Porsche Carrera Cup GB – Knockhill

Cammish And Eastwood Clash As Tensions Grow In The Scottish Hills


The anticipation of two exciting races was fuelled in no small part by the unfolding championship battle between Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing), Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) and Dino Zamparelli (JTR). While Eastwood and Cammish held the advantage with dropped scores factored in, all three needed to win at all costs to keep their title hopes alive. Behind and closer than ever, the remainder of the Pro category could see their opportunity for a first win getting nearer.

Against this backdrop, Knockhill produced two races that did not disappoint and provided arguably more excitement – and certainly more debate – than even rounds eight and nine. Cammish converted his pole position in round ten into a win in his traditional style, despite periods of firm pressure from Zamparelli behind. However, in round eleven, a clash between pole sitter Eastwood and the defending champion resulted in Cammish failing to finish, Eastwood losing three points and facing a ten-place grid penalty for round twelve.

In Pro-Am1, championship leader Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) once again shared a win and second with Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing), leaving the gap between the pair unmoved at a slender three points. John McCullagh (Redline Racing) claimed his second podium of the season in round ten, but a start line incident saw the 2015 Pro-Am2 champion sidelined for round eleven.

Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) took a pair of Pro-Am2 wins, his seventh and eighth of the season, to boost his championship hopes and move him to five points adrift of Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing), who came away with third and second places. Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) took a pair of category pole positions in his strongest showing to date, second and third keeping him within nine points of Jennings at the top of the table with four rounds to go.

Round ten

Anticipation was high for an entertaining race as Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) led the field around for the rolling start. From the very first corner the race was not to disappoint. Cammish made a good start, but team mate Charlie Eastwood’s was even better. As Eastwood positioned himself for a challenge, a hit from behind pushed him wide and left enough space for Dino Zamparelli (JTR) to move into second, the Bristol driver making his intentions clear from the off.

Also making the best of the start were local brothers Dan and Euan McKay (Redline Racing), Dan making the most progress into fourth from sixth, Euan up one place to fifth and pushing Dan hard. Losing out was Tom Oliphant (Redline Racing), shuffled down to seventh behind Lewis Plato (JTR). Their battle would build throughout the race, but at the front Zamparelli was inching up on Cammish with Eastwood close behind.

As Plato passed Euan McKay on the second lap, Cammish and Zamparelli were trading almost identical sector times while Eastwood settled into an almost lonely third place. The order was almost disturbed when Zamparelli lost time on his eighth lap to fall back into the clutches of Eastwood, allowing Cammish to slip away by just over one second. The following lap it was Eastwood’s turn to loose time at Chicane, giving Zamparelli some breathing space.

By lap 17, traffic was playing a critical part in the battle for the lead which Cammish had extended to around three seconds. First to arrive and faced with making his way through some good battles in the other categories, Cammish had to watch the gap to Zamparelli reduce to just seven tenths of a second. However, back onto a clear section of track, the reigning champion pulled back half a second in just one lap and took the flag with over two seconds in hand from Zamparelli.

Eastwood held on to third, but behind two JTR drivers had been on the move. Plato passed Dan McKay for fourth on lap 11 at Taylors after having posted fastest lap of the race. Tio Ellinas also had strong pace and set about passing Euan McKay on lap 15 into Duffus Dip and Dan McKay into Taylors on lap 26. Separating the JTR team mates was Oliphant in fifth, unable to continue his fight back past a defensive Plato.

Local driver Ross Wylie (Slidesports) had a good race with Jamie Orton (IN2 Racing), coming through as second-placed Rookie in ninth. Tom Wrigley (IN2 Racing) was not able to celebrate his birthday in race one at least, contact with Matt Telling (Welch Motorsport) on lap 31 putting both drivers out at Clarks.

In Pro-Am1, all three drivers ran close together for the every one of the 32 laps, the win going to Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing) who relentlessly edged away from Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) in second. Shadowing Sherwood in third was the returning John McCullagh (Redline Racing), happy to take his second podium in three races on a circuit that has not been the kindest to him in the past.

Pro-Am2 once again provided some of the closest racing, Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) holding the lead from Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) away from the start with David Fairbrother (Slidesports) passing Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) for third. Jennings came back into a podium position after Fairbrother, on his first visit to Knockhill, ran through the gravel at McIntyre and dropped back.

While Kyle-Henney took Dockerill for a lead he would maintain to the flag, Jennings was in a wheel-to-wheel battle with Telling for the final podium position. On lap 16 Telling passed to take the position, only for Jennings to reclaim it the very next lap. A spin into Chicane on lap 20 for Telling put paid to the battle and allowed Rupert Martin (Team Parker Racing) to claim fourth.

Round eleven

Eastwood made a good start from pole position, Cammish tucking in behind off the line to follow his team mate into Duffus. Sprinting away from the second row was Zamparelli, the JTR driver passing Oliphant who was slow to pick up momentum. Behind, Wylie was squeezed onto the grass as he left the line and spun, collecting an unfortunate McCullagh and putting both drivers out of the race.

At the end of lap six the safety car pulled in, Eastwood looking to make a break but with Cammish pushing him all the way. Within three laps Eastwood had posted fastest lap to edge away from Cammish as Zamparelli inched ever closer to Cammish. The contest looked to have stabilised until on lap 20 Eastwood began to lap traffic.

As the leader negotiated the cars ahead, Cammish began to apply the pressure and Eastwood’s defence backed the pair into Zamparelli. With each fighting for their own championship, Zamparelli made a move on Cammish at Taylors, a move which almost saw Zamparelli take to the grass on his run to the line and lose momentum. This freed Cammish to resume his assault on Eastwood, and left Zamparelli to defend from a fast approaching Oliphant.

By lap 30, Cammish was making his most concerted effort yet to dislodge Eastwood from the lead, once again allowing Zamparelli and now Oliphant to close back in. Cammish gained a run on Eastwood into Clarks on the penultimate lap, drawing alongside the leader on the exit. Eastwood exited wide, causing Cammish to run onto the grass and make contact with the barriers, ending his race. After an inquiry that went to the stewards, it was decided Eastwood should be handed a 10-place grid penalty for round twelve and be docked three championship points.

