Total Control Racing’s Matt Chapman is looking forward to making a welcome return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support package next weekend, 7th/8th May, when the 2016 Ginetta GT5 Challenge makes a guest appearance at ultra-fast Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire.
Ordinarily running on the same card as the British GT Championship, with the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup absent from its usual slot on the BTCC package at Thruxton the Ginetta GT5 Challenge is stepping into the breach – marking its first appearance alongside the hugely popular touring cars.
With that will come huge crowds, last year’s BTCC event at the Andover venue attracted a record breaking attendance in the tens of thousands, as well as the opportunity to excel on live television with the second of the weekend’s two GT5 Challenge races set to be screened live on ITV4.
Oxford driver Matt, who goes into the event fourth in the standings with one podium to his credit from the championship opener at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit earlier this month, is no stranger to the BTCC support paddock – having raced in Ginetta Juniors in 2014 and 2015.
With good knowledge of the 2.35-mile track, and as a circuit he relishes, Matt has performed well at Thruxton in the past including setting fastest lap in the Juniors last year. The 16-year-old was also extremely rapid in officially timed GT5 Challenge pre-season testing where he was fastest of all.
“I’m really looking forward to being back at Thruxton, I love the circuit and it’s a fantastic challenge for any driver”, said Matt, “When we tested there a few weeks ago it was my first time on the slick tyres at Thruxton but it went really well and we were fastest in the second session and quickest for the day.
“Everything is looking positive for next weekend, we know we can race with the top guys in the championship and it’s going to be fantastic being in front of the big touring car crowds again. I absolutely love racing at Thruxton and I’m definitely aiming to be on the podium there.”
During the season-opener at Brands Hatch, the Oxfordshire youngster produced one of the drives of his career in round one after carving his way through the field from the back of the 35 car grid into an incredible ninth position – a remarkable gain of 26 places. Notably, he achieved the feat in under eight minutes of racing due to a lengthy Safety Car period.
Going on to finish in the top five in round two, Matt then secured his maiden GT5 Challenge podium in the third encounter and will undoubtedly go into the second event of the season as a very real threat for silverware once again.
Qualifying for the Ginetta GT5 Challenge will get underway at 11.00 on Saturday, 7th May, with round four of the season scheduled to start at 16.55. On Sunday, 8th May, round five is timetabled to begin at 13.45 and will be screened live on ITV4 and streamed live online.