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RaceDayStaff

GT4 Numbers Begin To Rise Also
Ginetta G50s for Century, APO and Optimum

Thus far, the focus on British GT’s remarkable-looking 2013 has been mainly about the ever-growing GT3 entry, with the Complete Racing Aston Martin GT4 of Steve Chaplin and Tom Wilson thus far being the only confirmed class entry. Suddenly, however, we have news of four Ginetta G50s for the full season with drivers already confirmed in three of them.

Alex Osborne and James May proved themselves to be a potent duo on their BGT debut in 2012, taking several podium finishes, and clearly have high expectations for 2013 as they return in the Team APO G50.

"It's great to be back," said May. "We'd never driven rear-wheel drive until last year, so it was a real test to see if we liked it. We're in good shape and even with some of the new cars that look set to join GT4, I really think we're in good shape. As we saw last year it depends who is driving the car, for example a Ginetta in one-person's hands can be front of the grid or the back of the grid. All we can concentrate on is ensuring we do what we do best; minimising spins is the top priority! The leap last year for us (from previous racing endeavours) was huge and we learnt a big lesson on keeping it consistent. We'll be really disappointed if we don't win the GT4 series."

"We're back on the grid, and we have to thank our super sponsors, including The Money Shop, Excel Insurance, and Patisserie Valerie, for getting us here," said Osborne. "I really enjoyed our races last season and the Ginetta proved it was the car to beat in the hands of Warren (Hughes) and Jody (Fannin). I think the Lotus is the quickest car out there in terms of raw pace, but we had the beating of it on most occasions. If we're not challenging for race wins week in week out this season, we'll be disappointed."

Nathan Freke’s Century Motorsport have been loyal supporters of the GT4 category since 2009 and will return this year with a Ginetta for Declan Jones. The young racer from Liverpool becomes the latest to utilise Ginetta as a stepladder into the higher levels of sportscar racing; "The news that both my 2012 partners Chicago Soft and The London Perfume Company, together with the addition of www.race-cars.com, will support me in 2013 meant that I could step up to GT racing with Century Motorsport and continue the successful relationship with Nathan Freke and the team. This is the perfect next step for my career and we are all looking forward to a successful year.”

“The team worked well with Declan in 2012 and he rewarded us with excellent on track results,” added Freke.  “We are in talks with a number of quick potential partners for him and the final pairing will make a formidable team to challenge for the title. We will be running the latest specification Ginetta G50 GT4 car which we will take delivery of in the next couple of weeks.”

In addition to its strategic alliance with Triple Eight in the GT3 category, Optimum Motorsport will still be very active in its specialist field of running Ginettas, with planned programmes in British GT, the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, GT Cup and the Britcar Endurance Championship.

The team will enter two G50s in the British GT Championship, with Ryan Ratcliffe and Rick Parfitt Jnr being the first confirmed signings.


Ratcliffe (c) and Parfitt Jnr (r)

“We’re really looking forward to a strong campaign in British GT this year," said Team Owner Shaun Goff. "We have a very strong package and are certainly gunning for the title. Ryan and Rick are both quick, which is great. I am really looking forward to working with them.”

19 year-old Ratcliffe enjoyed a good year with Piranha Motorsport in 2012, finishing third in the GT5 Challenge with two wins, while his race debut with Optimum took place at the 24H Dubai earlier this month; “My aim has always been to race in GTs at an international level,” said the Welshman. “Having competed in the single-make Ginetta championships over the last three years, I have gained a wealth of experience. Racing at the Dubai 24hr earlier in the month with Optimum Motorsport has given me plenty of track time and confidence in the GT4 car before the start of the coming season - I can’t wait.”

Parfitt Jnr also raced with Piranha last season, so the two drivers know each other well. The 38 year old was a multiple British Kart Champion earlier in his career but only took up car racing two seasons ago; “We’ve known each other for a couple of years through the Ginetta Championship, and raced in the same team last year,” he said. “We get on well off of the racetrack, and have a similar driving style, so hopefully, this should translate into a good endurance partnership. I’m really looking forward to hitting the track as soon as possible.”

Discussions are underway with potential drivers for the second car.

Despite all the positive news in British GT, it looks unlikely that we will see the Jota Mazda MX5 this season, with the team unwilling to run the car unless it is properly funded. This is a great shame as insiders suggest the Mazda was looking certain to be right on the pace for 2013.