Avon Tyres British GT Championship racewinners Craig Wilkins and Aaron Scott are set to return to the series in 2010 with their mighty GT3 Viper - rebuilt from the ground up by a new team of technicians - and they have outright championship success as their target.
Wilkins and Scott were title contenders last season right down to the wire and netted memorable race victories at Spa-Francorchamps and Knockhill, plus a further five podium finishes. Their season might have turned out very different but for mechanical dramas in a couple of races.
"We had something of a love/hate relationship with the Viper in 2009," says Aaron, "but we are both very excited about our prospects for the coming season with what will be essentially a completely new car."
The Kingsbury Jig and Tool-backed Viper is currently being stripped back to basics prior to rebuild at the Sutton Coldfield base of GT3 Racing, a new team set up by Wilkins. "Setting up my own team has always been at the back of my mind," says Craig. "I think because of my engineering background and because I enjoy motorsport so much I get very involved in the technical work, which is great when the workshop is on your doorstep but not so great if it's a 140-mile round trip. I am pleased to say that we have maintained a very good relationship with our former team, ABG Motorsport, and that they have been a great help to us.
"We are in the middle of a complete ground-up rebuild, looking at every area to improve the car and rebuild it to a much better quality. We are quite realistic about the Viper's performance: it's not suddenly going to start living with the outright pace of the Ferrari 430 Scuderias, or even the Ford GT, but I feel quite strongly that the change in the race format for 2010 - with both races on the one day - will play into our hands. It will suit the fairly robust Viper a bit better than maybe it will some of the more fragile equipment."
Scott, a seven-season British GT veteran and driving partner to Wilkins since 2008, believes their rejuvenated Viper will be in the thick of it: "The Ferraris are going to be hard to beat, of course, but we feel that with this investment in the Viper it can be more reliable, more consistent, easier on its tyres and a really competitive prospect for the coming season.
"Craig is the best 'gentleman driver' in the championship; he improved hugely last year, and we believe that our partnership will be a strong one."
The Avon Tyres British GT Championship and its new eight-meeting/14-round format is proving a big draw for existing and prospective competitors, with several teams set to announce their plans during the coming week. Among the other fancied runners already to have declared their intention to compete are MTECH and Chad Racing with the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, and United Autosports with the exciting Audi R8 LMS.
A healthy field of GT3 cars is expected on the grid for the opening rounds at Oulton Park over Easter, as well as a bevy of GTC and GT4/SuperSports machines. British GT is sponsored by UK tyre manufacturer Avon Tyres and is further supported by insurance specialist AON, by Sunoco Racing Fuels, by Anglo American Oil Company and The Independent.Reuse content