> Second Continental GT3 also being evaluated
Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman will make their long-awaited Intelligent Money British GT3 Championship debuts with JRM Racing and Bentley this season.
2019’s GT4 Pro-Am champions were set to graduate last year with the same team, car and Imagine Cruising title sponsor combination before the coronavirus pandemic curtailed their plans ahead of the opening round.
Now the Continental GT3, which ran at Media Day 12 months ago before being mothballed, will join the grid for a full-season assault on British GT’s senior class. What’s more, the outlawing of Silver-graded pairings now provides Fletcher and Plowman with an even better chance of fighting for overall wins and the Drivers’ crown.
“We’ve kept ourselves busy, but nothing beats actually being out in the car and Brands Hatch can’t come soon enough,” said Fletcher, who presented British GT’s live race coverage instead of driving last season. “We’ve still only completed a handful of laps in the Bentley – 2020’s Media Day was my first and only meaningful running with the car, but we’ll be putting that right before the season starts. And we’ll need to because the championship’s renewed emphasis on Pro-Am has resulted in some very strong GT3 driver combinations.”
Plowman agrees, although he also hopes to be amongst the front-runners first time out at Brands.
“We were the top GT4 Pro-Am crew in 2019 so there’s no reason why we can’t mix it with the established guys,” he said. “Yes, they’ll have a head-start in terms of experience: the likes of Jonny Adam and Phil Keen have seen it all before. But Kelvin’s a fast learner and JRM know enough about the car from 2019 to get the best out of it and us.”
Indeed, JRM claimed the current-generation Bentley’s first British GT win in 2019 with Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris but haven’t contested a race in any championship since that year’s British GT finale. Nevertheless, team manager Elliot Dason-Barber is confident of hitting the ground running at Brands Hatch on May 22/23.
“We’ve developed a really close relationship with Kelvin and Martin that goes beyond the usual roles of team and drivers, which I’m sure will help us initially and moving forwards,” he said. “We know they’ve got the potential to be one of GT3’s fastest Pro-Am pairings, but British GT often boils down to the most consistent crew over the course of a season. So that’s something we need to be mindful of.
“Of course, being able to share a second crew’s data is always useful, and that’s something we’re also working on. Another JRM-run Bentley isn’t out of the question at this stage.”
Bentley joins Aston Martin, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche on the list of confirmed British GT3 manufacturers in 2021.