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Porsche Carrera Cup GB 2015: A Return to Form?

Image Credit: Paddock42.com

Image Credit: Paddock42.com

Since 2003, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB has become a staple succulent side dish to the mouth watering main course that is the British Touring Car Championship. As the fastest single-make GT series in the UK, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB has made a name for itself as a major stepping stone for drivers hoping to move into the glamorous world of international GT series. Some famous entrants include Tim Harvey (the current voice of BTCC on ITV4), newly signed WSR driver Sam Tordoff, Faithless singer Maxi Jazz and Porsche works driver Richard Westbrook. 2014 was a close fought championship that went down to the wire at Brands Hatch, but the series was beginning to suffer. But hope remains. After a change in championship regulations for 2015, new teams are flooding to the championship.

Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship 2015 Overview

Rounds 1 + 2: 4/5 April – Brands Hatch (Indy), Kent
Rounds 3 + 4: 1/2 May – Spa, Belgium (FIA WEC support race)
Rounds 5 + 6: 6/7 June – Oulton Park, Cheshire
Rounds 7 + 8: 27/28 June – Croft, North Yorkshire
Rounds 9 + 10: 8/9 August – Snetterton, Norfolk
Rounds 11 + 12: 22/23 August – Knockhill, Scotland
Rounds 13 + 14: 26/27 September – Silverstone (National), Northamptonshire
Rounds 15 + 16: 10/11 October – Brands Hatch (GP), Kent

Categories: Pro, ProAm1, ProAm2, Rookie (brand new for 2015)

Prize Money:

ProWinner – £15,000  plus fully-expensed drive in Porsche Supercup supported by Porsche Motorsport engineers

ProAm1 – Winner – £7,000 plus loan of Porsche 911 for a year and opportunity to spend 0.5 days at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone with a Porsche Works driver

ProAm2 – Winner – £5,000 plus either loan of a Porsche 911 for a year or ‘money can’t buy’ opportunity to participate in a one day ‘Masterclass’ with a Porsche LMP1 driver at Silverstone

Rookie – Winner – £50,000                   2nd – £20,000                   3rd – £10,000

Josh Webster came out the 2014 season on top. Image Credit: total911.com

Josh Webster came out the 2014 season on top. Image Credit: total911.com

The revised 2015 format has attracted a raft of new teams that are interested in taking up the Porsche challenge. Some of these new teams include Credit4Cars which will enter multiple cars led by Iain Dockerill and the highly experience G-Cat team (who have previously competed in various sports car and historic championships) who will provide cars for Peter and Shamus Jennings. This new wave of entrants comes at what I believe is a vital time for the championship.

When the championship first started back in 2003, there were always packed grids and high-speed racing from first down to last. Some of my fondest memories include wheel to wheel racing between Richard Westbrook and Tim Harvey, while Maxi Jazz proved there was more to him than just music fighting it out in the midfield. However, my experiences in 2014 were somewhat less exciting. The central issue I believe was the severe lack of cars on the grid across the year. Technically speaking there were a total of 28 entries, although little over 9 actually competed in more than half the races in the season. On top of that, there felt like that were almost as many classes as there were cars, so there was no real competition. In many cases, after only a few laps the field had spread out to the point where races became processional and somewhat lackluster. I have always been a fan of multi-class racing such as that of the World Endurance Championship or even the classic BTCC of the 80s. It began to feel as if the Porsche Carrera Cup was nothing more than a filler to kill time before the BTCC. This is meant to be the premier single make GT series of the UK; it should not feel like that.

Reading about the changes to the 2015 season and the resulting increase in entrants already has given me a brief glimmer of hope. With the ever increasing popularity returning to the BTCC, the television and race day audiences are growing, which will be nothing except attractive to potential teams. Not only that, 2015 sees a closer connection with the international Porsche Motorsport team, such as supporting the World Endurance Championship at Spa in May and the Porsche works drives for championship winners.

Ragnar Schulte, General Manager, at Porsche Cars GB, commented:

“I am pleased to welcome the new teams and drivers to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB for 2015, and also thank our continuing teams for their long-standing loyalty. Next season, a new chapter of Carrera Cup GB begins. In addition to our proud role in support of the exciting TOCA British Touring Car Championship programme, we also look forward to the season highlight of two races at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, on the same weekend our Porsche Motorsport colleagues will be participating in the World Endurance Championship around the iconic track.” 

Additionally, the new Rookie category allows younger drivers (between 17 and 24) to get behind the wheel of the monstrous rear-engined, 460 hp ‘Type 991’ Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. As a starting point for a career in GT racing, there are not many other opportunities that match the caliber of this one. Although the full entry list will not be confirmed until the New Year, one of the definite new arrivals comes in the form of 2013 Renault Clio Cup Champion Josh Files, who races with the brand new team #RacingforHeroes; a team who are supporting our injured veterans through motorsport. Josh Webster will face a much tougher season in 2015, who will return to defend his 2014 title.

Josh Files will be heading the #RacingforHeroes entry for 2015. Image Credit: #RacingforHeroes

Josh Files will be heading the #RacingforHeroes entry for 2015. Image Credit: #RacingforHeroes

The increased grid for 2015 should inject some fresh new energy back into the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, although I hope the increased number of race categories does not result in less competition between drivers. Perhaps the future could see a reduction in categories to simply Pro and Rookie, to truly make the most of these amazing cars.

The TOCA package has become the best race series across Europe with top class drivers competing at the highest standard. The new look 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup GB should do nothing but emphasise this quality. After a slightly disappointing 2014, it is time for the Porsche Cup to return to form. Home grown talent competing alongside international names such as Gelzinis and Jimenez will make for a truly great year.

Now if only April would hurry along!

Follow me on Twitter for more motorsport news and views @lewisglynn69

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