2015 Avon Tyres British GT Season preview

Close endurance races guaranteed (photo by Marc Waller)The 2015 Avon Tyres British GT championship gets going at Oulton Park over the easter weekend and with an entry list of 34 cars

for the season featuring 9 different makes, there’ll be guaranteed action once again.

This season, the GT4 entry has increased and there is a 50:50 split between the front running GT3 class and the slower but lower cost GT4 cars with 17 entered in each.

There are a record number of female entries in GT4 this year with no fewer than four. Jamie Chadwick moves up to the championship with last year’s GT4 champions Beachdean Motorsport in their Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and is joined by Ross Gunn. Anna Walewska is also joining the championship in a Ginetta G55 GT4 and is partnered by the experienced Rob Garofall. Unfortunately they miss the first round as the car won’t be ready in time. Last but most definitely not least are the championships first ever sister pairing of Chloe and Jade Edwards. They joined forces last year for the Aston Martin GT4 challenge and won a race at Donington. Now they are set for a full season of British GT still in their Aston Martin Vantage GT4 run by Stratton Motorsport. With the biggest GT4 entry for years all the female drivers face a tough challenge to get to the front but all are more than capable.

A late entry in GT3 is BTCC exile Mat Jackson. He is joining the Motorbase Performance run Oman racing team alongside Phil Dryburgh. The team will run three cars, Ahmad Al Harthy is joined by youg ace Daniel Lloyd and the third car is driven by Rory Butcher with another former BTCC driver Liam Griffin.

AMD tuning hope to mix it with the pack (photo by Marc Waller)Two Stunning Mclarens join the championship (photo by Marc Waller)Ginetta have two works entries (photo by Marc Waller)Another BTCC related entry can be found in GT4 Amd Tuning are entering a Porsche 911. Team Boss Shaun Hollamby will be at the wheel and he’ll be joined by Graham Coomes. They’ll have a lot of competition, not least from their female rivals.

The BTCC’s supplier of control parts, GPRM is entering a Toyota Gt86 in GT4 with Stefan Hodgetts being joined by an as yet unnamed team mate.

Another name from BTCC weekends, Ginetta enters two works Ginetta G55 Gt3. Steve Tandy and Mike Simpson lead with the second car being driven by Rick Parfitt jr (2013 GT4 champion) and Tom Olliphant.
BTCC team Triple Eight Racing have a BMW Z4 GT3 entered for Lee Mowle and Joe Osbourne and look set to be front runner once again.

Away from all the BTCC connections there are several returning teams and drivers that look set to be front runners. FF Corse return with Gary Eastwood joined by Adam Carroll and the Rosso Verde Ferrari is also back, Hector Lester joined by Benny Simonsen. Beachdean boss Andrew Howard is again racing his Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and is joined once more by Johnny Adam.Can they take the title back from Ecurie Eccose. They return with Marco Attard defending his title alongside Alexander Sims who missed out last year through missing a race. Barwell who are behind the Ecurie Ecosse entry have another BMW for Demon Tweeks backed Jon Minshaw who is joined by the rapid Phil Keen. They move over from Trackspeed who have left the championship.

2014 GT4 champion Ross Wylie moves up to the GT3 class sharing a Mclaren 650S GT3 with Andrew Watson. Also entered are a couple of Mercedes SLS GT3’s including the Jones brothers with their Preci Spark team making it two sibling pairings in the championship. Liam Griffin’s bother Kieran is also entered but not with his brother, he races in GT4 in an Aston Martin shared with the other 2014 GT4 champion, Jake Giddings.

There’s a last minute driver change in the number 53 Ultratek Lotus, Richard Taffinder is partnered by James Nash (Another BTCC connection, Nash is a former independent champion) but for Oulton, former LMP2 WEC champion Martin Plowman is in the car.

This is just a selection of the huge entry this season. You can view the full entry list here;
In other news Sunoco return as the fuel supplier to the championship after several years away. They are joined by Petronas who join as the championships lubricants partner. Avon tyres have announced a new compound tyre for this year that offers both increased performance and endurance so expect to see lap records tumbling in 2015.

With the death of British F3, the championship needed a new single seater partner and the Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship run by MSVR joins the weekend package. MSV boss Jonathan Palmer is happy to be joining the package;

We’re very excited here at MSV, not only to be hosting the series but also about how prestigious British GT has become over the past few years. SRO does a great job of understanding the category and that, combined with our hard work to make the circuits what they are, is a powerful combination. I am very much looking forward to this year.”

The boss of SRO, who run the championship, Stephane Ratel is also looking forward to the year;

“We’re delighted to be running our fourth-straight year of British GT at full capacity, particularly now that we’ve found the perfect balance with 17 entries in both the GT3 and GT4 categories. I think the strong field adds a high level of competition to the series, which is important for the drivers and teams. We’re really pleased with the global growth of the GT category, especially here with British GT, which is probably the best national championship in the world. I’m also pleased that the partnership with Jonathan [Palmer] has allowed us to add the BRDC Formula 4 Championship and maintain a strong single-seater platform as part of the package.”

With exciting cars and driver line ups and lots of close endurance racing in store, 2015 looks certain be another vintage year for the British GT championship.

Remember to stay safe and check the tread on your own Tyres, for more information and the options check out TyreShopper.

Advance tickets are still available for Oulton Park, Qualifying is on Easter Saturday with the double header of 1 hour races are on Easter Monday. It’s well worth the trip to the Cheshire circuit to see one of the most exciting championships in the UK. By Marc Waller

The Edwards sisters (photo by Marc Waller) Barwell BMW Z4 (photo by Marc Waller) Jamie Chadwick and Ross Gunn (photo by Marc Waller) Jade and Chloes car (photo by Marc Waller) Mat Jackson has a new challenge (photo by Marc Waller) Jamie hopes to fly in GT4 (photo by Marc Waller)

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