• Oxford racer Matt Chapman ready for British GT debut at Oulton Park
• Easter weekend races mark start of maiden endurance racing season
• Chapman and team-mate Sam Webster setting sights high in GT4 battle
Less than a fortnight since confirming his graduation into the high-profile British GT Championship, teenage racer Matt Chapman now has just a week to wait until the start of the latest chapter in his motorsport career with rounds one and two set to take place at Oulton Park over Easter weekend.
Oxford 17-year-old Chapman, who was Vice-Champion in the British GT-supporting Ginetta GT5 Challenge last year with two race victories and 10 podiums, remains with the Leeds marque for his move into the UK’s premier endurance racing category at the wheel of a Ginetta G55 GT4 car.
Partnering Sam Webster at reigning British GT4 champion team Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing, Chapman cannot wait for the first two races of the new season on Easter Monday, 17th April, where he intends to get his maiden season of British GT action off to a very strong start.
While not underestimating the challenge which awaits in GT4, which this year features its biggest ever grid of entries, the Oxfordshire driver is confident podium challenges are possible from the outset and is determined to claim some silverware at Cheshire’s Oulton Park.
“It’s going to be a massive step-up racing in British GT this year, I’ve barely had time to pinch myself to see if it’s all real and I’m actually in the championship!”, he said, “It’s quite hard to set goals as we don’t really know where we are compared to the competition, we haven’t had much time in the car at all yet.
“We’d definitely like to try and take podiums from the start of the season, but we’ll have to see where we are and what’s possible at Oulton. I’m definitely up for the challenge and Sam [Webster] is really good to work with, I think we can be a strong driver pairing. The team is helping me make a smooth transition to GT, I’m really looking forward to Oulton.”
Notably, the new season of British GT action also marks the signing of a new partnership for the category with digital free-to-view television broadcaster Front Runner to screen all races – with the exception of the visit to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium in July – live in the UK.
Boosting the profile and presence of British GT even further, Front Runner can be accessed at channel 468 on Sky Digital, channel 91 on Freeview, channel 250 on Freesat and channel 91 on the YouView, Talk Talk and BT platforms.
“It’s fantastic all of the UK races will be live on TV”, added Chapman, “That kind of coverage is always a big positive for the sponsors, it’s a great move for British GT. It also gives the drivers a chance to shine in front of a bigger audience. Hopefully we can have a strong start to the season.”
The opening free practice session of the 2017 British GT Championship season will get underway at Oulton Park’s International Circuit at 09.30 on Saturday, 15th April, with session two following at 12.15 ahead of qualifying at approximately 16.45.
After a day of rest on Easter Sunday, the competitors will return to track action on Easter Monday, 17th April, with morning warm-up starting at 09.30 ahead of the 60-minute first round of the season at 11.10. Round two, also contested over a duration of one hour, will begin at 15.30.