By: LUKE HAMER on February 15, 2006

Jamie Derbyshire has agreed to race for Balfe Motorsport team for the GT1 class of the FIA GT Championship.

The Warwickshire GT star will be taking to the wheel of the 650bhp Saleen S7R for the first time next month along with last years partner Shaun Balfe and Neil Cunningham.

He decided to stay with the team as they moved up from GT2 after a winter of considering his options that saw him test a Le Mans Prototype.

The Spirit VW and Hyundai Group-backed racer will not be fazed by the increase in power or speed as he steps up to the top flight as he completed a season in a Lister Storm back in 2004.

He is thrilled to be continuing his steep learning curve in the sport and is relishing the chance to test himself against some of the best drivers and cars in the division.

“I’m looking forward to the GT1 class, its definitely going to be incredibly competitive this year, ” he said. “I don’t think we can challenge some of the cars like the Aston Martins on out right pace, but knowing how well the team can run the car I know we can be challenging for the podium.”