A record grid of 13 teams will be contesting rounds three and four of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB on the full 3.66-mile Grand Prix circuit. Over 26 competitors will be aiming to impress as they deploy a combined 12,000 hp around Silverstone’s 18 corners shortly after the WEC Porsche teams have qualified their 919 Hybrids in LMP1 and 911 RSR in LMGTE.
Among those looking to emulate the progression of former Carrera Cup GB race winner Nick Tandy, who took outright victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Porsche last year in the 919 Hybrid, are Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) and Dino Zamparelli (GT Marques). Both came out of a head-to-head battle at Brands Hatch neck-and-neck, with one win and one second place apiece.
Cammish will be more motivated than ever going into the weekend after a five second penalty for exceeding track limits in round one handed victory to the hard-charging Zamparelli. Zamparelli had hounded the defending Champion throughout the race, but admitted feeling lucky to have inherited the win from an aggrieved Cammish.
However, despite Cammish hitting back with a dominant win in race two, Zamparelli took a brace of fastest laps to underline his single-lap pace, leaving the Bristol-based driver focused on developing this into a consistent, race-long pace for the longer Silverstone circuit.
The weekend looks to be much more than a two-horse race following an impressive debut from newcomers Tom Oliphant (Team Redline), Lewis Plato (Team Redline) and Porsche 2016/17 Scholar Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing). Rounds one and two saw the trio go wheel-to-wheel with reigning Rookie Champion Tom Sharp (IDL Racing) and seven-time Carrera Cup GB winner Stephen Jelley (Team Parker Racing). The returning Jonas Gelzinis (Juta racing) also showed strong pace, and the depth of talent throughout the field was underlined when less than three seconds covered the six drivers as the flag fell in round two.
The Pro-Am1 category is shaping up to be every bit as close-fought. Reigning Pro-Am2 Champion John McCullagh (Redline Racing) vindicated his last-minute decision to step up a category with a win first time out, while Sean Hudspeth (Parr Motorsport) proved to be a fast learner when he won the category in only his second race. Not to be underestimated is the pace of the returning Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) who took the ‘Driver of the Weekend’ award at Brands Hatch, or that of Dan McKay (IN2 Racing) following a remarkable drive through the field in the spare car after dramas in race one.
In Pro-Am2, the experienced Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) and newcomer Mark Radcliffe (Intersport Racing) head the category form book for Silverstone after sharing the winners’ trophies at Brands Hatch.
Joining the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK at Silverstone will be three further Pro-Am2 competitors. Brookspeed will be returning, while Adrian Barwick (Team Parker Racing) and Salih Yoluc (IN2 Racing) both have experience in longer distance racing and join the Cup for the first time.
The privileged position the Porsche Carrera Cup GB occupies at Silverstone alongside the WEC, the pinnacle of endurance racing, reinforces the strong ties between the national and global levels of the Porsche Motorsport pyramid.
The Porsche Motorsport pyramid represents a career pathway for aspiring professional race drivers. With a broad base underpinned by amateur racing, the Porsche infrastructure can support drivers to move up from Porsche Sport Driving School and Club Sport events and into national Carrera Cup Championships with the 911 GT3 Cup. 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB competitor John McCullagh took this path to the Pro-Am2 title in 2015 and has already won in the Pro-Am1 category this year.
Drivers can then progress to the international Porsche Supercup, also with the 911 GT3 Cup. Porsche Carrera Cup GB race-winner and 2015 front-runner Paul Rees will begin his first season in the Supercup this year after taking the next step in his career with Porsche.
The next stage is GT racing with the 911 GT3 R and RSR. Eight-time Carrera Cup GB race-winner Ben Barker will be racing a 911 RSR at Silverstone alongside the pinnacle, the 919 Hybrid in the top prototype LMP1 category, in the World Endurance Championship.
Race one: 16 April, 12.55 to 13.40 (45 minutes), rolling start
Race two: 17 April, 09.10 to 09.40 (30 minutes), standing start