The final two races of Porsche Carrera Cup GB, the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK, saw victories for 2014 champion and former Porsche GB Scholar Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing), and 2019 champion and Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR). Mixed weather conditions across the weekend made the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit more challenging than usual for the 22 car grid, delivering close racing with plenty of nail-biting excitement and overtaking.
With the Pro category championship already decided in favour of 18-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) – the youngest champion in the history of the championship, and Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) crowned Am category champion, the season finale at Brands Hatch saw three further championships finalised; Pro-Am, Rookie and Team.
The tense Pro-Am category championship battle was clinched by Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing), the Rookie title by Tom Roche (Rob Boston Racing) and the Team championship by JTR – it is the second consecutive year that the team owned by Porsche factory driver Nick Tandy has triumphed. With his performance Webster finished runner-up to Porsche GB Junior Harper in the Pro category standings, leaping ahead of George Gamble (Amigos Redline Racing) during the course of the weekend.
A wet start to the weekend’s first race saw 22 cars take to the grid shod with grooved wet weather tyres ahead of a 17 lap race. From pole position Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) got away evenly with fellow front row starter Lewis Plato (Motorbase Performance), however Tio Ellinas (Redline Racing) made the best start from the second row of the grid to draw alongside Webster and Plato – going three abreast into the first turn. As the trio squeezed into Paddock Hill Bend the melee saw Plato enter the gravel trap where his race ended – the pack approached Druids led by Webster and Ellinas from Dan Vaughan (Motorbase Performance).
In the Pro-Am category fight Rookie Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing) passed championship rival Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) on the opening lap, also making contact with Rookie Tom Roche (Rob Boston Racing) – Sam Brabham (Team Connect It) occupying P3 in category. In Am Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) led Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) from Adam Knight (JTR) – Knight dropping back from his category pole position. Early into lap one the Safety Car was deployed to enable the recovery of Plato’s stricken car, Kyle-Henney came into the pits at the end of the first lap to retire from the race due to a mechanical issue. That left the Am order; Sherwood, Knight and Lucky Khera (Team Parker Racing) – though Knight and Khera would later swap positions.
The Safety Car came in at the end of the third lap, immediately 2019 champion and Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) began attacking Vaughan for P3. Side by side along Pilgrim’s Drop, Porsche GB Junior Harper found a route by Vaughan on the inside, both drivers leaving the circuit in the process – Vaughan subsequently retiring and the Junior losing a position to George Gamble (Amigos Team Parker). On lap 5 Fraser Robertson (Redline Racing) found the gravel trap on the outside of Clearways causing the Safety Car to be deployed again.
With 15 minutes or 10 laps of the race remaining – whichever came soonest – the Safety Car returned to the pit lane and the green flag was flown. In their fight for the podium places, Gamble mounted increasing pressure on Ellinas, but it was Porsche GB Junior Harper who found a way by Gamble for P3 at Westfield Bend. On the same lap Brabham overtook Leonard for P2 in Pro-Am. On lap 11, with a drying line emerging on the track, Porsche GB Junior Harper got alongside Ellinas at Druids – the pair making contact – Harper successfully assuming P2 before setting after leader Webster. On lap 12 Gamble produced a bold move around the outside of Ellinas at Surtees for P3. In Pro-Am Adam Hatfield (Valluga) slipped by Leonard for P3 in category.
On the final lap of the race Porsche GB Junior Harper closed to within 0.207secs of Webster with Gamble in close company – the 2019 champion drawing alongside 2014 champion Webster at Druids on the final tour but failing to find a way through. Webster’s victory is his third of the season moving him ahead of Gamble in the championship standings – five points now separating the pair in their battle for second in the Pro category championship. As part of the 2019 podium procedure, winner Webster selected at random the number 5 ball, which reverses the grid positions of the top 5 overall race finishers from round fifteen.
Following a post race investigation McCarthy was deducted four championship points for his incident with Roche on the opening lap. Porsche GB Junior Harper was also reprimanded for his move on Ellinas at Druids and handed a two-second time penalty, this resulted in their finishing positions being reversed – promoting Gamble to P2 and Ellinas to P3 ahead of the Junior, now relegated to P4. This made the starting grid for round sixteen; Ross Wylie (IN2 racing), Harper, Ellinas, Gamble and Webster.
Dry and sunny conditions welcomed 22 cars to the grid for the final race of the 2019 season. From the front row 2019 champion and Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) got away well, drawing alongside pole sitter Ross Wylie (IN2 Racing) through Paddock Hill and taking the overall lead of the race before Druids. In the Pro-Am battle Rookie Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing) led Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) from Sam Brabham (Team Connect It). In Am Adam Knight (JTR) headed Lucky Khera (Team Parker Racing) from Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) – on lap 4 Sherwood moved ahead of Khera for P2, on lap 5 Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) passed the newcomer for P3 in category.
Porsche GB Junior Harper pushed hard out front to build a gap to the chasing Tio Ellinas (Redline Racing), the duo pulling clear of Wylie behind in P3. On lap 6 George Gamble (Amigos Redline Racing) found a route around Wylie to snatch the final podium position, 2 laps later Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) followed suit, overtaking Wylie at Westfield for P4. A close Pro-Am category fight soon developed between Brabham and local driver Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques), coming under increasing pressure from behind Brabham ran wide at Stirling, allowing Hawkey through for P3 in category – Brabham rejoining fifth in Pro-Am.
On lap 13 contact between Dan Vaughan (Motorbase Performance) and Leonard saw the latter end his race in the gravel trap at the bottom of Paddock Hill, the order in Pro-Am now being McCarthy, Hawkey and Adam Hatfield (Valluga). Leonard’s stranded car resulted in the Safety Car being deployed to allow for its recovery. Racing resumed with just one lap remaining, with his advantage now eroded Porsche GB Junior Harper got away well at the restart to maintain his lead, despite now being bunched closer together the order stayed the same to the chequered flag. Porsche GB Junior Harper’s win is his seventh of the season, Knight’s Am category victory is the first of his Porsche Carrera Cup GB career.
For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Porsche GB Junior Harper – Pro, Hatfield – Pro-Am and Knight – Am each receive one additional championship point. For his performance, Plato earned the Driver of the Weekend accolade, Team Connect It were awarded Team of the Weekend. With his finishing position of P11 in the final race of the season, Tom Roche (Rob Boston Racing) was crowned provisional Rookie champion, with its points haul JTR secured the Team title for the second consecutive season.
Dan Harper JTR
Josh Webster Team Parker Racing
George Gamble Amigos Redline Racing
Karl Leonard Team Parker Racing
Jack McCarthy Redline Racing
Esmee Hawkey GT Marques
Justin Sherwood Team Parker Racing
Peter Kyle-Henney IN2 Racing
John Ferguson Redline Racing
*results remain provisional