Eastwood recovered to defend from Zamparelli who had inherited the momentum, Zamparelli in turn running wide at Taylors on the run to the flag and causing Oliphant, who had committed to a move around the outside, onto the grass. Oliphant recovered, albeit with an advertising hoarding wrapped around the front of his car, to take his second podium of the season.

Behind the leaders, the battle was no less fraught. By lap 15 Plato had caught Euan McKay, bringing Dan McKay and Ellinas with him. As the quartet scrapped, Dan McKay ran around the outside of Plato at Taylors for sixth, losing the back end of the car on the exit and only just saving the slide before reaching the grass on the inside. Ellinas inherited sixth position and Wrigley seventh after a move into Duffus Dip as Plato dropped to eighth in avoidance. Dan McKay recovered to ninth, before running through the gravel at McIntyre on the same lap.

Plato retook seventh from Wrigley, and began to close on Ellinas who was fighting hard with Euan McKay. As Plato put Ellinas under pressure, contact between the Cypriot and Euan McKay ahead put McKay into the gravel and earned Ellinas a 15 second penalty and the loss of three championship points.

After the early exit of McCullagh, Pro-Am1 became a straight fight between Martin and Sherwood. Sherwood had made the best of the start to take the lead from Martin, although by lap 12 the gap was down to just two seconds. As Martin closed, he ran wide at Clarks, just managing to recover but handing Sherwood the win.

Kyle-Henney took the lead in Pro-Am2 at the start after pole-sitter Dockerill was forced to avoid the start line incident. Jennings came through for second with Dockerill third and Fairbrother fourth. The four drivers were covered by less than three seconds, but that order remained to the flag with Martin fifth and Telling sixth. Dockerill’s weekend was enough to earn him the ‘Driver of the Weekend’ award, and Asset Advantage Racing ‘Team of the Weekend’.

As the championship crescendo continues to build, follow the battles at @CarreraCupGB on Twitter and /CarreraCupGB on Facebook.

Championship positions

Overall:
Charlie Eastwood  Redline Racing  180
Dino Zamparelli  JTR  172
Dan Cammish  Redline Racing  152

Pro-Am1:
Justin Sherwood  Team Parker Racing  89
Alex Martin  Team Parker Racing  86
Graeme Mundy  Team Parker Racing  48

Pro-Am2:
Shamus Jennings  G-Cat Racing  85
Peter Kyle-Henney  IN2 Racing  80
Iain Dockerill  Asset Advantage Racing  76

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Photographs courtesy of Porsche Carrera Cup GB (c)

Interview With Matt Neal

 

An Interview With Matt Neal

He made his BTCC debut at Silverstone in 1991 and has competed in 600+ British Touring Car races, has 60 wins, 16 poles, 49 fastest laps and is a 3-time BTCC Drivers’ Champion and 6-time Independent Drivers’ Champion. He has raced in Australia and Europe and was awarded the Autosport National Driver Of The Year in 2005 and 2011.

What is your favourite circuit?

In the UK Brands Hatch – Been a good hunting ground and is more old school. Overseas either Bathurst or Nordschleife. 

Who was your motor racing idol?

Nigel Mansell – He was always a fighter.

Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

My team mate Flash (Gordon Shedden).

Do you have a pre-race ritual/superstition and if so, what is it?

I have lots, I am annoyingly superstitious. 

Is there a race or series you never competed in, but would like/have liked the opportunity?

Not having done Le Mans is a regret, but I ain’t done too badly so I’m not complaining.

What is the best race you have been involved in? For what reason?

Bathurst 1,000km 1998, we almost won it as complete outsiders and underdogs, so it was what we all achieved together.

Personal Racing Number? What is yours and the meaning behind it?

Used to go with 5 as felt it was lucky and Mansell was always red 5, currently I’m 25 because that’s how long I’ve been racing, plus I had a big win years ago running as 25.

What was the best piece of advice given to you in your racing career?

A calm sea does not make a skilled sailor.

Who is the funniest person or your best friend in racing?

Steve Thomas is one of my best mates, his laugh is infectious.

Considering drivers over all-time and series’, if you were a team principal, which two racers would you have in your team if you owned one?

Current drivers, Flash and Tom Onslow-Cole

Touring car fans will be familiar with you commentating on the WTCC, is this an area you would move into in the future and what do you enjoy about it?

It’s ok I enjoy it and the people I do it with.

How did you get into motor racing, what ignited that spark to race?

All I ever wanted to do from a child was race, as soon as I could drive at 17 I bought a motocross bike and trailer as cheapest thing to get into for biggest adrenalin rush, raced that for 4 years then my Dad got me into a car simply to get me away from bikes and went from there.

Who would you say has had the biggest influence on your racing career?

My Dad without doubt.

British Touring is gaining more and more exposure recently (and rightly so) but is there anything you would like to see happen in the media to improve this?

I’d like a two driver race back like in Australia be fun and add another dimension, although that’s not exactly media related.

Outside of racing, how do you relax, what are your hobbies or favourite other sports?

I’m away so much it’s lovely to go home and spend time with the family. But mountain biking, martial arts and training I keep myself pretty busy.

If you could invite 4 famous people (dead or alive) for dinner and drinks, who would they be?

JFK, Elvis, Adolf Hitler and the Queen, just be really interested on each of their takes on life.

Who is your favourite artist or band?

Paul Weller is pretty cool and has some absolute classics all through his career.

And finally…….If you could give advice to anybody (in racing or in life), what would they piece of advice be?

Get a good education and make sure you have a good exit strategy because more don’t make it than do.

This interview took place last year and I would like to thank Matt for taking the time out to answer these questions and wish him the very best for the remainder of the season.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

WRC Rallye Deutschland preview – Ogier and Neuville face off in Germany

The World Rally Championship heads to Germany as we enter round ten of one of the most exciting seasons in years.

Title protagonists Sebastian Ogier and Thierry Neuville are level on 160 points heading into Germany, a happy hunting ground for both drivers. Neuville took his maiden WRC win here in 2014, while Ogier has won here three times, including the last two years.

The German round of the championship always provides a stern test for the teams. Regarded as three rallies in one, Rallye Deutschland is renowned for its twisty vineyard stages, countryside routes and the dangerous military complex. Held mainly on asphalt, Rallye Deutschland is not one to be missed.

