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Preview: Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge, Round One, Oulton Park

16th April 2019 • Simon Paice

The Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge has become renowned for producing some of the most competitive and thrilling one-make racing in the UK and with a 31 car grid ready for action, 2019 looks set to be no different.

The exciting entry includes two reigning Ginetta champions making their GT5 Challenge debuts. Junior title holder Adam Smalley (Elite Motorsport) is certainly one to watch, while Tom Golding (Assetto Motorsport) was the leading driver in the 2017 GRDC and won the G40 Cup crown last year.

Smalley is one of three Juniors to make the step up this season. Race-winner Ruben Del Sarte makes the transition with Total Control Racing, while Abbi Pulling joins Race Car Consultants alongside series returnee Josh Hislop and fellow debutant David Ellesley.

Geri Nicosia (Quattro Motorsport) and Scott McKenna (Xentek Motorsport) head into the new campaign holding title aspirations. Five-time race-winner Nicosia finished third in the standings last year, while McKenna was a double podium finisher.

Gordie Mutch (Fox Motorsport) and Connor Grady (Privateer) each took a top three finish last year, Katie Milner (Merlin International) has been an established front-runner across the last two seasons and Sami Saarelainen (Xentek Motorsport) also returns for a third campaign.

Other drivers returning to the Pro class with previous experience in the category are Matt Maxted (Graves Motorsport), Will Dyrdal (Privateer) and Gus Bowers (Xentek Motorsport), while Nick Halstead (Fox Motorsport) goes Pro for the first time as the reigning Am class champion.

A number of championship newcomers are entering the Pro contingent; privateer sibling racers Charlie and Daniel Budd, Richardson Racing pair Josh Malin and Jessie Chamberlain, Danny Harrison (Mutation Motorsport), Ryan Firth (Reflex Racing) and Lewis Ryder (Privateer). 

Eight drivers will compete in the Am class this weekend, with one of the standout names being James Townsend (Fox Motorsport). He took ten podium finishes in his maiden campaign last year and has high hopes for 2019, as does his team-mate Matt Konczos.

Two other drivers return to the class this season and they have both picked up silverware in the series. Dale Albutt (Quattro Motorsport) joined Konczos in taking a maiden podium finish at Knockhill last year, while Phil McGarty (GBR) secured a pair of top three results.

A new team to the GT5 Challenge paddock this season is Declan Jones Racing and they will run cars for championship newcomers Simon Khera, Jagjeet Virdee and Balginder Sidhu, while the Am class entry is completed by former motorcycle racer Wesley Pearce (Elite Motorsport).

Keep up to date with all the action across the meeting on social media, @GinettaCars.

 

Weekend Timetable:

Saturday, April 20 – Qualifying 12:50 – 13:10; Race One 16:55

Monday, April 22 – Race Two 10:35; Race Three 17:55