Balfe Motorsport conducted its first test as a British GT team in five years on Tuesday at Donington Park where both its GT3 and GT4-spec McLarens were on show ahead of the new season.
Reigning International GT Open Pro/Am champions Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell were on hand to complete the 650S GT3’s first mileage since its final race of 2017. The test was an important data-gathering exercise for the team, which has no previous experience of the Pirelli tyres used in SRO’s championships, including British GT.
“Rob did most of the early part of the session, doing a set-up as we went straight onto the Pirelli tyres,” said Balfe. “We brought the car along exactly as we had left it at the end of last season and just adjusted it gradually throughout the day. We changed the springs but it wasn’t easy as the track and tyre temperatures were fairly low.”
McLaren Automotive factory driver Bell was also tasked with shaking down the team’s newly-liveried PMW Expo 570S GT4, which last season’s class runners-up Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson will once again race this year as they bid to reclaim the same crown they won in 2016.
“Balfe have completed a great deal of work in recent weeks, so the guys wanted Rob to check all of the systems to make sure it’s 100% perfect for our first test at Snetterton next Friday,” said Johnson. “That’s when the real work starts!”
Balfe will conduct further pre-season testing at Snetterton and Oulton Park, while both its McLarens will also attend British GT’s official media day at Donington on March 8.
That’s all before this year’s opening round takes place at Oulton Park on Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (March 31 - April 2).
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