New cars. More points. And strategy over sprint: there’s plenty to unpack ahead of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship’s blue riband event – the Silverstone 500 – this weekend. So, to make things that little bit simpler, we’ve pulled together the big changes and new entries ahead of Sunday’s three-hour race.
A bigger pitlane means British GT can accept more cars at Silverstone, which has traditionally attracted the largest entry per season. However, this year’s race has proven exceptionally popular with a staggering 43-car grid – the most for any British GT round in 11 years! 24 also represents the biggest GT3 gathering since 2014.
The 36 full-season entries are joined by seven race-by-race contenders, none of which are eligible to score points.
Team Parker Racing returns to the senior class with not one but two Porsches, albeit of different specs. Nick Jones and Scott Malvern are focusing on the Le Mans Cup this year but make a one-off outing in the new 992-based 911 GT3 R, while Charles Bateman – an overall 500 winner in 2012 – and Alex Martin campaign the previous generation model.
There’s a second Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 on the grid courtesy of Blackthorn, Claude Bovet and David McDonald who won the British Endurance Championship’s Class B title last year, as well as two McLaren 720S GT3 Evos run by Greystone GT and Inception Racing.
The latter features Ben Barnicoat – one of nine factory drivers to appear on the GT3 entry.
There are also changes in GT4 where Century has a third car, but it’s not a BMW: instead, the team is once again running an Aston Martin for David Holloway and Bradley Ellis.
But there is a third M4 GT4 on the grid courtesy of Simpson Motorsport, ex-BTCC racer James Kaye and – to the best of our knowledge – British GT’s first Cypriot driver, Vasily Vladykin.
Meanwhile, Drivetac has switched its full-season entry from GT4 to GT3, and there’s a new driver at Enduro where Harry George now partners Darren Burke.
STRATEGY AND PITSTOPS
Next, pitstops: each car must make three of them (so four stints in total) but there are no windows, meaning strategy calls can – and almost certainly will – come into play.
Maximum drive time of 100 minutes per driver will push Pro-Am teams to maximise a Pro’s stint length while keeping each Am’s contribution to as close to 80 minutes as possible. Amateurs will start the race, so – barring an early Safety Car period – the opening stints often last about as long as a tank of fuel (approximately 65-70mins).
Any Compensation Time – the new name for Success Penalties – carried over from Oulton must be served at the last of those three mandatory pitstops.
OTHER BITS AND BOBS
As it’s Coronation weekend all entries will feature a one-off union flag Intelligent Money windscreen banner instead of the usual white and black designs.
The longer duration sees 1.5x points awarded for the first time this season. That means 37.5 for winning instead of the 25 awarded for victories at Oulton Park on the opening weekend.
The overall winners will, as is tradition, receive the Royal Automobile Trophy, which was first awarded at Brooklands in 1932.
Qualifying remains split between four 10-minute sessions (two each for GT3 and GT4). However, each crew member’s fastest lap is now combined to determine the starting order.
Those Saturday sessions as well as Sunday’s warm-up and race are all live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel, while Sky Sports F1 has live coverage of the latter.
Friday 5 May
13:50 – 14:50: Test 1
16:30 – 17:30: Test 2
Saturday 6 May
09:30 – 10:30: Free Practice 1
12:35 – 13:35: Free Practice 2
16:00 – 16:10: GT3 Q1 – LIVE
16:14 – 16:24: GT3 Q2 – LIVE
16:28 – 16:38: GT4 Q1 – LIVE
16:43 – 16:53: GT4 Q2 – LIVE
Sunday 7 May
09:35 – 09:50: Warm-up – LIVE
12:20 – 15:20: Race – LIVE
GT3 – 1m58.304s – Marvin Kirchhoefer – Garage 59 McLaren 720S GT3 – 2022
GT4 – 2m09.861s – Sennan Fielding – Steller Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4 – 2022
PITSTOP SPECIFICS – THREE-HOUR RACES
Three driver changes must occur during the three hours. There are no pitstop windows but each driver cannot exceed 100 minutes cumulative drive time. Any Compensation Time accrued at the previous event must be served during the final mandatory pitstop.
Mandatory Pitstop Times (pit-in to pit-out)
GT3: 135s | GT4: 165s
Pitstop Compensation Time
20s – #1 2 Seas Motorsport & #29 RACE LAB
15s – #15 RAM Racing & #90 Optimum Motorsport
10s – #88 Garage 59 & #36 DTO Motorsport
All GT4 Silver Cup entries must serve an additional 14s during their mandatory driver changes and carry 25kg of ballast.