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Donington Park replaces Oulton Park as British GT opener for 2025

The British GT Championship has explained its decision to move the opening round away from Oulton Park.

#15 RAM Racing BMW M4 GT3: John Ferguson, Raffaele Marciello

#15 RAM Racing BMW M4 GT3: John Ferguson, Raffaele Marciello

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The opening British GT Championship round will move from Oulton Park to Donington Park next year in a bid to avoid the chaos that marred this year’s Easter Monday curtain-raiser.

The Donington event, a two-hour race, will take place on 6 April, two weeks ahead of Easter, with the Oulton fixture run to the 60-minute double-header format moving back to 26 May, the late Spring Bank Holiday.

Aside from the pandemic-disrupted 2021 season, Oulton has hosted the opening British GT round each year since 2017.

Series boss Stephane Ratel explained the calendar reshuffle has been driven by an attempt to avoid the bad weather that caused problems this year and a desire not to host the season-opener on what he described as “the most challenging circuit on the calendar”.

“Oulton Park was very difficult this year,” he said. “We had push-back from the teams and, thanks to our good collaboration with Jonathan Palmer [whose MotorSport Vision operation runs both tracks], we will start with a circuit that will be easier for the first race.

“Of course, it might rain in May for Oulton but, if it does, at least it will not be the first race of the season for everyone. The drivers will be more used to their cars.”

The shift around in the calendar has been welcomed by the teams. Chris Needell, commercial director of the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini squad that won both Oulton races this year, said: “Oulton was carnage and the teams wanted to avoid that in the future.

#31 Team Parker Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 : Charles Dawson, Seb Morris

#31 Team Parker Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 : Charles Dawson, Seb Morris

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“We all love Oulton and want to go back there, but there was a request from the teams to try to find a solution.

“We talked about maybe separating out the GT3 and GT4 cars, but going back there when the weather should be better and at least a bit warmer, which will help tyre temperatures, is positive.”

Tim Mullen, sporting manager of Greystone GT, offered a similar opinion.

“Everyone thinks this is a positive move,” he explained. “Our feedback after Oulton this year was that it would make sense to move the race back a bit in the calendar.”

Both of the hour-long races at Oulton in April were interrupted by lengthy full course yellow virtual safety cars, which have been introduced into British GT for the first time this year.

There were just 23 minutes of green-flag running in the second encounter, which finished under caution.

As well as becoming the opening round – which will feature a two-hour duration rather than three hours – Donington will also return to its traditional position as the venue of the season finale after its second event and Brands Hatch swapped places for this year.

The seven-weekend campaign will again take in Spa on the week ahead of the Spa 24 Hours round of the GT World Challenge Europe run by Ratel’s eponymous organisation.

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