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Title race conclusion edges closer at Brands Hatch

 27th Aug 2014

Brands Hatch will host the penultimate round of the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship with thrilling battles in store in GT3, GT4 and the Blancpain Gentleman Driver Trophy across two hours of race action on August 31.

Thirty-two cars are set to take to the world-famous race destination with a plethora of marques set to do battle on the Grand Prix configuration of the Kent track. The marquees include nine Aston Martins, fives Ginettas, five BMWs, four Ferraris, three Porsches, as well as solitary offerings from the likes of Audi, Bentley, McLaren, Lotus, Nissan, and Toyota will be in action for the final weekend in August.

As befits what is arguably the best national GT championship in the world, there will be familiar faces in new cars, new faces in familiar cars and changes to driver partnerships to add spice to the ultra-competitive series.

Where things currently remain familiar is in the Blancpain standings, with current British GT3 Championship leader Marco Attard leading the way with 141 points to Andrew Howard’s 135.5. The pair are close at the top, but Howard enjoys a strong lead over third placed Jon Minshaw and his 86 points.

There’s much change afoot in GT3 with the Triple Eight ranks swelling to a third BMW Z4 to accommodate Jody Firth and Warren Hughes in what will be the #8 car, whilst in the #88 Lee Mowle will be joined by Ryan Ratcliffe, who replaces former team-mate Luke Hines.

There’s also changes in the garage, with Keith Cheetham, Trackspeed’s Team Manager also joining the Triple Eight team. Cheetham will initially engineer the #8 car, before becoming the team’s GT Team Director, the move reunites this season’s former Trackspeed trio.

The vacated Firth/Hughes Trackspeed Porsche is filled by the exciting combination of Trackspeed founder David Ashburn and Porsche factory driver, Nick Tandy.

Fresh off a podium at Spa, Chris Hoy finds himself with another new team-mate, with 2011 GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough joining the former Olympian in the #80 Nissan Academy RJN Nissan GT-R GT3. He becomes Hoy’s third team-mate of the season, and has British GT experience, having raced in the series back in 2012.

The United Autosports Audi will see Matt Bell joined by John McCullagh, with regular team-mate Mark Patterson unavailable for the Brands Hatch event.

The #29 AF Corse Ferrari will see Matt Griffin make a welcome return to British GT as a stand in for Richard Lyons.

In GT4, Declan Jones will return in the #45 BMW M3 with a revised package including new team-mate Jeff Wyatt with the pairing being run by renowned BMW specialists, Geoff Steel Racing.

With two races remaining, it is the #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3 of Marco Attard that leads the GT3 class with 130.5 points, followed closely by team-mate Alexander Sims and his 111.5 points.

The pair have been top for most of this season, having taken high scoring points haul in all rounds except for the first Oulton sprint and the second sprint at Snetterton.

Sims finds himself in second due to being unable to take part at the Snetterton sprints due to other commitments, with Jonny Cocker filling the void and helping Attard to a further 19 points.

Chasing the BMW leaders is last year’s British GT Champion Andrew Howard and team-mate Jonny Adam in the #1 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with 107 points after issues at Spa.

Having started the season with consistency, after an Oulton Park setback, the pair took a minimum of 20 points in the following rounds, but setbacks at Snetterton and Spa prevented the run of points continuing, and leave them with it all to do to retain the title.

The third car in the title race is the fellow Aston Martin of the Oman Racing Team, with Michael Caine and Ahmad Al Harthy taking 93 points in their #4 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, with victories at Silverstone and Snetterton propelling them into contention.

Aston Martins also make their presence known in the GT4 title race, with the Beechdean AMR sister car, the #407 Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings residing top of the standings with 155 points.

In second, the TF Sport #49 Aston Martin GT4 Challenge makes it an Aston 1-2 with Andrew Jarman and Devon Modell taking 136 points so far this season.

The top two have been neck and neck for most of this campaign, with victory at Spa for Wylie and Giddings helping stretch their lead ahead of Jarman and Modell, who endured a tough weekend.

Rounding off the top three in the GT4 title race is the #46 G55 Ginetta GT4 of Adrian Barwick and Bradley Ellis with 108.5 points.

The pair have been able to mount a challenge due to their remarkable consistency. After not finishing in the season opener at Oulton Park, the pair have scored points in all seven races since.

Action begins at Brands Hatch on the 30th of August, with the first practice session at 10:00, before a second at 12:20 ahead of two qualifying sessions at 16:15 and 16:35.

The following day sees a short warm up at 10:00, before the race begins at 13:10.

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