2024: Reigning champion Cowley makes Paddock move with McDermott

2024: Reigning champion Cowley makes Paddock move with McDermott

Matt Cowley will attempt to defend his British GT4 Championship crown alongside new co-driver Ed McDermott after swapping Academy’s Mustang for a Paddock Motorsport-run Mercedes-AMG.

Cowley was a mainstay of Academy’s Ford customer programme, claiming six wins in four years and finally sealing the title last season. But while his now former co-driver Erik Evans has remained with Academy, the 26-year-old is heading to pastures new.

He is one of four current or former GT4 champions hoping to become the first two-time class champion. Evans and Matt Nicoll-Jones both have the new Mustang at their disposal, while Dan Vaughan drives Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Supra.

“It’s a big change for this season, switching teams, cars, and even classes, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” said Cowley, who has raced in Silver/Silver line-ups since his British GT bow in 2020. “When the chance to join Ed and Paddock Motorsport came about, I had to take it. The team is really great, and the tests we’ve had so far have gone brilliantly, so we all feel right at home. 

“The Mercedes-AMG is a great car. It feels a bit more racey than the Mustang, purely as you sit lower down and there’s a lot of carbon, plus it’s excellent on the brakes and has great cornering speed. 

“Ed and I are heading into this season with eyes on winning the outright GT4 title. He’s putting a huge amount of effort in and is getting quicker and quicker, plus recent years have shown that consistent Pro-Am crews can be well in the overall title fight come the end of the season. There’s always a bit of pressure coming back as the reigning champion, but I’m not worrying about it. My biggest goal is to help Ed, and the team, win races.”

McDermott has also changed teams over the winter – he spent 2023 with a variety of operations – but does at least have experience of a Mercedes-AMG with which he and Mikey Broadhurst finished fourth in Pro-Am last season. Broadhurst will continue to coach McDermott but has opted to step aside and assume more of a management role in 2024.

“I’m looking forward to another year of British GT and I am excited to be working with Paddock Motorsport,” said McDermott. “Martin and his team have an impressive set-up and a wealth of racing experience. It’s going to be great to share the car with Matt, and I’m sure I will learn a lot from his experience of winning the championship last year. 

“Last season was difficult, and we had all the ups and downs of motorsport. The class win and overall podium at Silverstone was the highlight, and I hope 2024 will bring more of those days! 

“For the last few years Mikey Broadhurst has been my team-mate and I’m excited that he’s going to remain a big part of the team, continue to coach me and team manage the #12 Mercedes-AMG.”

The Mercedes-AMG is one of two Paddock-run GT4 entries competing this year. Its second line-up will be confirmed later this week, while a third car – the McLaren 720S GT3 Evo of Mark Smith and Martin Plowman – was announced back in January.

That expansion has necessitated a recruitment drive for the GT4 side of Paddock’s garage where Simon Pollock now leads the engineering team. Pollock has vast previous experience of working for organisations such as Aston Martin Racing (Prodrive), RJN, TF Sport and Redline Racing, and was also key in Plowman and Kelvin Fletcher’s GT4 Pro-Am title-winning campaign back in 2019.

British GT’s full-season entry list will be officially revealed at media day next Tuesday before Oulton Park stages the season opener on March 30 + April 1.