Porsche Carrera Cup GB – the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK – began a crucial stage of the 2020 season at Silverstone with two races on the short and fast 1.6-mile National circuit. Rookie teammates Matthew Graham (Redline Racing) and Scott McKenna (Redline Racing) topped the combined Practice times on Friday – just one-second covered the top 15 cars following two dry sessions. Esmee Hawkey (Team Parker) maintained her category advantage as the fastest Pro-Am, Lucky Khera (Simon Green Motorsport) was the quickest Am.
Saturday’s 30-minute qualifying session was conducted in dry conditions and saw Porsche GB 2020 / 2021 Junior Harry King (Team Parker Racing) set the pace from early on, however, Lorcan Hanafin (JTR) and Graham were close behind. During a session that saw several drivers have lap times deleted for exceeding track limits – amongst them championship contender, Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) – the field of 21 drivers remained separated by only small margins.
The Pro-Am category was initially led by Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker), however teammate and title rival Hawkey ended the qualifying session ahead with Ratcliffe just 0.032secs behind, Aaron Mason (Brookspeed Connect IT) was third in category. In Am, another strong showing from Khera saw him end the session leading Am category championship leader Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) from John Ferguson (Team Redline Racing).
Porsche GB Junior King’s result was his sixth consecutive pole position – he has taken every pole in 2020. In Pro-Am, Hawkey secured her sixth category pole position in a row, at the flag the top 16 cars were covered by a little over one-second. Following the 2020 Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend format, Porsche GB Junior King earned two championship points with his pole position, the top qualifiers in their respective categories – Hawkey and Khera – also received two points each.
The first of the weekend’s two races took place on Saturday in dry conditions over a 27 lap distance. At the end of the second formation lap James Townsend (Fox Motorsport) pitted, he would miss the start of the race but later join two laps down. An even getaway off the front row saw Porsche GB Junior King lead into the first corner followed by Sam MacLeod (JTR), Thruxton winner Will Martin (Richardson Racing) would emerge from the opening lap third as Lorcan Hanafin (JTR) slipped down to fourth from his grid position of P3. Early on the Pro-Am order remained the same; Hawkey leading Ratcliffe from Mason, in Am Sherwood overtook Khera, Ferguson sat third.
With the field tightly bunched, an incident at Brooklands on the second lap saw Ferguson and Armstrong make contact, the pair leaving the circuit and Ferguson’s car suffering damage that resulted in his immediate retirement from the race. Armstrong would continue though at the back of the pack. With Ferguson’s stricken car parked on the track at Brooklands, the Safety Car was scrambled, neutralising the race. Racing got back underway on lap 8, Porsche GB Junior King maintaining a comfortable gap at the restart back to the chasing pack.
On lap 13 Mark Kimber (Brookspeed Connect IT) found a way by Ross Wylie (IN2 Racing) for eighth, the Scotsman gave pursuit but was unable to regain the position. A four-way battle soon developed for fifth between Graham, Webster, McKenna and Kimber. Keen to advance, Webster made a successful attack on Kimber on lap 18, he then set off after the three car train of Rookies fighting for second; MacLeod, Martin and Hanafin. Webster soon received a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits, putting him back in ninth place on corrected time despite occupying fifth on the road.
In the closing stages of the race Martin honed-in on the rear bumper of MacLeod in the dual for second – just one-tenth of a second separated them, but it was McKenna who was on the move as on lap 25 he passed Kimber through Woodcote for sixth spot. As the cars entered their final lap, Martin overtook MacLeod for second at Becketts, the 17-year old cementing his third consecutive podium finish in the same month that he passed his road car driving test. Porsche GB Junior King crossed the line with a seven-second cushion back to podium finishers Martin and MacLeod – it was the Junior’s seventh win of the season. Hawkey’s Pro-Am victory marked her eighth category win from 11 opportunities, she was joined on the socially distanced Pro-Am podium by Ratcliffe and Mason. Sherwood’s category win was his sixth Am victory of 2020, Khera and Frost joined him on the Am podium.
