911 in Motorsport: British GT finale Donington Park preview
At 1:15pm (GMT) the final round of the 2013 British GT Championship will roar into action, with the field streaming down to Redgate corner at Donington Park.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R of Oman Air Motorbase Performance is right in the hunt for the title for the second year running. However, while Michael Caine was part of the championship-winning driver line-up last year, Ahmad Al Harthy is enjoying his debut season amongst the British GT racers.
With this in mind, it is impressive that they are only 10.5 points away from the top of the standings entering this final round. Making their feats even more outstanding is the fact that the Motorbase Porsche has been carrying 130kg of ballast in recent rounds, 75kg more than the Trackspeed 911.
So, what are the chances of a second successive crown for the Kent-based Porsche 911 team? Well, team boss, David Bartrum is reserved ahead of the championship showdown.
“I think there are six cars that can win the title at the last round, and we are ten points behind the leader”, explained team boss, David Bartrum. “I think it will be a difficult task for us this year as we are carrying the weight and I think the quality of the field is up on last year.”
However, while the success ballast may upset the Porsche 911’s balance through the fast sweeps of Donington Park, last year’s round at the East Midlands circuit showed some remarkable similarities to this season.
Last season there were also six cars in with a shout of grabbing the title, and Motorbase were, once again, ten points away from the championship lead heading into the race.
What’s more, while Bartrum believes the opposition is possibly tougher this season, Motorbase were able to finish ahead of both Trackspeed and Beachdean (two of their main rivals) at Donington Park one year ago.
With recent performances in mind, including a win at Zandvoort last time out, Motorbase has managed to cope well with the additional weight in their Porsche 911 GT3 R. This something that has buoyed Al Harthy before this weekend’s race.
“All year we’ve had to cope with extra ballast in the car due to how things are graded in the championship, and we’ve still managed to do a great job”, explained the Omani driver. “So I’m confident that we can try and fight for another podium at the weekend and, maybe, our third win.”
Aiding Motorbase’s challenge is the strong infrastructure that Bartrum has built into his team. As Bartrum puts it, all season “the pitstops have been spot on, the car preparation has been first class, and our engineer, Ricki Martino has done a fantastic job”.
This is something that Al Harthy echoes: “The guys at Oman Air Motorbase have given us a superb car all season and it would be incredible to reward them with the title”.
Saturday morning will see the British GT teams get two free practice sessions around the Grand Prix layout, before the half an hour long qualifying session takes place at 3:45pm (GMT).
The race gets underway at 1:15pm on Sunday, with the new British GT champions being crowned just two hours later.