British squad Lee Mowle Motorsport (LMM) is set to enter its Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the fifth round of the International GT Open season at Silvestone next month in the Pro class, with drivers Ryan Ratcliffe and Phil Keen at the wheel.
It will be the first time Ratcliffe has raced the Mercedes on Michelin rubber, and had Phil Keen as a teammate. Team owner Lee Mowle, who usually races the team’s AMG GT3 in the Michelin Le Mans Cup will not take part in the event, and instead take a supporting role.
The team joins Barwell in entering its home round in the GT Open championship this year, with the aim to evaluate a future programme racing in the European GT series.
“It’ll be a blast,” commented Ratcliffe. “It’s the first time we’ve worked together this year, and it’ll be interesting to see how we do in a race situation. We’ve done some coaching before, but this will be the first time where we work together over a whole weekend; hopefully it will all click into place.
“My only previous entry as a PRO was in the Blancpain Baku race in 2014 with Joe (Osborne), which was not a track I was familiar with. That’s why it will be good to see where I am now, against this year’s GT Open competitive field. Yes, I’ve already got an eye on 2018; working with a PRO for a full year might be what I need to push me on to that next level. I’ve made giant steps forward with the Mercedes, and I believe I’ll really benefit at Silverstone from Phil’s experience.”
Keen, who is fighting for the British GT Driver’s Championship this year, and hopes to add to his 2017 successes with Lee Mowle Motorsport at Silverstone, added: “I’m looking forward to it. GT Open is a great championship that I’ve competed in over the past two years with Balfe Motorsport, so returning at Silverstone with the Mercedes will be great. Ryan is driving really well at the moment and I hope this weekend will push on to that next level; we’re entered as a PRO pairing, so he needs to get stuck in.
“We’ll have a penalty in the first race as we are a new entry, so all our efforts will really be on making the second race winnable. Hopefully we’re in good shape for that, the Mercedes looks competitive on BOP, and Silverstone is a circuit Ryan and I know well. We should hit the ground running.”
The International GT Open weekend kicks off with the first race of the weekend, a 70-minute encounter on Saturday, followed by a 60-minute race on Sunday at 13:15, local time.