The Intelligent Money British GT Championship reaches its halfway point this weekend, with SD Sealants-supported racers Nick Jones and Scott Malvern setting course for the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, aiming to kick-start a strong second half of the season.
The duo head to the Belgian Grand Prix venue in the Ardennes in buoyant mood after their strongest showing in the Team Parker Racing Porsche 91 GT3 R yet during the last round at Donington Park. Both drivers showed impressive pace across that round, with the team also making big steps forward in the balance and setup of the four-litre 550bhp Stuttgart machine.
At Donington, pro driver Malvern rammed home the car’s potential, by setting two overall fastest laps during the qualifying session. And even though a gearbox problem halted their progress during the race, both drivers know they are entering the championship run-in with a solid race car underneath them.
This weekend will mark British GT’s first return to Spa since 2019, with last year’s round being cancelled due to the travel restrictions created by the Covid pandemic. Both Jones and Malvern have experience of the circuit, having raced there in both Porsche and Mercedes-AMG GT4 cars in past seasons. They also took part in the recent 24 Hours of Spa test day with the Porsche to get up to speed with racing a GT3 at the venue.
Jones and Malvern sit sixth in the GT3 Drivers’ standings, 43.5 points down on the championship leaders, but all that can change quickly with 37.5 points being offered for a win in Sunday’s two-hour race.
Nick Jones said: “I’m massively excited for this round. It’s Spa-Francorchamps! This is dream circuit territory. It’s great to be going back to one of the world’s best tracks. We didn’t have it on the calendar last year due to the travel issues, so I got my first taste of it in a GT3 car when we ran the Porsche during the official 24 Hours of Spa test day last month, and it’s a real eye-opener in GT3. I’ve driven the track a few times in the GT4 days, but it’s a real step up in a GT3. Everything happens so much faster with the extra power and grip you have. I found the test massively useful. The plan is to go out there, keep our noses clean and bag some more good points.”
Scott Malvern added: “I think we’re at the point in the year now where we’re massively looking forward to every session we get with the Porsche. We’ve made such huge progress with both our technical knowledge and driving technique that we now genuinely feel we have the right car to fight at the front. The 911 should suit Spa well., It has the traction to get out of the tighter hairpins well, and really excels in the medium-speed corners that make up much of the middle sector. We certainly won’t be the fastest thing on the straights, but we should more than make up for that when things get twisty. The team has found a great balance with the car, and we’ve managed to cure some of the early braking and handling issues we had. Nick is really enjoying his racing right now and I feel we’re in a great place. I just can’t wait to get on track at one of the best circuits anywhere in the world.”
The fourth round of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship gets underway with two free practice sessions on Saturday, before qualifying at 17:20CET (16:20GMT). Sunday’s two-hour race starts at 12:35CET (11:35GMT), and both qualifying and practice will be streamed live via the British GT website.