Redline Racing have taken a glorious overall victory in the prestigious Porsche Carrera Cup Le Mans race as Dan Cammish fought through from fifth to victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe, with team-mate Tom Oliphant joining him on the Porsche Carrera Cup GB podium.
The second ever Carrera Cup Le Mans race brought together the Carrera Cup GB, France and Benelux entries to see 61 identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars racing mere hours before the start of the 85th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours.
With Jamie Orton unfortunately absent, Redline would bring a five car entry to France and the quintet would all get their first chance to lap the legendary 8.47 mile circuit in swelteringly hot conditions during Thursday’s two forty-five minute free practice sessions.
All five would end up in the top nine of the GB runners, with Charlie Eastwood leading the way in third overall, though come qualifying later that day it would be reigning double Carrera Cup GB champion Cammish who led the charge during a busy session.
Despite issues with traffic, Cammish would post the third fastest time overall as three Redline cars ended up in the top ten, with current Porsche Carrera Cup GB Scholar Eastwood in sixth and Euan McKay an impressive ninth fastest, lapping within a second of the pole time.
A chaotic opening to the race would see incidents through the first few corners claim a number of front-running drivers, but Cammish was just able to keep himself out of trouble and emerge in fifth position heading into an early safety car period.
Cammish was a man on a mission at the restart as he quickly rose to third, before picking off the drivers ahead to grab the race lead on lap five, though the extreme slipstreaming nature of the circuit meant only a brilliant defensive drive would keep him there.
The 27 year old briefly lost the lead on the final lap, but a sensational move around the outside into Indianapolis put him back on top and secured him the victory, and with it the prize of a full-day test in Porsche’s state-of-the-art LMP1 driving simulator in Germany.
One of the drives of the race came from Oliphant, who bounced back from a frustrating qualifying session to produce a remarkable drive through the field from sixteenth on the grid into the overall top five and the Carrera Cup GB podium.
Picking his way through the first lap incidents to emerge in seventh place, Oliphant would remain in the thick of the top ten battles throughout before a stunning late move at Indianapolis netted him fifth position and with it his first top three result in the CCGB this year.
Euan McKay would enjoy one of the best performances of his Carrera Cup GB career so far meanwhile, as he fought his way into the top six overall in the early stages before superbly remaining there for a long spell of the race, rising to fifth at one point.
Unfortunately for the reigning Pro-Am 1 champion, some robust driving from a pack of Carrera Cup France competitors would cause him to slip to tenth overall in the final couple of laps, but that result still meant he brilliantly matched his best ever Carrera Cup GB finish in fourth.
For Eastwood, the race was a case of what might have been with the Northern Irishman unfortunately being forced to pit with a puncture after getting caught up in the first lap incidents, which dropped him back to 53rd position overall.
The safety car period put him on the back of the field though and from there Eastwood would produce a stunning recovery drive, posting a lap time over a second faster than anyone else as he gained no less than thirty positions to finish 23rd overall and eighth of the CCGB contingent.
Dan McKay started the race in excellent fashion meanwhile as he rose ten positions on the opening lap alone to settle in sixteenth position, with a strong performance from there putting him on course for a top ten CCGB finish until he suffered an unfortunate retirement.
The victory for Cammish continues Redline Racing’s 100% win record for the 2017 Carrera Cup GB season so far and earnt them both the Driver and Team of the Weekend awards, whilst Cammish’s fifth success of the season so far gives him a 23 point championship lead.
Redline now have four drivers in the top five of the points standings with Eastwood, Oliphant and Euan McKay as well, while they have also extended their advantage at the top of the Teams Championship to 81 points ahead of the next rounds at Snetterton on 29/30 July.
Simon Leonard – Team Boss, Redline Racing: “It’s been a fantastic week and to come away with the overall race victory was brilliant for the team. It was a great spectacle to race at Le Mans and all of our drivers contributed to what was a great race.
“To have three cars finish in the overall top ten is a huge achievement and it’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole team. I can’t thank them all enough for their efforts and now we go to Snetterton determined to enjoy more success.”
Dan Cammish: “To come to Le Mans for the first time and win in a 61 car field including some of the best Carrera Cup drivers in Europe feels incredibly special, and I can’t thank the Redline team enough.
“We had so much speed on Thursday and didn’t get to show it, but it came together superbly in the race. I wasn’t prepared to lose at the end there, I’d led for a long spell and I wasn’t going to settle for second on the final lap.”
Tom Oliphant: “I’m over the moon with the result. We had some bad luck in practice and qualifying and finished lower than we deserved, so it was great to really show our true pace in the race.
“I was focusing on getting into the top ten, so to come through the field and finish fifth was amazing. It’s been a dream come true to race at this iconic circuit, so to stand on the podium just makes it even more special.”
Euan McKay: “I’m delighted to have finished in the top ten overall and matched my best finish in the GB with fourth, but there’s a tinge of disappointment as it could have been more after running in the top six overall.
“There’s a lot of positives to take though. It’s probably been my best performance in the series across a race weekend, and the Le Mans experience has been incredible and it’s been awesome to race here.”
Championship Standings (After Rd.7 of 15): 1. Dan Cammish (132pts); 2. Charlie Eastwood (109pts); 4. Tom Oliphant (89pts); 5. Euan McKay (75pts); 7. Dan McKay (56pts); 12. Jamie Orton (29pts)
Source. Next Level Motorsport/Photo. Dan Bathie/Porsche