Category: British GT

Tregurtha and Middleton Collect Titles at Donington Park 2017 British GT Decider

2017 British GT

The Grand Prix of the 2017 British GT season took place in Donington Park this weekend. Forever determined PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport’s racing veterans Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson have become the race champions, bringing home their first British GT4 victory of the season.

However, the names on everyone’s lips are those of HHC Motorsport’ Will Tregurtha ad Stuart Middleton, the two young drivers, took home two major prizes, this year’s Drivers’ and Teams’ crowns. Showing great performances throughout the year and lingering in the top spots throughout the competition, the duo have also made history by becoming the youngest drivers ever to win a British GT title. Between each other they add up to 35 years and 160 days, this is just 160 days below the 2015 title holders Jamie Chadwick and Ross Gunn who added up to 35 years and 320 days.

The two 17 year olds headed to Donington Park with a very comfortable 25 point lead over their greatest rivals, Lanan Racing’s David Pittard and Alex Reed. However, the latter two had an unfortunate end to their efforts in the early stages of the two hour enduro, allowing the rookies to keep their advantage and confirm their title. Century Motorsport’s Jacob Mathiassen and Niall Murray showed some great performance and completed the podium after starting 13th.

The second place in the final race of the 2017 British GT was enough to reward Tregurtha and Middleton with their third title in a form of this year’s Silver Cup crown. Johnson and Robinson’s victorious last performance handed them the Pro-Am championship award.

Not all teams had the same amount of luck, it was an unfortunate day for UltraTek Racing who saw both its cars retire. Although their impressive efforts in repairing and rebuilding Tim Eakin and Kelvin Fletcher’s Nissan 370Z throughout the night, following a hefty shunt in qualifying, earned them the PMW Expo Team of the Weekend Award.

The British GT Championship will return for the start of its 26th campaign on Easter Bank Holiday Weekend – that’s March 31-April 2 – next year at Oulton Park .

2017 British GT Rounds 7 and 8 at Spa-Francorchamps

2017 British GT Rounds 7 & 8

20 GT4 cars have now arrived at the famous Ardenne’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium for the 2017 British GT rounds 7 & 8 away race happening this weekend. The circuit was designed in 1920 by Jules de Thier and Henri Langlois Van Ophem, the original triangle-shaped course used public roads between the Belgian towns of Francorchamps, Malmedy, and Stavelot. Today it still retains its unique shape, however now has no involvement with public roads and has been named as one of the fastest circuits, which has gained favouritism from a lot of drivers.

Rounds 7 & 8 are promising to be thrilling, such as with a new entry from Ebor GT’s Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4, which has made its first British GT start since Donington Park’s 2016 season finale. Our very own Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing sponsored team have also made quite a few changes this year, rookies Adam Hatfield and Benjamin Wallace will make their first appearance representing an all-Silver line up of the Team HARD-run Ginettas. Their second car will be driven by 2014 GT4 champion Jake Giddings who came back to the squad following his Snetterton cameo as replacement for Sam Webster.

For the first time in a while a second Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport will also appear on 2017 British GT’s Spa grid courtesy of Delahaye Racing and Alexandre Viron, at the moment they compete together in the Le Mans Cup. Viron is joined by fellow Am Emmanuel Orgeval.

With top five drivers not being too far apart when looking at their points so far, an unexpected switch around the board is being anticipated. Alex Reed and David Pittard are currently in a first place lead by 3.5 points from Adam Balon and Adam Mackay, who failed to gain point in round 3, but managed to bring it back home in third round and gain podium lead. 2 points behind stand the championship’s youngest participants, Stuart Middleton and William Tregurtha, the two teenagers have managed to scoop up impressive points from the first round, showing some especially exceptional performance in rounds 3 & 4.

Catch Rounds 7 & 8 this Saturday.

Channel 4, BT Sport and Motorsport TV will all broadcast highlights of both races. 

 

 

British GT Championship Rounds 6 & 7 at Silverstone

British GT Championship Rounds 6 & 7

British GT cars had once again lined up at the grid line on the 10th and 11th of June, this time at the famous Northamptonshire based, Silverstone Circuit. The British GT Championship rounds 6 & 7 shaped up to be quite superb, with two of the championship’s pole standing leaders, who are also youngest on the track, confirming their lead. HHC Motorsport’s William Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton, both 17, are standing in an impressive 3rd place following this weekend’s race, where they lost their 1st place rank to Ginetta drivers Alex Reed and David Piattard. The two Lanan Racing drivers, both 19, were top of the pile after the opening weekend before slipping back at Rockingham and now climbing back up to 1st place. This weekend’s winners Adam Balon and Adam Mackay are not far behind with only 3,5 points difference. Applying further pressure to the two rivals will be vital, if the drivers want to see themselves ahead in the game.

