Avon Motorsport season preview 2009

10 March 2009

This year, Avon Tyres will enter its fourth year as exclusive tyre supplier and title sponsor to the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, having finalised an agreement with championship organisers, SRO, for a second three-year term with the UK’s premier sportscar series.

As the championship goes from strength to strength, the upcoming title chase looks set to include more car manufacturers than ever.

In 2008, four different makes of car won races in the championship's GT3 class – the Ferrari 430, Lamborghini Gallardo, Ford GT and title-winning Dodge Viper, with an Aston Martin DBRS9 and Ascari KZ1R narrowly missing out on the top step of the podium. This year, all are expected to return, along with a Porsche 911 GT3 and new models in the GT4 category.

GT4 started in the UK last season and was dominated by the new Ginetta G50, which swept the board at all rounds. This year, new equalisation rules should lead to much closer battles between the G50s and Aston Martin N24, while a Nissan 350Z is also expected to compete.

All this will be in addition to the new GT4 Supersport category, created for lightweight sportscars such as the KTM X-Bow. The season will follow the same format as 2008, with 14 rounds at 8 circuits, beginning at Oulton Park on Easter weekend.

Elsewhere, the name “Formula Two” returns to international motorsport for the first time in 25 years, with a brand new series designed to give future Formula 1 drivers a low-cost route into the top level of racing. All 24 drivers in the series will use Avon tyres, with the company set to work closely with engineers to develop the ideal compound for the series that starts at Valencia in May, with 16 rounds across Europe.

Mixing asphalt race tracks with gravel, Sweden's Kenneth Hansen will defend a record-breaking 14th FIA European Rallycross Championship this year, using Avon tyres in a formula where Avon has repeatedly proven it provides a winning compound and tread pattern that works on different surfaces within the same race. This year the series will race in the UK for the first time in 12 years, starting at Lydden Hill in Kent on Easter Monday.

With some 250 champions crowned on Avon Tyres during last year’s global motorsport season, there is huge variety in Avon’s motor racing involvement again this year, with more highlights coming from the company’s long-standing relationship with classic British sportscar marque, Caterham Cars. All cars in the UK-based Eurocup, Superlight, Roadsport, Roadsport B and Academy championships run on Avon tyres.

Meanwhile, in single-seaters, the F1 stars of the future will be taking their first steps in national racing in the Avon-supported Formula Ford UK Championship. With F1 drivers Jenson Button and Eddie Irvine among Formula Ford’s champions’ list, the series is still regarded as one of the world’s best junior motorsport series.

It promises to be a fascinating and exciting season.