Team Parker Racing wrapped its first full season in the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB in style at the weekend (October 16/17) as it claimed four podiums with drivers Matt Armstrong, Harry Foster, and Kurt Leimer, and secured the Entrants’ Championship title in the process.
Continuing his outstanding upswing in performance over the final three rounds of the season, Matt followed up his maiden podium at Thruxton with a second place in race one and third in race two, vaulting into third in the championship, in just his first season of car racing.
Joining the team for the first time was another rookie driver, Harry Foster, who impressed despite only having a few test days in the Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 Clubsport, finishing third in the rain in race one.
Also making a trip to the podium for the second time this season was another novice racer, as Kurt Leimer re-joined the team after having to miss the previous three meetings, taking second place in Am in race two.
The opening contest really tested all three drivers as rain settled over Donington Park. Matt, starting third, dropped a place off the line as he suffered with wheelspin, but quickly made amends moving into second place before the opening lap was complete, with Harry following him through into third.
Kurt had some dramas in the opening laps, spinning onto the grass, but did well to fight back once he recovered and was rewarded by gaining fifth place in class on the final lap. Ahead of him, Matt pressured outgoing champion James Dorlin for the lead, before settling into second, where he would finish, with Harry not far behind, taking a debut podium.
The track was dry for the final race of the season, held in fading light at the end of the day. This time Kurt had an incredible launch off the line, shooting through from fifth on the grid to second in the Am class by the first corner, a position he would not relinquish to the flag.
In Pro, Matt settled into third, ahead of Charles Clark with whom he was battling for third place in the championship, a position he too would hold to the end of the race, while behind him Harry was locked in some exciting battles with Clark and the recovering Rob Boston, crossing the line fifth and capping an impressive first weekend in the series.
Strong performances throughout the season, despite being a new car for the team to get its head around, meant that the team also secured the Entrants’ Championship at the first time of asking, making it a double after retaining the same title in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB the previous weekend.
G1 – 3, R1 – 2
G2 – 2, R2 – 3
Pro Championship: 3 (62 points)
“I think it was a really good way to end the season. I was nowhere near the podium for the first four rounds. But I think the second visit to Thruxton was a turning point, maybe not race one, but race two I definitely warranted being on the podium. It’s a confidence boost and showed me I can do it. This weekend I came with quite a lot of confidence and thought I could win for the first time this season. It was quite a big change in mindset.
“If we forget [James] Dorlin, who was just loads faster, [Jack] Bartholomew beat me by quite a lot this year. I think if I drove well for the whole race, rather than the second half, I probably would have beat him.
“Going into Thruxton to start the season there wasn’t much chance of finishing anywhere really. But consistently being on the podium and beating [Charles] Clark and making sure he didn’t pass me in that last race was definitely a positive for next year.”
G1 – 5, R1 – 3
G2 – 3, R2 – 5
“I enjoyed myself a lot this weekend and I was very happy with my results. In the dry for race two I would hope to do a bit better since those are the conditions that I’ve been doing all my testing in, but I had a very fun battle and I think I showed good racecraft, so I’m happy with how I did.
“It’s definitely good to have my first weekend end on a high and it puts me in a good sort of mindset for future races and shows me that I that I can actually compete in this championship, so it would be great to return next year.”
G1 – 6, R1 – 5
G2 – 5, R2 – 2
Am Championship: 7 (31 points)
“After the first race I wanted to really try to have a good time in race two, especially with it being the last race of the season as well. I just went there and put my foot down and didn’t look back, which is what made it a good race. I’m here to have fun and I had no expectations at all.
“It was a good weekend overall. I don’t have any complaints; I just want to spend more time in the car! I’ll come back with a bit more of a goal next season of maybe trying to win the Am category. We’ll see what happens!”
Team Parker Racing
Entrants’ Championship: 1 (279 points)
Source. Torque/Photo. Jakob Ebrey Photograph
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