graduates to British GT3 with ex-Triple Eight BMWs graduates to British GT3 with ex-Triple Eight BMWs

Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne will extend their British GT Championship partnership into a fourth season in 2016 after being named as’s first driver pairing.

Shaun Hollamby’s West Thurrock-based squad has taken over the running of Triple Eight’s two BMW Z4 GT3s after making its series debut with a Porsche 911 GT4 last year.

Mowle and Osborne were one of British GT’s most consistent pairings in 2015 having secured three podiums and only failed to finish outside of the top-six on one occasion en route to third in the final driver standings.

The team is currently in discussion with a number of drivers interested in filling the second BMW seat.

Mowle confirmed that continuity in other areas had played a key role in’s appointment after spending three seasons with Triple Eight.

“I’ve known Shaun for a few years now through the BTCC and when we were looking for someone who we knew would do a solid job preparing the cars, his team fit the bill,” he said. “ is run as a tight ship and Shaun has a passion to succeed that I think will work well with the engineering experience that we are bringing with us.

“Keith Cheetham will continue to be involved having engineered the cars last year and we also have a wealth of data to work with that should put us in a good position, particularly when it comes to the new Pirelli tyres having run the BMW on them in the Blancpain series last year. During 2015, Keith’s input allowed us to take steps forward with the car and we know there is still more to come, so getting a fresh set of eyes looking at things again with Shaun and his team can only benefit us.

“Having finished third in the standings last year, I think Joe and I have unfinished business in the championship and our only goal in 2016 can be to fight for the title,” he added. “The consistency of keeping the same driver pairing is very important and with the various changes that there are in the championship with new cars, new drivers and new tyres, I think the knowledge and experience we have under our belt could be key to our chances of success.”

Meanwhile Osborne reiterated his co-driver’s belief that the duo should once again feature in the GT3 title hunt.

“Whilst we are moving to a new team for 2016, it is great to have the continuity of staying alongside Lee for a fourth year,” he confirmed. “We have shown what we are capable of as a pairing, and had it not been for a fuel pump issue at Spa, we could have ended up winning the championship last year. That has to be the target for us for the new season.

“We’ve obviously been able to learn a lot about the BMW during our time with Triple Eight, and while we can take that knowledge to, it’s also going to be interesting to see what emerges from looking at things from a different perspective. Shaun and the team have shown their knowledge and passion to succeed in everything they have done so far, and they are going to have ideas about what we can do with the car to make sure we are running at the sharp end of the grid.

“Without doubt, the 2016 season is going to be even tougher than 2015 from the announcements that have been made so far, and it looks like being a huge grid in both GT3 and in GT4, which will bring its own challenges. SRO don’t say this is the most competitive domestic GT championship for nothing, and I think the pairing that makes the fewest mistakes will ultimately come out on top. Hopefully that will be us.”

Team principal Hollamby revealed that 2015’s toe-in-the-water exercise had convinced him to step up to GT3 with a two-car entry.

“Having had the chance to experience the British GT Championship for the first time last year, it was clear that it is a series that we want to be part of for the long term,” he said. “With that in mind, we are delighted to have agreed a deal with Lee to not only make the move up to the top GT3 class for 2016, but also to expand to a two-car team.

“The BMW has proven itself to be a strong package in recent years and in Lee and Joe, we have an established pairing in place who have shown they are more than capable of challenging for the title. Discussions with other drivers are ongoing and we are confident of having a second strong line-up in place ready for the start of the new season.

“Clearly this is a exciting development for us as a team for 2016 and we can’t wait to hit the track and get our pre-season preparations underway in earnest.”

The opening round of this season’s British GT Championship takes place at Brands Hatch on April 16/17.