British GT - Round two at Snetterton preview

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The British GT Championship heads up the A11 to Norfolk this weekend and the second round of the national GT Championship with yet another double header of two one hour sprint races ahead of them with both races having the same eleven Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3's and GT4's as last time, all still looking for some (or some more) silverware to take home.

In the almost four week gap since the opening races at Oulton Park in April, all the AMR teams have been out testing either at Snetterton itself or at another circuit to be raced at later on the calendar in order to improve upon performance and discipline after something of a chaotic opening meeting.

The team with most to improve is Tom Ferrier's TF Sport team with his two Vantage GT3's and two Vantage GT4 cars after they suffered something that he would later described as being close to a "total @@##%$* disaster" after all his cars were returned damaged with multiple DNF's, simply mistakes being made and unnecessary penalties being applied for the most basic of reasons - everything that all added up to the most woeful of meetings for them.

With all his cars now suitably restored to something close to a factory finish, Ferrier will certainly be hoping that all his drivers have listened and learned from their mistakes at Oulton Park and have taken themselves to somewhere where they can now start to use their natural speed and ability to get some valuable points onto the board by the end of the weekend to get their season started.

Optimum Motorsport is another team that have been piling in the test mileage after their race 1 podium finish with drivers Bradley Ellis and Ollie Wilkinson having also travelled around Europe to test at Snetterton two weeks ago as well as in Belgium and Germany last week as part of their dual BGT/GT Open campaigns this year. Not to be outdone, their two GT4's have also been testing at Snetterton and more recently at Brands Hatch as those four drivers look for those fractions of a second around a lap that will ultimately equate to a podium finish at some point this season.

Beechdean AMR have just returned from another round of their Le Mans Cup campaign at Monza last weekend so team boss and gentleman driver Andrew Howard will be fully dialled into that car ahead of Snetterton as he rejoins AMR factory driver Marco Sorensen in Norfolk. The #99 GT3 and #11 GT4 car of Martin Plowman and Kelvin Fletcher from the Beechdean team were the only other AMR car other than the Optimum GT3 to secure a podium finish at either race at Oulton Park.

Finally but by no means least are the two GT4's from the Matt Nichol Jones' Academy Motorsport team. Again running a dual BGT/GT4 European Series campaign this year, the team are certainly becoming very acquainted to the make up of their two new cars from Prodrive as they and their effectively three novice GT racers become more familiar with the performance characteristics of the new Vantage and also that of the series having made their step up from lesser powered GT/single seater racing. Each running in the highly competitive Silver Cup class, all the stops will have to be pulled out for them to have any chance this early in the season against more seasoned campaigners - but then motorsport can be a funny sport sometimes!!

Looking at the 36 car entry list for Snetterton, there are no changes to the eleven AMR entries and will run again as follows:-

#2 TF Sport GT3 Mark Farmer / Nicki Thiim
#47 TF Sport GT3 Graham Davidson / Jonny Adam
#96 Optimum GT3 Ollie Wilkinson / Bradley Ellis
#99 Beechdean AMR GT3 Andrew Howard / Marco Sorensen

#11 Beechdean AMR GT4 Kelvin Fletcher / Martin Plowman Pro-Am
#35 Optimum GT4 Connor O'Brien / Jack Butel Silver Cup
#75 Optimum GT4 Patrik Mathiasen / Mike Robinson
#61 Academy GT4 Ben Hurst / Micah Stanley Silver Cup
#62 Academy GT4 Will Moore / Alex Both Jones Silver Cup
#95 TF Sport GT4 Patrick Kibble / Josh Price Silver Cup
#97 TF Sport GT4 Ashley Hand / Tom Canning


Saturday 18 May
09:30 – 10:30: Free Practice 1
11:40 – 12:40: Free Practice 2
15:50 – 16:00: Qualifying – GT3 Am
16:04 – 16:14: Qualifying – GT3 Pro
16:18 – 16:28: Qualifying – GT4 Am
16:33 – 16:43: Qualifying – GT4 Pro

Sunday 19 May
09:00 – 09:10: Warm-up
11:10 – 12:10: Race 1
15:25 – 16:25: Race 2


Race 1 Pitstop Success Penalties – GT3
10s – #69 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini – Cocker/De Haan
07s – #8 Team ABBA Racing Mercedes-AMG – Neary/Christodoulou
05s – #99 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin – Howard/Sorensen

Race 1 Pitstop Success Penalties – GT4
10s – #15 Multimatic Motorsport Ford – Maxwell/Priaulx
07s – #20 Balfe Motorsport McLaren – Johnson/O’Brien
05s – #44 Invictus Games Racing Jaguar – Vice/George

Pitstop windows (both races)
GT3: 22-32 minutes
GT4: 28-38 minutes

Minimum pitstop times (pit-in to pit-out)
GT3: 75s | GT4: 110s

All Silver Cup-entered GT4 cars will serve an additional 14 seconds and carry 20kg extra ballast.

It will also be interesting to see if the SRO have permitted any adjustment in performance to the Vantage GT3 after obviously suffered from a lack of power and acceleration out of the corners. Ferrier was certainly hopeful of this when they were last at the circuit testing or whether Prodrive have managed to provide them with a different engine mapping system that will allow these cars to use what they already have under the bonnet but just more effectively.

Only the weekend with prove this...............!!

Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey / Steve Jackman
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