> Reigning GT3 champion Mitchell wins Allan Simonsen Award
> Keen and Caroline crowned 2020’s Sunoco Fastest Drivers
> Sunoco Race Fuels extends official partnership
> New GT2 European Series joins Silverstone and Spa support roster
> Silverstone 500 entry to feature GT Rebellion Series
The Intelligent Money British GT Championship’s 2021 entry process officially opened earlier today ahead of the first round at Oulton Park on Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (April 3 & 5).
GT3, GT4 and GTC cars remain eligible for the UK’s biggest GT championship, which this year welcomes the revived Silver-Am class to its senior ranks alongside Pro-Am. Variables within the FIA’s grading criteria mean not all Silver drivers automatically qualify for British GT’s Silver-Am classification. Instead, the Silver element will typically comprise promising but less experienced young drivers, GT4 graduates or those likely to contribute some budget when paired with a Bronze-graded amateur.
Several existing teams with confirmed driver crews have already announced their plans while more are expected to do so in the coming weeks.
The seven-event, nine-round calendar is now also confirmed with #DoningtonDecider taking place as previously provisionally scheduled on September 11/12. Dedicated pre-event test sessions before every race weekend other than Spa will also provide a more cost-effective opportunity to prepare.
However, the traditional pre-season Media Day will not go ahead.
British GT’s regular support series roster also returns in 2021, albeit with a few surprises in store. The BRDC British F3 Championship co-headlines all seven weekends, the Ginetta GT Academy and Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge feature at five of them, Porsche Sprint Challenge GB’s second season includes three outings once again (Brands Hatch, Silverstone 500 and #DoningtonDecider), and Caterham will also feature.
But it’s the return of GT2 machinery to British GT weekends that’s bound to excite sportscar fans past and present. Domestically, the class became obsolete at the end of 2006 but now returns courtesy of SRO Motorsports Group’s new GT2 European Series, which stages two separate 50-minute races during British GT’s Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps weekends. The championship announced before Christmas that entries spanning Audi, KTM and Porsche are already confirmed.
Meanwhile, the rebranded GT Rebellion Series for current and older GT3 cars will join British GT’s grid at the three-hour Silverstone 500.
SUNOCO EXTENDS WINNING COMBINATION
Elsewhere, Sunoco has extended its official championship partnership for three more years. The world’s largest manufacturer of race-focused gasolines has been British GT’s sole fuel supplier since 2015 through its exclusive European and Middle Eastern distributor, Anglo-American Oil Company.
AAOil also oversees the Europe-wide Sunoco Challenge, which – following a hiatus in 2020 – will again offer amateur and professional drivers an opportunity to win fully-funded prize drives at the 2022 Daytona 24 Hours.
Sunoco Race Fuels logos will continue to adorn each car, as well as the teams’ refuelling rigs. A front bumper space is also reserved for another of AAOil’s products: Driven Racing Oils.
Anders Hildebrand, Anglo-American Oil Company founder: “In 2002 we became the British GT Championship’s first official fuel supplier and, save for two short periods, have remained so ever since. We’re therefore extremely excited to continue our relationship and look forward to at least another three years of supplying Sunoco’s world-renowned racing fuels. Obviously things were more difficult than usual in 2020 but SRO Motorsports Group worked tirelessly to re-organise its nine-race calendar and ensure the season was completed. We share the same can-do attitude and look forward to another successful three years together.”
WRAPPING UP 2020
The postponement of SRO’s end-of-season awards ceremony meant several achievements weren’t officially recognised at the end of 2020.
Chief among them was British GT’s highest non-championship accolade, the Allan Simonsen Award, which is traditionally won by a driver with the same speed and spirit as epitomised by the late Dane who tragically lost his life at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013.
2020’s winner is Barwell Motorsport’s Sandy Mitchell. The young Scot’s momentous campaign featured two victories and the GT3 title alongside Rob Collard, but it was his individual qualifying and race pace – evident despite carrying additional Silver Cup ballast – that sealed his status as 2020’s standout driver.
“This is a wonderful and poignant award to win,” said the 20-year-old. “Allan’s reputation is hugely well respected and acknowledged by everyone not just in British GT, but in sportscar racing around the world. To win the Allan Simonsen Award, and be recognised by the judges at British GT for the performances I delivered last season, is humbling.”
Mitchell joins Jonny Adam (x2), Nicki Thiim, Joe Osborne, Phil Keen, Alexander Sims and Nick Tandy as an Allan Simonsen Award winner.
“There are some big names on the list of winners of the award, and I’m delighted to join them,” he added. “It’s a fantastic way to start the new year.”
The Sunoco Fastest Driver of the Year was also awarded in both classes. An incredible five fastest race laps from six weekends made Phil Keen (Barwell Motorsport) a clear GT3 winner, while Jamie Caroline (TF Sport) added the GT4 honour to his Drivers’ Championship.
Separately, the number of fans watching live British GT coverage grew dramatically in 2020. The 10 broadcasts streamed on Youtube (GT World and The Race channels) and Facebook (British GT) generated 1.3m views – a 61% increase over 2019 – while Sky Sports F1’s Silverstone 500 broadcast peaked at 85,000 viewers.