Best mates off the track become rivals on it

Good friends Rory Butcher (front) and Jonny Adam will go head to head in this year's British GT Championship. Pic: Neil Doig
Good friends Rory Butcher (front) and Jonny Adam will go head to head in this year's British GT Championship. Pic: Neil Doig

They are best mates away from the track ... now Fife motor racers Jonny Adam and Rory Butcher are about to become rivals on it.

The pair are close friends having both grown up in Kirkcaldy, while they also worked together as race instructors at Knockhill as well as travelling to various race events across the UK together.

They have never raced on the same grid before, but that will change at Oulton Park this Easter weekend when Rory makes his British GT Championship debut, joining Jonny in the UK’s top sportscar racing series, after taking the step up from Porsche Carrera Cup.

“It’s a new chapter and a new challenge for me,” Butcher said.

“It’s a step up for me into GT racing, and hopefully it’s going to open up some opportunities in 24 hour racing like Le Mans.”

In another twist, both Rory and Jonny will be racing the same car - an Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 - but for different teams.

Rory will be competing for the Motorbase Performance squad, sharing driving duties with John Hartshorne, while Jonny teams up with Andrew Howard in the Beechdean Motorsport team for a fourth successive season.

“It’s a completley different driving style from the Porsche, and Jonny’s been really helpful, giving me lots of advice,” Rory said.

“Strangely, that support seems to have stopped over the last week or so as we get closer to racing!

“We have a good relationship and good banter, but at the same time, we’ve got a competitive thing going on.

“He’s someone I’ve looked up to. He’s been really successful so I’m trying to follow in his footsteps.”

Jonny helped the Beechdean team win the British GT title last year and they are now looking to become the first drivers to retain the crown.

“It’s great to have no.1 on the car and the aim is try and win the championship again,” Jonny said.

“The calibre of the championship and the performance of each car has increased so we’ll be up against it.

“Last year we didn’t start well, we lost 45 points on the opening round, so we had to dig deep and work hard to make up for lost ground.

“We don’t want to be playing catch-up again. Two top five finishes this weekend will be a strong start to the
season.”

Jonny is also looking forward to a friendly rivarly with Rory, adding: “It’s going to be fun racing against a good friend, but I want to beat him!

“There are a number of Aston Martins on the grid this year and we want to be top dog.”

After qualifying on Saturday followed by a day of rest on Sunday, the first race starts at 11.15 a.m on Monday with the second race scheduled for 3.45 p.m.

The action will be covered in an edited highlights programme on Channel 4.