Images by Pete Walker, Howard Fielding & Jakob Ebrey

The loss of Aston Martin from a full-season campaign in the GT3 category of the British GT Championship has sparked an intense battle for honours amongst the three leading marques eager to replace the Vantage in the title standings.

Lamborghini, McLaren and Mercedes-AMG are all well represented in this year’s title battle

Since 2013, only twice (2014 & 2017) have cars from beyond the Gaydon stable emerged victorious at the year’s end, and yet these statistics belie the evidence of just how close the competition has truly been. Take last year for example, the Lamborghini Huracan scored the same number of wins as the Vantage, and in the three years prior, twice it scored more. In fact, despite the dominant number of Aston Martins lining-up on successive grids, the tally of wins from the past five seasons (2015-2019) stacks-up as AMR 20 – 26 Others.

Barwell’s Lamborghini pairing of Adam Balon & Phil Keen are no strangers to winning

So how is this year shaping-up? As we’re only four races-in, I’m going to count podiums instead of wins and it couldn’t be closer! The Huracan has podiumed four times, as has the McLaren 720S, whilst the Mercedes-AMG GT stands at just one less with three (the sole Team Parker Racing Bentley taking the final place and causing the upset by winning last time out at Donington).

Nick Jones & Scott Malvern took the Zero option at Donington and recorded their first GT3 win

Heading to Brands Hatch this weekend, fans will be treated to a thirteen-car GT3 entry (ten of which are either McLaren, Lamborghini or Mercedes-AMG) and the battle for the title will intensify over two hours of hard and fast racing. Joining them (and the Bentley) will be an old favourite and a new hopeful as we see the return of former title-winners Andrew Howard & Jonny Adam in the Beechdean AMR Vantage, together with new kids on the block, Steller Performance’s Richard Williams & Sennan Fielding in the team’s debutante Audi R8 LMS.

Andrew Howard’s Vantage reprises it’s retro livery – Jakob Ebrey
Whilst Steller’s Audi R8 LMS is hoping that its winning era starts right here – Jakob Ebrey

It promises to not only be an epic encounter but most likely a title-defining one too. The Beechdean pairing of Howard & Adam will not only be quick, they’ll be eager to make the most of the opportunity to prove their class against old foes (such as Phil Keen, Jack Mitchell & Franck Perera) and, of course, the new generation of rising stars (including Audi’s Williams & Fielding). The R8 is known to excel around the Kent circuit and its drivers were winners in the GT4-spec car at last year’s Donington Decider, so they too will expect to be right in the mix.

Williams & Fielding were winners in the R8 GT4 at Donington last year

But this is a battle for accumulated points over fifteen hours of nine races and any DNF or shunt down the order, due to damage or penalty, might well make the difference as to who rises to the claim the spoils in November.

James Baldwin & Michael O’Brien won at Oulton Park but dropped points at Donington
The Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG of Ian Loggie & Yelmer Buurman scored a fine podium in Donington’s first race but then slid out of the points in the second
Michael Igoe will hope that Franck Perera can repeat Andrea Calderelli’s form from Donington which saw the WPI Huracan promoted into P4 in the championship following a dramatic maiden win for the team

The Balance of Performance measures that SRO use to keep competition as close as possible means that any theoretical advantage assigned to a car by nature of engine position or footprint can largely be discounted amongst the season regulars; this is going to be a straight fight to the line where qualifying position will count greatly (in the fight to clear the pack, especially if a pit-stop success penalty is to be served) and where tyre management will determine who will have the grip to challenge or defend and who will succomb under pressure.

The current crop of GT3 cars are just about as close as close can be.

It’s shaping-up to be a great weekend from what looks likely to be a remarkable season of racing . . and if you want to experience the whole sight, smells and sounds for yourself, tickets are still available from the MSV website: But if you can’t, then you can steam the race live from the British GT website, and count on us to capture the very best of it.

Last year’s race at Brands Hatch produced a no-moves barred thriller