Looking forward to the British GT Championship

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The 2018 British GT Championship has all the hallmarks of another fantastic year, not just for Aston Martin Racing and its customer teams but also for the championship itself.

Making up the very impressive thirty five car field entered into the season's opening round from Oulton Park this weekend will be four Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3's and two V8 Vantage GT4's, many carrying some very familiar names from the world stage too boot.

TF Sport return for their fourth season in the championship with their two Vantage GT3's as well as their new look driver line up for the season ahead. Joining the team for the first time in the national arena will be AMR factory drivers Nicki Thiim (who has raced with the team before in the European Le Mans Series last year) who will join Mark Farmer in his #11 car whilst Marco Sorensen revisits the UK racing scene for the first time since his lower formulae single seater days with Derek Johnston in his #17 car.

Unfortunately, due to a clash of dates between the BGT Media Day and their WEC AMR factory commitments, neither Dane were at Donington Park to meet the press so if you have never met them -  go meet them but be prepared!!

Former TF Sport driver Jonny Adam moves down the garage block to Optimum Motorsport who will for 2018 be running an AMR V12 Vantage GT3 programme for the first time for both Adam and 'Gentle Lady' driver Flick Haigh.

No stranger to the international race scene, Haigh has developed her racing career up from her early Caterham days back in 2006 through to GT4 racing in the Creventic series before progressing up to an Audi R8 GT3 in 2016/17 for both Creventic and the Michelin Le Mans Cup championships.

First introduced to her new car back at the end of January on a very cold and damp Snetterton track, the team have now completed a whole series of test both at home and abroad in order to bring the new partnership up to speed.

"I feel we have done all the preparation we possibly could have done; Optimum have the car in a good place now. Jonny and I have also been doing plenty of sim sessions which has been a very useful tool for us. We are looking for two solid and consistent results over Easter weekend" said Haigh.

Another new team hits the British GT grid this year in the form of Jetstream Motorsport who step up a significant level from the Bute GT Cup Championship and their championship winning McLaren MP4-12C to their newly acquired V12 Vantage GT3 for driver Graham Davidson.

We understand that the team had previously lined up a pay driver to share the car with Davidson but that was soon changed after Aston Martin Racing made factory driver Maxime Martin available to them at pretty much the last minute. Despite Martin being the only AMR factory driver able to attend and driver at the Media Day event earlier this month, we understand that the new dup have had little other time together to prepare themselves to undoubtedly where they would prefer to be at this stage.

By the admission of both drivers, their inauguration into one of the most hotly contested national GT series in Europe, the 2018 season will be a 'baptism of fire for them both!"

Rounding off the GT3 field sees the welcomed return of the Beechdean AMR team with their much coveted red, white and blue Vantage of Andrew Howard and Darren Turner. Twice a GT3 Championship winner, Howard passed the championship over last year in favour of concentrating on his GTE title defence in the European Le Mans Series with Turner. For this season his own work commitments force a slightly reduced racing commitment from the ice cream man from Buckinghamshire, favouring a domestic racing challenge in a championship that he and Turner have full respect for.

With the duo only having tested twice since their announcement, their re-introduction into the competitive nature of the GT3 championship will be steep (but probably second nature as well)!

Finally, but by no means least, we have another two V8 Vantage GT4's entered into the 2018 Championship - this time from just one team in Academy Motorsport.

Returning to the Championship in their third year together will be team boss Matt Nichol-Jones and Will Moore as well as a new car for young guns Jan Jonck (who swaps from MacMillan) and Ginetta Junior convertee Tom Wood.

Both Academy cars attended the AMR Collective test from Portimao earlier this month and for MNJ and Moore, 2018 will be another SRO double header by again entering the BGT and GT4 European Championships.

Track action at Oulton Park kicks off tomorrow with testing before Free Practice and Qualifying on Saturday. Operational restrictions placed upon the circuit over the Bank Holiday weekend means that the opening two races of the meeting will be on Bank Holiday Monday!

Live streaming of the two races will also be available via the series Facebook and webpages.

Photo credits - Academy / BGT / Beechdean AMR

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