Tom Sharp leads the field after a fantastic start to the 2012 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup, a sensational run seeing him take nine wins in the opening fourteen races. The championship battle is far from over though as we head into the second half of the campaign, with Tom Ingram and Carl Breeze looking to close him down.
The start to the season proved to be an almost perfect replica of the 2011 season, with Sharp bursting out of the blocks to win the opening five races at Brands Hatch and Donington, almost repeating his six in six feat from 2011.
Unlike last season, Sharp was able to continue it into the next meeting, taking a triple win at Thruxton to make it eight wins in nine races. Sharp may have won only once since at Croft, but the IDL UK driver has no retirements to his name and finished every race bar one on the podium, giving him an 85 point championship lead over his closest challenger, Ingram
Ingram was the driver who broke Sharp's streak at Donington and the JHR Developments driver has added to that with a double victory at Oulton and another win at Croft to complete a sensational first half to his maiden G55 campaign, as he seeks to complete a stunning Ginetta championship treble.
The only other driver to take a race win so far is Breeze, the Ginetta stalwart returning once again in 2012 on his determined quest to win the title. All hasn't gone to plan so far for Breeze, who started the season with Tollbar Racing with WIRED and didn't get the results he wanted, just five podiums in the first eleven races. A switch back to Total Control Racing had the desired effect at Croft, a win and two second places moving him to within eleven points of Ingram, with Breeze hoping to continue this form after the summer break.
Chasing the top three are a group of drivers trying to secure their first wins of the season, Hunter Abbott, Colin White and Josh Wakefield. Abbott leads the way due to picking up the least retirements of the quartet with just one DNF, the Century Motorsport driver otherwise taking two podium finishes.
Ginetta stalwart White is fifth in the standings with one podium, while series rookie Wakefield is sixth having impressed with three podiums and consistent top eight finishes, however four DNF's leave him down the order.
Languishing down in ninth in the standings after a horrible first half to the season in Andrew Richardson. The G55 rookie has proved his pace with six top five finishes, including one podium, however he has suffered horrendous bad luck, with incidents and mechanical problems causing five DNF's already this campaign.
Leading the way in the G50 class of the Supercup is Mark Davies. The reigning Ginetta Challenge champion is well on his way to taking back-to-back titles, holding a 97 point lead in the class after finishing off the podium just once in the first fourteen races, taking seven wins along the way.
Almost as consistent as Davies is the man second in the class standings, Rob Gaffney. Running with family-team Meridian Motorsport, the ex-Clio Cup racer has managed to finish every race bar one, finishing in the top four in each, with eleven podiums to his name, however only one of those has been a win.
Enjoying five trips to the top of the podium has been Ginetta Junior graduate Max Coates. The main challenger to Davies in many of the races, Coates took a sensational triple win at Donington Park to add to single victories at Brands and Croft. However some mechanical misfortune and a missed round at Oulton due to budget means he's been unable to sustain a championship challenge.
The series has struggled with just three ever-present runners in the G50's, with the last of them, James Owen, sitting a healthy fourth in the class standings despite never challenging for class podiums. Owens sits ahead of Louise Richardson, who took four podiums, including one win, in the first three meetings, before missing the last two, and Reece Somerfield, who has been unlucky not to get a podium after bouncing back from a huge shunt at Brands Hatch.
Four drivers have taken podium success on guest appearances in the series. Ian Parsons took a podium double on the opening weekend, while Ian White went one better and took three third places at Croft. Connaire Finn and Declan Jones took a third apiece at Oulton Park,
TCF's Three To Watch:
- Andrew Richardson – His progress this season has been continually halted by problems. If he can get a clear run, he has the pace to challenge for podiums and wins.
- Jake Hill – Joined the championship at Oulton Park and despite having to get to grips with the car, has taken four top six finishes in first five races. Expect him to move up the field and challenge for podiums and wins.
- Max Coates – While it may be a long shot for him to catch Davies and take the G50 title, Coates won’t give up without a fight and will be looking to add more class wins to his tally.
TCF's Prediction For The Championships:
G55 – Tom Sharp – Despite his incredible start to the championship last year, the Camberley-based racer still just missed out on the title to Adam Morgan. This has made him even more determined to win this time round and if he continues to pick up podiums and wins in the volumes he has, no-one will be able to catch him.
G50 – Mark Davies - The Huddersfield-backed racer has been very impressive with his consistency so far this season and just like Sharp, he knows that because of his fantastic start to the season, if he keeps picking up wins and podiums, he won't be caught in the standings.