British GT3 ahead of Donington Park - Loggie at last?

British GT3 ahead of Donington Park - Loggie at last?

10.10.2022: 2022 Intelligent Money British GT Championship Donington Park 13-16 October 2022 Will this finally be Loggie’s year? Last year’s runner-up and the two-time reigning Pro-Am champion has never quite managed to bag British GT’s big one despite


2022 Intelligent Money British GT Championship
Donington Park
13-16 October 2022




 
Will this finally be Loggie’s year? Last year’s runner-up and the two-time reigning Pro-Am champion has never quite managed to bag British GT’s big one despite being there or thereabouts since switching to RAM Racing at the start of 2019.




Just one position – as well as potentially one lap given the circumstances – separated him and Yelmer Buurman from the overall crown 12 months ago when the #6 Mercedes-AMG found itself playing catch up at the final round rather than making the running.



This year the odds are stacked firmly in the Scot’s favour thanks to a 24.5-point lead over his nearest challengers Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell who must finish second at worst, despite serving a 15-second Success Penalty, to have any chance of bridging the gap. Loggie, meanwhile, competes handicap-free.



The other two mathematical contenders face an even tougher challenge. True, James Cottingham and Lewis Williamson do not have a Success Penalty, but they must win and hope Loggie finishes no better than ninth in order to overcome their 33-point starting deficit. Meanwhile, Morgan Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton will have to achieve something no GT3 crew has managed since 2016 – win after serving the full 20-second Success Penalty – if they’re to consider overturning Loggie’s 34-point advantage.




And if all that wasn’t enough, Loggie can also call upon the services of newly crowned Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS champion Jules Gounon who was forced to skip Brands Hatch due to a back injury. Neither the Frenchman nor Callum Macleod, who has also underpinned RAM’s title challenge this year, can share the championship with their Am co-driver. However, Gounon could make a telling difference if the #DoningtonDecider lives up to its unpredictable reputation.



Just ask perennial title challengers Barwell who have had their fair share of bad luck and near misses at the season finale. Mitchell clinched the 2020 title at Silverstone rather than Donington, while Balon has been a final round contender for each of the last three years without ever quite managing to win the crown.



2 Seas nor its drivers carry the same battle scars and have nothing to lose given their considerable deficit. What’s more, the Mercedes-AMG was seriously quick at Donington earlier this year when a Safety Car period prevented Cottingham and Williamson from pursuing Enduro’s McLaren, which has won British GT’s two previous races at the former GP venue. That stat alone marks out Tillbrook and Clutton as contenders despite them having to serve a 20-second Success Penalty for winning at Brands.



But it’s not just the title protagonists who should be near the sharp end. Enduro owes its place in the showdown to Abba’s heart-breaking, penultimate lap retirement five weeks ago when Richard and Sam Neary should have claimed their second British GT win. They now compete Success Penalty-free at the same circuit as their Mercedes-AMG triumphed in mid-2021.



The season finale has also attracted several guest entries and alterations to GT3’s 16-strong list.



Chief among them is Beechdean AMR, which makes its first British GT start since the same race 12 months ago. Team owner Andrew Howard shares the Aston Martin with Lewis Proctor whose regular seat at Greystone GT is filled by former Le Mans class and BTCC race winner Warren Hughes.



Century’s BMW starred last time out in the hands of Alexander Sims who’s now joined by Ginetta graduate Darren Leung, while Kelvin Fletcher’s showbiz commitments have forced a change at Paddock where Martin Plowman partners debutant Mark Smith.



There’s also newly crowned GT Cup champions Simon Orange and Michael O’Brien who now test themselves and their Orange Racing powered by JMH McLaren against British GT’s established order. And 2 Seas’ second Mercedes-AMG makes its latest guest appearance in the hands of 2019 champion Graham Davidson and Aaron Walker.



Meanwhile, Team Parker’s Porsche is racing elsewhere this weekend, and Redline’s Alex Malykhin – who clinched the Silver-Am championship with James Dorlin at Brands – has opted to focus on his next challenge.



- Tom Hornsby - photo SRO



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10.10.2022 / MaP

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