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Spa Preview: Season-High Entry For A Pivotal Trip To Belgium

DSC previews the British GT Championship's annual away round

A strong field of 34 cars are set to make the trip to the Ardennes Forest this weekend for the British GT Championship’s two hour-long races at Spa Francorchamps.

It’s set to be a thrilling contest in both the GT3 and GT4 classes, with valuable points on offer as the second half of the season continues.

Can Keen and Minshaw pull away in the GT3 points standings?

In the GT3 class, Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen will be aiming to extend their slim championship lead of just three points over the Parker Bentley duo of Rick Parfitt and Seb Morris that won at Silverstone last time out.

The victory put them in striking distance, and separated them in the pack as the clear challengers for the title to Minshaw and Keen heading into the final three rounds.

Behind, the battle for third is also close. While the leaders have 119 and 115 points respectively, Spirit of Race’s Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin are 35.5 points back on 83.5, Jack Mitchell and James Littlejohn driving Macmillan AMR’s Vantage are just a single point back in fourth.

Barwell’s Sam Tordoff and Liam Griffin are also in the running, with 81 points, rounding out the top five; Tordoff’s debut GT3 season proving to be fruitful thus far, scoring at least 12 points in all but out of the rounds so far.

In addition to the series regulars, three one-off entries for the weekend at Spa – track time at Francorchamps ahead of the Spa 24 Hours again proving valuable.

As was previously announced, Team WRT will race in British GT for the first time, with a single Audi R8 LMS for Alain Ferte and Stuart Leonard, Kessel Racing is bringing another Ferrari 488 to the party for Piti Bhirombhakdi and Carlo van Dam and a third Barwell Lamborghini is entered, for Amstutz and Patrick Kojala.

Another Mercedes AMG GT3 is also entered (bringing the total to three) with German Blancpain GT Sprint Cup team Kornely Motorsport bringing team regular Kenneth Heyer and Patrick Assenheimer to the event.

Those extra GT3s bring the total number to 14. Century Motorsport will again sit out, after returning to the series with a single Ginetta G55 GT3 at Silverstone; its plans for the remaining rounds are still unclear.

GT4 leaders Pittard and Reed aiming to fend off Balon and Mackay

Like in GT3, the top of the GT4 standings are tight, with Lanan Racing’s David Pittard and Alex Reed leading the class by just three and a half points with their Ginetta G55. After a recent resurgence – including a win at Silverstone – track-club McLaren racers Adam Balon and Adam Mackay have slotted in second in the championship standings.

They’ll be hoping to continue their run of form from the ‘500’ at Spa, which is renowned for being a tough circuit in the dry, and gruelling in the mixed conditions which it’s famous for. If they don’t perform, HHC Motorsport’s Ginetta pair of William Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton will be waiting in the wings; with 92.5 points they’re just a further two points back.

While the race for the Driver’s Championship will be the main attraction in GT4, the battle up and down the order is set to be as fierce as it has been all season, with the entry 20 cars strong.

In addition to the previously announced Ebor GT Maserati making its series return after sitting out the opening rounds this season. Matthew Graham will take the reigns in the Maserati alongside Charlie Fagg, leaving a seat open in the #29 In2Racing McLaren 570S GT4 that will be filled by Finnish driver Jessie Anttila. In2Racing’s second McLaren is also returning to the series, with Jacques Duyver confirmed as one of two drivers at the time of writing.

Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing meanwhile, brings Adam Hatfield and VW Racing Cup regular Benjamin Wallace to create an all-Silver line-up in the first of the Team HARD-run Ginettas. The team’s other G55 will be steered by 2014 GT4 champion Jake Giddings who raced at Snetterton this year and Matt Chapman.

There’s also a second Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR on the entry from Delahaye Racing Team/Alexandre Viron. The outfit will race with Alexandre Viron himself and Emmanuel Orgeval as one of two AM pairings on the grid.

Both British GT’s Spa races will take place on Saturday, with Race 1 at 09:20am and Race 2 at 13:00 local time.