2024: Buncombe set for long-awaited British GT return with RJN and Watts

2024: Buncombe set for long-awaited British GT return with RJN and Watts

Al Buncombe will contest his first British GT Championship campaign since 2014 after linking up with his long-time former squad Team RJN and Simon Watts.

Buncombe previously spent 12 years with RJN, first in the GT4 ranks from 2007 through 2011 and then as a factory NISMO GT3 driver until 2018. Those programmes included winning the GT4 European Cup and Blancpain Endurance Series – the forerunner to Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS.

But the partnership also extended to British GT where Buncombe partnered then reigning GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough in 2012. The duo, RJN and their Nissan GTR finished sixth overall that season before Buncombe returned alongside Chris Hoy for several outings two years later. 

Buncombe subsequently joined Bentley’s factory roster but is now back in the familiar surroundings of Bob Neville’s squad, which last contested British GT in 2022.

“Bob and the whole RJN team are like family to me and it’s fantastic to be back with them for my return to British GT,” said Buncombe. “I’m really looking forward to lining up and working alongside Simon and getting behind the wheel of the McLaren. It’s been 10 years since I was last part of the British GT grid so I'm looking forward to racing the classic circuits that the championship visits. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in putting this programme together.”

Watts was also part of that entry and finished third in the Silver-Am standings despite missing several rounds. He now returns for his first full-time British GT assault.

“I’m incredibly excited to be returning to British GT with Team RJN following my debut season in 2022,” he said. “I was forced to miss two rounds in ‘22 and we still managed to achieve third place in the Silver-Am championship so I’m hoping to build on that as we go through this season.

“I’m privileged to be teaming up with Alex who has such a wealth of experience and who has won races and championships at so many levels. Bob Neville has years of experience helping novice drivers through the fantastic journey of becoming Pros during the GT Academy programme, but I don’t think he ever counted on having to look after me!

“With Alex returning to the team where it all started and Bob still at the top of his game after more than 20 years of running GT programmes, I can feel an energy building which is wonderful to be around and totally infectious.”

RJN is returning to the championship – as well as circuit racing generally – this year after spending 2023 running the JBXE Extreme E team. It also played a significant role in the recent Gran Turismo movie, which recounts the story of Mardenborough’s journey from gamer to racer.

“It was strange for us not circuit racing during 2023 but the focus of the team and business had to be elsewhere, so I’m delighted to be back!” added Neville. “I would like to welcome Simon to the team as a driver but also as an integral part of the business. Likewise, I’m extremely happy to have Alex as part of our team once again. So much of the RJN story has had Alex as part of it and so it feels very natural to have him line up with Simon, 20 years on since our first appearance in British GT, which the new cyan livery reflects.

“There's no doubt that the championship is extremely competitive but with our drivers and the McLaren 720S GT3 Evo, I'm certain we will have a competitive combination.”

Oulton Park hosts the opening round of this year’s British GT Championship on Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (March 30 + April 1).


RJN has undergone a rebrand over the winter by swapping its fluro yellow detailing for cyan – a nod to the unusual and now largely forgotten car with which RJN made its British GT debut in 2005.

The 350Z GT2 programme ran for just one season in British GT and registered a best result of third overall at Silverstone. However, it laid the foundations for RJN’s long-term partnership with Nissan, which continued until the end of 2018. 

RJN was responsible for building, developing and selling NISMO’s GT4 cars, but the team also campaigned the GT-R GT3 with great success – often with Buncombe behind the wheel – around the world.