Reigning British GT champion Rick Parfitt Jnr will return to the Championship in 2018 with a (not so) new co-driver for his title defence.
Ryan Ratcliffe will join Team Parker Racing’s #1 Bentley Continental GT3 line-up, the man that shared Parfitt’s British GT GT4 title run in 2013 after Seb Morris confirmed that he was to concentrate on a European campaign in 2018.
Team Parker Racing have also confirmed that they will again field a second Bentley for returning pairing and last season’s Spa race winners Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod.
For the #1 car however, whilst Parfitt Jnr, Team Parker and Bentley are extending their partnership to a third season, the car and team will be completely new to Ratcliffe who contested last year’s championship alongside Lee Mowle in an AMDTuning.com Mercedes-AMG GT3. He has though competed in the British GT GT3 class once before with Rick, the pair scoring a fourth place finish in soaking conditions at Snetterton in 2015.
“An opportunity came up to drive with Rick in 2018 and to say I was like a kid in a sweet shop is a bit of an understatement!” said Ratcliffe. “I have a great relationship with Rick and to work alongside him this year is going to be fantastic! Working with Team Parker is something I am really looking forward to; looking from the outside they definitely seem like one of the most professional teams on the grid and after seeing the progress they have made with Rick I can’t wait to get started!
“Driving the Bentley will certainly be different; it’s a great marque to be associated with and certainly draws a lot of attention in British GT. This year looks like it’s going to be the most competitive yet but the aim is to be at the front and fighting for podiums every round. I honestly haven’t been this excited about a season to date.”
Meanwhile, Parfitt Jnr acknowledged last season’s successful title tilt had been tougher than expected, and that 2018 would require a different approach.
“After such a tough yet amazing year in 2017, where I achieved more than I could have ever imagined, the 2018 season needed to represent a fresh new challenge for me,” he confirmed. “There was never any doubt that I wanted to stay in British GT but I wanted to return with a new hunger and no expectations.
“So when the opportunity came up to reignite the partnership with Ryan it was a hugely exciting prospect and felt absolutely right. We have a long history together having been team-mates and rivals in Ginetta GT5s before uniting to win the GT4 title together in 2013.
“In short, this is a proven partnership and I couldn’t be more excited about Ryan and I bringing the original dream team and #1 TPR Bentley back to the best domestic GT championship in the world.”
The pair will unveil their 2018 livery in now traditional fashion at Morton’s – haunt of the original Bentley Boys – before the start of the season.
Team Parker’s announcement brings the number of confirmed British GT3 manufacturers to four. More are expected to be announced in due course.