Supercup: Porsche Carrera Cup GB takes on the best at Silverstone
Porsche Supercup Junior, Sven Müller (Lechner MSG Racing Team), stormed to victory in front of a crowd of over 100,000 fans as the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup supported the British Grand Prix. Reigning Rookie champion Tom Sharp (IDL Racing with Team Parker Racing) also headed up a group of seven wildcard entries from the Porsche Carrera Cup GB with a solid seventh place.
Chaotic weather with sudden downpours turned the race into a thriller. As the 30 competitors in Porsche’s elite international championship formed up to drive to the grid, the first drops of rain began to fall. By the time the 911 GT3 Cup cars had reached their grid slots, the shower had become more like a deluge. At the last moment, the race was declared wet and teams allowed to switch from dry to wet tyres on the grid.
The safety car was deployed and led the field for two laps in heavy rain. When the race was underway, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB competitors took full advantage of their experience of this classic British weather to demonstrate their abilities and racecraft.
Up front it was the Porsche Supercup Juniors that led the way. Whilst Mathieu Jaminet initially gapped the pack, fellow Junior, Sven Müller, was on the move, having overtaken Matteo Cairoli (who was struggling with oversteer) on lap five. As second place man, Müller, managed to close the gap on leader Jaminet, a fierce but very professionally fought battle ensued. With conditions rapidly drying and wet weather tyres struggling for traction, Müller was finally able to make his way past Jaminet on lap eight, sealing victory in the process.
Leading the charge up the field for the domestic Porsche Carrera Cup drivers was Tom Sharp, racing as number 44 for the weekend. He was able to find enough grip to complete an amazing first lap – moving up to fifth place after starting eighth. A move past the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Josh Webster (Rookie Team Deutsche Post by Project 1) saw Sharp into fourth and quickly onto the tail of double 2016 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup winner Matteo Cairoli (Fach Auto Tech), challenging for a podium and at one point the fastest driver on track.
Sharp said; “We didn’t really have a plan as we thought it would be dry. We managed to change the car a little, but it was never going to be perfect for the wet. I predicted we’d struggle a bit towards the end of the race and tried to make up as many places as possible early on, but it’s quite incredible to think we were challenging for third.”
Webster went on to take the honours as the top-placed British driver in an excellent fourth, while another solid international performance saw reigning Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Dan Cammish inside the top ten, taking the flag after 12 laps of racing in ninth.
However, the two drivers most on the move were Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing) and Tom Oliphant (Team Redline). Despite having his fastest time in qualifying deleted for track limits and subsequently starting from 16th, Eastwood proved his racecraft to make the top ten in the final order, an outstanding performance from the Porsche GB 2016/17 Scholar in his first Supercup appearance.
Achieving no less of a feat, Oliphant proved undaunted by his competitors and the conditions. An ability to find grip in the slippery conditions, as evidenced by some breathtaking overtaking manoeuvres around the outside, saw the Cheshire driver gain the most places to finish 12th after starting 20th on his Supercup debut.
Another newcomer was 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Rookie Lewis Plato (Team Redline), who finished his first Supercup race in 17th, only two places behind Dino Zamparelli (GT Marques with MOMO-Megatron Team PARTRAX) who was also making his first appearance. Assured and confident drives from each of them ensured that as the track dried and the wet race tyres went off, they maintained strong positions within the eventual 29-car pack.
Regular Pro-Am2 competitor Mark Radcliffe (Intersport Racing with Team Parker Racing) had a steeper learning curve than he expected as he took on the challenging conditions. The second-placed driver in the Pro-Am2 standings proved no less able to provide entertaining racing on the international stage as he battled to 29th at the flag.
After a proud showing amongst the elite of Porsche’s Supercup competitors, the seven drivers will return to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB grid for rounds nine and ten at Snetterton on 30 and 31 July.
Race result, Round four, Great Britain
|1.||Sven Müller||Lechner MSG Racing Team||12 laps|
|2.||Mathieu Jaminet||Martinet by Almeras||12 laps|
|3.||Matteo Cairoli||Fach Auto Tech||12 laps|
|4.||Joshua Webster||Rookie Team Deutsche Post by Project 1||12 laps|