M-Sport will be hoping Ogier can help them deliver their first ever win here, the only rally on the calendar the famous team have never conquered. Team boss Malcolm Wilson said: “Rallye Deutschland hasn’t been so kind to us in the past. It’s the only event that we are yet to win, but this year we have our best chance of putting that right.

“We feel that we have a good package for Tarmac and we have been building on that during our pre-event testing.   “The competition will be extremely strong and I expect a hard-fought battle. The great thing about this year’s championship is that it’s anybody’s game – but we aim to be in the fight and hope to come out on top,” Wilson added.

Reigning champion Ogier said: Every year I look forward to Rallye Deutschland, and this year’s event will be really exciting with the championship battle so close. Naturally, we aim to deliver our best and get our championship defence back on track.”

2016 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 09, Rallye Deutschland 2016 / August 18-21, 2016 // Worldwide Copyright: Hyundai Motorsport

 

Hyundai consider this their home event, with their base in Alzenau just two hours away from the service park. Title challenger Neuville said: “Germany is usually a really good event for us, as a crew and as a team. We have great experience and memories from there, particularly from our first WRC win in 2014 with Hyundai Motorsport.

“Heading into this year’s edition leading the Championship is something new, but I am really looking forward to opening the road. Hopefully, we can enjoy another strong performance, and try to increase our lead in the classification. It won’t be easy, but we know we can be fighting at the front.”

One team who know how to win the Rallye Deutschland is Citroën. The French manufacturer have 12 wins here, with Sebastian Loeb winning the first of those in 2002, Germany’s first WRC rally. Loeb participated in one of the team’s most incentive testing sessions yet. He and Daniel Elena ran on the final day following work from the three works drivers.

Team principal Yves Matton said: Everything appears to be following on consistently after the Tour de Corse, where we showed how competitive the C3 WRC is on tarmac. As has often been the case this season, the race is bound to be very tight. We aim to be among the frontrunners but it’s difficult to make any predictions, especially as the weather is likely to significantly influence the way that the race plays out.”

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 -WRC Tour de Corse (FRA) – WRC 06/04/2017 to 09/04/2017 – PHOTO : @World

Toyota will want to continue their impressive debut season and after a win last time out in Finland, the likes of Latvala, Hanninen and Lappi will be keen for more success.

BTCC title race hots up after Sutton double at Snetterton

Ashley Sutton did his British Touring Car Championship aspirations no harm by taking two wins at Snetterton this weekend.

The Subaru driver closed in on title leader Gordon Shedden and proved his car has the potential to secure an unlikely title win.

It was Honda who took pole position with Eurotech backed driver Jack Goff taking the top spot. Colin Turkington in the BMW was second with Sutton taking third.

There was drama however as BTCC legend Matt Neal’s time was removed due to a failed ride height test. However due to some stipulations regarding the stewarding, his time was reinstated and he started fourth.

Turkington jumped Goff at the start and took the lead, with Sutton following behind in the Subaru. There were a few bumps and scrapes throughout the race as Ford’s Mat Jackson was almost spun round by Chevrolet driver Dave Newsham at Agostini.

The drama didn’t end there however as at the very same bend, Rob Austin dove down the inside of Tom Ingram, with the pair colliding and Austin’s Toyota suffering a puncture. He limped back to the pits but the damage was already done.

Back at the front Turkington lost the lead as he went off track, handing Goff the lead. Sutton was closing in on Goff, with the pair fighting hard, but on the exit of Agostini in to the following chicane, Sutton got past Goff and took yet another win in his Subaru. Goff took second with Neal rounding off the podium.

Race two was a much calmer affair after the opener, with Sutton taking a lights to flag win, pulling away from the chasing pack. The real fight was between BMW pair Turkington and Rob Collard. The pair were battling all race for second place, with Goff joining in the action.

Turkington managed to edge out Collard by just seven tenths, with Mat Jackson in the Shredded Wheat Ford in fourth and Goff in fifth.

Race three was unsolicited carnage, as the last race of the day burst into life, Ash Sutton, winner of the last two races, was hit off the track and suffered race ending damage, losing his hopes of a Snetterton hat trick.

Other notable crashes included Josh Cook in the MG being punted in the rear and retiring, as well as Matt Neal running wide and sliding into the wall.

Neal’s team mate Gordon Shedden took the win to preserve his title lead, with Collard and Turkington in second and third respectively. There was cause for celebration in the Power Maxed Racing garage as rookie Senna Proctor finished a career best ninth after starting 23rd.

With Shedden leading the championship lead by just two points from Rob Collard, and 11 points separating the top four, there will be a few twists and turns before the end of the season.

1932 Trophy For Silverstone 500 Winners

The overall winning drivers of British GT’s blue riband Silverstone 500 race will lift a historical piece of silverware next weekend (June 10/11) following the unveiling of the event’s new standalone trophy.

British GT organisers announced the prize at the end of 2016 and have since worked closely with Silverstone’s owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, to identify a suitably significant piece of silverware. Its archive contains many such examples but, together, the BRDC and SRO Motorsports Group have selected the ‘RAC Trophy’ that was previously awarded for a 500-mile race at Brooklands on 24 September 1932.

Back then it was common practice for prominent sporting bodies and organisations to sponsor individual awards. The Royal Automobile Club was no exception and presented its cup to BRDC Member William Alexander Cuthbert and his co-driver Cecil Wingfield Fiennes who finished fourth in 1932’s race driving a Riley 1100.

Almost a century ago the ‘500’ was considered one of the BRDC’s and Brooklands’ showpiece events. Indeed, Motor Sport Magazine’s season review, taken from its December 1932 issue, described it as “one of the finest races staged at Brooklands in years,” and “The ‘500’ added still further to its reputation as the finest race of the year at Brooklands.”

But when the circuit was requisitioned on the eve of WWII and subsequently sold in 1946, so the Club’s attention switched to another RAF base: Silverstone.

British GT has staged its own version of the ‘500’ there since 2012, which The Home Of British Motor Racing is now keen to formally recognise as a flagship event in its annual calendar. As such, this year’s race weekend will feature a prominent ‘Supercar Sunday’ display as well as family entertainment, open paddock, free grandstand access and pit walk.

