The fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK, Porsche Carrera Cup GB, enters its 17th season with an exciting split of returning drivers and promising new talent. The grid of 485 hp second-generation 911 ‘Type 991’ GT3 Cup cars get their season underway at Brands Hatch on 6 / 7 April, kick-starting a 16 round calendar taking place across eight weekends. The championship’s blue riband event will support the World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Silverstone this summer – underlining the championship’s position as part of the global Porsche Motorsport programme.
With a full season of racing in Porsche Carrera Cup GB under his belt, 18-year-old Dan Harper (JTR) from Belfast is hungry for overall title glory. The Porsche GB 2018/19 Junior returns to Porsche Carrera Cup GB with reigning Team champions JTR, owned by Porsche factory driver, and 24-Hours of Le Mans winner, Nick Tandy. Harper earned two wins, the most fastest laps, and the most pole positions during his debut 2018 season, providing him with the foundations to mount a strong title challenge in 2019.
Harper’s former team mate Lewis Plato switches to the experienced Motorbase Performance squad for 2019. The Essex-based racer, who joined the championship in 2016, was a regular front-running competitor last season with two overall race victories. Plato will be looking to stamp his authority on a charge for a title he has the speed to challenge for. Plato is joined at Motorbase Performance by Dan Vaughan, the former Pro-Am category race winner progressing to the Pro category this season where he will deploy the experienced gained in 2018 to good effect.
Three times an overall race winner in 2018, George Gamble moves to Porsche Carrera Cup GB stalwart Redline Racing for 2019. The 2018 Rookie champion is joined at Redline Racing by 2018 Pro-Am category champion, Seb Perez. The pair not only continue their position as team mates, but Perez graduates to the Pro category for 2019 to compete head-to-head with Gamble.
Following in the footsteps of Gamble and Perez comes a talented newcomer, who moves to Porsche Carrera Cup GB from another championship on the TOCA package – the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup. 2018 Ginetta GT4 SuperCup front-runner Tom Roche will drive for a team new to Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Rob Boston Racing. Though new to the championship, Rob Boston Racing is a name synonymous with racing success in other motorsport disciplines. In addition to overall glory, both Roche will have his eyes firmly on the 2019 Rookie title.
Multiple category race winner Jamie Orton (JTR) endured a troubled end to a 2018 season that saw him with a dominant hold on the title by the mid-point, and he returns to conquer the Pro-Am category in 2019. However, while Orton enters the season as a category favourite, he will have to contend with challenges from experienced series regulars and newcomers alike. Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques) was a podium finisher in her rookie season and will be looking to stand on the top step in 2019 as she continues to gain valuable experience.
Orton and Hawkey will be joined by 2017 returnee Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) who spits his season with brother Michael Leonard. An unknown factor is Porsche Carrera Cup GB newcomer Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing) from Kent, graduating from the Renault UK Clio Cup Championship where last year he scored one win and five podium finishes.
The Am category provided some of the closest racing of 2018. The battle at the front between eventual champion Peter Mangion (Team Parker Racing) and rival Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) reignites in 2019 – Kyle-Henney will want retribution for being category runner-up in 2017 and 2018. Former BTCC driver Richard Hawken (Slidesports Engineering) completed his rookie season in 2018, and will put that valuable experience to good use in 2019 as he aims to get on the pace of Mangion and Kyle-Henney.
Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) undertook a partial campaign last season, and re-enters the Am category with vital experience on which to rely. Newcomer Adam Knight arrives with a team new to Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Valluga Racing. Knight has previously raced ‘Type 991’ Porsche 911s in endurance competition abroad, and proved in the first official test that he – and the team – have no problem adapting to the new challenge.
The 2018 season’s dramatic championship battle saw a number of different race winners, the fierce competition allowing competitors to showcase their talents. Reigning Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Tio Ellinas will take his career to the next level for 2019, taking on the challenge of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in 2019. Title rival Dino Zamparelli, runner-up in 2016, 2017 and 2018, will race a Cayman GT4 Clubsport in the GT4 category of the British GT Championship.
2017 Am champion Shamus Jennings and Pro-Am race winner Greg Caton will together campaign a 2019 911 GT3 R in the GT3 category of the British GT Championship. The car, which sees Porsche represented in the top category of the championship for the first time since 2015, will be run by G-Cat Racing as the team joins its two drivers in progressing.
2019 rule changes
In 2018, the championship introduced reverse grids for the second race of each weekend, a feature that remains for 2019. Following the first race, a number between four and six is selected at random. This number determines whether the first four, five or six drivers across the line for the first race will have their grid positions reversed for the second. All other competitors will form on the race two grid according to their finishing position in race one. However, should a competitor fail to finish in race one, for 2019 they will take up a grid position for race two immediately behind the last finisher in their category from race one. Both races continue to feature a standing start.
The new points structure, consistent across all three categories and introduced last season, also remains. A weighting for Pro category drivers in the first race rewards qualifying performance and partially offsets the penalty for a reverse grid placing in the second. In a similar spirit, drivers in all categories that set the fastest lap during qualifying at each race weekend will be awarded two championship points. An overall points table calculated on the same basis as in 2018 will determine the Team and Rookie championships.
Source. Porsche. Photo. The Editor