It's a big day in British GT news as two new teams announce their inclusion into the 2013 line up. First up, Triple Eight Race engineering (888), the multiple British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) winning team, and established British GT team, Optimum Motorsport have today announced a brand-new engineering alliance, 888Optimum, which will launch a two-car entry in the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship.
888Optimum will contest a pair of 2013 specification BMW Z4 GT3 race cars in British GT next season and are evaluating other opportunities in Europe in the future. One car has already been received and is being prepared; the second is due to arrive shortly, with a comprehensive pre-season testing programme set to begin in earnest.
Operating out of 888’s engineering facility, the newly formed team, 888Optimum will benefit from the facilities that have been home to a decade of BTCC domination representing both General Motors (Vauxhall), and currently MG.
Confirmed to drive for the team in 2013 are the exciting driver pairings of Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne and Steve Tandy and Dan Brown. Three of the team’s drivers have previously won races in British GT and will be looking to add further wins to their tally driving the fantastic BMW Z4 GT3.
The 888Optimum team has been formed by the respective owners of both established teams, Optimum Motorsport’s Lee Mowle and 888’s Ian Harrison. Both owners have a shared desire to establish a team that can operate at the highest level of GT racing in both the UK and Europe, and the BMW Z4 GT3 was the clear winner as the machine with which the team would base their plans after a considered evaluation process that saw a number of similar GT3 cars tested.
Meanwhile, leading single-seater race team, Fortec Motorsports, have also today announced their intention to expand into GT racing, and are currently evaluating different options in the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Avon Tyres British GT Championship.
After seventeen years of success in single-seater racing, guiding young stars including Heikki Kovalainen and Juan Pablo Montoya on their way to bright careers in the sport, Fortec are now looking at options to expand operations into GT racing.
The Daventry-based team are intending to run a pair of Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 race cars, which would see them further extend relations with long-term Formula 3 engine partner, Mercedes, in either the Blancpain Endurance Series or Avon Tyres British GT Championship.
Leading race engineer Trevor Foster, previously a Team Manager for Fortec in the British Formula 3 from 1994 to 1996, has been confirmed to return to run the new GT team. Trevor, who is based in the UK, has vast experience in the motorsport industry from working with the BAR Honda F1 team, Zytek Engineering and, most recently, GT team United Autosports as a consultant race engineer on their Audi R8 LMS and McLaren MP4-12c GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series and Avon Tyres British GT Championship.
The decision to move the team into sports car racing comes off the back of an extremely successful season, where the team took three titles, most notably the Formula Renault 3.5 World Series with Robin Frijns, who has recently joined the Sauber F1 team as a reserve driver for the 2013 season.
Richard Dutton (pictured below, left), Team Owner:
“I’m extremely pleased to be getting into GT racing. It’s a big step from single-seater racing but I’m confident we’re ready for it and having Trevor on board to look after the team will be a great start. We have worked with SRO, who organise the Blancpain and British GT championship, for many years in British Formula 3 and are looking forward to strengthening our relationship. Running the AMG SLS GT3 Mercedes was an obvious choice; we have a great relationship with the manufacturer and have used their engines for numerous years in our Formula 3 cars. This expansion marks a new chapter for the team and we can’t wait to get started.”
With all options still being considered, any interested parties are invited to get in contact over the coming weeks and contact the team by calling the main office on 01327 879999.
2013 British GT Calendar:
Media Day - TBC March Silverstone (GB)
1 Oulton Park (GB) - 30 March (Sat) 1 April (Mon) - Sprint Races
2 Rockingham (GB) - 5 & 6 May Refuelling Race
3 Silverstone GP (GB) 25 & 26-May - Refuelling Race
4 Snetterton 300 (GB) 15 & 16-Jun - Sprint Races
5 Brands Hatch GP (GB) 10 & 11-Aug - Refuelling Race
6 Zandvoort (NL) 6, 7, 8-Sep - Sprint Races
7 Donington Park (GB) - 56-Oct - Refuelling Race
For more information about WP Motorsport, official fuel supplier to the British GT & British Formula 3, please contact us today.
Photography courtesy of and copyright to Jakob Ebrey Photography.