RACE Performance will make its British GT Championship debut this season after becoming the first team in Europe to take delivery of a Ford Mustang GT4.
The Lincoln-based outfit has run GTs and prototypes all over the world since its formation in 2011 but is best known in Britain for its Ginetta GT4 Supercup, Britcar, rallying and rallycross exploits.
Its domestic programme is now expanding to include British GT with Sam Smelt, who contested the British Touring Car Championship last season.
The 22-year-old tested the Mustang at Donington Park before Christmas after previously working with RACE’s team principal Ryan Connolly in BTCC. Multimatic Motorsports, who build the car on Ford’s behalf, have since confirmed they will also enter two further Mustangs in British GT this season.
“I’m delighted to be making the step up to British GT with Sam, the Mustang and entire RACE Performance team,” said Connolly. “Having engineered Sam in the BTCC last season I can see what an unbelievable talent he is and I truly believe GT racing will suit his smooth and refined driving style perfectly.
“Our initial testing in the Mustang showed that car and driver are a very capable pairing and I’m very much looking forward to demonstrating that to the fans, the public and the championship. My staff and myself have been involved in the championship for a number of seasons as supplied staff for other teams, but to put this together as RACE really is something very special for me.”
Smelt’s racing career has included British F4 and VW Cup, as well as BTCC. 2019 therefore marks his first experience of the longer endurance format.
“It’s a very exciting time and I can’t wait to get back into the seat,” he said. “The car is beautiful to drive, I immediately felt at home in it and hope that feeling will continue as the season progresses. I’ve every faith RACE Performance can and will deliver the goods when it comes to the car; it has been faultless so far.
“Stepping into the British GT Championship is something very new for me as a driver but I think it’s a paddock I’ll enjoy being a part of and hopefully be successful at the same time. This will be the first endurance racing I’ve contested but I’ve really felt good with the testing runs we’ve done so far.”
RACE is still evaluating possible candidates to partner Smelt this season, with several having also tested the Mustang. However, the team is also keen to hear from potential drivers before concluding its 2019 line-up.
Donington hosts the championship’s pre-season media day on March 5 before the 2019 campaign begins at Oulton Park on April 20 & 22. Fans can attend media day for free, while tickets for Oulton’s Easter Bank Holiday curtain raiser are available here.