Benjamin Franassovici, British GT Championship Manager: “The Silverstone 500 has gathered momentum since we first staged the race in 2012 and is very much seen as our season’s blue riband event. We were keen to further emphasise this by awarding a historically significant trophy to the overall winners and, thanks to the BRDC’s efforts, will be doing so for the first time this year. The trophy is stunning and a wonderful way of aligning our season’s biggest race with a genuine piece of British motorsport history. Whoever wins it can be mightily proud to see their name engraved on its silver and mahogany base.”

Adult tickets for next weekend’s Silverstone 500 start at just £12 while children aged 15 and under can attend for free all weekend. Visit www.silverstone.co.uk/events/british-gt-championship/ for more information.

SILVERSTONE 500 SCHEDULE

Saturday 10 June

09:30 – 10:30: Free Practice 1
12:25 – 13:25: Free Practice 2
16:05 – 16:15: Qualifying – GT3 Am
16:19 – 16:29: Qualifying – GT3 Pro
16:33 – 16:43: Qualifying – GT4 Am
16:48 – 16:58: Qualifying – GT4 Pro

Sunday 11 June

10:05 – 10:15: Warm-up
13:35 – 16:35: Race

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

(c) Photograph and press release courtesy of SRO Motorsports Group

 

 

Gordon Shedden Leads Pack Into Croft

 

Gordon Shedden (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R

 

The 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship reaches its half way point next weekend (10/11 June) as the series’ pilgrimage around the best of the UK’s motor racing venues reaches North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit for Rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the campaign.

A capacity 32-car grid will head north with drivers still searching for a foothold in Britain’s premier motor racing series, and the first dozen rounds of the season have been typically feisty and unpredictable – the fiercely competitive nature of the BTCC throwing up eight different visitors to the top step of the podium so far

.

Five marques have been represented in the winners’ circle, with Subaru joining the fold with a maiden win in 2017 via star turn Ash Sutton at Oulton Park – the site of its historic first victory in the championship last year.

The power shifted in the Drivers’ standings following the latest three rounds in Cheshire, with reigning champion Honda’s Gordon Shedden wresting control at the head of the pack after a disastrous outing for early-season table-topper Tom Ingram in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota.

Tom Chilton (GBR) Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra

The latter will be looking to bounce back after notching just a single point at Oulton, which shuffled him from top of the tree to third on the ladder between the Team BMW pair of Rob Collard second, and Colin Turkington, fourth – both winners at Croft in 2016.

A strong crowd is expected to descend on the charming, charismatic and challenging Croft Circuit to enjoy the mid-June sun with hundreds of thousands more watching the action live on ITV4, as is the case for each and every BTCC encounter.

A year on…

Gordon Shedden endured a tumultuous first half of the campaign in 2016 in his bid to retain his crown. By the time the Halfords Yuasa Racing champion arrived in North Yorkshire, he had suffered three non-finishes. Despite this, he still sat fourth in the championship.

Croft, though, did the Scot no favours with a weekend-best result of just 13th place and a race three finish outside of the top 20 leaving him marooned way down the order in the race for the most coveted crown in British motor sport – ninth and over 50 points shy of then-leader Sam Tordoff.

It’s a different kettle of fish in 2017, though, as Shedden stands in charge at the top of the pile as he searches for a third consecutive BTCC crown. A consistent run of results, with only one non-finish, a disqualification from a provisional race win at Donington Park, encompasses two race wins and five visits to the rostrum – double the number of each in comparison to this same stage last season.

This leaves the triple champion with a very different proposition at the classic Darlington venue this time around – heading the pack with maximum success ballast on board his Honda Civic Type R, albeit at the scene of his worst weekend of 2016.

“It’s fantastic to be heading there leading the championship, but the downside to that is having to carry 75kg of glorious ballast for qualifying and race one!” said Shedden. “That means we’ll need to play the long game, but hopefully the Civic Type R will do the business and the weekend will come to me as it goes on.”

“Croft is an interesting circuit,” he reflected. “It’s a little bit like a game of two halves with some really slow, technical corners and some really fast, high-adrenaline corners, which always throws up a few surprises.”

Michael Epps (GBR) Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC

Those next up in the running will be hot on Shedden’s heels, ready to capitalise, and will have a job on their hands given Honda, with the exception of last year, are traditionally extremely strong at Croft with 13 wins there in the modern era – joint-most with BMW.

It is the Bavarian marque currently leading the chase with Team BMW’s Rob Collard – the only driver to have scored points in every race so far in 2017. He also happens to have a sparkling record there, having won twice in the last two visits, tallying five podium finishes since 2014.

Croft is a circuit that naturally favours rear-wheel drive machinery and the sister Team BMW machine, harbouring Colin Turkington, will surely be there or thereabouts as he aims to close on Shedden from fourth in the standings. The Ulsterman has garnered the most victories, podiums and fastest laps there in the last 20 years – 11, 19 and 7 respectively. Little wonder he has been dubbed the ‘King of Croft’.

Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram is in recovery mode and will be looking to make amends and get his title challenge back on track while Matt Neal in the second Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R is also in the mix – a stunning podium triple at Oulton Park made certain of that.

The third 125i M Sport, of BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan is currently some 50 points shy of the top of the table but a victory and a further podium at Oulton Park showed he is firmly in contention, as is the Subaru of Ash Sutton who is just ahead in the tally in sixth spot after his trip to the top step in Cheshire.

Jason Plato (GBR) Team BMR Subaru Levorg

Local Heroes

Legendary BTCC champion Jason Plato has suffered a difficult 2017 to date, with fewer points on the board after the opening 12 rounds than ever before. A heavy start line shunt at the season-opening weekend was a factor and Plato will be hoping to be back at the sharp end on home soil, with the Subaru now a race-winning machine in 2017 in the hands of team-mate Ash Sutton.

“There’s progress on my car at times but we’re still trying to fathom what exactly is wrong with it,” said Plato. “At the moment it still won’t do what we want it to do.

“Mine is not responding in the same way as the other cars – we made changes on the others and got the same reaction from each, but made the same changes on my car and there was no reaction, so something’s not working.

“I always enjoy coming to Croft,” continued Plato, who grew up in nearby Newcastle. “It’s great to see familiar faces and the racing is always good. It’s usually a rear-wheel drive track and it suited the Subaru last year and hopefully we’ll make another step there with my car and we’ll see what we can do as a team. I’m looking forward to it.”

