Cheshire’s Oulton Park circuit hosted the final meeting of the Porsche Classic Restoracing Championship 2019 on Saturday 31 August. Rounds nine and ten featured a grid of 14 mechanically identical ‘Type 986’ Boxster S race cars, finished in a range of iconic Porsche racing liveries.
Porsche Classic Restoracing Championship leader Ben McLoughlin (Porsche Centre Bournemouth) started round nine on the front row, but behind rising star and Snetterton winner William Heslop (Porsche Centre Wolverhampton). In wet conditions that saw the race started behind the safety car, McLoughlin powered his way through for the win and championship title. However, despite McLoughlin starting round ten from pole position, the roles were almost reversed. Heslop charged through to take the lead, but last-lap contact relegated Heslop to third, behind Brands Hatch winner Matt Bird (Premier Panel Skills).
For 2020, after two successful years, Porsche Club Motorsport in collaboration with Porsche Classic will take Porsche Classic Restoracing to the next stage. The 2020 Porsche Classic Boxster Cup will be open to all competitors with a National B licence, offering drivers a broader opportunity to move into the world of Porsche motorsport at a level that will be competitive, achievable and enjoyable.
A heavy fall of rain just before the start of race one added a dose of drama to proceedings, the grid of 14 cars starting the 25-minute race behind the safety car. As the safety car pulled into the pit lane, it was pole-sitter Will Heslop (Porsche Centre Wolverhampton) who made the best break away, establishing a gap from the off. Behind, Matt Bird (Premier Panel Skills) and championship leader Ben McLoughlin (Porsche Centre Bournemouth) were fighting for second, McLoughlin coming out of that scrap ahead.
A moment later on the first lap left Bird defending from a charging Josh Morris (Porsche Centre Bolton), while Simon Ruffell-Ward (Porsche Centre Leeds) moved up to ninth from 12th, a feat only topped by James Cannon (Porsche Centres Cambridge, Colchester, South London and East London) who gained six places to finish the first lap sixth.
At the front, McLoughlin started to close rapidly on Heslop before taking the lead on lap three, while Bird established himself in third. Cannon gained one more place to rise from the last row of the grid to fifth, only a good recovery from a spin by Morris ahead preventing Cannon from taking fourth.
Conditions remained tricky, Bird demonstrating that at Hislop’s with an excursion on lap four that nevertheless saw him post the fastest lap. With the track drying, Heslop seized the initiative, posting fastest lap after fastest lap to begin inching towards McLoughlin, the leader at the same time beginning to catch traffic. Behind, Bird was gaining ground as well, getting to within a second of Heslop with his own run of fast laps, but as the flag fell, the podium was McLoughlin from Heslop from Bird.
McLoughlin lined up on pole position for a dry race two courtesy of his second fastest lap. Heslop started alongside, with Bird in third and Josh Morris fourth – just six tenths separating the first two rows.
An even start was made by all, before spins for Ashley White (Porsche Centre Nottingham) and Stephen Shore (Shorade) shuffled them down the pack. By the end of the opening lap, the fight for third between Josh Morris, Bird and Alistair Nelson (Porsche Centre Wilmslow) was headed by Nelson – who had made his way up from fifth. However, Bird was soon back into third, and closing down Heslop in second. Another driver making progress was Mark McCullough (Porsche Centre Hatfield), gaining three places on the opening lap after a gearbox change.
On lap four, Bird posted the fastest lap of the race – almost as fast as Heslop’s pole position lap from race one – to close in on second, his charge for the position culminating in a look at Heslop into Old Hall on lap six. A moment for Heslop into Hislop’s sparked a series of fastest laps that not only gained him breathing space over Bird, but also began to move him towards the leader McLoughlin.
While McLoughlin responded with personal bests, Heslop continued to close until less than one second separated the pair on lap 11. Heslop’s first move came into Druids, but McLoughlin was able to defend before an impressive move around the outside of the entry to Hislop’s brought a change for the lead. With Heslop now ahead, McLoughlin immediately responded, a dive up the inside at Cascades bringing contact that sent Heslop flying across the grass. While he recovered into third, Bird found himself fractions behind McLoughlin at the flag, finishing only 0.2s adrift.