In 5th place, 17 points behind the first place winners, are the teammates that many regarded as pre-season favourites for this year’s GT4 title: Black Bull Garage 59’s Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty. The two drivers were very close to achieving a podium position, before being overtaken by 4th place winners Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson. Autoaid Insurance Racing Matt Chapman, Sam Webster and Michael Caine were left to share 17th position and are left with only 4 points to hold on to.

With the championship being half way done, can we start speculating who will be bringing home the crowning glory of the British GT championship? Well, looking at the current standings, it seems like it will be a close call. Currently there is a 16 point difference between the 1st place and 5th place drivers, which can easily be changed with a tinniest mistake or technical fault from the leader’s side, putting the current lower scorers in the front.

The 2017 British GT Championship continues at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 7th and 8th of July 

 

 

British GT Championship, Rounds 4&5: Snetterton

Those following the British GT Championship will know that there are two classes competing in the same race series; GT3 and GT4. To best explain the differences, and how the classes came about, the words of Wikipedia probably explain a lot better than we ever could:

“A consolidation of GT regulations and significant manufacturer support saw British GT first introduce a GT3 class in 2005. The category later mirrored that of the FIA GT3 European Championship and has used near-identical regulations from 2006 onwards. GT3 rules include extensive performance balancing and handicap weights to make cars artificially more equal. Cost-saving measures saw the series’ previous premier class, GT2, phased out at the end of 2006.

The FIA GT4 class was adopted in 2008 as a stepping stone towards GT3. Regulations governing GT4 ensure the cars more closely resemble their road-going counterparts than GT3 machines. This replaced the unique GTC category that was previously a part of British GT.”

Anyway, we digress. In the latest rounds of the British GT Championship, which were held at Norfolk’s Snetterton race track over the May Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend, in the GT4 Class which sees the likes of Porsche Caymans racing against McLaren 570S’, Nissan 370Z’s and Aston Martin Vantage’s, the Ginetta’s (driven by our team on the track; Team HARD, and other teams as well) put in an improved performance finishing top of the class (HHC Motorsport and Lanan Racing).

The Team HARD run, RCIB Insurance Racing sponsored cars finished in 22nd and 26th in Race 1 and 18th and 21st (9th and 12th in class), with Lanan Racing again representing one of the 2 top spots in their own Ginetta G55. More impressively are the times that separate the top of the table from the bottom – there isn’t a huge amount in it, showing that the cars are always seemingly up with the pack, even when they aren’t necessarily winning races.

Perhaps Snetterton is the track best suited to Ginetta’s. Perhaps they are finding their form as the season progresses, or perhaps the other cars in the series hit their stride earlier in the season and Ginetta badged cars are now competing more evenly. We’ll have more of an idea after the next rounds, at Silverstone on 10-11 June but the signs are looking really positive as we approach mid season…

Picture courtesy of Ian Cutting Photography.

Round 3 of The British GT Championship at Rockingham

Round 3 of The British GT Championship

This challenging track, just shy of 2 miles in length and with a dozen corners to negotiate became host to Round 3 of the British GT Championship on 29 April. There has been no consistant manufacturer winner at this round/location in 5 years, and this year wasn’t without a little twist, or two either in how the results were eventually announced…

The Team HARD run, RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta G55’s were again up against some impressive, and highly expensive rivals including Bentley, McClaren, Aston Martin and Ferrari. Whilst the two pairs of RCIB Insurance Racing put up a good fight (and let’s face facts, they looked pretty gorgeous too), they finished the day with most of the other Ginetta’s on this occasion in the bottom half of the results table.

But, the 2 hour long race was not without controversy. A safety car came out for a brief spell on lap 3, and the eventual race winners were Team Parker Racing with their Bentley Continental GT4. But this wasn’t before ‘Spirit of Race’ (Ferrari) were knocked back into 2nd place as a result of a post race penalty.

Whilst some in the crowd wondered what was going on, and questions were inevitably asked about the Safety Car procedure which led to the course of events on track, it seems things were handled correctly ‘by the letter of the regulations’. But there was a 2nd, subsequently un-warranted investigation too regarding possible ‘avoidable contact’ between other drivers, meaning the whole race was fraught with nose to tail driving at the front in the big supercars, and a close checking of rules and scrutinising of driving behaviour after the event by officials too.

One thing is for sure, and that is that this round at Rockingham is never dull and if you like seeing the likes of Ferrari battling head to head with old foes, Lamborghini, or traditional British marques including Bentley, Aston Martin, and of course our own Ginetta’s showing the world why they’ll always be red, white and blue in the sport for the forseeable, you’ll not go away disappointed.