Huddersfield’s Dan Lloyd also calls Croft home and the MG man will be hoping to make a jump next weekend and build on a season-best 12th last time out, though matching his qualifying effort last year – a front-row berth – may be a tough challenge for the MG6 on current form.

Ashley Sutton (GBR) Team BMR Subaru Levorg

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

(c) Photographs and press release courtesy of BTCC

Hyundai i30 TCR Completes Successful Test In Valencia

Thierry Neuville – Testing

 

  • Hyundai Motorsport continued to develop the New Generation i30 TCR with an intensive three-day program at the Circuit de Valencia
  • After previous testing allowed the team to establish a base set-up for the car, attention turned to maximizing the performance from specific areas of the chassis
  • The focus of the running at the 4km track was on testing different brake materials and damper settings.

Alzenau, Germany

June 2, 2017 – Hyundai Motorsport continued with the testing schedule for the New Generation i30 TCR earlier this week (May 30-June 1), successfully completing three days at the Circuit de Valencia.

Dani Sordo – Testing

The team returned to Spain for the third circuit test of the new car, having previously completed running at the Motorland Aragon circuit in the country, as well as Misano in Italy. As the development continued, attention turned from establishing a strong foundation for the project to concentrating on improving specific areas of performance.

With its technical infield section, long front straight and sweeping penultimate corner, the Valencia circuit was chosen, like the testing venues before it, for its mix of high and low speed corners. This offered the test team the opportunity to fully assess the balance of the chassis in a variety of situations over the course of the week, as the tight development schedule demands.

Focus falls on brakes and damper settings

The time at the Valencia circuit, which hosted a round of the inaugural TCR International Series season, was spent assessing different brake materials and damper settings. With each set-up change Hyundai Motorsport’s squad of engineers could compare the data not only with the New Generation i30 TCR’s previous runs on the 4km circuit, but with the baseline data gained from both Aragon and Misano. This information was then used, in conjunction with the feedback from Touring Car veteran and lead test driver Gabriele Tarquini, in order to work towards the ideal configuration.

Hayden Paddon – Testing

The New Generation i30 TCR is Hyundai Motorsport’s first project designed for circuit racing. The development of the new car is being overseen by the experienced engineers from the Customer Racing department based at the team’s headquarters in Alzenau, Germany. The first completed chassis are scheduled to be delivered to customers in early December.

Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department manager Andrea Adamo said: “Already we have proved that we have a very strong base car. However, this early in a project there are always areas where you can still increase performance and, more importantly for customer project, improve drivability. After establishing the foundations for the set-up at our previous tests we are now building on to them. At Valencia we focused on the damper and brake settings, and we finished this week with very good information in these areas. Future tests will concentrate on other areas, such as developing the aerodynamic package and maximizing the power from the engine.”

About the Hyundai Motorsport TCR project

Announced in February 2017 the TCR project marks Hyundai Motorsport’s first steps into circuit racing following three full seasons in the World Rally Championship (WRC). Built and developed by the Customer Racing department at the team’s headquarters in Alzenau, Germany the touring car racer will be based on the road-going New Generation i30 model. Design work for the project began in September 2016, taking advantage of the TCR regulations which, since their introduction in 2015, have been adopted by more than a dozen national and international championships. Testing of the first completed chassis began in April 2017, with the first car planned to be delivered to customer teams in early December 2017.

Further information about Hyundai Motorsport is available at: http://motorsport.hyundai.com

About Hyundai Motor

Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond. The company, which leads the Hyundai Motor Group, an innovative business structure capable of circulating resources from molten iron to finished cars, offers top-quality best-sellers such as Elantra, Sonata and Genesis. Hyundai Motor has eight manufacturing bases and seven design & technical centers worldwide and in 2015, sold 4.96 million vehicles globally. With more than 100,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai Motor continues to enhance its product line-up with localized models and strives to strengthen its leadership in clean technology, starting with the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered vehicle, ix35 Fuel Cell.

More information about Hyundai Motor and its products can be found at: http://worldwide.hyundai.com or http://globalpr.hyundai.com/

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_Racing

(c) Photographs and press release courtesy of Hyundai Motorsport

Lights! Camera! Action!

Image credit: Warren Nel

 

What a weekend that was! The BTCC’s highly anticipated return was welcomed with open arms this past weekend, as thousands of spectators lined the grassy banks of the Brands Hatch circuit, all keenly waiting for their favourite drivers to battle it out on race day. But who would take the spoils in the opening weekend?

Saturday saw a tense, nail-biting qualifying session for pretty much every driver up and down the pit lane. Rain would cause delays and ever changing track conditions. Of course, one thing that was equal for everyone was the “success ballast.” No points scored yet meaning equal weight for all. A pure fight in terms of performance creating possibly the most important pole position of the year.

After everything was said and done it was a surprising pole for Eurotech man Jeff Smith. 2016 Brands Hatch winner Tom Ingram would complete the front row and the two Halfords Yuasa racing Hondas of Gordon Shedden and Mat Neal would line up just behind.

Lights out for race one of the day saw drama from the get-go. Contact between the fast-starting Colin Turkington and the slower Mat Neal saw them both out of the running before even reaching Paddock Hill Bend. No such troubles for Tom Ingram however as he stormed ahead despite feeling under the weather.

A short safety car period would follow whilst the two former champions were cleared from the grid. Once the race restarted it didn’t take long for Shedden to pass Smith and move up into P2. Adam Morgan in the Mercedes A-Class would also quickly follow through thus completing the podium. Pole man Smith was forced into the pits after a wheel nut failure—not the start to the year he was hoping for. Ingram though proved his worth and claimed another stunning victory, mirroring what he did this time last year.

Image credit: Warren Nel

The drama didn’t just stay in race one—this is the BTCC after all, drama is its middle name.

This time for polesitter Ingram and an electrical fault with his Toyota Avensis meant he struggled to move away for the formation laps. He did however eventually get it going and regained his position. The grid lined up and out came a yellow flag just in front of Ingram. Confusion struck and the start was aborted. The cars were send around for another formation lap. By the regulations Ingram should now have to start at the back of the grid but this was missed and he lined up on pole. The stewards decided he would then have to take a drive through penalty.

