Saturday, 12 February 2011

Corvette joins British GT grid with Speedworks



Speedworks Motorsport and drivers Piers Johnson and Ron Johnson are to campaign a Corvette in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, it is confirmed today. The Corvette will be making its British GT debut after considerable success in the FIA GT3 European Championship, and Speedworks – last season’s G4 champion team – will be stepping up to GT3 for the first time.

The 560bhp V8 Corvette will be joining a host of new and exciting machinery on the grid, with the Ferrari 458 Italia and Mercedes-Benz SLS joining the fray for the first time alongside the Audi R8 LMS, Porsche 911 GT3R, Ascari KZR1, Ferrari 430 Scuderia and other GT3 exotica.

Piers Johnson, a former saloon-racing champion and Le Mans campaigner, believes his return to the sharp end of the British GT field with Christian Dick’s team Speedworks is set to be a successful one: “We did a couple of events with Speedworks last year and I asked Christian what he’d choose if he had the option to buy a GT3 car. He said the Corvette. We wanted to be different, we liked the option and it’s within our budget. It’s worked well in Europe and hopefully it’ll work well here and be competitive with the new cars out there.”

Piers also hopes the new relationship with Speedworks will be a long one. “They won the British G4 championship last year, they’re a relatively young team, and they’re good to work with. I think they can get bigger and better and I’d like to be part of that.”

Dick added: “The Corvette is one of the most durable cars out there and it’s cost effective without compromise. When we first got involved in British GT we loved the environment and it was always the goal to step up. Piers and Ron can focus on bringing the car home and I think the longer races will be good for us. There’s no reason we can’t achieve a win by the end of the year.”

Piers Johnson’s driving partner Ron – no relation – started his track career in the Caterham Academy and progressed through Superlights and R400s to British GT last year with a Speedworks-run Ginetta G50.

Their campaign will be sponsored by Oilfield Production Consultants (OPC) Ltd, which provides expertise to the global oil and gas industry to assist hydrocarbon exploration and production companies find, evaluate and produce hydrocarbons. OPC has offices in London, Aberdeen, Houston, Doha and Atyrau.

“It is really exciting finally to see a Corvette on the British GT grid,” said championship manager Benjamin Franassovici. “It was a competitive car in Europe in 2010 and I am sure that it will be here also. There is a great battle in prospect between the new GT3 cars like the Corvette, Ferrari and Mercedes and those with a proven track record in the series.

“I am very happy also to see the Speedworks team racing in GT3; Christian and Amy did a great job last year and are part of the British GT family.”

Speedworks, which will also field a Toyota Avensis in the British Touring Car Championship this season, expects delivery of its Corvette next month and hopes to begin testing in good time for the opening round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Oulton Park on Easter Monday (25 Apr).

The British GT Championship is sponsored by UK tyre manufacturer Avon Tyres and is further supported by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and OAMPS.

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