Struan Moore, Adam Christodoulou, a new McLaren 570S GT4, and a returning Ginetta G55 GT3 join the grid for the 2017 Silverstone 500, Round 6 of the 2017 British GT Championship.
With less than a handful of days until this year’s blue riband race, there’s been some big news with driver changes and returning entrants, all meaning we’re in for a treat come Sunday.
The surprises have been coming think and fast over the course of the week, and this morning’s breaking news that Century Motorsport will be returning with one of its Ginetta G55 GT3s with Aleksander Schjerpen, 2015 British GT4 Silver Cup runner up, and Charlie Robertson in a one-off deal for the Silverstone 500, is no exception.
Schjerpen, no stranger to Century as he ran with them for the 2 previous British GT seasons, will return to the team and marque alongside factory Ginetta driver Robertson. After Americans Harry Gottsacker and Parker Chase elected to continue their season back in their home country, Century Motorsport were left with 2 cars with seats to fill. Unable to enter at Snetterton as a result, Aleksander steps up to GT3 for the first time, after also running in the 24H Series in a Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo. Whilst the deal for the pairing is for this meeting only, Century are still looking to fill both seats for the remaining 3 meetings at Spa-Francorchamps, Brands Hatch and Donington Park.
Following the trend of returning drivers in Ginettas, Ade Barwick and Bradley Ellis will be rejoining the British GT Championship in Optimum Motorsport’s Ginetta G55 GT4. After their last British GT outing at Snetterton last season, the pairing are looking to add the 3-hour to their already incredible accolades, including Ade’s 2 Dubai 24 Hour victories, and Bradley’s 2007 British GT Championship victory.
Optimum Motorsport, I hear you cry. “Don’t they run Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson in the Ginetta, Dan?” Well, they did! Up until this morning, the biggest shock we’d seen for some time was that the pair had swap their venerable Ginetta G55 GT4 for a McLaren 570S GT4. The reigning GT4 champions had discussed several options pre-season, but had revealed that the decision to change was only made at a test at Silverstone a few weeks ago. Whilst the pair have had a solid start to 2017, the strength of the Silver pairings of Stuart Middleton and Will Tregurtha, Alex Reed and David Pittard plus Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty (1st, 2nd and 3rd in GT4 Drivers Championship respectively) leaving them 22 points adrift of the leaders. However, wanting to try something new, the pairing decided that the switch mid-season could be something of benefit. Whilst they’ve had little in the way of track time, a debut in a car in a 3 Hour race can allow for plenty of time to adjust.
Adjustment won’t be needed for Adam Christodoulou, however. The factory Mercedes AMG driver, winner of last season’s Nurburgring 24 Hours, has been drafted in as a third driver alongside Martin Short and Richard Neary. With Adam testing the #88 car at Snetterton and Silverstone, Martin has decided to stand down from driving, to focus on his role in team management. His decision allows Adam into the second seat for the final 3 meetings of the season, and moving the pairing into the Pro/Am class as well. For this meeting, however, it’s 3 drivers in the Pro/Am class, and a driving swansong for Shorty, who made his debut at the Northamptionshire/Buckinghamshire venue back in 1996.
Finally, but by no means least, is another 3 driver pairing, but this time over in GT4. Nissan/RJN driver Struan Moore has joined from UltraTek Racing Team RJN’s stablemates in Blancpain to support Tim Eakin and Kelvin Fletcher. Whilst this weekend will be Struan’s first time in a GT4 car, his experience in long distance racing, as well as high quality, large fields will no doubt help support the pairing to show off the high potential of the Nissan 370Z GT4.
With so much change going on throughout the field days before the Silverstone 500, I wouldn’t be at all shocked if we saw a few more changes yet before FP1 on Saturday.
Image C/O Nick Smith/theimageteam.com
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