> 2021 team-mates Balon and Mitchell complete unchanged line-up
Reigning GT3 drivers’ champions Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind are returning to the Intelligent Money British GT Championship in 2022.
Their Barwell Motorsport squad will also be hoping to claim a fourth teams’ crown in as many years after confirming 2021 title challengers Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell aboard a second Lamborghini Huracan.
The same two-car line-up finished first and third in this season’s drivers’ standings after both crews travelled to October’s Donington Decider in championship contention.
Machitski and Lind’s title success was the first for a crew without a British driver in the championship’s 29-year history. Now the Russo-Danish combination is back and eager to become the first duo ever to retain the crown together. Only Jonny Adam has achieved a similar feat, albeit with different co-drivers.
Lind will also be hungry to better his Sunoco Fastest Lap record after collecting six of seven awards in 2021. The car’s early retirement at Donington in July prevented him from setting a time.
“Winning a British GT title is one thing but defending it is notoriously difficult, so yeah: making a bit more history with Dennis is definitely an added incentive,” said Machitski. “I recall mentioning on TV at Donington that we’d be back to defend it and that has certainly been my priority. Dennis has attracted a lot of interest for what he achieved this season so I'm delighted that his other commitments won't prevent him from sharing the #1 car with me in British GT. We worked really well together this year and I see no reason why we shouldn't go into 2022 expecting to be contenders again. In Barwell and Lamborghini we definitely have the tools to retain our title.”
But the reigning champions will face a renewed challenge from the other side of Barwell’s garage in the shape of perennial title contender Balon and 2020 champion Mitchell. A DNF on the opening weekend at Brands Hatch left the pair playing catch-up all season long, but they now return hoping to unseat their team-mates after showing genuine pace throughout the campaign.
“I’m really proud of the way we bounced back after Brands but it certainly made 2021 an uphill struggle,” conceded Balon. “It’s a cliché that consistency wins British GT titles but Leo and Dennis have proven that comprehensibly this year, even if Sandy and I had the beating of them on occasions. Increasing that number of occasions will be key next year. Sandy drove as well as anyone all season long and I feel a more complete driver now than at any stage of my career. We just need to hit the ground running and maintain that momentum against what I’m hearing will be a seriously competitive GT3 entry.”
Team principal Mark Lemmer added: “It’s mega for us to keep our existing driver crews for the defence of our British GT titles. It means that we can carry forward the fantastic chemistry and energy that we enjoyed in the team this year, which will hopefully stand us in good stead to challenge for the title once again in what looks to be another ultra-competitive season.”
The opening round of 2022’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship takes place at Oulton Park on April 16 & 18.