For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Porsche GB Junior King – Pro, Hawkey – Pro-Am and Khera – Am each received one additional championship point. As part of the 2020 podium procedure, winner Porsche GB Junior King selected at random the number five ball, which reversed the grid positions of the top five overall race finishers from Round 11. This made the front row for Round 12 Graham and Hanafin, with MacLeod and Martin on row two, Porsche GB Junior King on row three. Championship contender Webster – now 22 points behind Porsche GB Junior King – would start Race Two the following day in ninth.
Following the race Ferguson was excluded from the results due to his incident with Armstrong early into the race, damage to his car would mean he would not take part in the weekend’s second race.
Sunday’s race was conducted in dry conditions and run to a 27 lap distance, 20 cars took the start. Porsche GB Junior King made a good getaway moving up one position to fourth as the cars filed into the first corner. Several drivers ran side-by-side down the Wellington Straight on the opening lap – as field arrived at Brooklands there was contact between Khera and Mason, the latter making his retirement. At the front Graham led MacLeod – up one place – from Hanafin, the latter putting MacLeod under pressure during the opening laps. In Pro-Am the category order remained unchanged: Hawkey leading Ratcliffe from Clark. In Am Sherwood maintained his advantage to head Frost, Armstrong up to third in category having started 20th and last.
On lap six Porsche GB Junior King made a signature pass down the inside of Hanafin at Beckets for third, replicating the confident move one lap later to snatch second from MacLeod – Hanafin following him through. MacLeod would find himself relegated to sixth by the end of the lap as Martin and Webster also found a way through. On lap 17 Rookies Martin and Hanafin engaged in a tight battle, Martin shuffling his rival out of position to slip by at Woodnote. Hanafin would lose a further position on the following lap when Webster mimicked Martin’s move to grab fourth place. That left the order up front: Graham, Porsche GB Junior King and Martin.
Having paced himself to allow his Michelin tyres to reach their optimum operating range, Porsche GB Junior King began to close on Graham ahead. When the leader made an error on lap 19 – locking up at Beckets – it gave King enough momentum to gain a run down the Wellington Straight, the Junior had the lead of the race at Brooklands. Two laps later a mistake from MacLeod allowed McKenna through for seventh. In Am, Armstrong soon overtook Frost for second in category – part of an impressive come-back drive for the 48-year old.
Porsche GB Junior King’s win was his eighth of the season and the third occasion he has taken both races during a weekend, Graham and Martin joined him on the Pro category podium. Hawkey’s Pro-Am victory was her ninth of 2020, celebrated alongside Ratcliffe and Clark. Sherwood took his sixth Am victory of the season, Armstrong and Frost also tasting the Pommery champagne on the category podium. For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, King – Pro, Hawkey – Pro-Am and Sherwood – Am each received one additional championship point. For his performance, Porsche GB Junior King earned the Driver of the Weekend accolade, JTR were awarded Team of the Weekend.
Following the race Am category drivers Dario Guistozzi (Team Redline Racing) and Townsend had their finishing positions reversed due to newcomer Guistozzi overtaking under yellow flag conditions. This promoted Townsend to fifth in the Am category, 18th overall.
The penultimate Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend of 2020 takes place at Snetterton for Rounds 13 and 14 on 24-25 October. The championship returns to Norfolk for the first time since 2018 – Sherwood and Hawkey being the only current competitors on the grid at that time. Of the Pro category front runners, Webster took two victories at Snetterton in his championship-winning year – 2014. Porsche GB Junior King last competed at the circuit in 2018 where he secured two wins in Ginetta GT4 Supercup. With 48 points available to him, Sherwood can clinch the Am category championship during the Snetterton weekend. There are 76 points available in the championship for Teams, Team Parker Racing can secure 2020 honours in Norfolk. Having reestablished his championship lead at Silverstone, Porsche GB Junior King takes a 28 point advantage into the closing stages of the season but, as he discovered at Thruxton, things can change quickly in motorsport.
Harry King Team Parker Racing 118
Josh Webster Team Parker Racing 90
Matthew Graham Redline Racing 61
Esmee Hawkey Team Parker 112
Ryan Ratcliffe Team Parker 103
Aaron Mason Brookspeed Connect IT 60
Justin Sherwood Team Parker Racing 123
Lee Frost Simon Green Motorsport 81
John Ferguson Team Redline Racing 56
*results remain provisional