2024: Harriott’s Chariot gets major makeover for Johnston and Salkeld’s GT3 graduation

2024: Harriott’s Chariot gets major makeover for Johnston and Salkeld’s GT3 graduation

Reigning British GT4 Pro-Am champions Michael Johnston and Chris Salkeld are graduating to the senior ranks with Century Motorsport this season.

The duo stick with the same team as 2023 but have swapped their previous M4 for a GT3-spec BMW similar to the one with which Century, Darren Leung and Dan Harper won the 2023 crown.

But that was just the tip of a standout season for Nathan Freke’s squad, which also claimed the GT4 teams’ and Pro-Am titles thanks to Johnston/Salkeld and Carl Cavers/Lewis Plato.

Those pairings will remain team-mates this year, but also Silver-Am rivals in the GT3 class. Cavers/Plato’s entry was the first to be announced back in January.

However, it was Johnston and Salkeld who ultimately prevailed in last season’s GT4 squabble thanks to a fine championship run-in that featured an overall victory at Portimao.

That was the culmination of Salkeld’s three-year British GT4 journey with Century and BMW, while Johnston – who made his debut last season – also celebrated with a dip in Portimao’s paddock swimming pool post-race! They ultimately finished fourth in the overall standings after heading to Donington Decider as outside title prospects.

Both subsequently raced Century’s M4 GT3 together at the Dubai 24 Hours in late January, scoring a class podium in the process, and now have their sights set on more trophies in what is shaping up to be a stacked British GT Silver-Am class.

“After an incredible first year in British GT4 Chris and I are delighted to be making the leap to GT3 for 2024,” said Johnston. “We drove the BMW M4 GT3 in Dubai for the first time in January, and the step up is massive – I think even bigger than Ginetta GT Academy to GT4 last year. But I’m looking forward to the challenge. Winning our class in the Dubai 24 Hours was such a good way to start our first year in a GT3 car, but we’ve still got a lot to learn. Chris and I have been putting in a lot of work during the off-season so hopefully we can build on last year’s title-winning partnership.

“I have to say an absolutely massive thank you to Dan Hughes of Radix, Ainsley Harriott and all of our other amazing supporters and sponsors. The success of Century Motorsport speaks for itself but I am delighted that I get to spend another year with this brilliant team; it was a no-brainer after the success of last year and the support I received from every member of the team throughout the season. 

“I’m also delighted to be back in a BMW, it definitely makes the step up to GT3 easier when it’s with such a driver-focussed brand.”

Salkeld’s long-standing friendship with TV chef Ainsley Harriott led to his previous M4 being nicknamed Harriott’s Chariot. That moniker – and support – will continue for a fourth season in 2024, albeit in faster form…

“I am so incredibly excited to finally announce our move to GT3 with BMW and Century Motorsport,” said Salkeld. “This was always the logical choice for MJ and I after our incredible debut season together, winning the GT4 Pro-Am championship and Portimao outright.

“This is also something I’ve been looking to do for a few years now since making my British GT debut back in 2021 and couldn’t think of a better place to do it than with Century Motorsport and BMW. I have to say a huge thank you to MJ for taking me on this journey and for putting his faith in me for another season.

“Harriott’s Chariot gets a big upgrade this year and none of this could be possible without all of our sponsors and partners. So a big thanks to Ainsley and his team, Dan Hughes of Radix, Enhanced Energy Drinks and all of our other partners for their love and support this season.

“We had a fantastic start in the car in Dubai but we both know we can’t take any of this early success for granted and must keep pushing if we’re to have any chance of repeating last year.

“Finally, I have to say a huge thanks to Century and a special shout out to all the guys and girls within the team for all they’ve done for me these past few years. This ain’t a team, it’s a family and I am so proud and happy to be making the long-awaited step up to GT3 with them.”

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.