The scene is set for another thrilling season of racing in the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship. With just under two months to go before the first race at Brands Hatch, Kent, on 2/3 April, 21 drivers are already confirmed to join the grid of the UK’s fastest single marque GT racing Championship.
The news that reigning Champion, Dan Cammish, will be returning to defend his crown adds further allure, as the 26-year old from York was sensational on his Championship debut last year, winning 11 out of 16 races for Redline Racing.
However, an influx of new talent has signed up to race the identical, 460 hp ‘Type 991’ 911 GT3 Cup race cars, and will be keen to not only measure themselves against Dan’s impressive benchmark but also strive to keep him at bay!
Arguably the strongest rivals to Dan will come from within his Redline Racing team. The 2016/17 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Scholar, 20-year old Charlie Eastwood (Belfast), overcame incredibly tough competition to land his plum drive, so already is pumped up for the year ahead.
Overall, the breadth of talent among the multi-car team run by Redline Racing is impressive. Lewis Plato (Essex) has signed for the Cleveland-based squad and together with 2015 Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion Tom Oliphant (Warwickshire), makes up a formidable quartet in the Pro category.
Bringing international flair to the Pro category is young sports car racing hot-shot Alessandro Latif (London/Italy), who joins GT Marques, and brings a wealth of experience from racing at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans.
It is a brave man who underestimates Stephen Jelley (Leicester), who returns to the Carrera Cup GB once more with Team Parker Racing in the Pro category. The former BTCC and Carrera Cup GB race winner was an ever-present threat to the leaders last season, and will be eager to capitalise on the benefit of his experience from the outset.
And reigning Rookie Class champion, Camberley driver Tom Sharp (IDL Racing), is also likely to be a serious contender for overall title honours following the 24-year-old’s maiden series win in the 2015 season finale at Brands Hatch.
Another top-line professional driver to have already committed to the Championship is 2011 Carrera Cup GB Pro-Am1 champion and 2013 overall runner-up Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) who will be on the pace courtesy of his extensive familiarity with the rear-engined Porsche 911.
The Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship runs three categories – Pro, Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 – for identical examples of the ‘Type 991’ 911 GT3 Cup race car. The Pro category typically attracts drivers gunning for the outright Championship, whereas Pro-Am1 aims to offer newer drivers to the Championship that chance to get acquainted with the iconic, flat-six Porsche. In turn, Pro-Am2 supports drivers transitioning into top-line UK motorsport with their own ‘race within a race’.
The Pro-Am1 category boasts some superb talent with Jack Falla (Guernsey) aiming to build on his first season racing in the UK. The 27-year-old finished third in category last season and produced some highly encouraging performances to suggest he will be fighting at the sharp end.
Fellow Championship returnee Daniel McKay (Edinburgh) continues with IN2 Racing and will be another one to watch, along with Parr Motorsport’s newcomer Sean Hudspeth (Singapore).
In Pro-Am2, returning 2015 category Champion John McCullagh (Northallerton) is back to defend his crown with Redline Racing. However, Championship newcomer Barrie Baxster (Guernsey) will be keen to emulate this success.
Another new name for Porsche Carrera Cup GB fans will be Mark Radcliffe (Southport) who also lines up in Pro-Am2. The experienced driver could be amongst the class pacesetters from the season start and will only add to the immensely exciting racing in the category.
However, Lithuanian driver Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) will be chasing hard and aiming to build on his pace from last year.
G-Cat Racing’s Shamus Jennings (Belfast) and Peter Jennings (Newtownards) will also be on the 2016 grid, having committed to another Carrera Cup GB campaign with the Kent-based squad. Regular Pro-Am2 category front-runner Peter Kyle-Henney (Whitstable) returns with Parr Motorsport, and Peter Parsons (Colchester) is back once more with his distinctively-livered RCC Motorsport 911.
Many drivers find great satisfaction in racing the 911 GT3 Cup car, and also regard the Porsche Carrera Cup GB almost like an extended family. Consequently, the Championship enjoys great loyalty among teams and drivers. Returning once again in Pro-Am2 to build on solid debuts last season are Asset Advantage Racing’s Iain Dockerill (Essex) and Team Parker Racing’s Rupert Martin (Northants).
There is every indication that there will be further driver announcements still. The impressive entry to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship builds on the success of a number of initiatives that sought to emphasise the unique position of the Carrera Cup within the global Porsche Motorsport family. Not least among these was the opportunity to share the bill with the World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, alongside the factory team Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 and 911 RSR. After the 2016 Carrera Cup GB season starts at Brands Hatch alongside the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), it will once more support the WEC at Silverstone for the third and fourth rounds; thereafter it re-joins the BTCC at six race weekends in the UK.
Further momentum comes to the Carrera Cup GB this year following the addition of three exclusive, fully-supported in-season tests, an increase in each driver’s slick tyre allocation and a substantial rise in prize money for the top three finishers in the Pro category, all of which have made the 2016 package the most attractive yet in the history of the Championship.
James MacNaughton, Motorsport Manager, Porsche Cars GB commented: “The close competition between the identical 911 GT3 Cup race cars in the Carrera Cup GB fosters unparalleled driver development, meaning every advantage has to come from behind the wheel. Success therefore is a great indication of talent.
“The appeal of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB is evident in the return of Dan Cammish to defend his title, but it is also great to see so many new drivers join us for 2016. This year’s Carrera Cup GB will be as intense as ever, and our support race to the World Endurance Championship at Silverstone in April is yet further evidence that the Carrera Cup GB is fundamental to the international Porsche Motorsport programme.”
2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship – current entry list
Dan Cammish York RedLine Racing Pro
Charlie Eastwood Belfast RedLine Racing Pro
Tom Oliphant Warwickshire RedLine Racing Pro
Lewis Plato Essex RedLine Racing Pro
Alessandro Latif London/Italy GT Marques Pro
Stephen Jelley Leicester Team Parker Racing Pro
Tom Sharp Camberley IDL Racing Pro
Jonas Gelzinis Lithuania Juta Racing Pro
Jack Falla Guernsey RLR Pro-Am1
Dan McKay Edinburgh IN2 Racing Pro-Am1
Sean Hudspeth Singapore Parr Racing Pro-Am1
John McCullagh Northallerton RedLine Racing Pro-Am2
Mark Radcliffe Southport TBC Pro-Am2
Rupert Martin Northants Team Parker Racing Pro-Am2
Iain Dockerill Essex Asset Advantage Racing Pro-Am2
Barrie Baxster Guernsey RLR Pro-Am2
Tautvydas Bartsys Lithuania Juta Racing Pro-Am2
Shamus Jennings Belfast G-Cat Racing Pro-Am2
Peter Jennings Newtownards G-Cat Racing Pro-Am2
Peter Kyle-Henney Whitstable Parr Motorsport Pro-Am2
Peter Parsons Colchester RCC Motorsport Pro-Am2