Three months on from the intended start date for the championship, easing of government restrictions on the COVID-19 lockdown led to the restart of Motorsport in the UK this month and a season opener in the summer sunshine for the Sprint Challenge GB.
Introduced as a feeder series for the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, the one-make series caters solely for Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport’s, with Redline Racing mounting a three car entry into a competitive field of drivers across Pro and Am classes.
Two drivers were making a welcome return to the Teeside squad, with former Carrera Cup GB stars Archie Hamilton (Pro) and Nigel Rice (Am) coming back after at least a decade away. They’re joined by an exciting Porsche debutant in Ethan Hawkey (Pro).
It was Ginetta Junior graduate Hawkey who set the pace for the team in qualifying on Saturday, taking his Branded-backed Cayman to third on the grid, one position ahead of Hamilton, while Rice secured himself fourth place in the Am ranks.
A slow launch off the line in race one meant Hawkey dropped back towards the rear of the field, but a great fightback netted him fifth at the finish. Ahead, Hamilton benefitted from a penalty for the on-the-road winner to net a brilliant third place on his racing return.
Hamilton, whose last previous full racing campaign was back in 2015, went on to make it a double rostrum in race two. Settling into fifth place through the first half of the race, unfortunate retirements for Hawkey and another driver eventually secured him third once again.
Rice meanwhile excelled across race day in a close-fought Am class field. Early progress in race one got him third place, which he then held to the finish with a composed drive, while some great racing in the second encounter saw him fight through to another third.
Simon Leonard – Team Boss: “Everyone at Redline Racing was really looking forward to going racing again and starting the first season of the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB. Luckily, the opening round didn’t let us down and we’re delighted with our results.
“It’s been fantastic to have both Archie and Nigel back racing with us again. They fit in superbly within the team and they showed this weekend that despite both spending quite a while away from Porsche racing, they are right back up to speed straight away.
“It was a competitive entry for the first rounds across both the Pro and Am classes, with some really close racing on track. Therefore to come away with double podium finishes in both classes is brilliant and both Archie and Nigel richly deserved their successes.
“Luck wasn’t with Ethan in the races this time around unfortunately, but he has adapted well to the Cayman and has shown everyone that he has the raw speed to be up there alongside his team-mates challenging for race wins and podiums in this championship.”
The Porsche Sprint Challenge GB is next in action at Donington Park on 15/16 August. Prior to that, Redline Racing will be contesting the opening two rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Donington Park (01/02 August) and Brands Hatch (08/09 August).
Source. Next Level Motorsport/Photo. Porsche