Ahead of the 2016 British GT season, in which the Professional MotorSport World Expo Race Team will be competing, series organisers have announced several minor revisions that it hopes will further improve the series. Several new opportunities were reportedly explored but, with stability seen as a key factor in the decision, series organisers have opted to retain the same seven venues as 2015.
The biggest change concerns British GT’s curtain raiser, which has been held at Oulton Park every year since 2005. Brands Hatch has been awarded the slot for next season (April 16/17), while Oulton’s double-header shifts from its traditional Easter date to the final weekend of May. Indeed, its two one-hour races will take place on a Bank Holiday Monday, just as they have done in the past.
Rockingham’s two-hour race is held a fortnight after Brands, followed by Oulton and then Silverstone’s blue riband 500-kilometre event, which moves back a couple of weeks to mid-June.
The championship’s annual excursion to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium is the only race scheduled for July, while Brands Hatch’s date change sees Snetterton move to early August. And Donington Park will once again stage the final round on the second weekend of September.
The slight re-jig ensures no date clashes with any Blancpain Endurance or Sprint Series rounds, thus reinforcing the prospect of teams and drivers competing in more than one SRO-run championship.
Equally, GT4’s recent growth looks set to continue thanks to the European Series joining British GT’s grid at Silverstone and Spa.
Organised test days will be held the Friday of Brands Hatch and Silverstone’s race weekends. The pre-season Media Day venue and date will be announced in due course.
The Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship will also remain a vital component of British GT race weekends following the successful first season together in 2015. Indeed, the UK’s premier junior single-seater category will feature at all seven circuits after including a round at Spa for the first time.
“I’m delighted that next season’s British GT calendar will mix elements of continuity with a slightly re-jigged format,” explained Benjamin Franassovici, British GT Championship manager. “We’re always keen to explore new opportunities but, after consulting with our teams, believe retaining the same seven circuits as this season was the best option.
“Obviously moving the opening round away from Oulton wasn’t a decision we took lightly. It’s always been a fantastic host and I’m sure the local crowd’s enthusiasm for British GT will be as evident over a May Bank Holiday as it has been during the traditional Easter date. But we were keen to try something different and Brands Hatch, which staged a brilliant race last season, offered that opportunity.
“That the European GT4 Series, which recently announced it would be running the same Pirelli tyres as British GT4, will also join our grid at Silverstone and Spa is obviously great news. The same goes for our successful partnership with BRDC F4, which will feature a new, much faster car for its second season alongside British GT. It’s also worth noting that a number of new GT3 teams will be announcing their plans over the winter period, and we might even see several new-generation GT3 models joining the fray, too.
“The British GT package has seldom looked stronger.”
2016 British GT Championship Calendar:
Round 1: April 16/17: Brands Hatch GP (2-hour race)
Round 2: April 30/May 1: Rockingham (2-hour race)
Rounds 3 & 4: May 28/30: Oulton Park (2x 1-hour races)
Round 5: June 11/12: Silverstone 500 (3-hour race)
Round 6: July 8/9: Spa-Francorchamps (2-hour race)
Rounds 7 & 8: August 6/7: Snetterton 300 (2x 1-hour races)
Round 9: September 10/11: Donington Park (2-hour race)