Redline Racing team mates Dan Cammish and Charlie Eastwood go to Silverstone with tensions still running high following their clash last time out at Knockhill. All eyes will be on the race winners as the pair, friends over the past season and a half, line up to do battle for the 2017 championship.
Eastwood and Cammish may have been the talk of Knockhill, but the driver taking the most points away from the weekend was Dino Zamparelli (JTR). The Bristol-based now heads to a circuit where in 2015 he took a pair of wins – his first in Porsche Carrera Cup GB – and which he considers one of his strongest. Ten consecutive podium finishes have seen Zamparelli, who missed out on the 2016 title by 56 points to Cammish, close to within 10 points of the 2017 championship lead with four rounds still to go.
Eastwood maintains his position at the top of the standings despite being penalised three championship points, but heads to Silverstone facing a ten-place grid penalty to be applied at round twelve. The points deduction and penalty were handed down by the stewards following an incident on the penultimate lap of round eleven that left Cammish stranded, Eastwood the winner, and team relationships strained.
Despite a starting position for round twelve guaranteed to be no higher than eleventh on the 22-car grid, Eastwood may yet surprise. In 2016, the Porsche GB 2016 / 2017 Scholar started the first race in eleventh before fighting back onto the podium. However, as the 2017 season has progressed, not only has the competition increased but so has the intensity of that competition. The desire to win amongst the Pro category – and indeed throughout the 22-car grid – has produced some of the fiercest battles seen for many years, and Eastwood will have to make his way through a tight, highly motivated pack.
Most highly motivated of all will be third-placed Cammish. Fresh from Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup rounds at Spa and Monza, the reigning champion will hold nothing back in reasserting his authority over a championship that has seen him take victory in over two thirds of the races he has started.
One driver looking for a breakthrough win is Tom Oliphant (Redline Racing). The podium finisher currently sits fourth and is by no means out of title contention, 39 points shy of Eastwood and the highest placed driver yet to taste victory. Following one of his strongest performances to date at Knockhill, Oliphant will be looking to go one better than his second-place finish – also his first Porsche Carrera Cup GB podium – at Silverstone National in 2016.
Zamparelli is not alone in finding a strong pace with new team JTR, though. Team mates Lewis Plato and Tio Ellinas also have fastest laps to their name (Ellinas at Snetterton and Plato at Knockhill) and both are hungry for their first win. Fighting hard as always will be brothers Euan and Dan McKay (Redline Racing), along with rapid Rookies Tom Wrigley (IN2 Racing), Ross Wylie (Slidesports) and Jamie Orton (IN2 Racing).
In Pro-Am1, a battle is raging between Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) and former BTCC racer Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing), the pair just three points apart – the gap unchanged after both scored first and second places at Knockhill. Fellow category race winner Graeme Mundy (Team Parker Racing) returns for Silverstone after missing Knockhill, but still holds third in the category standings.
Providing possibly the greatest potential to upset the 2017 Pro-Am1 pace-setters at Silverstone is Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing). The eleven-time Pro-Am1 race winner returns for the tenth consecutive season to contest the final four rounds. Another Pro-Am1 race winner to return earlier in the season was John McCullagh (Redline Racing), the 2015 Pro-Am2 champion already back on the pace – and podium – at Snetterton and Knockhill.
Pro-Am2 always provides some of the closest racing, and category leader Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) is working hard to keep the charging Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) at bay. Two wins for Kyle-Henney at Knockhill closed the gap by three points to just five, the 2014 category runner-up determined not to allow history to repeat itself.
Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) leads the chasing pack of Rupert Martin (Team Parker Racing), David Fairbrother (Slidesports) and Matt Telling (Welch Motorsport). Martin is having his best season to date, fourth in the category rankings with three podium finishes, and is fending off Fairbrother who has already scored a category win in his debut season.
The 911 GT3 Cup can average over 105 mph around the 1.64-mile Silverstone National circuit, the fast straights linked by slow corners providing good overtaking opportunities. Zamparelli may hold the lap record and Eastwood the points advantage, but both need to beat Cammish in a straight fight and the defending champion will be a hard man to catch, let alone pass.
Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship positions
(numbers in brackets include one dropped score)
Charlie Eastwood – Redline Racing – 180 (172)
Dino Zamparelli – JTR – 170 (158)
Dan Cammish – Redline Racing – 152 (152)
Justin Sherwood – Team Parker Racing – 89 (89)
Alex Martin – Team Parker Racing – 86 (86)
Graeme Mundy – Team Parker Racing – 48 (48)
Shamus Jennings – G-Cat Racing – 85 (85)
Peter Kyle-Henney – IN2 Racing – 80 (80)
Iain Dockerill – Asset Advantage Racing – 76 (76)