• Another new challenge for Matt Chapman as first 2hr race awaits
• British GT Championship heading to Rockingham for Rd3
• Ginetta driver aiming to build on strong start to endurance career
British GT Championship racer Matt Chapman travels to Rockingham in Northamptonshire later this week for the second event of his debut season in endurance racing and yet another career first, his maiden two-hour race.
Autoaid/RCIB Insurance driver Chapman, who partners Sam Webster in the GT4 division of British GT, made a consistently strong start to the season on his category debut at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend and he intends to make further strides during round three on Sunday, 30th April.
The 17-year-old from Oxford, who raced to the Vice-Champion’s position in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge last year, is thoroughly enjoying being part of the UK’s premier endurance racing series and was very happy with his competitive debut just a week ago where he and Webster took a best result of ninth place.
Ending the Oulton Park event fifth in the Silver class standings, and just outside the top 10 in the main GT4 points table, the Ginetta G55 driver gained vital experience in both wet and dry conditions during the two 60-minute contests in Cheshire and delivered a strong account of himself.
“Oulton was a consistent weekend for us”, he said, “The competition in British GT4 is strong but I’m happy with how things have started, we really came on strong in the second half of the races and it was good to take some points away from my first weekend and to finish in the top 10 in race one.”
Rockingham, of course, provides an entirely different challenge to that of Oulton Park with the fast, sweeping oval banking mated to a twisty, technical infield section. Finding a strong balance between the two is paramount but Chapman is confident his Ginetta will be a competitive package.
“Rockingham is a track that suits the Ginetta, the infield section is where the car is strong so we’re really looking forward to it and confident we can have a good weekend”, he added, “There are definitely more opportunities to overtake at Rockingham than at Oulton, so hopefully we’ll be able to make some good progress.
“The Ginetta is good on tyres so we should be able to get them to last well in a two-hour race, Sam and I just need to drive consistently – but everyone is in the same boat. Obviously, the longer race is something brand new to me, being in the car for an hour, but I can’t wait for it. It was good to ease in to this with the half-hour stints at Oulton first.”
Opening free practice at Rockingham will take place at 09.25 on Saturday, 29th April, with session two following at 11.45 and qualifying commencing at around 16.00. On Sunday, 30th April, a brief 10-minute warm-up is scheduled for 09.30 with the two-hour third round of the season – which will be screened live in the UK on free-to-air channel Front Runner – beginning at 13.10.
2017 British GT4 Championship Standings
11th Matt Chapman & Sam Webster, 2pts
2017 British GT4 Championship – Silver Class Standings
5th Matt Chapman & Sam Webster, 20pts