• Matt Chapman steps down from GT4 to concentrate on 2018 plans
• Character building rookie GT season comes to an early conclusion
• Difficult campaign makes teen racer ‘more determined than ever’
Rapid British GT4 Championship rookie Matt Chapman has withdrawn from the category ahead of this weekend’s final round of the season at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit, in order to place full focus on his plans for 2018.
Chapman, a multiple race winner in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge last year where he went on to become Vice-Champion, has encountered a multitude of issues during his maiden GT4 campaign and after much consideration has chosen to stand-down from the Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing team.
Despite showing tremendous pace in his first season at the wheel of a Ginetta G55 GT4 car, the Oxford 17-year-old’s bid for podium silverware has been impacted by a range of difficulties not of his making which have, in turn, made for a very challenging and character building year.
“It’s no secret it’s been a very tough season with one thing and another and we haven’t been able to show the pace we know is there”, said Chapman, “After a lot of thought and consideration, stepping down before Donington gives us more time, and budget, to work on next season’s plans.
“Even with the difficulties we’ve faced this season on track, I’ve loved being part of British GT4 and I’m more determined than ever to be back stronger in 2018 where we hope to be able to be contenders from the outset and put together a very consistent challenge. It’s unfinished business.”
During the penultimate race meeting of the season at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent last month, where he was partnered with category newcomer Chris Milford for the first time, Chapman produced the fifth fastest race lap in GT4 to underline his own pace and performance.
Starting the season in the points at Oulton Park in Cheshire, Chapman and then team-mate Sam Webster came tantalisingly close to a maiden GT4 podium at Rockingham in Northamptonshire the next time out until steering failure put paid to their hopes.
Power issues in the third event of the campaign at Snetterton in Norfolk limited any points scoring possibilities and at Silverstone’s flagship three-hour race in June, brake issues and driveshaft failure conspired to again frustrate.
For the overseas visit to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, where Chapman was a race winner in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge in 2016, a battling top 10 finish was the best he and Jake Giddings, a former British GT4 champion, could muster on another mixed weekend.
“In an ideal world we’d be racing at Donington next weekend and trying to end the championship with a season-best performance”, added Chapman, “But the sensible approach is to save the budget, make an early start on next year’s plans and be in the best place possible when 2018 arrives. I’d like to thank the guys at Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing for their hard work and support this year.”