2015 British GT title contender Liam Griffin will switch teams and manufacturers for next season’s British GT Championship after joining Barwell Motorsport alongside factory Lamborghini driver Fabio Babini and this year’s GT3 runner-up, Alexander Sims.
The deal sees two-time overall race winner Griffin, who remained in championship contention up until September’s final round at Donington Park, switch from Motorbase Performance’s Aston Martin V12 Vantage to Lamborghini’s V10-engined Huracan GT3, which is making its British GT debut in 2016.
The reigning Teams’ Champions have also pulled off a major coup by not only securing a former FIA GT champion in the form of Babini but also convincing BMW to allow their factory ace Sims – who has finished second and third overall in the past two seasons aboard the Surrey-based outfit’s Z4 – to continue in rival machinery.
Huracan GT3 chief development driver Babini partners Griffin at the opening three rounds before Sims fills in over the second half of 2016. Griffin conceded it had been a tough decision to part with Motorbase but that Barwell’s offer was just too good to pass up.
“I thoroughly enjoyed last year and the decision to change teams was not an easy one, but the opportunity to drive a factory supported Lamborghini, run by the championship winning team, was just too appealing,” he said.
“With Fabio’s knowledge of the car followed by Alexander’s knowledge of the circuits I have every hope that we will be in with a chance of winning the championship. Last year taught me a lot so hopefully I can use that to pick up the points that will make the difference come the end of the year.”
Meanwhile Babini, whose CV also boasts a Le Mans 24 Hours class victory, is excited at the prospect of competing in a British series for the first time.
“I’m so happy to race in British GT with Barwell Motorsport and Liam, and I have been always fascinated by the British tracks, overall for the fantastic atmosphere during the races and for the participation of the people!” he said. “I’m also very happy to enter into the ‘family’ of Barwell and I hope to give my contribution to a winning future! I’m excited to begin the challenge with them!”
Sims, who missed out on the 2014 Drivers’ title with Marco Attard due to similar clashing factory BMW commitments, believes Griffin should be a frontrunner throughout the campaign.
“I’m extremely pleased to be able to continue my relationship with Barwell and to work with Liam in British GT,” he said. “I have to thank BMW for allowing me to dovetail this alongside my programme with them. Working with Barwell over the last two years has been a real pleasure and so to be able to continue that is spot on.
“I am certain that Liam will be right on the pace and fully expect him to be at the front all season long. Although I will not be in contention for overall championship honours, it will still be great to do the four races and help Liam and the team fight for the championships.”
Team principal Mark Lemmer added: “It’s fabulous to welcome Liam into the team; he has emerged as one of the quickest Ams in British GT. Babini will bring unparalleled car knowledge, which will help the whole team, whilst Sims will bring unparalleled speed!”
Barwell, which is being supported by Lamborghini Squadra Corse has already announced that its 2015 crew of Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen would fill the second Huracan GT3 seat.