> Smelt and Kell also confirmed
The new-for-2020 Toyota GR Supra GT4 will contest this year’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship with former class champions, Speedworks Motorsport.
Sam Smelt and series debutant James Kell will share one of just six GR Supras competing globally this year after the Team Toyota GB squad sampled its first taste of the car at Jarama in December.
Based on Toyota Gazoo Racing’s first ever global road going model, the three-litre, in-line six-cylinder turbo-powered GR Supra is developed and produced by TMG in Cologne where the manufacturer’s LMP1 programme is also overseen.
The British GT project is headed up by 2010 GT4 champions, Speedworks, which also mastermind Toyota’s recent return to the BTCC, first as a title-winning independent and now as a fully-fledged manufacturer. Indeed, the Northwich-based team will spend 2020 contesting Britain’s two premier series, just as Team Parker Racing has done for several years.
Team principal Christian Dick – GT4 Drivers’ Champion in 2010 with Jamie Stanley – is looking forward to Speedworks’ return to British GT, a series it hasn’t contested since entering a Corvette Z06R GT3 in 2012.
“We’re delighted to have been entrusted with running the new Toyota GR Supra GT4 in the British GT Championship this season,” he said. “Having been lucky enough to see the development and subsequent performance of the car up close myself in Spain, I can vouch for the fact that it is a tremendously impressive piece of kit – superbly built with plenty of grunt – and this programme will dovetail really nicely with our BTCC commitments.
“Our main aim this year is to prove the Toyota GR Supra GT4’s potential in the hugely competitive GT4 arena. The project has come together quite late so we are remaining realistic about our expectations to begin with, but with the technical and engineering support of TMG, I’m sure we will soon have a solid understanding of the car and be on the pace very quickly.”
Smelt returns for a second British GT4 campaign after learning the ropes with Race Performance’s Mustang last season, while Kell – who only began racing two years ago – finished third in 2019’s Ginetta GT4 SuperCup Am standings. Both will be graded silver this year.
“I want to start by saying how much I’m looking forward to this season with Speedworks and the Toyota GR Supra GT4, in what should be a really competitive British GT Championship,” said Smelt. “I can’t wait for the car to arrive and to get behind the wheel, and it will be exciting to build on its performance right from the first test. I'm confident we can develop a strong package and with a year in the series now under my belt, the aim is to challenge for some great results in 2020.”
Kell added: “I am totally thrilled to be part of the new Speedworks Toyota attack in the British GT Championship, and I'm looking forward to driving the all-new Toyota GR Supra GT4 this season. It’s exciting to be a member of an amazing team like Speedworks, driving with Sam, and to get involved in the launch of an entirely new car in British GT – especially when it carries the name Supra...”
Speedworks’ new GR Supra makes its British GT debut at Oulton Park over Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (April 11 & 13). Reserve your tickets here.