In an already positive week for the series, another two GT3 entries were last night confirmed for the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship as Triple Eight Race Engineering announced it would again enter a pair of BMW Z4 GT3s.
After a strong debut year where the two Z4s were regulars in the points and on the podium, the highly successful engineering squad based near Milton Keynes revealed it will field Derek Johnston and Luke Hines, while retaining the quick pairing of Joe Osborne and Lee Mowle.
Ian Harrison, 888 Race Engineering's MD said, “Last year was our first foray into GT racing, and our performance and understanding of this kind of racing built as the season unfolded. With the driver crews we have for 2014, the ingredients are there to keep that momentum going. We want wins and the Championship. Nothing less.”
Johnston and Hines raced together in British GT at the tail end of the 2013 season, after the team running Johnston, Mtech, swapped Ferrari for Ginetta halfway through the year. Hines was put forward by Ginetta after Johnston's initial team-mate Jake Rattenbury, move aside with the switch of machinary. Despite limited track time together, Johnston and Hines showed themselves to be a competitive pairing and in the Donington finale further displayed their talents by challenging at the sharp end of the grid.
“I am delighted to be racing in the 888 BMW Z4 in BGT next season," said Johnston. "The team have established themselves in their first season and I am looking forward to building on that”.
His team-mate in the #888 BMW, and a former race winner with 888 in the BTCC, Hines, added: I’m really pleased that I will be working with 888 again. They were responsible for starting my career back in the works Vauxhall touring car days and I know what a professional outfit they are. I’m confident that with Derek Johnston as my team mate and a team as strong as 888, we can deliver some really competitive results. I would really like to thank Derek and 888 for this opportunity.”
Mowle and Osborne, or 'Batman and Robin' as they came known over the course of the season, developed as a pairing with every race they completed. After a tricky first half of the season that saw them fall 32.5 points behind 2013 team-mates Dan Brown and Steve Tandy, Mowle and Osborne went on a four race point scoring streak. Arguably the streak should have also included a fifth points scoring round at the Donington finale, but for an irregular issue with pit stops that dropped the pairing out of contention, with a clutch-related failure eventually ruling them out of the race.
British GT has now confirmed five GT3 and three GT4 entries, and will have confirm more over the coming weeks in the lead up the top industry event, the Autosport Show (9-12 January 2014), at the NEC in Birmingham.