All set then and when the lights went out, drama followed once again. Another former champion in strife, Jason Plato’s Subaru wrecked up against the barrier after what seemed like an identical incident to that of Turkington and Neal in race one. With debris and a stranded car littering the track there was only one choice and that was for a red flag stoppage. Cars would be reset and the grid reformed; good news for Ingram, as this took his penalty away.

A shortened race distance meant the racing would be harder and faster right up to the chequered flag. A storming start for BMW new boy Andrew Jordan saw him jump positions straight away. His BMW team mates Rob Collard and Colin Turkington also had impressive races with Rob taking a podium behind eventual race winner Shedden and ill-feeling Tom Ingram. Turkington managed to race his way brilliantly up into the top ten from the back of the grid.

Image credit: Warren Nel

Rob Austin was the man who was picked out for the reverse grid pole position, only for it to be taken away. Rob was deemed to have had overtaken Andrew Jordan under yellow flags resulting in him being disqualified from race two and losing his fourth place finish. Pole would then land with the returning Tom Chilton in his brand new Vauxhall Astra. Josh Cook and Andrew Jordan would line up just behind, all looking to take victory early in the season.

Lights out and another storming start for Jordan in the BMW, no looking back as he stormed past Cook and Chilton to take the lead. Mat Jackson in the Motorbase Ford Focus found himself skirting through the gravel as he lost grip on the outside of Chilton. It didn’t take long for Turkington to find himself further up the field and right up behind his team mate Rob Collard, team orders seemingly in place and the lighter car of Turkington was allowed through into third place. Colin was on fire taking huge chunks of time out of the leading pair. He made short order of getting past the Vauxhall and quickly set about Jordan. A close, exciting battle between the new team mates had everyone on the edge of their seats. Colin wasn’t going to try anything silly and risk losing a 1-2 finish and followed Jordan home. A great way for BMW and WSR to kick off their 2017 campaign. Tom Chilton would hang on to take third a dream result for the new Vauxhall team.

Personally I couldn’t think of a better way to open this year’s BTCC, we had action even in qualifying. We are definitely in for fireworks this year and already I’m looking forward to Donington where it will happen all over again. Who knows what will happen, three new winners? Subaru finding their form? Or some other surprise, whatever it is, it surely will leave us breathless.

BTCC returns at Donington Park Circuit on the 15th & 16th of April.

Mitch Oakley, BTCC Editor

Tour de Corse 2017 Preview

After the tarmac and ice of Monte Carlo, the snow in the forests of Sweden and last time out on the gravel roads, high in the mountains around Leon, Mexico, the fourth round of this year’s World Rally Championship comes to the Island of Corsica! Famously known for its twists and turns (apparently, it’s got 10,000 corners) we’ll get to see the new generation of faster world rally cars for the first time on a sealed surface. Okay, Monte is tarmac as well, but with the ice and snow there, it’s quite different!

2016 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 11, Rally de France, Tour de Corse 2016 / September 28 – October 02, 2016 // Worldwide Copyright: Hyundai Motorsport

This year, Tour de Corse features ten stages. Doesn’t sound much I hear you say? Well, what this event is about is quality. This year sees the crews attack 316.80km’s.

Just a reminder of the top ten last year, which saw Seb win for the first time on the streets of Corsica.

01 Ogier (VW) 4h 07m 17.0s

02 Neuville +46.4s

03 Mikkelsen (VW) +1m 10.0s

04 Latvala (VW) +1m 35.6s

05 Breen +2m 18.6s

06 Paddon +2m 36.1s

07 Sordo +3m 06.9s

08 Camilli +4m 53.9s

09 Østberg +5m 37.7s

10 Tänak +6m 26.6s

All of the teams have been testing on the island recently and are fully prepared for the challenges that will confront them.

So, lets from the crews ahead of the 60th running of this classic event.

M-Sport WRT

Sébastien Ogier said:

“We’ve had a nice few weeks since Rally Mexico – combining work with time at home – and now we’re ready to tackle the Tour de Corse. It was nice to spend some time with my family and to enjoy some skiing out on the slopes, but we also had a good test to find the best set-up for what are very unique stages in Corsica.

“We’re back to asphalt and I had a good feeling with the Fiesta in Monte-Carlo, but this event offers a completely different surface which demands a slightly different approach. Working with the team, we were able to explore a lot of different settings with the dampers and centre-differential which I hope will see us well placed to challenge for another strong result next week.

“We’ve seen some very close battles this year, and I expect that to continue. We’ll certainly be doing our best to be in the battle, and the ultimate goal will be to come out on top. It won’t be easy, but the Tour de Corse never is. Even if the route remains very similar to last year, this rally is always a big challenge!”

Ott Tänak said:

“Next week’s Tour de Corse will be the biggest test of the year so far, but we’ve done a lot to improve ourselves and await the challenge.

“It’s an event that I’ve not really clicked with in the past, but to be honest I had the same feeling about Rallye Monte-Carlo. That worked out really well for us so if we remain focused and motivated, anything is possible and we could find ourselves in contention for a positive result.

“That’s always our goal and we always want to deliver the best result we possibly can. The Fiesta felt really good in Monte and we’ve done a lot of work in testing since then. Last week we completed close to 500 test kilometres, so hopefully that all pays off next week.

“But at the same time, I know just how challenging this event is. The stages are so narrow and twisty and there is something happening all the time. There really is no margin for error and we’re going to have to remain calm and focused from the very start.”

D-Mack WRT

Elfyn Evans said:

“The Tour de Corse is a real technical challenge but I think that’s what I like about it. We’ve had some really good results there and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do this year.

“It’s a unique event and there’s actually quite a lot of variation amongst the stages. Some are surprisingly smooth, but then there are those which are typically Corsican with abrasive Tarmac that twists through the mountains.

“It’s all about adapting to the conditions but at this time of year, and with the stages being so long, it’s possible to be faced with dry Tarmac and wet Tarmac on the same stage. Like in Monte-Carlo, we could find ourselves looking for the package that provides the best compromise.

“When we had dry Tarmac in Monte, our pace was really good and that gives us a big positive to build on. We had a test working of different set-ups last week and it felt pretty good. It’s an event that you can never predict, but there’s no reason for us not to feel fairly optimistic so let’s see what happens.”

