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RaceDayStaff

News From The NEC – British GT
Vita4One Italy And Blundell Join In

The 2013 British GT Championship gained more international flavour today with the announcement of a second Italian team lodging an entry. No drivers have yet been confirmed, but a brace of Ferrari 458 GT3s from Vita4One Team Italy is sure to attract plenty of interest.

"The British GT Championship will be an exciting challenge for our team in a country where passion and motor-racing culture have always been at their highest levels," said Team Principal Matteo Bobbi. "The calendar schedules rounds in circuits like Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Zandvoort, Donington, Oulton Park, Rockingham and Snetterton which make it a very interesting offer; we are currently negotiating with several drivers but the doors are still open to other ones. The objective is anyway to have the lineup decided within a month."

In addition to this news, the Autosport stage saw United Autosports owners Zak Brown and Richard Dean talking about their three car entry into the championship, before introducing their final signing for the season – former Le Mans winner and F1 pedaller Mark Blundell, who will join Richard Meins in one of the two McLaren MP4-12Cs entered by the team.

“This will be my first full season in Britain since I raced in Formula Ford 2000 in 1986,” began Blundell. “So it’s been a long time, but I’m really looking forward to it – we’ll be visiting some of the tracks that I love most.

“I know that I’ve got a great car, a great team and a great teammate, and on our day I’m sure the results will come; but it’s going to be very competitive in British GT this season and Alvaro Parente [who partners Zak Brown in the other UA McLaren] is a great yardstick for anyone!”

Meins and Blundell drove together for United Autosports at the Spa 24 last year, an event that Meins rates above its more revered cousin in France; “Speak to anyone in sportscar racing and they’ll tell you that Le Mans is the pinnacle, but Spa in a GT3 is better – you have 65 cars on pretty much an equal footing, while at Le Mans you are always having to get out of the way of the prototypes. I very much enjoyed racing with Mark at Spa and am looking forward greatly to racing with him again in British GT this season.”

As far as formal announcements are concerned, that was pretty much it for British GT at Birmingham; but it was clear through conversations with various people that we will soon have another wave of announcements. What we can say is that the opening round at Oulton Park at Easter is likely to be fully subscribed and that live TV coverage has been confirmed for two rounds, with a third under negotiation. It looks highly likely that 2012’s average grid size of 28 cars will be improved upon in 2013 and could well start to cause the touring-car fraternity in particular to start looking over their shoulders.