Just two weeks after taking his first double victory since Croft in 2016, Dino Zamparelli (JTR) goes from Silverstone to Brands Hatch tied on points with Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing) at the top of the championship table. The application of one dropped score as the table currently stands leaves Eastwood with a slender four point advantage.
A two point gap between the top placings means Zamparelli would need to win both races with Eastwood second to take the championship, equal on points but with a higher number of wins. Otherwise, Zamparelli needs to finish ahead of Eastwood by two places to guarantee the result. Eastwood has the easier task, finish ahead of Zamparelli or just behind if another driver takes the win.
The only other driver who enters the final two rounds with a mathematical chance of the overall crown is reigning champion Dan Cammish (Redline Racing), although a 32 point gap will be almost impossible to close. Just 12 months ago, Cammish had already secured his second title and when the Leeds driver won the final round, he set a new record for the most races won in a single season.
One year later, despite missing two rounds due to a clash of dates with his 2017 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign, and being forced to retire in another two, a consistent run of six wins from thirteen races has left the record-breaking driver with a slim shot at an unprecedented third title. At the very least, Cammish will be looking to underline his legacy in customarily dominant fashion at a circuit where he holds the lap record.
Brands Hatch Grand Prix also holds good memories for Eastwood, the Porsche GB 2016 / 2017 Scholar taking his first Porsche Carrera Cup GB pole position there in 2016 together with his first victory. For his part, Zamparelli has finished in the top three in each of his four visits and considers it one of his best tracks. 2017 has been a consistent season for the Bristol-based driver who achieved a first Porsche Carrera Cup GB win for JTR in round nine and has stepped onto the podium in every race since round two at Brands Hatch back in April.
While the focus will be on the battle for the championship between the top trio, increasingly close behind is the largest Pro category in Porsche Carrera Cup GB history. Leading the charge is Tom Oliphant (Redline Racing) who sits fourth in the standings. Twice a podium finisher in his second season, Oliphant lies 14 points behind team mate Cammish after dropped scores with 40 left still to play for.
Other competitors looking to finish their season on a high who could well influence the championship fight include Lewis Plato (JTR). The 24-year-old has shown strong pace in his second season, posting four podium finishes and performing especially well on faster circuits. Team mate Tio Ellinas (JTR) secured the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Rookie Championship last time out with his best performance to date, dicing with Cammish, Zamparelli and Eastwood to secure third and second places. The single-seater star could be the strongest candidate for a maiden win as he continues to master the 911 GT3 Cup.
Brothers Euan and Dan McKay (Redline Racing) took a Pro-Am1 win apiece in 2016, but 2017 has seen Euan with the edge in the Pro category. Tom Wrigley (IN2 Racing) and Ross Wylie (Slidesports) will each be aiming to secure second place in the Rookie standings behind Ellinas. Wrigley currently holds a six point advantage over Wylie, with Jamie Orton (IN2 Racing) just 13 points further back despite missing three rounds.
Tyre damage at Silverstone and the dramatic return of Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) resulted in a change at the top of the Pro-Am1 category. Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing) will go to the championship showdown with a three point advantage over Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) after tyre damage in round thirteen resulted in a pit stop which cost Sherwood valuable points.
For Sherwood to take his second Pro-Am1 title, he needs to finish at least four places ahead of Martin across both races. In the event of a tie, Martin takes the title on total wins.
Leonard shared fastest laps with Martin last time out, but had to give best to the former BTCC racer in both races. Brands Hatch will be his opportunity to reverse the order, but Sherwood has ground to make up and has the outright pace to challenge for the win. Chasing hard will be Graeme Mundy (Team Parker Racing), who sits third in the standings, and John McCullagh (Redline Racing).
In Pro-Am2, an unprecedented season of success – a record 10 wins – sees Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) still chasing Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing). A consistent run of results has put Jennings three points ahead, and two finishes directly behind Kyle-Henney would be enough to secure the title. Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) sits in third with Rookie David Fairbrother (Slidesports) moving up into fourth from Rupert Martin (Team Parker Racing). Both could be key players in the title decider, already having taken to the top step of the podium once in 2017.
