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)

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

Elinas Joins Porsche Carrera Cup GB

Porsche Carrera Cup Silverstone Taster day 2016

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 (Larnaca, Cyprus) is making the switch to sports car racing for 2017 with the Porsche Carrera Cup GB and JTR.

Echoing the team’s own move for 2017, Ellinas will be competing a 911 GT3 Cup for the first time as part of a three-car line up for JTR in their debut sports car season. Along with team mates Dino Zamparelli and Lewis Plato, Ellinas is a significant addition to an already strong field of Pro category drivers who now account for a half of the total grid.

Ellinas won races with JTR in the 2010 British Formula Ford championship, before going on to win races in Formula Renault 2.0, GP3 and Formula Renault 3.5. Despite a Formula One test and points-scoring GP2 debut, Ellinas is realistic about the season ahead:

“It will be a completely new challenge for me as I begin my first season in sports cars. I had a really positive test with Porsche at Silverstone in November which is what started things moving, and now I just can’t wait to get back in a car.

 

“I know the competition will be tough, but I also know from past experience with JTR that the guys will provide me with a great car – so perhaps I can fight for wins and possibly challenge for the championship later in the year. Why not!?

Porsche Carrera Cup Silverstone Taster day 2016

“This is a big move for me that I hope will lead to a long career in the sport. I want to thank the team, and also personally Nick Tandy, for believing in my abilities and putting me in the car for this season.”

Team Principal, Nick Tandy, has every confidence in his new signing and the strength of the team going into the season:

“We’ve known Tio a long time and we’re delighted to welcome him back to the team. He’s won a lot of races and has an enviable track record in single seaters, but we’re all ‘eyes open’ to the challenge as he adapts to a completely different style of car.

“The first official test isn’t far away, but back in November Tio proved he didn’t need long to get up to a really good pace in the car. Along with Dino and Lewis, we couldn’t have hoped for a stronger line up in our first season of sports cars.”

Porsche Silverstone Taster day 2016

James MacNaughton, Motorsport Manager, Porsche Cars GB, commented:

“To have a driver of Tio’s experience and with his track record join the Porsche Carrera Cup GB is a proud moment for us. We’ve worked hard to make sure the championship appeals to all our competitors in every category, and it’s something which can be a difficult balance to achieve.

“Looking at the strength of our Pro drivers, along with the continued support of our Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 competitors, we must be getting it right. The field for our 15th season looks fiercely competitive and we can’t wait to get going.”

Porsche Carrera Cup Silverstone Taster day 2016

Ellinas is the 10th confirmed Pro category driver so far, and will be joining Tom Wrigley (IN2 Racing), Jamie Orton (Redline Racing) and Matt Telling (Welch Motorsport) in the Rookie championship.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Images courtesy of and with permission by Porsche Carrera Cup GB

Porsche Carrera Cup GB – Confirmations

(c) porsche.co.uk

Confirmations and announcements for the 15th season of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB

An unprecedented level of early registrations following the 2016 season saw the majority of the grid confirmed before the year’s end, but the 2017 pre-season still has a few surprises of its own.

Drivers and Teams

Heading to the championship from the BTCC is Welch Motorsport. In parallel to any BTCC activities, the team will be supporting Matt Telling as he takes on his first season competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. Entered in both Pro-Am2 and Rookie categories, Telling has some experience of the ‘Type 991’ 911 GT3 Cup from endurance races, but he and Welch Motorsport will be making the most of pre-season testing.

After four seasons and seven wins, front-runner Stephen Jelley recently announced a return to the British Touring Car Championship after moving from the BTCC to Porsche Carrera Cup GB in 2010. Jelley will be trading places with Alex Martin, who returns to Porsche Carrera Cup GB alongside father Rupert at Team Parker Racing. Alex had his first taste of the championship driving a ‘Type 997’ 911 GT3 Cup back in 2009, but he and father Rupert, himself a veteran of two seasons, have never raced in the championship together.

Porsche Carrera Cup Rounds 15 & 16, Brands Hatch GP, 30th Sept – 2nd October 2016
Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com (c) porsche.co.uk

 

Alex explains: “After two memorable but frustrating seasons in the BTCC, I’m genuinely happy to be returning to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. I never quite adapted to the front-wheel drive Focus and felt unable to push myself and the car to the edge required in such a competitive championship. So onwards and upwards to Porsche!“

For 2017, company director Alex will compete in the Pro-Am1 category, while Rupert stays in Pro-Am2. Alex continues: “I drove my dad’s car after the end of last season and loved it straight away. So much so that at the end of a long day in the car I got out, smiling from ear to ear, and Stuart Parker [team manager] said, “there are 10 minutes left before the circuit shuts”, so rather than calling it a day I jumped straight back in to do a few more laps – what a machine!

“2017 for me is about rediscovering my love for racing. It’s easy to get caught up in all the hype and media, but at the end of the day I race for three reasons: the love of competition, the cars and, most of all, fun! I can’t wait to get stuck in as 2017 is going to be a lot of fun.”

Indications are that there will be more to come before the first race weekend at Brands Hatch on 1 / 2 April.

2017 Photographer

(c) Dan Bathie

Porsche Carrera Cup GB is pleased to announce that Dan Bathie, the Renault MSA Young Photographer of the Year 2016, will be covering the championship at all the core rounds as well as at special events. Bathie, aged 25 from Derbyshire, scooped the award after his entry impressed the panel of judges through a combination of technical excellence with artistry that showcased a variety of motorsport disciplines at both national and international levels.

Bathie said of the appointment: “It’s a huge honour to be working with such a prestigious manufacturer and championship. When I was just getting into photography, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB was actually one of the first races I took my camera to, so to be their photographer is a huge career goal for me.

“I’m just excited to get started now, the calendar goes to some fantastic UK circuits as well as the iconic Circuit de la Sarthe, which is always a special track to photograph. I hope to show the championship, the drivers and teams at their best.”

James MacNaughton, Motorsport Manager, Porsche Cars GB, commented: “We always have a focus on supporting our teams, drivers and partners with the best photography we can. Over the years we’re fortunate to have worked with some amazing photographers, so we’re delighted to have Dan on board to carry that forward.

“His record already speaks for itself, but the fact he’s a similar age to many of our drivers this season could result in an interesting re-interpretation of what we produce. The championship has such a diverse and evolving range of requirements for imagery that sometimes it’s good to take a fresh look.”

Bathie’s first event with the championship will be at the Media Day.

Media Day

The first official event of 2017 will be Media Day, held at Silverstone’s National circuit on Monday 13 March. All full grid of teams and drivers will take part in a day of testing, interviews, filming and photography. Full details including a timetable will be sent ahead, with 2017 information packs available on the day or in advance by request. Please contact rob.durrant@porsche.co.uk if you wish to be added to the mailing list or would like further information.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing