Viper ready to bare fangs in GT battle

As first signs of spring go, it may lack something of the natural beauty of birdsong, but the unmistakable roar about to be unleashed at Oulton Park in Cheshire this weekend is a sure sign to motor sports fans nonetheless. It means that the super car grid of the British GT Championship is back for a new season.

There are few sights and sounds in world motor sport that quite match the run into the first corner, with cars like the Aston Martin DBRS9, Dodge Viper, Ferrari 430, Mosler MT900, Ford GT and Ascari KZ1R all trying to exit the corner higher up the order than they entered it.

GT racing is enjoying something of a renaissance over the past few years, due to the number of super car marques who now compete. Where once it would have been a fleet of Porsches, it is now a far more exotic grid. To ensure close racing, the cars go through a "balance of performance" test where they are assessed and then faster cars are "equalised" by being given additional weight to carry, or other methods such as air restrictors.

"We want to give our driver, teams, and the fans a really competitive championship to win and watch," says Stephane Ratel, whose company, SRO Motorsport Group, runs a number of GT championships around the world. "We don't want to have a championship that can be bought. We have a championship that teams and drivers really have to go and win."

While the "equalisation" process is one of the things that sets the championship apart, another fairly unique aspect of GT racing is that each car has two drivers, who share driving duties. It takes a lot of trust between drivers, who know that even if they have driven their socks off, and established a healthy lead, their partner can always go out and fall off the track.

In what looks likely to be an extremely close-fought affair, Craig Wilkins and Aaron Scott, in the ABG Motorsport Viper could be one of the pairings to keep an eye on. "This is my third full season in motor sport and my second in British GT," Wilkins said. "Last season we had a lot of issues finding the right set-up of the car and this year I think we've nailed it. Vipers have won for the last two seasons so see if we can make it three in a row."

Also expected to be among the front-runners will be the vastly experienced pairing of Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen, who will pilot the Rosso Verde Ferrari 430. Simonsen is a class act who enjoyed a very successful season in the FIA GT Championship last year.

The youngest pairing is 24-year-old Stuart Hall, and Daniel Brown, who at just 17, will be the youngest driver to appear in the championship. They will be behind the wheel of the Rollercentre Racing Team Mosler MT900.

*The British GT Championship starts at Oulton Park at 2pm today, with the second race on Easter Monday.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor