Round Nine of the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB is set to be the biggest in the series history as the drivers head to the Nurburgring Nordschleife for the Porsche Carrera World Cup. The Carrera Cup racers will tackle six laps of the historic circuit in build up to the annual Nurburgring 24-hour race. The 85-mile race will be broadcast live on Eurosport.
The Porsche Carrera World Cup is the biggest single-make Porsche race ever held, with 100 cars from Europe competing. Experience will be key around the track, which should play right into the hands of Carrera Cup GB stalwart Tim Harvey who holds the most knowledge of the circuit out of the British drivers. The World Cup race will be the Nationwide/Motorbase racer's last appearance in a Porsche this season.
The other title contenders have all been out gaining experience of the Nordschleife recently however, including points leader James Sutton, the SAS/Redline driver heading to Germany with a 20 point advantage over team-mate Michael Meadows. Both drivers are just hoping from strong points finishes, as are Parker with Juta pairing Stephen Jelley and Euan Hankey, who will benefit from their teams years of experience of the circuit.
Other newcomers to the circuit will be Team Parker Racing's Sam Tordoff and Richard Plant and Redline's Benji Hetherington, all of whom will be relishing their chance of tackling the daunting circuit. Also heading to Germany will be Pro-Am1 runners Jonas Gelzinis, Derek Pierce, Ahmad Al Harthy and Rory Butcher, as well as Pro-Am2 contenders George Brewster, Keith Webster, Richard Denny and Tommy Dreelan.
In Thursday testing, Hankey stole the show with a mighty performance around the Nordschleife. He belied his inexperience of the German venue to point the eighth fastest time overall in the 100 strong field, comfortably the quickest of the GB runners. He ended the session as the only driver from outside the Porsche Supercup and Carrera Cup Germany runners to feature in the top 10 time, beating established Porsche and Nurburgring aces like Patrick Huisman, Nick Tandy and Jeroen Bleekemolen.
Hankey said: “This is the most incredible place in motor sport. I'm so enjoying it that I can't really put it into words. I've only raced here once and it is so overwhelming the first time you drive around it.”
Next up amongst the GB crew were Sutton and Meadows, with Sutton having the honour of leading out the 100 GT3 Cup cars from the Formula 1 paddock onto the circuit at the start of the session.
Sutton commented: “It was hard work and a little bit sloppy. I bent the steering arm at the Carousel early in the session and so there is a lot of time to come in qualifying.”
Meadow, who also suffered a bent steering arm, added: “I love it; it's a great track.”
Gelzinis topped the times in Pro-Am1 from Pierce and Butcher, with their rival Al Harthy saying: “It's the hardest circuit I've ever driven on and really challenging in a Cup car. It really is something special and like nothing we've ever done before.”
In Pro-Am2, Brewster and Webster were the pacesetters, with the latter concluding: “That was the experience of my life. It is awesome; what a place to drive.”
Porsche Carrera Cup UK Entry List
301 Tim Harvey GBR Nationwide/Motorbase
304 Steve Parish GBR Motorbase Performance
305 Richard Plant GBR Team Parker Racing
307 Ahmad Al Harthy OMA Redline Oman Air
308 Jonas Gelzinis LTU Juta Racing
309 Michael Meadows GBR SAS Redline Racing
310 James Sutton GBR SAS Redline Racing
311 George Brewster GBR Celtic Speed
315 Richard Denny AUS Parr Motorsport
316 Benjamin Hetherington GBR Redline Oman Air
318 Euan Hankey GBR Parker with Juta
319 Tautvydas Barstys LTU Juta Racing
324 Derek Pierce GBR Dextra by Parker
344 Sam Tordoff GBR Team Parker Racing
345 Rory Butcher GBR Celtic Speed
356 Tommy Dreelan GBR Celtic Speed
360 Chris Harris GBR Team Parker Racing
366 Stephen Liquorish GBR Team Parker Racing
370 Stephen Jelley GBR Parker with Juta
387 Alex Martin GBR Dextra by Team Parker
395 Peter Smallwood GBR
399 Keith Webster GBR Redline Racing
3xx TBA GBR Parr Motorsport