Preview: Avon Tyres British GT Championship, Snetterton

The Avon Tyres British GT Championship continues its reign as Britain’s best motorsport race series with a massive grid expected for this weekend’s round (15/16 June) at Snetterton.

Over 30 cars will compete on the Snetterton 300 circuit as the series reaches its halfway point in the season. Four different crews have taken the top spot in the previous four races, leaving the tensions high leading up to the Norfolk round.

Leading the standings is the Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 of Oliver Bryant and Marco Attard, having won at Silverstone during the last race meeting.

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They’re closely followed by Nick Tandy/David Ashburn in the Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 and Richard Westbrook/Gregor Fisken in the second of three Trackspeed GT3s, while the United Autosports Audi crew of Matt Bell and Mark Patterson will no doubt be biting at the heels of the championship 1st and 2nd place Porsches in an effort to promote themselves from their current third place standing.

Talking of United Autosports, last week Former F1 driver Mark Blundell stepped down from the 2013 British GT Championship, citing increased ‘business commitments’ as the cause. He’s been replaced by Glynn Geddie, who joins United Autosports for the rest of the 2013 season.

While Blundell’s 2MB sports management business may be cramping his time, frustration were evident at Silverstone when he was forced to retire after being hit whilst defending his position on track.

Blundell was furious when interviewed after the incident on Motors TV, describing his retirement from the race as “completely avoidable.” The Former F1 driver was hit from behind by Richard Sykes’ Ginetta G55 shortly after overtaking him at Village Corner, this left him with a broken upright which spun his McLaren MP4-12C into Sykes and the Ferrari 458 of Richard Johnston at the next corner.

In the heat of the moment he threatened to quit the series, so it seems that this plus his growing schedule of commitments was enough to tip the balance in favour of retirement.

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Another favourite for a win this weekend is the Beechdean Aston Martin of Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam, while reigning champion Michael Caine and his Motorbase team-mate Ahmad Al Harthy will no doubt also want a look-in.

Both teams are well-placed in the championship’s top ten, as is Fortec Mercedes SLS driver Benji Hetherington and the M-Sport Audi driven by Warren Hughes and Rembert Berg.

Qualifying takes place from 15:50 on Saturday, with a session for each of Sunday’s races, the first of which starts at 10:45. Support race action comes from the BRDC Formula 4 Championship, Ginetta GT5 Challenge, VW Racing Cup, V.A.G Trophy and Mk2 Golf GTi Championship. A full timetable can be downloaded by clicking here.

Tickets are available on the gate from £13, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. More information can be obtained by calling 0843 453 9000 or by visiting the British GT website.

Entry List

1, Oman Air Motorbase, Ahmad Al Harthy & Michael Caine, Porsche 997, GT3
6, PGF – Kinfaun AMR, John Gaw & Phil Dryburgh, Aston Martin Vantage, GT3
007, Beechdean AMR, Andrew Howard & Jonny Adam, Aston Martin Vantage, GT3
8, 888 Optimum Racing, Lee Mowle & Joe Osborne, BMW Z4, GT3
9, VonRyan Racing, Gregoire Demoustier & Duncan Tappy, McLaren MP412C, GT3
10, M-Sport Racing, Rembert Berg & Warren Hughes, Audi R8 LMS Ultra, GT3
11, PE Group Blendini Motor, Dom Evans & Tom Roche, Audi R8 LMS, GT3
13, AF Corse, John Dhillon & Aaron Scott, Ferrari 458 Italia, GT3
14, Fortec Motorsports, Benji Hetherington & Jason Minshaw, Mercedes AMG SLS, GT3
15, Fortec Motorsports, Drivers TBA Mercedes, AMG SLS, GT3
16, Team LNT, Richard Sykes & Mike Simpson, G55 Ginetta, GT3
18, FF Corse, Gary Eastwood & Rob Barff, Ferrari 458 Italia, GT3
22, Preci-Spark, David Jones & Godfrey Jones, McLaren MP412C, GT3
23, United Autosports, Zak Brown & Alvaro Parente, McLaren MP412C, GT3
24, United Autosports, Jody Firth & Glynn Geddie, McLaren MP412C, GT3
25, United Autosports, Mark Patterson & Matt Bell, Audi R8 LMS Ultra, GT3
31, Trackspeed, David Ashburn & Nick Tandy, Porsche 997, GT3
32, Trackspeed, Gregor Fisken & Stephen Jelley, Porsche 997, GT3
33, Trackspeed, Jon Minshaw & Phil Keen, Porsche 997, GT3
40, CWS 4 x 4 Spares, Tom Sharp & Colin White, Ginetta G55, GT3
41, Mtech, Derek Johnston & Jake Rattenbury, Ferrari 458 Italia, GT3
43, Century Motorsport, Declan Jones & Zoe Wenham, Ginetta G50, GT4
44, Optimum Motorsport, Rick Parfitt Jnr & Ryan Ratcliffe, Ginetta G50, GT4
45, Blendini Motorsport, Rory Bryant & Anthony Rodgers, Ginetta G50, GT4
50, Redgate Lifetime Racing, Matt Smith & Dan Eagling, Ginetta G50, GT4
53, Complete Racing, Steven Chaplin & Tom Wilson, Aston Martin, GT4
69, APO Sport, Alex Osborne & James May, Ginetta G50, GT4
78, Barwell Motorsport, Piers Johnson & Ron Johnson, BMW Z4, GT3
79, Ecurie Ecosse, Marco Attard & Oliver Bryant, BMW Z4, GT3
80, Barwell Motorsport, Mark Poole & Richard Abra, Aston Martin Vantage, GT3
888, 888 Optimum Racing, Steve Tandy & Dan Brown, BMW Z4, GT3

Words: James Broomhead
Pictures: Kevin Mc Glone (Red Square Images)