Preview: Carrera Cup GB 2017
The Porsche Carrera Cup GB enters its 15th season at Brands Hatch on 1st-2nd April, a 22 car grid will do battle across eight race weekends during 15 rounds – headlined by a round in support of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This year looks set to be one of the most fiercely contested Carrera Cup GB seasons ever, with more than half of the talented and experienced Pro category drivers in with a genuine chance of claiming championship honours.
Leading the charge of the returning drivers is undoubtedly reigning champion, Dan Cammish, of Redline Racing. The 2015 and 2016 champion from Leeds took the record for the most wins in a season in 2016 (12 from 16 starts), but Dan will face his toughest challenge yet this year. Having graduated to the Mobil 1 Supercup for 2017, Cammish will miss rounds eight and nine of the Carrera Cup GB at Snetterton due to a clash of dates.
Looking to take advantage of Cammish’s racing calendar clash, but also to beat the defending champion wheel-to-wheel, will be his closest challenger from 2016, Dino Zamparelli. GT Porsche contributor, Zamparelli, joins new outfit JTR for 2017 headed by Porsche works driver, Nick Tandy. Alongside Dino at JTR comes Lewis Plato, who showed strong pace in his rookie season last year.
Another driver in with a chance of championship honours is Carrera Cup GB 2016 / 2017 Scholar, Charlie Eastwood. The 2016 Rookie title winner won his first race last year, and tasted victory over winter in a one-off race in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East. Eastwood once more runs as team mate to Cammish at Redline Racing, while 2016 podium finisher, Tom Oliphant, will also drive for the team in 2017. So too brothers Euan and Dan McKay, the McKays step up into the Pro category from Pro-Am1 with Redline Racing – both impressed in their debut seasons last year.
Spicing things up further still are a quartet of Carrera Cup GB Rookies. 2016 Ginetta GT4 Supercup title winner, Tom Wrigley, joins IN2 Racing. His 2016 challenger and fellow race winner, Jamie Orton, also comes to the series with the Redline Racing squad. Established endurance champion, Ross Wylie, returns to single marque racing with his team, Slidesports. Wylie is fresh from a successful one-off endurance race in a Cayman GT4 Clubsport. Arguably the most exciting new comer of all though is former GP2, Formula Renault 3.5 Series, and Formula One test driver, Tio Ellinas. Cypriot star, Ellinas, makes the switch to sports cars with Tandy’s JTR team, partnering Zamparelli and Plato.
The Pro-Am1 category looks equally as close as the Pro category, with a similar mix of newcomers and returnees. Alex Martin last drove a 911 in anger in 2011, he joins his championship stalwart father, Rupert Martin (Pro-Am2) at Team Parker Racing. His team mate, Justin Sherwood, will be looking to build on his seven Pro-Am1 podium finishes in 2016. G-Cat Racing’s Peter Jennings also returns, and experienced racer Graeme Mundy steps up to a full campaign in the category with Team Parker Racing.
A new team and driver will join the Pro-Am2 category – Welch Motorsport and Matt Telling. Welch Motorsport is a veteran of TOCA weekends, Telling has driven 991 GT3 Cup cars in endurance events. David Fairbrother graduates to Pro-Am2 from racing a Cayman GT4 Clubsport with Slidesports. But three Pro-Am2 podium finishers from 2016 will be tough to beat; Shamus Jennings, Iain Dockerill and Peter Parsons, they all return for 2017. The favourite for top honours however is IN2 Racing’s Peter Kyle-Henney, Kyle-Henney finished second in Pro-Am2 in 2014 and 2016.
Carrera Cup GB rule changes for 2017 include an increased tyre allowance, now up to three sets of new tyres are allowed for each driver per weekend, with a maximum of 24 over the course of the season. And, perhaps more importantly, points are no longer awarded for pole positions or fastest laps. Two official pre-season tests have already taken place, on Silverstone’s National circuit and at Donington Park, and times looked mighty tight across the board. Rounds one and two of the Carrera Cup GB take place on Sunday 2nd April at 10am (rolling start) and 15.40 (standing start) respectively. There is live TV coverage of round two on ITV4 and we’ll bring you a race report online and in print in a forthcoming issue of GT Porsche.
To get you in the mood, watch highlights of the final Carrera Cup GB 2016 race at Brands Hatch: