Porsche Carrera Cup GB – the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK – arrived in North Yorkshire to start the second half of its 2021 season. Six drivers ended the first half of the season separated by just 20 points in an exciting and unpredictable start to the year, back-to-back weekends at Croft and Silverstone in September would undoubtedly help cement championship battle lines in all three categories.
Friday’s Practice sessions took place in dry and sunny conditions. Lorcan Hanafin (JTR) made a good start to his weekend, the championship leader headed Will Martin (Richardson Racing) and former double champion Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) in the morning session. The Pro-Am category battle was a close affair too, Jake Rattenbury (Team Redline Racing) emerged ahead of Nathan Harrison (Team HARD) while Justin Sherwood (Team Parker) topped Am.
In a closely contested afternoon session Porsche GB Junior Harry King (Team Parker Racing) and Cammish pushed each other hard. Towards the end of second Practice Cammish and King were the only drivers lapping in under 1 minute 20 seconds but with five minutes remaining both left the circuit – Cammish ended the day fastest by just 0.047 seconds. Rattenbury mounted a late charge to top Pro-Am with Justin Armstrong (Team Parker) ahead in Am.
Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session was dominated by Cammish who was the only driver to lap the circuit in under 1 minute 19 seconds, his best time was an impressive 0.463 seconds quicker than championship leader Hanafin – enough to secure the 33rd pole position of his Porsche racing career. Having looked quick in Practice, Harrison emerged ahead in Pro-Am with Sherwood topping his rivals in Am.
Sunday’s first race was interrupted by a Safety Car period but saw Cammish take a lights-to-flag victory, the 34th of his Porsche racing career. By securing the fastest lap of the race the former BTCC racer also overtook Michael Meadows to snatch the record for the highest number of Fastest Laps in the history of the championship (31). A maiden Pro-Am category win was taken by Harrison while Sherwood stood on the top step of the Am podium for the eighth time in 2021 – further extending his championship lead.
The weekend’s second race was action-packed. Hanafin made a great start to lead the pack into the first corner but his race came to an early end when he made contact with a tyre barrier. The same fate befell King who was also forced to retire. Kiern Jewiss (Team Parker Racing) and Cammish then engaged in a thrilling battle for the overall race lead, Jewiss successfully defended to take his third win of the season. A second Pro-Am win for Harrison made it a perfect weekend for the Rookie, Armstrong clawed back his championship points deficit to Sherwood with a category win in Am.
Saturday afternoon’s 30 minute qualifying session took place in dry conditions. Cammish was the early pacesetter followed by Hanafin and Martin. Rattenbury made an early exit from the session following contact with a barrier, he stopped his car on the infield which brought out the red flags to enable its safe recovery. When the action resumed 17 minutes of the session remained, having not set times before the stoppage, teammates King and Jewiss soon moved to first and second positions respectively. Ratcliffe was next to retire from the session in a repeat of Rattenbury’s incident.
In the second half of the session the remaining Pro-Am category drivers engaged in a close fight, Harrison emerged on top by a slim margin. In Am Josh Stanton (Team HARD) led his rivals into the final five minutes of qualifying, however by the chequered flag Sherwood was on top. Cammish was the first driver to lap the circuit in under 1:19 with a time of 1:18.745, in the final few minutes he improved further with a 1:18.515 which cemented the 33rd pole position of his Porsche racing career. Cammish would be joined on the front row of the grid for Round 9 by championship leader Hanafin.
Following the 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend format, Cammish earned two championship points with his pole position, the top qualifiers in their respective categories – Harrison and Sherwood – also received two points each.
The first of the weekend’s two races took place on Sunday afternoon in dry and sunny conditions. Cammish and Hanafin made equal starts from the front row, Hanafin attempted a challenge around the outside through Clervaux and Hawthorne Bend but he wasn’t able to make it stick. Junior King closed on Martin for third spot as they approached Tower and made a move before they arrived at the Hairpin, the battle continued through the final corner where the two made contact. However, Martin maintained his position and King slipped backwards to come under threat from teammate Jewiss behind.
In Pro-Am Harrison maintained his category advantage at the start of the race, Charles Rainford (CCK Motorsport) moved up to second with Ratcliffe third. The Am fight was led by Sherwood with Armstrong second and Rookie Stanton third. On lap 4 Armstrong and Stanton engaged in a close fight, they were side-by-side as they crossed the start/finish line – Stanton emerging ahead before Clervaux. On lap 5 Jamie Orton (JTR) made his retirement from the race, the Safety Car was scrambled to enable the safe recovery of Orton’s stricken car.
Under Safety Car conditions King made a quick pit stop to change a cut tyre, he rejoined at the back of the pack. Shortly after the restart, and with 8 laps remaining, Armstrong left the circuit at Tower before rejoining, that made the new Am order Sherwood, Stanton and newcomer Marcus Fothergill (Redline Racing). King quickly gained places as he recovered from the back of the pack – the Junior was up to P11 by lap 12. Martin soon began catching Hanafin but shortly afterwards contact between the pair resulted in Martin’s radiator beginning to leak causing him to slip back into the clutches of Jewiss in fourth. On lap 14 King received a 5 second penalty for track limits.
Cammish crossed the line to take the 34th victory of his Porsche racing career, he was followed home by Hanafin, Martin managed to fend off Jewiss at the Hairpin on the last lap to keep the final podium spot. Rookie Harrison took his maiden Pro-Am race win, he was joined on the category podium by Ratcliffe and Rainford. Sherwood secured his eighth Am win of 2021, Stanton took second with Armstrong third.
For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Cammish – Pro, Harrison – Pro-Am and Stanton – Am each received one additional championship point. Cammish now holds the record for the highest number of Fastest Laps (set in races) in the history of the championship (31), overtaking Michael Meadows. As part of the 2021 podium procedure, winner Cammish selected at random the number five ball, which reversed the grid positions of the top five overall race finishers from Round 9. Following the race Martin was handed a three place grid penalty for Round 10, and a deduction of three championship points, as a result of his contact with King in Round 9.
Following the reversal of the top five overall race finishers from Round 9 and the application of Martin’s grid penalty that made the front row for Sunday’s second race Lewis Plato (Valluga Racing) from Jewiss, Hanafin and Cammish.
Round 10 took place on Sunday afternoon in dry conditions. Hanafin made a fantastic start from the second row of the grid to lead into the first corner, Jewiss jumped Plato to snatch second with Cammish slotting into third position after a successful move on Plato at Tower. Junior King also gained places on the opening lap, moving up from P12 to P7. In Pro-Am Harrison maintained his category lead in a close battle with Rainford and Rattenbury. Armstrong was also a driver on the move early on, he rose to lead the Am category fight having started the race from the last row of the grid.
On lap 3 Hanafin made contact with a tyre stack immediately ending his day, the incident handed the race lead to Jewiss with Cammish now second and Plato third. Rainford soon made his exit from the race in a copy of Hanafin’s incident, King then struck a displaced tyre suffering damage to his car which resulted in his retirement too. Next, a trip through the gravel for Stanton made the new Am order Armstrong from Sherwood and newcomer Fothergill.
A very close fight developed between the top four of Jewiss, Cammish, Plato and Martin. On lap 9 Plato ran wide at Clervaux which allowed Martin to snatch third position away from him. Meanwhile Cammish tried every possible route by Jewiss but to no avail as the Rookie successfully defended his lead at every opportunity, in turn Cammish was forced to defend from an attacking Martin on more than one occasion. On lap 12 Martin incurred a 5 second penalty for track limits, despite running third on the road this relegated him to fourth on corrected time with Plato ahead on the timesheet in third.
After 15 laps Jewiss took the checkered flag to record his third win of the season. Cammish finished second with Plato third, on corrected time Martin would finish fourth. Harrison secured the second Pro-Am win of his Porsche racing career, he was joined on the category podium by Rattenbury and Ratcliffe. Armstrong tasted the winner’s champagne in Am with Sherwood and Stanton joining him on the Am podium. For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Martin – Pro, Stanley – Pro-Am and Stanton – Am each received one additional championship point.
Cammish leaves his home circuit of Croft with the Pro category championship lead in what could prove to be the pivotal turning point of the season. Porsche Carrera Cup GB travels directly to Silverstone next weekend for Rounds 11&12 of the championship, with eight races remaining the home of British motorsport could setup a fascinating conclusion to the 2021 season.
Dan Cammish Redline Racing 79
Lorcan Hanafin JTR 71
Kiern Jewiss Team Parker Racing 65
Ryan Ratcliffe Team Parker 83
Micah Stanley Team Redline Racing 68
Nathan Harrison Team HARD 61
Justin Sherwood Team Parker Racing 109
Justin Armstrong Team Parker Racing 77
Josh Stanton Team HARD 67
*results remain provisional