Oman Air Motorbase relishing home race in GT3 R
Round seven of the 2013 British GT calendar promises to be a special occasion for the Total 911-backed Oman Air Motorbase team, who will revel in the surroundings of their local track as the championship is welcomed to Brands Hatch.
The two-hour race on the fabulous Grand Prix circuit is one of the highlights of the British GT season, but Ahmad Al Harthy and Michael Caine in their Porsche 911 GT3R will be handicapped by an even greater weight penalty.
All season the car has been carrying a 75kg weight penalty due to the championship organiser’s grading of the two drivers. However, the speed of the Porsches has attracted further penalty as the season has developed and the Motorbase car will go to Brands Hatch with a massive 130kg of ballast: 75kg more than the championship leading Trackspeed cars.
“Unfortunately, the Porsche has got yet more ballast. That hurts us badly as we’ve already got the exotic driver penalty,” said team boss David Bartrum. “We’ve got another 20kg, which is particularly hard. Every time Trackspeed does well, we get more weight. It is getting very, very hard.”
The Brands Hatch race comes at the end of a long break in the British GT schedule. “The season goes into a bit of a summer holiday for those teams that are not going into Europe for the big races. We hope to be part of that one day,” said Bartrum. “The car has had a good mid-season rebuild with a routine service and we’re now ready for the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. It is our home race, so we are looking forward to it immensely. It is very special.”
Despite the weight handicap, Bartrum says that the team and drivers are determined to keep fighting for the championship over the concluding three races. “We’re fourth in the championship, which is a fantastic effort, and we’ll work hard,” he said. “We’ve done that through consistency and race craft, rather than through sheer pace because we’ve not had it. We’ve qualified where we can, done very slick pit stops and the drivers have kept out of trouble. We’re the only team on the grid to have scored points in every round this year.”
Following a pair of one-hour free practice sessions on Saturday 10 August, qualifying for the seventh round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship will start at 17.30. The two-hour race will start at 13.40 on Sunday 11 August.
TV coverage of the race will include Channel 4 at 7am on Saturday 17 August and Motors TV at 12.05pm on Saturday 17 August. Look for a full report in issue 105 of Total 911, including exclusive behind the scenes action from the whole weekend.