A significant milestone will also be reached at Brands Hatch in the rich racing heritage of the Porsche 911 – the final appearance in Porsche Carrera Cup GB of the first generation ‘Type 991’ 911 GT3 Cup. Either side of the next generation taking to the track alongside the 919 Hybrid on Sunday, both races will usher out an era that began in 2014 and has spanned 66 races, two trips to Le Mans and, so far, crowned three different champions. Undisputed master of the type has been double champion Dan Cammish – 29 wins, 29 pole positions and 24 fastest laps represent an incredible ratio over 47 races and three full seasons. As the era comes to a close, it could be a new star who closes it.
Rounds fourteen and fifteen take place on Sunday 1 October, round fourteen at 10:40 with round thirteen at 16:17.
Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship positions
(numbers in brackets include one dropped score)
Charlie Eastwood – Redline Racing – 210 (202)
Dino Zamparelli – JTR – 210 (198)
Dan Cammish – Redline Racing – 170 (170)
Alex Martin – Team Parker Racing – 106 (106)
Justin Sherwood – Team Parker Racing – 89 (89)
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)
Porsche 919 Hybrid demonstration
During the weekend lunch breaks at Brands Hatch, currently scheduled from 13.25 to 14.00 on Saturday 30 September and 12.15 to 12.55 on Sunday 1 October, the Porsche 919 Hybrid will be demonstrating its three-time Le Mans-winning design and technology to the attending race fans.
Underlining its role as the ultimate expression of the Porsche philosophy of track to road technology transfer, on Saturday the petrol hybrid LMP1 competitor, which is capable of producing over 900 hp, will be joined by the 918 Spyder (887 hp) and latest Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid (680 hp). On the Sunday, it will be the turn of the 2018 911 GT3 Cup to partner in a high-speed run.
Making the most of the opportunity between World Endurance Championship (WEC) races in America and Japan, the successful 2017 919 Hybrid will be demonstrated around the Kent circuit by British factory Porsche driver Nick Tandy. Home hero Tandy, along with Earl Bamber from New Zealand and Formula 1 driver Nico Hulkenburg from Germany, took the 919 Hybrid to an emotional seventeenth overall win for Porsche at Le Mans in 2015.
Since first introduced at the beginning of the 2014 season, to date the 919 Hybrid has won 16 races, two world drivers’ championships and two manufacturers’ championships – and looks set to add more to that impressive tally. When combined with three consecutive victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, beginning with Tandy’s win in 2015, the 919 Hybrid has emphatically earned itself a place in Porsche motorsport history.
With three races remaining in the 2017 WEC season, the Porsche Team currently leads the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships. For 2018, the Porsche motorsport strategy changes gear and leaves the top category of the WEC. The future focus will be an expanded focus on GT racing with the 911, and Formula E from 2019.
Brands Hatch last hosted a round of the World Sportscar Championship in 1989, when the legendary 962C was the top-class contender for Porsche, and has been the scene of many overall endurance victories for the marque that stretch back to the 908/02 in 1969. Beginning in 2003, Porsche Carrera Cup GB has visited the circuit every season with the 911, and Brands Hatch has hosted the season finale on no fewer than eight occasions. Nick Tandy, racing in Carrera Cup GB on his way to the top of the Porsche Motorsport pyramid, took pole position, fastest lap and a race win on the Grand Prix circuit in 2011.
Ragnar Schulte, Head of Marketing and Motorsport, Porsche Cars Great Britain, commented: “When we knew there was an opportunity to bring the 919 Hybrid to Brands Hatch, we had to make it happen. Brands Hatch and Porsche have so much history, not least of all from the days when the 956 and 962 were so successful there in Group C. Both those cars represent such a large part of the heritage the 919 Hybrid has had to live up to.
“With three consecutive wins at Le Mans, the 919 Hybrid has emphatically positioned itself alongside them in the history of Porsche, and from 2018 our iconic 911 will continue to represent the marque in endurance races around the world. It’s another reason why it’s so fitting the 919 Hybrid comes to Brands Hatch in front of all the fans, with the 2018 911 GT3 Cup looking on and a Carrera Cup GB championship to decide.”