Century Motorsport have returned to the British GT4 Championship this season as one of the main challengers over the opening three weekends. With a set of new driver pairings for 2016, the team looked strong from the off with a mix of youth, experience and the will to win.
Anna Walewska and Nathan Freke joined forces for 2016 through the support of Westons and the University of Bolton. Walewska enjoyed a mixed debut British GT4 season in 2015 and having already tasted victory at the 24 Hours of Dubai on her debut with the team in January, it looked as if she would have all the ingredients required to be in a position to race at the front this season. So far, she has done just that. With a spring in her step and a fresh air of confidence, Freke and Walewksa put their #73 Ginetta G55 on pole position at the opening round in Brands Hatch, in what looked set to be the start of good things to come. Finishing that round in second position, the pair have gone on to fight at the front each weekend since, and Silverstone this weekend looks set to be no different.
Nathan Freke needs no introduction. A multiple champion in various formulae during the years and a former McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year nominee, Freke has made a number of one-off appearances in the British GT4 Championship over the last couple of years and has rarely been off the podium on each occasion, which earmarked him as one of the pre-season championship favourites. Nathan has rarely been outside the top three in any session so far this season, with highlight performances at Brands Hatch and Rockingham, coming from well down the order to put their car into podium contention. Making no secret of his desire to win the championship’s longest race of the year, the GT4 battle should be entertaining to say the least this weekend.
Returning to British GT4 for his third season this year, Norway’s Aleksander Schjerpen burst onto the scene in 2014 as a podium finisher in his first weekend at Oulton Park. Since then, Aleksander has regularly shown what a fine talent he is, but this year in particular has seen him put on several standout performances. Having celebrated victory at the start of the year in Dubai with teammates Freke and Walewska, some could argue that Schjerpen is in a different class this season. Now acting as the PRO driver in a PRO/AM combination, Schjerpen was unlucky not to taste champagne at the opening round in Brands Hatch, but set the record straight in Rockingham with a fine second place result in GT4. With plenty of long stint experience from his trip to Dubai in January, Aleksander will be hard to bet against for a top result this weekend.
Making the transition from being a front-runner in the Caterham R300 series last year, Sean Byrne is the team’s only rookie British GT4 driver, joining forces with Aleksander Schjerpen. Despite his lack of experience in the championship, Byrne immediately impressed both Schjerpen and the Century team in pre-season testing, and things have only gotten better since. Byrne’s lap times have improved with every lap, as he continues to grow within the championship. Putting in solid stints in almost every session so far, Sean and Aleksander are emerging as one of the strongest PRO/AM combinations in the championship. Reveling in his new team and the new challenges presented by British GT4, Byrne is openly looking forward to both Silverstone and Spa, where he hopes they can add some further silver wear to their collection from Rockingham this year.
Anna Walewska – #73 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“This season has been great so far. Nathan has been a fantastic co-driver and brought me on so well. Everyone at Century has been doing a fantastic job, and my confidence is building every time I get in the car, and I think I’ve shown that on track as well. We’ve had our ups and downs, but importantly we’ve always had the pace to win races, so I hope we can continue that this weekend also.”
Nathan Freke – #73 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“I will be going into Silverstone extremely determined to make amends for Oulton Park. We struggled for pace really, so we have had a good think about setup and I think we will make good improvements this weekend. It’s our time to win…”
Sean Byrne – #40 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“I’ve been really enjoying the season so far. It’s been really good to get into a new form of racing and understanding the different elements of it. Rockingham has definitely been a high point of the season, a good qualifying lead to finishing second. Now I’m really looking forward to Silverstone and Spa, they are both great tracks and I’m hoping we can get some good results.”
Aleksander Schjerpen – #40 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“I think we have got good speed so far this season, in both myself and Sean and in the car. We have been a little bit unlucky at times, but all in all we are a strong pairing. Sean is a great guy; he is learning really quickly and is fast as well. Looking ahead, we are really well prepared now, and I think we will only get stronger, so hopefully we can get the results we deserve and fight for more podiums.
Les Jones – Team Manager, Century Motorsport:
“I think the results speak for themselves so far this year. Everyone has been working really hard, and we’ve got four fantastic drivers. For me, the standout performances have come from Sean and Anna. Sean is new to this highly competitive championship, but he isn’t showing it. Anna came off a challenging season last year but is really showing what she’s actually made of so far. As a team, Century are proving that we can take a driver of any experience, and put them in a position to fight for race wins, and I’m confident this weekend will be no different.”
Free Practice 1 – 09:30 – 10:30
Free Practice 2 – 12:10 – 13:00
Qualifying GT4-AM – 16:08 – 16:18
Qualifying GT4-PRO – 16:23 – 16:33
Warm-Up – 09:35 – 09:45
Race (3 Hours) – 12:50 – 15:50