> 2019 esports winner James Baldwin partners GT4 graduate Michael O’Brien
Jenson Team Rocket RJN will contest this year’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship with 2019 World’s Fastest Gamer winner James Baldwin and GT4 graduate Michael O’Brien.
The team and its McLaren 720S GT3 were expected to race in GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS, which formed the backbone of Baldwin’s 2019 WFG esports prize. But the focus has now switched to British GT following changes to 2020’s European and UK calendars.
RJN won the domestic GT3 Silver Cup title with Struan Moore in 2018 after previously running Nissan’s GT Academy winners Jann Mardenborough and Wolfgang Reip.
Its esports legacy continues with the help of Jenson Team Rocket, a partnership between 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button and his close friend Chris Buncombe who has also raced for RJN in Britain and Europe.
“We are all certainly looking forward to going racing again,” said team principal Bob Neville. “As a team, we have always been a huge supporter of GT World Challenge Europe but given the unusual circumstances of this year it makes complete sense for us and our partners to make a return to the British Championship.
“RJN last raced in British GT in 2018 and we are looking forward to returning with the McLaren 720S GT3 and our partners in the World’s Fastest Gamer.”
Jenson Team Rocket RJN’s entry features two young GT3 debutants eager to make their mark against this year’s highly-competitive Silver Cup ensemble.
Baldwin is best known for his esports exploits with Veloce and Team GB, whom he represented in last year’s FIA Motorsport Games. However, the 22-year-old also has several real-world Formula Ford outings to his name, as well as an appearance at 2019’s Race Of Champions in Mexico where he was also crowned eROC champion.
“I have to wait an extra couple of weeks to go racing, but I’m really looking forward to it,” said Baldwin. “I should have already completed three races so far this year, but when I look at my new schedule, I’m massively excited. I’m going to get so many more race laps under my belt, which will fast track my development this year.
“I can't wait to get started with Mike. I have a big learning curve ahead, but we really want to give the Silver Championship the best shot.”
O’Brien, meanwhile, makes his competitive GT3 debut after spending two seasons in GT4 with McLaren. He missed out on the 2018 Drivers’ title by just two points before finishing second in the Pro/Am category with Graham Johnson last season.
“It’s a real honour to be joining Jenson Team Rocket RJN for the Intelligent Money British GT Championship,” said O’Brien. “With that comes the added excitement of moving up to the GT3 category and racing for overall honours in 2020. With the first round fast approaching we’re facing a steep learning curve, but I’ve already integrated well with the team and it’s a challenge we’re looking forward to taking on.”
O’Brien was expected to contest the GT4 class again this year with Johnson. However, the Balfe Motorsport entry has been withdrawn due to circumstances arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The 2016 champion intends to return with Balfe next season.
Despite switching from Europe to the UK, Jenson Team Rocket RJN are still expected to contest the Total 24 Hours of Spa this October.
Oulton Park hosts the opening round of this year’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship on August 1/2.