Ratcliffe reunited with reigning champion Parfitt Jnr for GT3 assault
Reigning British GT champion Rick Parfitt Jnr is bidding to defend his GT3 title with a familiar co-driver in 2018 following confirmation that Ryan Ratcliffe will join Team Parker Racing’s #1 Bentley Continental GT3 line-up.
With Seb Morris switching his attention to Europe, Parfitt Jnr has turned to another Welshman in an effort to become the first amateur driver ever to retain a British GT crown. And Ratcliffe – British GT4 champion with Parfitt Jnr in 2013 – is considered the perfect candidate.
Indeed, the pair are already firm friends thanks to that successful GT4 season, while their only previous GT3 outing together also resulted in a fine fourth place in soaking conditions at Snetterton in 2015.
But while Parfitt Jnr, Team Parker and Bentley are extending their partnership to a third season, the car and team will be completely new to Ratcliffe who contested last year’s championship alongside Lee Mowle in an AMDTuning.com Mercedes-AMG GT3.
“An opportunity came up to drive with Rick in 2018 and to say I was like a kid in a sweet shop is a bit of an understatement!” said Ratcliffe. “I have a great relationship with Rick and to work alongside him this year is going to be fantastic! Working with Team Parker is something I am really looking forward to; looking from the outside they definitely seem like one of the most professional teams on the grid and after seeing the progress they have made with Rick I can’t wait to get started!
“Driving the Bentley will certainly be different; it’s a great marque to be associated with and certainly draws a lot of attention in British GT. This year looks like it’s going to be the most competitive yet but the aim is to be at the front and fighting for podiums every round. I honestly haven’t been this excited about a season to date.”
Meanwhile, Parfitt Jnr acknowledged last season’s successful title tilt had been tougher than expected, and that 2018 would require a different approach.
“After such a tough yet amazing year in 2017, where I achieved more than I could have ever imagined, the 2018 season needed to represent a fresh new challenge for me,” he confirmed. “There was never any doubt that I wanted to stay in British GT but I wanted to return with a new hunger and no expectations.
“So when the opportunity came up to reignite the partnership with Ryan it was a hugely exciting prospect and felt absolutely right. We have a long history together having been team-mates and rivals in Ginetta GT5s before uniting to win the GT4 title together in 2013.
“In short, this is a proven partnership and I couldn't be more excited about Ryan and I bringing the original dream team and #1 TPR Bentley back to the best domestic GT championship in the world.”
The pair will unveil their 2018 livery in now traditional fashion at Morton’s – haunt of the original Bentley Boys – before the start of the season.
Team Parker’s announcement brings the number of confirmed British GT3 manufacturers to three. More are expected to be announced in due course.
This year’s British GT Championship gets underway at Oulton Park on its traditional Easter Bank Holiday weekend date (March 31 – April 2). Receive discounted rates for Oulton, and any other round, by ordering tickets in advance below.
2018 BRITISH GT SCHEDULE
1 Oulton Park, March 31-April 2 >> TICKETS
2 Rockingham, April 28-29 >> TICKETS
3 Snetterton, May 26-27 >> TICKETS
4 Silverstone 500, June 9-10 >> TICKETS
5 Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), July 21-22 >> TICKETS (FREE ENTRY)
6 Brands Hatch, August 4-5 >> TICKETS
7 Donington Park, September 22-23 >> TICKETS