entry. We watched Astons, Ferraris and a Viper battling against the Jones brothers Ascari, which would go on to take overall GT3 honours at the final round at Brands Hatch, and a clutch of Ginetta G50s battling for the GT4 class win, but it could not quite compensate for the depleted grid. In fairness, the recession was at its deepest and these machines don’t come cheap, although this may make the fact that this year’s entry list is bustling with new names even more remarkable, as most of the 2010 entrants will have been putting their budgets together for this campaign against the same, bleak economic backdrop. What then, are the factors attributable to the rise in numbers, with some 23 cars showing on the provisional entry list which was released by promoter SRO last week?
There has been a tweaking of the classes, leading to more cars being eligible to compete in GT3; due to the fact homologated models of superseded FIA GT3 spec cars are now permitted. GT4, whose 2009 winner Jody Firth has not yet committed to a 2010 programme, will now incorporate the Supersport cars from last term. 2010 also marks the return of the Cup class, where amateur drivers get the chance to participate in the UK’s top GT series in either a Carrera Cup spec Porsche 911, or a Ferrari Challenge standard 430. Only two Cup class entries appear on the provisional list, including Carrera Cup GB star Glynn Geddie, however expect greater fluctuation of the numbers in this category due to teams and drivers dovetailing programmes with other series’.
SRO has also concentrated this season on attempting to avoid any clashes with other top series, something which has hindered its turnout in previous campaigns, and a comprehensive, delayed highlights package will be shown on Channel 4 and Motors TV in the UK, making sponsorship a more attractive proposition.
Last seasons front runners will all be chasing glory in the GT3 class, alongside champions Team Preci-Spark, the Viper of Aaron Scott and Craig Wilkins will again be near the front, as will the eye catching US entered United Autosports Audi R8’s, which are entered into a part programme, including the season opener in Cheshire this weekend. Leading the GT3 Ferrari charge will be the Rosso Verde entry, again teaming up Hector Lester with Danish GT stalwart Allan Simonsen, MTECH’s Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin, and Chad Racing, whose three car 430 squad features some of the most competitive driver line ups that the series has ever seen, while the Barwell-Cadena entered Aston Martin DBRS9 will expect to be in the mix.
Nine confirmed entries in the GT4 class will include a two car works Ginetta Cars squad, whose drivers are as yet unconfirmed, along with another five G50’s, whose drivers include G50 Cup graduates, 2009 champion Nathan Freke, and regular front-runner Christian Dick. The category will also feature a KTM X-Bow and a Lotus 2-Eleven.
So lets look forward to Oulton and the prospect of a good grid, there is no sight, or sound, in British motorsport quite like that of a good field of supercars roaring around one of the UK’s top venues. The fans and drivers will be hoping for a dry one, however, so there is no repeat of the carnage that wiped out half the field in the 2006 rain soaked meeting. A dry weekend is probably too big an ask, you can’t have it all.
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