Looking ahead the British GT opener this weekend from Oulton Park

Thursday, April 06, 2023


The eve to the Bank Holiday weekend in the UK means that we are also finally at the eve of the 2023 British GT Championship season with its traditional double header opener around the beautiful circuit of Oulton Park on the Bank Holiday Monday.

2023 sees another capacity grid of thirty-six cars take shape with an equal split between the GT3 and GT4 classes but with (sadly) just one Aston Martin Racing Vantage appearing in either half of the full season entry list.

The Norfolk based R-Racing team return for their second year of topflight racing in the UK’s top GT series after having come so close in their debut year in claiming both their Silver Cup and overall GT4 Championship’s with their then drivers of Jamie Day and Josh Miller.

Whilst Day has sought challenges new within the sister GT4 European Series, Miller comes back for another crack at both classes as he now pairs up with last year’s Team Parker Racing Porsche GT4 racer, Seb Hopkins.

With both wanting to hone their skill sets developed over last season, their own improvements and the consistency of the Vantage GT4 platform should see them in good stead as this weekend’s opening round that will see officially timed sessions begin on Saturday morning, ahead of two Qualifying sessions later in the afternoon.

Joining them within the Oulton Park paddock will of course be the return of the #97 Beechdean AMR Vantage GT3 of Andrew Howard alongside AMR factory driver Ross Gunn in their Pro-Am classed challenger.

With Howard having stepped away from the national series last season, their ill-fated venture into the SRO’s European Endurance Cup Series left something of a ‘sour taste’ which only (for him) a return to the British GT Championship could resolve. Pairing up again with a young man from a family with so much history already instilled within the team was just a natural selection process for all concerned.

Having no prior commitment three weeks ago, the R-Racing team at least were able to make productive use of the track time made available to them at the Media Day at Donington Park, but for the Beechdean AMR team – the presence of so many factory engineers at the opening round of the World Endurance Championship and with Ross Gunn also at the Sebring circuit in Florida for the next round of the IMSA Championship meant that Howard was limited to just a couple of laps around Donington - for the benefit of the Championships photographer at least!

Since that date, most teams and drivers have tested (again for the R-Racing team) at what was then a very wet Oulton Park last week so all should be dialled into the 2.7-mile circuit as much as possible. Like previous years, the unpredictable Bank Holiday weather will always throw another spanner into the mix and looking at the forecast today – rain does look possible on race day at the moment!!

Those planning on attending should remember that that this event will officially run over Saturday and Monday with no track action at all permitted on the Easter Sunday!!

With so many new cars, driver combinations and new teams – the power of consistency may help the two Aston Martin teams but with a packed grid, the tight and twisty circuit and the potential of inclement weather simply means that anything is possible!!

Don’t forget the live stream either!! Game on………..

Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey
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