Hyundai Motorsport

Hayden Paddon said:

“I am determined that Corsica will be the real start of my 2017 season. I feel confident in myself and I’ve been working hard to prepare for the first WRC tarmac event of the year. Taking part in Rallye Sanremo will give me the chance to adjust to the driving and pace notes on that surface. Corsica is a difficult event, the toughest tarmac rally on the calendar in my opinion, but I am really looking forward to it. We are ready to put a good performance.”

Thierry Neuville commented:

“Tour de Corse is a famous and historic rally. It’s also an event that Nicolas and I have won back in 2011 – when it was part of the IRC – so we remember what it is like to go there and perform. I thought we did well there last year especially, finishing second. The stages were just lovely, so we are looking forward to getting back there. Mexico was a really important result for us after the competitive but frustrating first rounds of the season. We want to build on that podium – and Corsica is a great place to do just that.”

Dani Sordo said: “Corsica is our first experience of a proper tarmac rally this season, so I am excited to have the chance to show what both we and the car are capable of. The setting of the rally is one of the most spectacular on the calendar, with the route taking us through the mountains and the forests- it really is a great event to take part in. Our performances so far this year have been pretty consistent but now is the time to step up our game – and bring ourselves even closer to the front.”

Citroen Abu Dhabi WRT

Kris Meeke

“For sure, we won in Mexico, but the Tour de Corse is a completely different kettle of fish. For me, this rally is the ultimate challenge on tarmac. Last year, I really enjoyed the stages and I would’ve been in contention for the win had I not made a minor mistake. I can’t say that I come into the rally full of confidence, but I’m very pleased with the work done in testing. We have a good car, with consistent handling. In the rally itself, we’ll see if we are close to our full potential. I can’t wait to get started, I’m expecting it to be very close at the front.”

Number of appearances at the event: 4

Best result: 4th (2015)

Craig Breen

“I was surprised to learn that I’m the team’s most experienced driver at this rally! It’s true that I know the Tour de Corse very well and I really love racing here. There are some similarities with conditions in Ireland, like the unpredictable weather and the uneven surface of the roads, which are sometimes in poor condition… Last year, I had a good feeling on my first tarmac rally in a WRC. This year, I hope I’ll be able to put together a series of stages with a good level of confidence. It really is all about confidence with these new cars! If I can manage to do that, then we should secure a good result.”

Number of appearances at the event: 5

Best result: 4th (2013/ERC)

Stephane Lefebvre

“Like Monte-Carlo or Finland, the Tour de Corse is one of the WRC’s unmissable rounds. I don’t have particularly fond memories from my appearance here in 2015. It was hell on earth with all the rain! I therefore still see myself as a rookie and I know that my lack of experience may be difficult to overcome. But I’ll be giving it 100% to try and secure the best result possible. Testing helped me to fine tune my driving on tarmac. The C3 WRC handles a little bit like a track racing car.”

Number of appearances at the event: 2

Best result: 11th (2015)

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Jari-Matti Latvala said:

“Corsica is a special event for me: when I won there, it meant so much to me because for Finns it was always a difficult place, after the accident with Henri Toivonen in 1986, and as a nation we never used to do very well there. Now I think it is different, and of course rallying is a lot safer. We had a very good test completing 380 kilometres over two days, with one day on narrow and bumpy roads and the second day on fast and abrasive roads. On the rally, we will have both, so I think we found a good set-up between those two conditions, trying a few different damper settings. We already have an idea about the potential of the car on asphalt after Monte-Carlo, and my feeling with the car now is much better than it was after the test for Monte. However, our rivals will be very strong, as we saw already on all the rallies so far, so we take nothing for granted. We are just staying focused on our task of improving the car with every rally. Up to now, that objective is being met, so I am happy.”

Juho Hänninen said:

“I feel so much better now than I did before so I am looking forward to Corsica: it feels good to be back on Tarmac. I have only done the rally once before and that was a long time ago, although I also did the recce last year. So, I have been relying a lot on the advice from Jari-Matti about how to set up the car and this is working very well. To me, the car actually feels quite similar to what we had in Monte-Carlo, but that is good as I had a very nice feeling with the car there. The main difference in Corsica is the tyres, so we have been learning how to get the best out of them, especially for the long stages. Mexico showed that if you persist you can have a good result even if the circumstances are against you and that is also a little bit the philosophy of Toyota this year: we are going to keep trying to make the car better and better.”

So, these are the stages that await the crews. The itinerary is 96% identical to last year’s event, which was held in October.

TOUR DE CORSE SCHEDULE (GMT+2)

THURSDAY 6 APRIL

8.00am: shakedown (Sorbo Ocagnano)

FRIDAY 7 APRIL

8.15am: Start (Ajaccio – Parking Miot)

8.50am: Tyre fitting zone (Porticcio)

9.22am: SS1 – Pietrosella – Albitreccia 1 (31.20km)

11.14am: SS2 – Plage du Liamone – Sarrola-Carpocino 1 (29.12km)

12.24pm: Regroup (Porticcio)

1.39pm: Tyre fitting zone (Porticcio)

2.11pm: SS3 – Pietrosella – Albitreccia 2 (31.20km)

4.03pm: SS4 – Plage du Liamone – Sarrola-Carpocino 2 (29.12km)

7.15pm: Neutralisation (Place Saint-Nicolas – Bastia)

8.30pm: Flexi Service A (Bastia airport – 45 mins)

SATURDAY 8 APRIL

7.30am: Service B (Bastia airport – 15 mins)

8.40am: SS5 – La Porta – Valle di Rostino 1 (48.71km)

10.17am: SS6 – Novella 1 (17.27km)

1.03pm: Service C (Bastia airport – 30 mins)

2.28pm: SS7 – La Porta – Valle di Rostino 2 (48.71km)

4.08pm: SS8 – Novella 2 (17.27km)

5.48pm: Neutralisation (Place Saint-Nicolas – Bastia)

6.58pm: Flexi Service D (Bastia airport – 45 mins)

SUNDAY 9 APRIL

7.15am: Service E (Bastia airport – 15 mins)

8.58am: SS9 – Antisanti – Poggio di Nazza (53.78km)

12.18pm: SS10 – Porto-Vecchio – Palombaggia (10.42km)

1.30pm: Podium (Porto-Vecchio Marina)

17:30: Parc Ferme (Bastia)

I’d say that Friday is the most challenging day, as there is no midday service, just a tyre fitting stop. It would be very easy to make a mistake and cost yourself a lot of time or even retirement from the event and then any hope of scoring points.

