YORK racers Ebor GT are stepping up a gear this year and entering the British GT Championships – bringing the magical Maserati car back into the series too.

The race car preparation specialists, based in Warthill, have for the last few years been competing in the GT Cup, with York driver Marcus Hogarth finishing second in the series last year in a Ferrari 458 Challenge.

This season, Hogarth and Hull driver Abbie Eaton, 24, will pair up in the more elite series, and race a new Maserati GT4 machine – only the second-ever car from the Italian marque ever to compete in British GT, following a Ghibli GT2 that entered a handful of rounds in 1998.

The factory-built, 4.7-litre V8-powered GranTurismo MC will join a GT4 grid already boasting the likes of Aston Martin, Porsche, Lotus and Ginetta, with the series starting next month.

Eaton finished fifth in last season’s GT Cup GTB category and is also a former Mazda MX-5 SuperCup champion.

Ebor GT team owner Adrian Snook says the Maserati provides an ideal platform for their maiden British GT campaign.

“We’ve always worked with Italian cars and the GranTurismo MC GT4 is a beautiful machine so we saw it as the next step," he said.

"GT4 racing is good value compared to GT3 and British GT is the best place to do it by the looks of it as the grid is larger than ever.

“We chose the Maserati as it’s been racing for a while now as a single-make Trophy car so it’s a proven product with plenty of miles of development on it.”

There are nine races in total in the British GT - two at Snetterton and Oulton Park and one each at Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Donington, Rockingham and Spa-Francsorchamps in Belgium.

The series starts at Brands Hatch on April 16.

Further Maserati GranTurismo MCs are expected to contest the rounds at Silverstone and Spa when the European GT4 Series joins the grid.