British GT3 Brands Hatch preview

British GT3 Brands Hatch preview

14.05.2021: Intelligent Money British GT Championship Brands Hatch May 22/23, 2021 14 cars – nine featuring Pro-Am crews and another five entered in the new Silver-Am class – tackle the season opener. But with so many reshuffles over the winter it’s difficult


Intelligent Money British GT Championship
Brands Hatch
May 22/23, 2021





14 cars – nine featuring Pro-Am crews and another five entered in the new Silver-Am class – tackle the season opener. But with so many reshuffles over the winter it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who will hit the ground the running.



So let’s start with reigning Teams’ and Drivers’ champions, Barwell Motorsport, where there’s a reasonable amount of familiarity. Sandy Mitchell switches from the now outlawed Silver Cup class to partner 2020 team-mate and title rival Adam Balon. Both know the team and their Lamborghini Huracan inside out, while Mitchell claimed victory at Brands last August en route to the crown.


Barwell’s other Pro-Am pairing of Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind are renewing a combination that first raced and won together at the 2019 Barcelona 24 Hours. Lind’s most recent British GT outing also came aboard a Lamborghini, albeit with WPI Motorsport, last season, while his Russian co-driver – the series’ inaugural GT3 champion back in 2006 – makes his first appearance since 2017.


Only two full-season Pro-Am crews remain unchanged from last year, and one of them – reigning class champions Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman – also arrive armed with the same GT3 machine – Mercedes-AMG – and team – RAM Racing – as in 2020. The other, Donington Park sprint race winners Nick Jones and Scott Malvern (Team Parker Racing), switched from Bentley to Porsche over the winter but gained useful insight during their recent GT Cup outing on the GP circuit. Could that be a factor next weekend?


British GT partnerships don’t come any more iconic than Andrew Howard, Jonny Adam and Beechdean AMR who have reunited for their first full-season assault together since winning the 2015 Drivers’ title. Their one-off outing at Brands last year convinced Howard to return with his former co-driver who claimed three more titles with different teams between 2016 and ’19.


Despite the absence of his long-time rival, Phil Keen still fell short of an elusive first GT3 title last term but begins 2021 in new surroundings after linking up with WPI Motorsport and Michael Igoe in what looks like a very promising combination. The latter scored his first British GT victory at Donington last season and has made considerable progress since debuting in 2019. Expect this Lamborghini to go particularly well if it’s wet, cold or both.


The pandemic accounted for JRM Racing’s sequin-studded Bentley last season but we’ll finally hear the Rumba of thunder when Strictly winner Kelvin Fletcher and his dance partner Martin Plowman fire up their Continental for the first time. Indeed, Brands Hatch will stage the couple’s GT3 debut after they waltzed to GT4’s Pro-Am Cha Cha Cha-mpionship in 2019.


Two McLarens are also fighting for GT3 honours, and both are entered by new full-season teams. One of them – Enduro Motorsport – feature the talents of Marcus Clutton who leads a Pro-Am crew also featuring GT3 debutant Morgan Tillbrook.


The other is one of three full-season Silver-Am entries. Ross Wylie and his Simon Green Motorsport co-driver Lucky Khera move up to GT3 after sampling the championship’s GTC class together at Silverstone last November.
They will face stiff opposition from two ‘dad and lad’ duos. Team Abba Racing’s Richard and Sam Neary impressed many throughout 2020, while Lewis Proctor – who shares Balfe’s McLaren with his father, Stewart, claimed pole position first time out at Oulton.


RAM Racing’s second Mercedes-AMG, currently competing on a race-by-race basis and shared by 2020 runner-up Sam De Haan and debutant James Cottingham, is bound to be a threat, while Ultimate Speed’s Michael Brown and Matt Manderson complete a five-strong Silver-Am class.


GT3’s 14th entry – the G-Cat Racing Porsche – features the sole Am/Am line-up of Greg Caton and Shamus Jennings.
 
 



- Tom Hornsby, photo SRO

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14.05.2021 / MaP

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