Brands Hatch Weekend Notebook

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

***It is understood that last weekend’s news from Spa that the British GT Championship is considering split grids for 2018 is still under consideration although dependent on the level of interest in both the GT3 and GT4 classes.

***If the draft calendars revealed at the SRO press conference were to go ahead, the season-opener at Oulton Park would be GT3-only while a GT4 race at Thruxton is possible. The fields would share a grid at Silverstone and Spa where more garages are available. 

***Barwell Motorsport team principal Mark Lemmer is considering a move up to the GTE ranks, likely no earlier than 2019, and possibly with the rumored Lamborghini GTE car. “We’ve been there before and if there’s a way back to Le Mans, we’ll look at it again,” he told Sportscar365. “If [Lamborghini] goes that route, yes, but if they don’t, that’s not an option.”

***For next season, Lemmer envisages a similar program with two Lamborghini Huracan GT3s in British GT and two cars racing in Europe, although a move out of the Blancpain GT Series is being examined. “We’ll be running Lamborghinis, with at least two GT3s in British GT, but we are evaluating other European series for Pro-Am,” he said. “Blancpain GT has become almost too fierce for an Am environment. We might have to look at International GT Open.”

***TF Sport could move into the FIA World Endurance Championship next season with its Aston Martin Vantage GTE program which is currently competing in the European Le Mans Series. Team manager Tom Ferrier is aiming to remain in British GT as well, while the Oman Racing Team-backed entry could either stay in Blancpain GT or move to ELMS.

“Mark [Farmer] and Derek [Johnston] want to carry on doing British GT if there’s a grid here, and maybe [we will enter] WEC with the ELMS car if that all goes well,” Ferrier told Sportscar365. “With Ahmad and the Oman Racing Team bit, maybe Blancpain GT or a graduation into ELMS.”

***Tom Hibbert was amongst the drivers making their British GT debuts this weekend, in the sole Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT3. The 30-year-old won both GT4 European Series Northern Cup races at Brands Hatch in May, racing a GT4-spec Ginetta alongside Charlie Robertson.

***Hibbert crashed his No. 19 Ginetta during Free Practice 1, red-flagging the session. While the team initially attempted to repair the car on-site, it was forced to withdraw the entry ahead of qualifying.

***Mike Brown expects to be back on the grid at Donington next month following his first race of the season this weekend, which is largely to judge the series while considering a larger presence in British GT next season. “We haven’t made any decisions about next year yet but we’ll see how we get on in these two rounds,” he told Sportscar365. “For me, it’s more about the enjoyment of it than the successes or whatever. If we have a good race then we’ll come back and do more rounds.”

***The AmD Tuning Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Lee Mowle and Ryan Ratcliffe is absent this weekend after sustaining chassis damage. Ratcliffe confirmed on social media that he would also miss the Donington Park round, owing to the clash with the Michelin Le Mans Cup race at Spa.

***With a pair of two-hour races remaining this season, 75 championship points are still up for grabs. Seven cars are still in the GT3 title hunt although the battle will likely be between Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen and Team Parker Racing drivers Rick Parfitt and Seb Morris, who are separated by just 12 points. 

***Similarly, seven cars could theoretically win the GT4 title, but the main competition for HHC Motorsport’s points leaders Stuart Middleton and Will Tregurtha will be the Lanan Racing duo of Alex Reed and David Pittard, who come to Brands hatch just 2.5 points down.

***Pittard says he is enjoying the way the title battle has played out, with two Ginetta G55 GT4s at the top of the standings, putting more focus on the drivers. “I like that it’s about the driving talent,” he told Sportscar365. “Will and Stuart are two very talented guys. Having worked in the TOCA paddock and seen them progress over the years, I knew as soon as they announced their plans that they were going to be championship rivals.”

***Six British GT drivers – Jonny Adam, Phil Keen, Adam Christodoulou, Matt Griffin, Duncan Cameron and Sam Tordoff – took part in last weekend’s Total 24 Hours of Spa. Adam finished second in the Pro-Am class in his Oman Racing Team with TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and wrapped up the Pro-Am title with co-driver Ahmad Al Harthy.

***Series returnee Ebor GT took the GT4 class wins in both races last time out at Spa with Matty Graham and Charlie Fagg, although the team isn’t back on the grid this weekend with a “lack of suitably qualified technicians” the stated reason for the team’s absence. 

***Watch tomorrow’s race streamed live on the series’ Facebook page, commencing at 2:10 p.m. local time.

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