The British GT Championship will zoom past the halfway mark this weekend when the competitors take to Norfolk’s Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit for the fourth of the seven rounds scheduled to comprise the 2014 season. That means Pasin Lathouras will be in action behind the wheel of the #29 AF Corse Ferrari 458 GT3 and the Thai is back sharing the car with Richard Lyons.
This round will see a switch of formats for British GT, and, after a 3-hour endurance race last time out at Silverstone Circuit at the beginning of this month, Snetterton will comprise of two 1-hour long ‘sprint’ races taking place this Sunday (22 June), repeating the ‘double header’ format last seen at Oulton Park during the first round of the season.
For Pasin this is his first year in the British GT Championship, which is regarded by many in motorsport as the one of the toughest domestic sportscar championships in the world, as well as it being his first campaign outside of his native Asia. It’s certainly the biggest step in the 20-year-old’s career so far.
And, as the halfway mark moves into view, it’s been a very promising year – despite a few setbacks. Pasin has finished in the points in every race (4 races held over 3 rounds) although he lost one of those helpings of points, at Rockingham, post-race. The last two rounds – at Rockingham and Silverstone – have seen his team, AF Corse, on the back foot early on after car problems occurred from the start of both the weekends and the youngster will be hoping that this event will turn out to be a much smoother affair.
As with all the tracks on the British GT Championship calendar this year, this will be Pasin’s first race here, although he has had a first look at the track during a pre-season test day at the Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit, which first hosted motorsport events as far back as the 1960s. The track is located in the east of England and lies approximately 30 km south west of the city of Norwich in Norfolk.
The track layout that the British GT Championship will use over this coming Saturday and Sunday – known as the ‘Snetterton 300’ – is relatively new. It was created at the start of this decade after a new infield section was built onto the existing circuit pattern. Racing on the ‘Snetterton 300’ kicked off in 2011 after the circuit owners had finished lengthening and improving the track in order to chase FIA circuit ‘Grade 2’ status. It all makes for an interesting challenge, as the track now comprises of a nicely flowing blend of the historic fast circuit and a much tighter and more technical new infield section. The length of the new ‘Snetterton 300’ layout stands at 4.779 km in total and it has 13 turns. When Pasin tested here for AF Corse pre-season he said he enjoyed the circuit and the different scenarios it offered the driver.
After his regular teammate Richard was unavailable for the last round at Silverstone due to a clashing commitment, Pasin was instead paired up with Italian Alessandro Pier Guidi. However the Northern Irishman will be back in the cockpit of the #29 AF Corse Ferrari 458 GT3 and the duo will be starting their fourth and fifth races of the season together this weekend.
However, once again, Pasin and Richard will have to cope with the 458 GT3’s weight disadvantage versus their key rivals and that means, realistically, the Thai driver will have to target continuing his consistency while aiming to learn another new racetrack and look to keep up his excellent run of points scoring finishes. Hopefully, if everything comes together perfectly they can push hard for a higher finishing position.
Running over two days, the fourth round of the prestigious 2014 British GT races will again form a ‘sprint’ double header with the British F3 Championship.
Pasin and the rest of the teams will get their first taste of the track tomorrow (Saturday 21 June) with two 1-hour duration free practice sessions, which get underway at 0935 and 1235 respectively. That will be followed at the end of the afternoon by the two short and sharp qualifying sessions, which kick off at 1640 and 1700. They are 15-minutes each with a quick 5-minute turnaround break squeezed in between. Raceday, the day after tomorrow (Sunday 22 June), kicks off with a 10-minute warm-up session at 0900 before the two 1-hour races go to green lights at 1140 and 1625.
Pasin Lathouras: “As ever, I’m also looking forward to this race. It’s been a lot of hard work so far but also a lot of fun racing in this championship and I feel I’m really developing as a driver every time I get on the tracks. I have had to raise my game so much as all these drivers are so good. It was great to work with Alessandro at the last race and now to see Richard back is also good, it’s great that I have had two such good teammates to share the car with this year. I did have one day’s test at Snetterton before the season to get acclimatised a bit and for sure it’s an interesting circuit, which I think I got some understanding of quite quickly. As usual though I will have to work hard as everyone else has a head start here and I also hope we can have a trouble free weekend as we have had a few issues pop up early on in the last couple of race weekends. I would also like to congratulate AF Corse on winning the GTE class at Le Mans last weekend; they’re such a professional team right through and I’m really lucky to have the opportunity to drive for them this season in British GT. They have taught me so much already and pushed me upwards.”
Caption: Pasin Lathouras (AF Corse Ferrari 458 GT3) during the third round of the 2014 British GT Championship which took place at Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire, 31 May-1 Jun 2014. Pasin, with teammate Alessandro Pier Guidi, finished fifth overall in the 3 hour race. Photo credit: Andrew Lofthouse..