Team Parker Racing secured its fourth, and final title in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at the weekend (November 13-15), as Esmee Hawkey claimed the Pro-Am championship in challenging conditions at Brands Hatch.
Coming into the weekend having already claimed the Pro, Am, and Teams’ championships, Esmee needed to score just a single point to be sure of the title but knew she couldn’t rest as team-mate Ryan Ratcliffe gave everything he had to remain in the fight.
With Ryan getting pole position on Saturday, the pressure remained on Esmee, especially with the first of the weekend’s races being held in tricky wet conditions, heading into darkness at the end of the day. However, the 22-year-old kept her nerve, finishing second behind Ryan to secure the championship.
Up front, overall champion Harry King finished the year in style, taking his 11th and 12th wins of a dominant season, while there was a hard-fought podium for Josh Webster in race one. In the Am class, Justin Sherwood prevailed in race two, scoring a win to cap off his championship-winning season, while Justin Armstrong was thwarted in his quest for a maiden series win, taking two second place finishes which helped him to third in the Am standings.
In the BTCC garage it would be a frustrating weekend for Stephen Jelley after showing promise in qualifying where he was 11th quickest. Racing in some of the day’s worst conditions, he flew off the line for the first contest but struggled for grip and traction with standing water on the circuit and was roughed up by competitors around him. Sadly, his season ended in a difficult fashion in race three, where he was pushed into a spin at Druids before being collected by another car, causing significant damage and retirement.
Team Parker Racing will return to action in 2021 with another busy year of racing across a number of championships, as well as a brand-new website to keep fans and partners fully updated on the team’s progress.
“The race was great, starting fifth I knew it would be tough as it’s hard to overtake at Brands Hatch, which is renowned for that, so I just bided my time as I knew it was a long race, so had to sit there, play it safe as we had the championship, so these races were just a bonus. I hit the front, stretched the gap, and showed the pace of the Team Parker Racing car. I just missed out on fastest lap, but we were in traffic for the start, so I’ll take that for sure, and it was nice and chilled from then on.
“As for the season, it’s been a dominant year. I feel like I only made one or two mistakes myself which is pretty flawless. We had some DNFs, but they weren’t on my behalf so as far as I am concerned, I have driven the best I could. The pace has been undeniable; Team Parker Racing has been a step ahead of the competition, so I am proud to represent the team as well as Porsche as a Junior.”
“We inherited third yesterday, but we weren’t quick enough in the wet and weren’t quick enough in the dry either. It was looking like we could get a podium in race two early on, but once it came down to pace, P4 was where I belonged. I drove the best I could but struggled with the car.
“I’d love to be back, and I am working on plans to do the Carrera Cup again with Team Parker Racing. My results are not reflecting my experience and where I should be, which is up with Harry, rather than being stuck behind people we should be much quicker than. It’s frustrating and not how we wanted to end the year but makes me hungrier to get back next year and show where I should be.”
“It’s been a great weekend for me. We came here with one goal, and that was to score the one point we needed to win the Pro-Am championship, so mission accomplished, and it was a mega weekend overall.
“All-in-all I’m super happy and going home a champion. It’s been a great year, a year that we didn’t know was going to go ahead, so I’m thrilled that we’ve finally got the Pro-Am championship underneath us and I’m excited for what’s to come in 2021.”
“This weekend has been my closest on pace and I was sitting behind some of the Pros in both races and I wasn’t worried about catching the pack because I was concentrating on class honours, so it was a shame there was contact from another car which was unnecessary really.
“I am gutted it is the last round to be honest! I have fallen back in love with the sport again and am going to do it again next year, in Pro-Am, as I want to go for the championship. I never thought I would be in with a shot of winning it this year, so I am really happy with that and I’d like to carry the momentum forward.”
“We qualified well, second to Justin so I was happy with that. Race one in the wet was difficult to say the least and I couldn’t keep up with Justin and Lucky [Khera]. The Safety Car brought us back together and I could run with them but wasn’t in a position to challenge anywhere.
“The car felt great for race two. I had some good battles – I got pushed onto the damp at Clearways and a lot of guys got past but I battled my way back up. We all bunched back up under the Safety Car and I managed to get a run on Justin and passed him into Paddock and brought it home for the win. I have had a great year, everyone in the team has been great, they have done a great job. It’s been great fun and to win four championships is magnificent for the team and I hope we do well next year as well.”
“It’s been a good weekend overall. I was delighted with my first pole, but it was a shame we couldn’t convert that to a race win. In race one on the balance of play we probably deserved it, but the Safety Car cost us, however, that’s racing. I got a great start for race two and led in Am, but Justin started coming back at me and I could tell he had more pace. He made a nice clean move into turn one and I had to look at the back of his car again for a few laps!
“I am looking forward to next season already and know what I have to do to get where I want next year, so it’ll be a lot of hard work over the winter and see if we can get a bit closer to Justin next year.”
“It was disappointing. It was a good effort in qualifying in the wet as this car has never been that strong in those sorts of conditions and the huge amount of standing water did not suit our car at all. Unfortunately, a rear-wheel-drive car isn’t the best in mixed conditions, and I had several taps, was pushed sideways, and had potential for really big moments and just about got away with it.
“In race three I was tapped into a spin for no fault of our own and collected by another car. I didn’t do anything wrong: somebody put us into that spin and someone else has rear-ended a stationary object. That’s just how the season was going to end for us, though there were some bright spots early on, with a podium at Brands Hatch on the Grand Prix circuit.”
Source. Torque/Photo. Dan Bathie/Jakob Ebrey Photography