With the pace that Thierry has shown on asphalt, I’d say he should be the one to watch for the victory, but we know how strong Seb is, and he won this rally last year. M-Sport are also very capable of building a quick car for this surface. Witness Elfyn and Dan leading this rally two years ago, and getting their best result with second place behind Jari-Matti in the end.

Speaking of him, he’s had his best start to a season for a while and has really come into his own at the new Toyota team. If the car is up to it, then I can see him getting a podium.

Hayden Paddon and Seb Marshall drove Rallye Sanremo last weekend in their first event together and scored a very positive second place behind the wheel of an i20 R5 car. Tarmac is a surface that Hayden has been working hard to get the pace right.

During Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle’s part season last year, they performed well at this event, but a puncture during one of the stages put paid to his fight for the lead. He subsequently had an accident, which put him out of the points. He set some quick times though, getting some great experience for this year.

Any driver could be on the podium, so let’s enjoy the event and see what happens!

Warren Nel, WRC editor

Porsche Carrera Cup GB Around The Corner

 

2017 season heads to the start line with over half the grid set to do battle for overall honours

The Porsche Carrera Cup GB, the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK, will begin its 15th season at Brands Hatch on 1 / 2 April with over half the field racing for overall glory in the Pro category. The battles throughout the 22 car grid will stretch across 15 rounds and eight race weekends.

The anticipation of a hotly contested season, headlined by a round in support of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is fuelled by an exceptionally talented and experienced grid. Over half the competitors are ranked in the Pro category, and of those, half again have already won at least one championship in the course of their careers.

Best placed to cause a surprise is a quartet of Porsche Carrera Cup GB Rookies who will be looking to make waves amongst the established Pro contenders. Fresh from his Ginetta GT4 Supercup title, Tom Wrigley from Chirk has already been making the most of the pre-season with IN2 Racing. His 2016 challenger and fellow race winner, Londoner Jamie Orton (Redline Racing), will be resuming their battle in 2017 as both adapt to the rear-engined 911 GT3 Cup.

Established endurance champion and race winner Ross Wylie from Dumfries will return to single marque racing, bringing with him a new team, Slidesports. The partnership began earlier in Wylie’s career and resumed recently with a successful one-off endurance race with the team in a Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

After rising through the single seater ranks to the heights of GP2 and most recently winning races in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, Tio Ellinas is making the switch to sports car racing for 2017 with JTR. Already a winner with JTR in seasons gone by, the Cypriot star brings with him Formula One experience and undoubted race-winning potential as the season unfolds.

Leading the charge of the returnees is reigning champion Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) from Leeds. After taking the record in 2016 for most wins in a season – 12 from 16 starts – the 2015 and 2016 champion will face his toughest challenge yet. Graduating to the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup for 2017, Cammish will have to miss rounds eight and nine at Snetterton from his concurrent Porsche Carrera Cup GB campaign due to a clash of dates.

First among those looking to capitalise on this will be Cammish’s closest challenger from 2016, Bristol’s Dino Zamparelli. Launching his 2017 campaign with JTR, Zamparelli will be reunited with former coach Nick Tandy and will race alongside the second-placed Rookie of 2016, Lewis Plato. Plato, from Billericay, showed strong pace in his first season and is ideally placed to convert that into results for his second.

Another driver with championship winning potential is Porsche Carrera Cup GB 2016 / 2017 Scholar Charlie Eastwood from Belfast. Buoyed by taking the 2016 Rookie title and his first race win, Eastwood tasted victory over the winter in a dominant one-off race with the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East. Also successfully chasing the winter sun, and off-season experience, was Redline Racing team mate and 2016 podium finisher Tom Oliphant from Leamington Spa. Oliphant made a name for himself in his debut season with a series of fearless overtaking manoeuvres and plans to return stronger than ever.

Joining this top trio at Redline Racing and relishing a step up into the Pro category for 2017 are Edinburgh-based brothers Euan and Dan McKay. Both showed strong pace in their debut seasons, taking first and second in the 2016 Pro-Am1 category respectively, and often raced comfortably inside the top 10.

However, the Pro-Am1 category will maintain its competitive nature with a similar split of newcomers and returnees. Alex Martin (Pro-Am1) returns for the first time since racing the ‘Type 997’ GT3 Cup in 2011, joining championship stalwart and father Rupert Martin (Pro-Am2) at Team Parker Racing.

Alex will undoubtedly feature in the category title race, as will Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) as he looks to build on his seven Pro-Am1 podium finishes in 2016. Another podium finisher, Peter Jennings, returns with G-Cat Racing, while experienced racer Graeme Mundy steps up to a full campaign in the category with Team Parker Racing.

A new team and driver will be joining the Pro-Am2 competition, Welch Motorsport and Matt Telling. Telling has experience of the ‘Type 991’ 911 GT3 Cup from endurance outings, while Welch Motorsport is a veteran of TOCA weekends. The second category newcomer is David Fairbrother, who graduates from the Cayman GT4 Clubsport with Slidesports.

Looking to make the most of their Pro-Am2 experience will be Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing), Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) and Peter Parsons (The Race Car Centre), all three category podium finishers in 2016. However, favourite to take the honours remains Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing), the Chopard Fastest Lap winner of 2016 looking to go one step higher after his second place finishes in the category championship in 2016 and 2014.

Pre-season form

At the first official tests of the season, on Silverstone’s National circuit and at Donington Park, times looked tighter than ever with fractions separating each car. While the Pro category returnees will undoubtedly go into Friday free practice at Brands Hatch with the advantage of experience, several factors could see that rapidly eroded by the newcomers. An increased tyre allowance (up to three new sets per weekend and a maximum of 24 over the course of the season) may affect the dynamic of qualifying, while points are no longer awarded for pole position or fastest lap.

In both Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 categories, times were hard to monitor as various Pro category drivers swapped in and out of cars to help team mates with their pre-season preparations.

Rounds one and two will take place on Sunday 2 April at 10.00 (rolling start) and 15.40 (standing start) respectively, with live coverage of round two on ITV4. Follow the battles at @CarreraCupGB on Twitter and @carreracupgb on Instagram.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

(c) images courtesy of Porsche Carrera Cup GB