British GT Media Day

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tuesday 8th April saw the official Media Day for the British GT series take place at the Donington circuit. Although a bit on the chilly side and with a stiff breeze those who made the trip were blessed with 27 out of the now confirmed 36 cars turning up for the test.

Reigning champion(s) Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam return in their Beechdean liveried Vantage GT3 to defend his (their) 2013 title. Despite a slightly smokey issue with the car during the lunchtime VIP laps the duo were still able to clock the fastest time in the second session.

At the end of the 2013 season team owner Andrew Howard expressed a desire to help promising young racing drivers in reaching their potential with the creation of a new Beechdean GT4 team for 2014. Confirmation of this was made when Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings were formally announced to the world at the Autosport International Show audience back in January. With only a couple of GT4 testing sessions under their belts the young duo will be on a steep learning curve indeed.

MP Motorsports, who raced under the umbrella of Barwell Motorsport in 2013 have this year received full Partner status from Aston Martin Racing and have thus rebranded to MP-AMR. Competing this year with full season entries in both British GT and Blancpain Mark Poole and Richard Abra will have their work cut out managing their increased workloads.

The menacing urban camouflaged red and black machine MP Vantage GT3 was sadly missing from Donington on Tuesday as this weekend sees the opening round of the Blancpain GT Series at Monza. 

This week also saw Richard Abra being confirmed as an Aston Martin Racing rostered driver, the same as Beechdean's Jonny Adam last year - well done and well deserved to him.

Last year's Porsche running team saw Motorbase's arrival with their new two V12 Vantage GT3 cars with Ahmed Al Harthy and Michael Caine in the blue #4 and GT returnee's Rory Butcher and John Hartshorne in the red #5.  

Whereas the #5 car reported good track times its sister car was somewhat hampered with a front wheel hub issue that called for prolonged, factory attention in the garage. 

Business executives Phil Dryburgh and John Gaw return in their PGF-Kinfaun GT3 car for another full season having finished 19th overall last year. Unlike last years round when Dryburgh managed to damage the radiators in an accident at the start of the race the pair ended the day just 0.70seconds behind the leaders were both looking forward to next weekend's opening round at Oulton Park.

Being only set up at the turn of the year, full Partner status team TF Sport will enter two cars into the championship. First being the Vantage GT3 of the highly competitive and race winning pairing of Paul Bailey and Andy Schulze who will race under the Horsepower banner within the team.

Paul Bailey was being comically candid in his garage saying that despite all his racing experience he was actually 'cr@pping himself' about entering a grid with the depth of what was being displayed. Those fears were obvious unfounded as the man fresh from that Rolls Royce programme finished his gorgeously coloured Vantage a very credible sixth on the timing sheets.

The second TF Sport car was for reigning Aston Martin Challenge Champion Andrew Jarman and Renault Clio UK driver Devon Modell with their new Vantage GT4. Reading what was being issued prior to the event it was somewhat of a surprise to see the liveried car there at all.

"I'm obviously well aquatinted with the V8 Vantage, I know its a great car and the goal has to be to win the GT4 title buts its a strong field of drivers and teams and I've got no doubt of the challenge ahead" said Andrew Jarman at the recent team announcement. His body language at the track showed that he was more than keen to get out there in the car finishing mid table in the GT4's which for a first time pairing wasn't bad.

The final surprise of the day was to see the Silverstone Auctions sponsored car of Aston Martin Racing Accounts Manager Harry Whale again. Obviously entering the series at the final event at Donington last year with AMR works driver Richie Stanaway was obviously too much excitement for someone to miss. This year Whale is joined by former GT Cup champion and businessman Andy Ruhan in their V8 Vantage GT4.

The first round of the British GT series starts Easter Weekend at Oulton Park with raceway being on the bank holiday Monday to comply with local track restrictions. The weekend also sees the opening round of the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge support race.

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