British GT Championship decider welcomes 30 cars

Four GT3 entries and three GT4 crews will fight to be crowned 2022 Intelligent Money British Champions this weekend at #DoningtonDecider.

The two-hour title showdown is one of the annual highlights of British motorsport and is accustomed to overturning conventional wisdom by providing drama right up to the checkered flag.

RAM Racing’s Ian Loggie sincerely hopes that won’t be the case this year, thanks to his considerable but not insurmountable advantage in GT3 points over Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell (Barwell Motorsport), James Cottingham and Lewis Williamson (2 Seas Motorsport), and Morgan Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton (Enduro Motorsport).

The GT4 championship scrap includes one less competitor, but could offer a classic showdown, even by British GT standards, thanks to a combination of existing points and hit penalties that have yet to be served. Newbridge Motorsport’s Matt Topham and Darren Turner start with the initial advantage but will have two Silver crews, Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding (Steller Motorsport), plus Josh Miller and Jamie Day (R Racing) to contend with.

Two anniversaries, the 30th season of British GT and 20 years of Intelligent Money, will also be celebrated this weekend when each car will carry a unique windscreen banner featuring both the IM roundel and the pre-SRO logo of British GT. Donington hosted the very first race of the series in 1993, making it the perfect place to commemorate this milestone.

GT3

Will this finally be the year of IainLoggie? Last year’s runner-up and two-time defending Pro-Am champion has never quite managed to win the big British GT title despite being there or thereabouts since switching to RAM Racing in the beginning of 2019.

Just one position, as well as a potential 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 in the final round rather than racing.

This year the odds are firmly in the Scot’s favor with a 24.5 point lead over his closest challengers Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell who need to finish second at worst, despite a 15 second penalty to have any chance of winning. fill the gap. Loggie, meanwhile, competes without a disability.

The other two math candidates face an even tougher challenge. Granted, James Cottingham and Lewis Williamson don’t have a hit penalty, but they have to win and hope Loggie doesn’t finish better than ninth in order to overcome their starting deficit of 33 points. Meanwhile, Morgan Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton will need to achieve something no GT3 crew has achieved since 2016, win after serving the full 20-second success penalty, if they are to consider overturning the 34-second advantage. Loggie points.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Loggie can also enlist the services of new 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 also backed RAM’s title challenge this year, can share the championship with their co-driver Am. However, Gounon could make a significant difference if the #DoningtonDecider lives up to his unpredictable reputation .

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

Neither 2 Seas nor its pilots bear the same battle scars and have nothing to lose given their considerable deficit. Moreover, the Mercedes-AMG was very quick at Donington earlier this year when a safety car period prevented Cottingham and Williamson from chasing the Enduro McLaren, which had won the previous two British GT races on the old site of the GP. That stat alone makes Tillbrook and Clutton contenders despite having to serve a 20-second hit penalty for winning at Brands.

But it’s not just the title’s protagonists who should be close to the end. The enduro owes its place in the showdown to Abba’s heartbreaking retirement on the penultimate lap five weeks ago when Richard and Sam Neary should have taken their second British GT victory. They are now competing Success Penalty-free on the same circuit that their Mercedes-AMG triumphed in mid-2021.

The season finale also attracted several guest entries and changes to GT3’s 16-player roster.

Chief among them is Beechdean AMR, making 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 occupied by former Le Mans class and BTCC race winner Warren Hughes.

Century’s BMW last played in the hands of Alexander Sims who is now joined by Ginetta graduate Darren Leung, while Kelvin Fletcher’s showbiz commitments have forced a change to Paddock where Martin Plowman is partnering the rookie Mark Smith.

There are also new GT Cup champions Simon Orange and Michael O’Brien now testing themselves and their JMH McLaren powered Orange Racing against the British GT established order. And the second 2 Seas Mercedes-AMG makes its final appearance in the hands of 2019 champion Graham Davidson and Aaron Walker.

Meanwhile, Team Parker’s Porsche is taking part in the Michelin Le Mans Cup this weekend, and Redline’s Alex Malykhin, who won the Silver-Am championship with James Dorlin at Brands, has opted to focus on his next challenge.

GT4

There’s history to be made everywhere you look in the battle for the GT4 title, which is much closer than the current points table suggests and, on paper at least, likely to provide greater drama. than its GT3 equivalent.

Topham and Turner undoubtedly have the upper hand, both in terms of points already accumulated and time wasted in pit stops. Newbridge’s Aston Martin duo won the Pro-Am crown at Donington 12 months ago and could become the first such crew to also win the overall title since Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson in 2016.

They start with a convenient 12.5 point lead over Williams and Fielding who will also sit still for 21 seconds longer in their pitstop due to a 15 second hit penalty and the extra 26 second handicap silver . That’s a lot to overcome without a fortuitously timed safety car, which played into the hands of Topham and Turner last time out.

However, the Steller crew invariably started towards the end of the year thanks mainly to Fielding establishing himself as the fastest driver in GT4. And any missteps from Newbridge could leave the door ajar for Audi to claim its first-ever British GT title.

The underdogs would be Miller and Day of R Racing who arrive at Donington 20.5 points behind Newbridge. The teenagers must therefore above all finish on the podium if they want to have a chance of beating their rivals in the championship. And you wouldn’t bet against him given their current form, which includes two wins in the last four races. Additionally, their total pit stop time deficit to Newbridge is just six seconds, an amount that can easily be overcome with a quick opening stint.

Yes, their point difference seems daunting. But chances are that this year’s title battle will come down to the final moments of this year’s campaign. If they win, Miller and Day, who will be 34 years and 11 days in total on race day, will smash Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton’s record as the youngest crew to win a British GT title by more than a year. year.

Of course, all of the above is also subject to the other GT4 competitors who have personal pride and glory to play for in the season finale.

Two entries in particular, the BMW of Century shared by Jack Brown and outgoing champion Will Burns, as well as the Academy Mustang of Matt Cowley and Marco Signoretti, are bound to be in contention. Indeed, Cowley took victory at the same circuit last year with Will Moore returning to the British GT grid for the first time since that win in a second Ford alongside rookie Erik Evans.

Seb Hopkins and Jamie Orton have gotten quicker as the season progressed and would love to finish their campaign aboard Team Parker’s Porsche with a first overall win, while Toyota Gazoo Racing UK can’t be ignored either.

Changes include Paddock’s McLaren, which did so well at Brands before being retired, moving from Silver to Pro-Am with the appointment of Kavi Jundu alongside Moh Ritson, and Adam Knight joining Benji Hetherington in Valluga’s Porsche.

Elsewhere, the Pro-Am and Silver titles will also be decided on Sunday.

Topham and Turner have a hand on the Pro-Am trophy but can still be beaten by Team BRIT’s Aaron Morgan and Bobby Trundley. 24.5 points separate them, of which 37.5 are still available.

Money, on the other hand, is a straight shootout between two overarching protagonists. Williams/Fielding lead Miller/Day by 20 points.

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