Next round is at Snetterton on 27 – 28 May.

Photo courtesy of Craig Wheeldon Photography.

AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Sponsored Ginetta G55’s

There’s a saying amongst diehard car enthusiasts that you should always take a look back over your shoulder at your car each time you park and walk away if you are truly in love with your vehicle. Writing this, I know I for one that I am certainly guilty and nobody can ever deny the love and passion that RCIB Insurance Racing staff have for specialist car ownership and for Motorsport. So, as well as sponsoring cars in BTCC, Rally and VAG series, RCIB Insurance Racing also have a foothold in the British GT Championship too.

For the 2nd year, Team HARD (who also run 3 Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing VW Passat CC’s in BTCC) are running two cars in the British GT4 Championship, with both Autoaid and RCIB Insurance Racing livery for 2017. The Championship itself is fairly well known to contain some of the best looking metal known to the Automotive industry and the Team HARD run, Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing sponsored cars must surely being seen to do their ‘bit’ with the track deployment of 2 x Ginetta G55 GT4 cars.

The 2 cars for 2017 are driven by 2 partnership duo’s of Mike Newbould and Michael Caine and Howard Fuller and Sam Webster.

Made in Ginetta’s Leeds factory, the cars are built with many hand crafted components which has helped establish the brand on a global scale as a Heritage ‘race car brand’. One can feel, just by following the lines and curves of our own sponsored G55’s, that the designer was very much in tune with how a car needed to look, as well as perform on the World stage.

In their own words, Ginetta explain precisely what makes this choice of car just so right for British GT Motorsport…:

“The G55 has been one of Ginetta’s most popular cars for export, racing in almost every continent of the world. The G55 GT4 has a successful track record for performance and reliability, as proven in some of the most gruelling races in the world including the VLN Nordschleife 24hr, Gulf 12 Hour and Dubai 24 Hour Endurance race in which the G55 GT4 has achieved consecutive wins for the past two years, securing both 1st and 2nd position in 2016.”

Autoaid, and parent company RCIB, are proud to be associated with this iconic British brand, and indeed with our good friends at Team HARD who help represent us so well on the tarmac…but even now, we still have to look back over our shoulder one final time at the stunning G55’s each time we walk away. We just wish we could take them home.

British GT, Team HARD 2nd car entry

Following a very successful debut British GT campaign culminating in the team championship, Team HARD Racing are very proud to announce the second of their pairings of Michael Caine and Mike Newbould.

We feel it is another strong partnership that we have managed to put together as we defend our title and look to compete for the pro/am title too in 2017.

Michael is a very successful racing driver having previously raced in the British GT between 2001 and 2007 before moving on to compete in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB where he finished as runner up twice. Michael was to become the British GT Champion in 2012 and will now return to the Championship in the GT4 category at the wheel of a brand new Ginetta G55 built to the latest specification.

Michael added “After the 2016 went pear shaped, I’m really looking forward to competing in a championship again. Last year was the first time in 26 years of racing that I didn’t have a championship to compete in and then the guys at team hard gave me an opportunity in British Touring Cars that unfortunately didn’t really get started. I think we have a good chance this season and GT4 looks like it’s the future. Mrs Caine is also very happy as it gets me out the house and she has also been told that the end of year bash is in Paris!”

Michael is no stranger to the team having raced alongside us in the Carrera Cup GB as well as competing in the British Touring Car Championship for us in 2016 before an unfortunate injury curtailed his season early.

Tony Gilham said “It is great to have secured the services of Michael for the coming season as he brings so much to the table both on and off track. He is a seasoned professional and can only add strength to the team as a whole. We are very excited to see how he develops his relationship with Mike throughout the season and feel that there is a genuine possibility of the pro/am title. Mike hasn’t had much seat time so far but with such an experienced partner to learn from we look forward to seeing how he progresses”

Mike joins the team for 2017 after recently sampling one of our BTCC car’s from 2016 and having competed in the Ginetta Supercup last season as well as some seat time in a prototype car. Mike is a very capable driver and will look to work with Michael to further develop his ability as a racer and build on his relative inexperience.

Mike added “I am incredibly excited to be part of Team HARDs British GT campaign for 2017. I can’t thank Tony enough for putting this together, the opportunity to race along side Michael is fantastic for a new driver. I am really looking forward to drawing on Michaels skill and experience to help me develop as a racer in what is going to be a busy and exciting year ahead in British GT.

The new cars are currently in build at the Ginetta factory and we look forward to collecting them in the coming weeks to begin our test programme ahead of what we hope to be a very successful second year in British GT.

Thanks to Team HARD for writing this article, which was originally posted on their own website.