2011 Formula Renault BARC Championship Season Review


Dino Zamparelli (#8) Won A Close Fought 2011 Formula Renault BARC Championship - Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

 

The Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship enjoyed its most successful and high profile season to date in 2011, producing a sensational three-way championship battle that went down to the wire, with Dino Zamparelli coming out of top in the final race of the year after a great season long battle with Josh Webster and James Thorp.

The 2011 season was the seventeenth running of the club-level single seater championship, with the series enjoying great interest for the year, regularly putting grids out of over twenty cars. A close fought, competitive campaign saw six different race winners, eight different podiums finishers and a great three way championship fight, the series producing a season of superb, close, exciting racing across twelve races.

James Thorp Started The Season Well, But Couldn't Quite Keep in The Title Fight - Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

It was Webster and Thorp who started the year on top, the duo sharing the wins in the opening rounds at Donington Park. Thorp finished second in the first race too, giving him the early championship lead, while Webster suffered a disappointing mechanical failure in race two, a retirement that would prove costly come the end of the year. Also enjoying a trip to the podium was series regular Steven Durrant, the experienced racer taking what turned out to be his only rostrum finish of the year, while rookie Hector Hurst took a strong fifth place on his car racing debut for Scorpio Motorsport.

 Next up the series headed to Kent for two rounds around the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. The opening race saw Kieran Vernon take his maiden series win, leading home a Fortec Motorsport one-two-three ahead of Webster and Archie Hamilton, the latter taking his second consecutive podium. Vernon was to spectacularly crash out the second race when his throttle stuck open, a race Zamparelli went on to win for his first win of the year.

Webster enjoyed a tremendous weekend when the series headed to Oulton Park two weeks later; taking a win and a second place. Team-mate Hamilton took third in the opening race, the third time he'd completed the podium in the first five races. The second race saw Scorpio Motorsport's Kourosh Khani made history as the first Iranian driver to win a race in the series, leading home title contenders Webster and Zamparelli.

Josh Webster Just Missed Out On The Title After A Strong Season - Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

 

The next meeting at Croft saw the title battle swing in favour of Zamparelli when in the opening race, a dramatic incident at the first corner saw Fortec team-mates Hamilton, Webster and Vernon taken out. The first two ended their races in the gravel, with Vernon able to finish the race at the back, a disappointing end to what would prove his last meeting in the series. Thorp benefitted from this to take the win, with Zamparelli in second, the latter going on take the win in the second race to take the championship lead for the first time, sitting one point ahead of Webster who finished the race second.

Zamparelli stamped his authority on the championship with a dominant weekend in the penultimate meeting at Thruxton, taking two poles, two wins and two fastest laps. Two podium finishes kept Webster in contention at the top of the standings, while MGR Motorsport's Matthew Mason picked up a hard fought first car racing podium.

Zamparelli headed into the final rounds of the year nineteen points ahead of Webster at the top of the championship standings, with the championship finale taking place at Silverstone on the support package for the BTCC. The opening race saw Webster take a comfortable win, with Zamparelli third, closing the gap for the final race. A dramatic final encounter saw rookie Mason storm through for a maiden win, while behind Webster held second. Zamparelli started sixth and saw his title hopes fading, but he fought through late on to take third and with it the championship.

Rookie Matt Mason Ended The Season In Style With A Maiden Win - Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

 

Final 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship standings: 

Position

Driver

Team

Points

Number of Races Entered

1

Dino Zamparelli

Antel Motorsport

295

All

2

Josh Webster

Fortec Motorsport

286

All

3

James Thorp

Mtech Lite

238

All

4

Kourosh Khani

Scorpio Motorsport

200

All

5

Archie Hamilton

Fortec Motorsport

196

All

6

Matt Mason

MGR Motorsport

186

All

7

Kieran Vernon

Fortec Motorsport

149

8/12

8

Steven Durrant

RPD Motorsport

147

All

9

Howard Fuller

Hillspeed

143

All

10

Callum Bowyer

Antel Motorsport

129

All

11

David Wagner

MGR Motorsport

120

All

12

Zaamin Jaffer

Hillspeed

119

All

13

Hector Hurst

Scorpio Motorsport

116

All

14

Ivan Taranov

Daytona Motorsport

84

All

15

Jack Dex

SWB Motorsport

83

All

16

Victor Jiminez

Fortec Motorsport

65

All

17

Tom Walker

JWA Racing

60

All

18

Russell Danzey

MGR Motorsport

53

6/12

19

James Theodore

Mtech Lite & Fortec Motorsport

48

4/12

20

Andrew Jarman

SWB Motorsport & MGR Motorsport

47

10/12

21

Raoul Owens

SWB Motorsport

44

All

22

Sean Walkinshaw

Hillspeed

39

All

23

Luke Wright

MGR Motorsport

38

2/12

24

Macaulay Walsh

SWB Motorsport

29

6/12

25

Anton Spires

KG Motorsport

17

2/12

26

Max Robinson

National College For Motorsport

14

2/12

 

TCF's Top Five Drivers Of 2011:

  1. Dino Zamparelli – After overcoming some race rustiness at the start of the year, the second part of the campaign was all about Zamparelli. The 19 year old was simply stunning at Thruxton and dealt with the pressure well at Silverstone to snatch a well-deserved title.
  2. James Thorp – Mtech Lite's Thorp wasn't widely expected to be a frontrunner in 2011, but shocked many by showing great pace from the off. Took two race wins and was in the championship fight until the final meeting, more impressive by the fact he was the only one of the title contenders in a single-car team.
  3. Josh Webster – The Fortec Motorsport driver narrowly missed out on the championship after a great year. Impressing throughout, the 17 year old took more podiums than any of his rivals, including three wins, but is left rueing two retirements over the year.
  4. Matt Mason – Comfortably the top rookie in 2011, MGR Motorsport's Mason improved throughout the year and starred in the final two rounds. Took a maiden podium at Thruxton and followed it up with a first ever car racing win at Silverstone, the Nottingham-based racer impressing many.
  5. Archie Hamilton – Fortec's Hamilton didn't quite enjoy the season he'd hoped for, having been tipped pre-season for a championship challenge. Car problems appeared to have hampered him throughout the year, but he still ended up with a haul of five podium finishes.

 

2011 Formula Renault BARC Champion Dino Zamparelli With The Antel Motorsport Team - Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography