Mark Smith & Martin Plowman return with Paddock Motorsport for British GT Championship
Paddock Motorsport is gearing up for its biggest campaign yet in the Intelligent Money British GT Championship, with Mark Smith and Martin Plowman leading what promises to be an impressive multi-car entry.
The Tamworth-based team will return for a fourth consecutive British GT campaign in 2024, and this year is set to enjoy a greater presence than ever within Europe’s most competitive domestic sportscar championship.
Continuing its close relationship with McLaren Customer Racing, Paddock will again compete across both the GT3 and GT4 categories this year and has undertaken a lot of work across the winter to strengthen both its machinery and technical team.
Leading the line in the top-flight GT3 Pro-Am category will be American racer Smith and Paddock founder Plowman, who will again share the team’s #9 McLaren 720S GT3 Evo. Both drivers are targeting a push for silverware on what will be their second full campaign together.
Smith, from California, made his British GT debut with the team during the 2022 finale at Donington Park, quickly acclimatising to the pace of British GT on what was his European racing debut. He and Plowman made big strides in pace across the course of last season, consistently challenging for top-six finishes as the team unlocked more and more of the new 720S GT3 Evo’s potential. Smith and Plowman were also one of just two driver pairings to score GT3 Pro-Am Championship points in every round last season.
For the coming campaign, the combined knowledge of the drivers and technical team will prove a key factor in the pair’s ambition to regularly fight for podium finishes and victories.
After the heavy damage sustained during a freak accident at Donington Park last October, Paddock has completely rebuilt its 720S GT3 Evo around a new chassis, and the car will wear a refreshed colour scheme for 2024. The new carbon-pink livery is inspired by the Oak Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 that Plowman helped guide to both a class victory in the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours, and that year’s FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 title.
Mark Smith says: “I’m really excited for British GT in 2024. Last season was a challenging one for us, defined by a lot of bad luck masking what was otherwise some really good pace. Although some great drives always brought us back into the mid-pack by the finish, that’s not enough when you’re up against the other teams and drivers in this championship, the level is so high. To compete at the top of British GT you need great drivers, great pace, a great team and a little luck. I’ve seen all of these qualities from Paddock, and I’m convinced we can compete at the front at this level. I expect 2024 to be the year we do exactly that.”
Martin Plowman says: “This season is going to be a big one, not just for myself and Mark, but for Paddock Motorsport as a whole as the team continues to grow and evolve. A huge amount of work has gone in over the winter to ensure we start 2024 in the best possible position. There’s no doubt that Mark and I are planning to hit the ground running this year and attack from the very start. Mark’s driving has developed incredibly well across the last year, to the point where he was among the fastest amateur drivers on the grid. If it wasn’t for more than a few doses of bad luck, we’d have been fighting for the big scores for at least the last half of 2023. This year he comes back with experience of all the circuits, whereas he was having to learn many on the fly last year without testing, and that knowledge will only make him faster.
“As a team we were also having to learn and adapt to the new 720S GT3 Evo, with the upgraded car arriving during the season. We now have a great understanding of the Evo upgrades, and I have every confidence that the technical team we have onboard will continue to unlock the car’s secrets across the year. It’s also special to run the carbon-pink livery, which harks back to an incredible time in my career when I achieved world championship success. Hopefully it can be a good omen in British GT too. Combined, we have a really strong package for this season, and I’m excited about what 2024 can bring.”
Paddock has also recruited wisely ahead of the new season, with the addition of multiple title-winning engineer Simon Pollock. Pollock was a key part of Plowman and Kelvin Fletcher’s British GT4 Pro-Am Championship-winning campaign back in 2019 and joins Paddock for 2024 having previously worked with organisations such as Aston Martin Racing (Prodrive), RJN, TF Sport and Redline Racing.
Mark Smith and Martin Plowman are back for their second British GT season together, and have high hopes of fighting at the front
Paddock's refreshed McLaren 720S GT3 Evo now wears a distinctive carbon-pink colour scheme
The livery pays homage to the Oak Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 Plowman raced back in 2013.