> 2018’s GT4 Pro/Am champions swap to Bentley
Nick Jones and Scott Malvern will remain with Team Parker Racing for their British GT3 graduation later this season.
2018’s GT4 Pro/Am champions have swapped to the Bentley Continental GT3 after campaigning a TPR-run Mercedes-AMG and Porsche Cayman for the last three years.
Bad luck largely prevented the pair from mounting a successful title defence last season, although their collective pace did result in a first outright GT4 victory at the championship’s showpiece Silverstone 500 round.
The Pro/Am combination, which first came together in Radicals before joining British GT in 2016, remains with a Team Parker squad that ran the second-generation Bentley throughout 2019 and won the GT3 Drivers’ title with its predecessor two years earlier.
The duo tested a number of GT3 cars before opting for the Bentley and familiar surroundings of Team Parker, which Jones confirmed was a major reason behind his decision.
“I’m really excited for the new season,” he said. “I didn’t expect we would be doing this, but I am really happy to stick with the team. We’ve had good success with Team Parker Racing and really enjoy working with everyone, so I’m glad Stuart Parker and Bentley could put something together for us.
“There is a good atmosphere in the team and in the garage and it was important to keep as many things the same, so the only change is the class and the car. I’ve driven a lot of GT3 cars to see what was out there, but I am really excited to be in a Bentley. I never thought I would be able to say that.
“We’re all good friends, whether that’s the mechanics, Stuart, Scott, or anyone else, so what better way to spend your weekend than with your mates, having a lot of fun and driving fast cars. You can’t knock it.
“I wouldn’t be racing without anyone else but Scott now. He is really quick, and I must try his patience, but that’s part of the fun because he knows I want to do well. Not to mention he has to compare himself to Nick Jones! I was quicker than him at one corner, Redgate at Donington Park, this year and I never let him forget it, so hopefully he will improve for next season!
“We’re going into the year with an open mind, looking to get on the podium and competing for wins. I might need a little bit of time at the start of the season, but I feel relatively comfortable. If you turn up and enjoy yourself the rest will look after itself. I’m lucky to do this with Bentley, lucky to do it with Stuart, and I’m sure we’ll be in the mix.”
Malvern, meanwhile, is relishing an opportunity to test himself against some of the world’s best GT drivers as part of a long-running Pro/Am partnership.
“I’ve been working with Nick for a long time now,” he said. “He’s been making great progress. We managed to win a championship in 2018 and I think he made steps in 2019 even though the results didn’t reflect it and he hasn’t had the rewards.
“It is an exciting prospect to jump into the big boy league and see how we stack up. I think Nick will surprise himself and a few other people as well and I think it will highlight how competitive the Pro/Am class in GT4 is. I think some of the Ams are very good and probably don’t get the recognition they deserve.
“I didn’t think it was going to be possible for me to drive in GT3 so on a personal level I am looking forward to getting my hands on the car and I’m keen to see where I am too. The communication we have had with Bentley has been fantastic, so it is a great place to be.
“I really enjoy being around the guys at Team Parker Racing and we can continue that good relationship. It is very enjoyable to go racing with them and both of us really are happy to be in an environment where everyone is making the most of things and having a great time. We’re in a good place at the moment and it is all coming together at the right time; I just wish it could get going a bit sooner!”
The Bentley joins Lamborghini, McLaren and Mercedes-AMG on the list of GT3 manufacturers confirmed for 2020. More will be announced in the coming weeks.
Oulton Park hosts the opening round of 2020’s British GT Championship campaign on April 11 & 13. Reserve your Easter Bank Holiday Weekend tickets here.