Anyone familiar with the World GT Championship may be just as familiar with CQR Club - a lot of the series' admin team reside within the team, and indeed race in it too. For Season 7, there will be four CQR teams taking part, each fielding three cars with very strong line-ups. These teams also spread through the differing teams' championships too, so everyone is really looking to represent the team well, and fight as best they can for some silverware!
I'm delighted to have been placed within CQR with Pete Newman Media for Season 7, alongside (you guessed it!) Pete Newman for our second campaign running, and returnee to the championship after a season out, Morgan Butler. The three of us are driving the Audi R8 LMS GT3, and have found some good pace in it, despite it being known for being quite difficult to drive. I certainly have aspects about it that I'm yet to tame, but when I'm on it, my pace is good, and we could seriously mount a challenge on the ProAm Teams' Championship.
I'm really fired up to get some results this season, after finishing Season 6 so strongly in the CQR Evolution Ferrari 488 GTE, and still showing signs of my improved pace during the pre-season media day. I've been enjoying the Audi, despite only getting in and testing as a "what if" after previous bad experiences with it. The track choices on the calendar include some of my favourites, such as Circuit de Catalunya and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and the new three-class system for this season gives me more chance to fight for some silverware.
The other three teams the CQR Club will have on the grid are as follows;
CQR Club with Puresim
Spearheading the attack will be CQR Club with Puresim - teaming up with series sponsor Puresim, Matt Bunn, Christian Rose, and Jake Blackhall will bring some real muscle to the grid - Matt Bunn will be a sure favourite for class honours, with Christian getting consistent Top 10s in the past (and a few wins!), and Jake taking a win near the end of Season 6. Matt and Jake will be driving the big-winged visual delight that is the BMW Z4 GT3, while Christian hopes to take the Audi R8 GT3 to the top spot this season.
Simsports Racing USA
Definitely in with a shout of the teams' championship, Simsports Racing USA have the very comprehensive line-up of Andy Schiel, Ben Palmer and Pete Harrod - all of which have finished highly in previous seasons and on multiple occasions in races. Switching to the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 this season looks like a bold move from the outside, but they've been hard at work with setups, and really taming the beast that it is. Watch out for the firebreathing monsters near the front of the field!
As part of the Simsports-branded pair of teams, CQR Simsports brings multiple elements together as a tie-in with CQR Club, fielding a trio of Mercedes AMG GT3s. Dan McAuley returns for another season, with Chris Coghlan, previously of SMD Racing who and new to the World GT Championship, and Billy Fletcher from Radicals Online, who has stepped in to help the team after negotiations meaning that he doesn't have to fly solo over the 12-week season.
Of course, we all have to thank the wonderful Jake Blackhall of Knight Rider Designs for his incredible work on all of these liveries - the cars wouldn't look anywhere near as sharp as they do without him, and hopefully we can make sure they go as well as they look!
You can catch all the action live on Monday nights from 8pm UK-time on ApexRacingTV, with the fantastic due of Andrew Woodhouse and Adam Bath on the comms.