European Le Mans Series GTE front runner James Walker is the latest driver to announce his participation in the burgeoning 2013 British GT Championship. The 29-year-old will drive Fortec Motorsports’ AMG Mercedes SLS GT3 car in the opening round at Oulton Park on April 1st. For Walker, it marks a return to the team where he scored International success in both F3 and World Series by Renault and a circuit where he wrapped up his Junior Formula Ford title.
“British GT looks like it is going to have one of its most competitive years in its history, so to be part of that is fantastic,”says Walker. “Richard Dutton at Fortec had literally just collected the car and asked me to shake it down at Oulton Park with a further run at Rockingham. Despite near freezing temperatures we were still able to get some productive running. Richard has put together a great team including experienced engineer Trevor Foster to run the car; it was an easy decision to make. ”
Runner up in the GT category of the European Le Mans Series for the past two years, Walker believes that as well as his experience of the tracks, his vehicle development role at Wirth Research will benefit the team as it starts to unlock performance in the car. “Developing race cars on the simulators provides lots of ‘virtual’ seat time,” adds Walker. “Having to analyse objectively aero, damper or even tyre changes will assist the team in these early stages.”
With at least nine manufacturers taking part in this year’s British GT Championship, including a number of factory-supported teams, Walker is nonetheless realistic about the prospects for himself and the team that has had so little running to date. “It’s obviously going to be a massive learning curve but we will be out to show what we can do. If we can have a trouble-free weekend, we can demonstrate the pace we know the car is capable of.”
In addition to the British GT outing, Walker is soon to release his plans for International outings this season. “I am in discussion with teams for European Le Mans Series, ALMS as well as racing in Asia. It’s shaping up to be a very busy year,” concludes Walker.