George Gamble (Amigos Redline Racing) set the fastest time of the day during Friday’s practice sessions at Thruxton. Returning to the Hampshire circuit for the first time since 2014, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB endured a mixture of dry and wet conditions which saw Gamble head the morning’s dry session, and Lewis Plato (Motorbase Performance) top a wet afternoon practice. Current championship leader 18-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) set the second quickest time of the day – just 0.303 seconds off that of Gamble.
New intrigue was added to the sessions with the welcome return to the championship of Sam Brabham (Team Connect It) – continuing the rich Brabham family racing heritage. The Pro-Am category driver gradually built speed throughout Friday’s sessions, ending FP1 0.635 seconds off category pacesetter and Pro-Am championship leader, Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing). Brabham – who made his championship debut in 2018 during a one-off appearance at Silverstone – finished the afternoon session in P2 just 0.025 seconds away from impressive Pro-Am category Rookie Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing).
Rookie John Ferguson (Redline Racing) topped the Am category in the day’s combined times. Ferguson headed rival Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) and Peter Kyle-Henney (In2Racing) in the morning session, but later on in wet conditions Kyle-Henney had the upper hand – ending the afternoon P1 in category. Current category championship leader Sherwood has an unbroken record of podium finishes in 2019 – he and Kyle-Henney have each claimed three category victories during the season.
With the forecast for the rest of the weekend looking dry, Gamble and Porsche GB Junior Harper currently look set for a close battle for pole position during tomorrow’s qualifying session.
Session 1 – 11:30 to 12:13
Track temperature: 18.8 degrees
The first drivers taking to the track in each category were Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) – Pro, Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) – Pro-Am, and Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) – Am
With rain beginning to fall 15 drivers took to the track, gradually building speed – George Gamble (Amigos Redline Racing) was the early pacesetter registering a lap time of 1:16.216s
Lewis Plato (Motorbase Performance) soon snatched P1, only for Gamble to reclaim it – his 1:15.811s making him the first driver to lap in under 1:16 secs
The Pro-Am category was led by Rookie Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing) from returnee Sam Brabham (Team Connect It)
In Am John Ferguson (Redline Racing) set the early category pace from Peter Kyle-Henney (In2Racing) and Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing)
With 20 minutes of the session remaining several drivers improved their best lap times; Gamble, Webster, Plato, Leonard and Tom Roche (Rob Boston Racing)
18-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) soon moved to P2 overall – trailing P1 driver Gamble by 0.140secs
An improving Webster moved to P3, just 0.059secs ahead of Plato and 0.009secs behind Porsche GB Junior Harper
With 15 minutes of the session remaining Junior Harper moved to P1, quickly improving again – his 1:14.799 registering as the first sub 1:15sec lap
Gamble reclaimed P1 overall with six minutes left on the clock, while in Am Leonard leaped McCarthy to head the category by just 0.014secs
With just under four minutes of the session remaining the red flag was flown to enable the recovery of Leonard due to an off in sector two – this drew FP1 to an early close
Pro: Gamble, Harper (+0.303), Plato (+1.270)
Pro-Am: Leonard, McCarthy (+0.014), Brabham (+0.635)
Am: Ferguson, Sherwood (+1.399) , Kyle-Henney (+0.033)
Session 2 – 15:40 to 16:15
Track temperature: 17.1 degrees
Following the red flag in FP1 causing a delay to the circuit schedule, FP2 was shortened by 10 minutes to realign the day’s timetable
Wet conditions welcomed Lewis Plato (Motorbase Performance) – Pro, Sam Brabham (Team Connect It) – Pro-Am and Peter Kyle-Henney (In2Racing) –Am to the track at the start of the session
Plato set the early pace before George Gamble (Amigos Redline Racing) remerged to challenge, Plato immediately finding an answer to retain P1
With 25 minutes of the session remaining Gamble broke the 1:22sec barrier setting a time of 1:21.958
Of the Pro-Am category drivers Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing) led Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques) and Brabham
Hawkey and Brabham traded times as both improved on a now drying Thruxton circuit
Dan Vaughan (Motorbase Performance) jumped to P2 displacing team mate Plato to P3 – Vaughan’s time being 0.274secs off that of Gamble in P1
With 10 minutes of the session remaining Vaughan recorded a number of consecutive fastest laps to sit P1 with a time of 1:21.123
Kyle-Henney improved to P1 in Am – P7 overall – with less than two minutes remaining on the clock
On his final lap, Plato set a 1:21.031 to top the timesheet for the session
Pro: Plato, Vaughan (+0.092), Gamble (+0.354)
Pro-Am: McCarthy, Brabham (+0.025), Hawkey (+0.818)
Am: Kyle-Henney, Ferguson (+0.994)
Qualifying for round nine will take place on Saturday 17 August between 14:15 and 14:45, with drivers fighting for the two points awarded in 2019 for the fastest time posted in each category over the course of the session.