John Ferguson and Jamie Caroline are switching to the Intelligent Money British GT Championship’s senior class this season in the second of RAM Racing’s two Mercedes-AMG GT3s.
The pair, who will be part of the burgeoning Silver-Am class, first joined forces at Oulton Park last year aboard Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Supra and remain together for their competitive GT3 debuts.
Ferguson contested all seven events with the Speedworks-run outfit after two seasons in Porsche Carrera Cup GB, while former Ginetta Junior and British F4 champion Caroline also clinched the British GT4 crown in 2020 with TF Sport.
The latter proved just as fast aboard the Supra as he had the Aston Martin Vantage when he finished second in Oulton’s Pro qualifying session and set fastest time of all at Donington.
However, 2022 represents a significant step up for both drivers given the quality and experience on the other side of RAM’s garage where reigning two-time GT3 Pro-Am champion Ian Loggie is joined by Mercedes-AMG ace Jules Gounon.
Caroline, though, sees only the positives in testing himself against one of the factory’s established drivers.
“I’d go as far as saying that this is the most important year of my career yet, and I’m so excited for this chance,” said the 23-year-old. “I’ve been trying to get into GT3 for the last few years and I’m ready to grab this chance with both hands. I know that to achieve what I want to, which is to become a factory driver, I need to show what I can do at the highest level, and I know I’ve got the right team and the right car to do that this year.
“British GT is an incredibly tough championship and I’ll be up against some of the best GT3 drivers around – you only have to look at Jules Gounon on the other side of the garage to know that! But I’m raring to go. I believe I’m at a point in my career where I have to go into each year with my eyes on the title. And even with the step up from GT4 it will be no different this year in GT3 – you have to aim high!
“I’ve tested a couple of GT3 cars before and, given my two years in GT4, I believe I’ve understood the fundamentals of GT racing now and I feel I’m ready for the step up to GT3. I liken it to my move from F4 to F3, the cars are a bit more powerful, lighter and have more aero. We’ll have some good pre-season running to get up to speed and I work so well with John. Even though we only had a few rounds together in GT4 last year we clicked from the start, and it’ll be great fighting at the sharp end with him in a RAM Mercedes-AMG.”
Ferguson added: “I’m really excited about this year with RAM Racing. I learned so much from my first year of British GT in GT4 last season with the Toyota, and we were up against it with the programme – brand new car, me new to British GT, and two different team-mates. The points table doesn’t really reflect how strong we actually were. If we hadn’t had things like damper or driveshaft failures and the odd rookie mistake we had the pace to be well and truly in championship contention.
“I think that sets us up really well for the move to GT3, where it’s all about Pro-Am pairings. I’ve not driven the GT3 yet, but we’ll have a few days of running out in Portimão pre-season to get a feel for it. I’m told the AMG is one of the more amateur-friendly cars, and it looks an amazing bit of kit. I will always have a driver alongside me that I really believe in, and I certainly have that with Jamie. He’s got so much raw talent and is a great lad to work with. I reckon he’ll be the surprise package in GT3 this year.”
Returning to a two-car operation full-time also gives RAM an opportunity to fight reigning champions Barwell for the teams’ crown. And team boss Dan Shufflebottom believes his two crews have the potential to achieve just that.
“We’re very excited about this pairing,” he said. “First off, it’s great to have both our cars full this year and have a chance to fight for both the drivers’ and teams’ titles, but in John and Jamie we feel we’ve got a real future-proof pairing. John brings lots of racing experience and the GT4 points table would have looked a lot different last year without the bad luck he had. Jamie is a star of the future, no doubt. His record so far is incredible and it’s easy to forget he’s only been racing for a relatively short time. I have no doubts that both will adapt really well to the Mercedes-AMG GT3, and I look forward to seeing how they progress across the season.”
Oulton Park stages the opening round of British GT’s 30th season on April 16 & 18.