Porsche Carrera Cup GB 2011 Mid-Season Review


James Sutton holds the advantage at the halfway stage of the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship, the former champion taking three wins in an ultra-competitive season which has produced five different race winners and sees the top three in the championship covered by just eleven points.

The beginning of the season saw the introduction of latest evolution of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for the series,  with the new 450bhp car being the fastest ever used in the nine year history of the championship. The new machine proved very popular, with the series attracting a big entry for the season.

The season kicked off in April at Brands Hatch, with two drivers who only completed late deals to enter the series taking the opening wins, Stephen Jelley and Euan Hankey. Jelley added a second podium, while Sutton kicked off his season with two second places.

Hankey's strong start to the season continued at the next meeting at Donington Park, the Parker with Juta driver taking another victory. Fellow 2010 Porsche Scholarship winner Michael Meadows took his maiden Porsche win in the other race, while Sutton took two more podiums.

Sutton's season took off at Thruxton, the SAS Redline driver taking a double victory to cement his championship advantage. He was closely pursued by Jelley and Hankey, both taking a double podium, making it five in six for Hankey.

The major talking point in the run up to the next meeting at Oulton Park was the news of series stalwart Tim Harvey leaving the series after struggling during the season so far.  His car was given to Scholarship winner Kieran Vernon, who took two eleventh places on his debut. The races saw Sutton continue his superb run, taking victory in the opener before finishing third in the second race, making it eight consecutive podiums for him. Jelley took the second win.

The final round before the summer break was a special one, with the GB stars heading to Germany for the Porsche Carrera World Cup event at the famous Nürburgring-Nordschleife.  Taking the win in a one-off return to the series was Harvey, leading home early leader Jelley and Tordoff, while in fourth after a superb drive was young Scotsman Rory Butcher. Championship leader Sutton suffered a first lap retirement.

Porsche Carrera Cup GB 2011 Championship Standings After Round Nine:

Position

Driver

Team

Category

Points

1

James Sutton

SAS Redline Racing

Pro

151

2

Stephen Jelley

Parker with Juta

Pro

144

3

Michael Meadows

SAS Redline Racing

Pro

140

4

Euan Hankey

Parker with Juta

Pro

112

5

Jonas Gelzinis

Juta Racing

Pro-Am1

87

6

Richard Plant

Team Parker Racing

Pro

83

7

Sam Tordoff

Team Parker Racing

Pro

71

8

Michael Caine

Nationwide Motorbase

Pro

70

9

Tim Harvey

Nationwide Motorbase

Pro

66

10

Rory Butcher

Celtic Speed

Pro-Am1

64

11

Benji Hetherington

Redline Oman Air

Pro

53

12

Ahmad Al Harthy

Redline Oman Air

Pro-Am1

49

13

Derek Pierce

Dextra by Team Parker

Pro-Am1

38

14

Alex Martin

Dextra by Team Parker

Pro-Am1

21

15

George Richardson

Motorbase Performance

Pro-Am1

20

16

Daniele Perfetti

Motorbase Performance

Pro-Am1

11

17

Kieran Vernon

Nationwide Motorbase

Pro

10

18=

Richard Denny

Parr Motorsport

Pro-Am2

6

18=

Michael Leonard

Parr Motorsport

Pro-Am1

6

18=

Andrew Shelley

Redline Racing

Pro-Am2

6

21

George Brewster

Celtic Speed

Pro-Am2

5

22=

Keith Webster

Redline Racing

Pro-Am2

0

22=

Steve Parish

Motorbase Performance

Pro-Am2

0

22=

Tautvydas Barstys

Juta Racing

Pro-Am2

0

22=

Tommy Dreelan

Celtic Speed

Pro-Am2

0

22=

John Taylor

Team Parker Racing

Pro-Am2

0

Sutton leads the way with ten races remaining and will be hoping to stay there and emulate his 2007 championship win. Jelley and Meadows lead the fight though and will be aiming to snatch the lead and take their maiden titles. In Pro-Am1, Jonas Gelzinis holds a 44 point advantage over Butcher, with Ahmad Al Harthy third. Pro-Am2 sees Andrew Shelley narrowly on top, with only 14 points separating him, George Brewster, Keith Webster and Richard Denny.

TCF's three to watch:

  1. Kieran Vernon – He will be looking to make up for lost time in the second half of the season after being unable to raise the budget at the start of the year for a full campaign. The Scholarship winner has been given a great opportunity with Harvey's old machine and will be pushing hard to ensure he doesn't waste his chance.
  2. Jonas Gelzinis – The Lithuanian racer has been a revelation this year, dominating Pro-Am1 and taking the fight to the Pro drivers. With three top five finishes, his pace indicates he will be challenging for outright podiums over the next ten races.
  3. Rory Butcher – Followed up a top five finish at Oulton with a superb fourth around the Nurburgring, a clear indication of his improvement over the season. A talented young driver, there's no reason why he can't be pushing for outright podiums, especially on home soil at Knockhill.