Carl Breeze overhauled season-long championship leader Tom Sharp on a dramatic final day of an enthralling 2012 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup season to take the G55 title, in a season that saw Mark Davies utterly dominate the G50 class.
A now trademark sensational start to the season for Sharp had seen him race into a lead of over one hundred points in the standings, however a stunning run from Breeze saw him slowly claw his way back into contention, before snatching a first car racing title since 2001 on the final weekend.
Whilst 2011 champion Adam Morgan graduated into the BTCC, fellow title contenders Breeze and Sharp returned to headline the entry for the main G55 class, with the multiple race-winners joined by reigning G50 champion Tom Ingram and fellow G50 graduate Andrew Richardson.
Just like in 2011, when he won six in a row at the start of the season, Sharp produced another unbelievable start to the 2012 season, winning an unprecedented eight of the opening nine races to race into a mammoth championship lead.
Breeze meanwhile didn’t have the start he had hoped for with new team Tollbar Racing with Wired, with four podium finishes coupled with a couple of disappointing results and a retirement. This made him decide to switch teams back to Total Control Racing, the team that ran him for the previous three seasons.
This change instantly reaped rewards for the 33 year old, with a tremendous run seeing him pick up fourteen podiums, including five wins, in the next fifteen races, putting him right into contention heading into the final weekend.
Despite Breeze’s top form, the title should have arguably been out of his reach, however a mixed spell for Sharp, just two wins and four other podiums in the same fifteen race spell, meant the IDL UK star held just a two point lead heading into the last three races.
The destination of the title was effectively decided before the racing had begun at Brands Hatch, with a driveshaft failure ruling Sharp out of the opening race. Although the 21 year old did secure a commanding eleventh win of the season in the final race, a podium treble for Breeze confirmed him as the champion by five points.
During the first half of the season, Sharp’s main challenger was not Breeze, but in fact Ingram. On the hunt for a third consecutive Ginetta title, the JHR Developments star hit the ground running in his maiden season in the G55’s, picking up a maiden podium in the opening race and a first win in the second meeting at Donington Park, the 19 year old being the driver to break Sharp’s winning run.
Five more wins came over the season, with the KX Akademy star regularly finishing on the podium, however a number of retirements, including one from a massive start-line incident at Knockhill, meant his hopes of completing a stunning Ginetta hat-trick were not realised, Ingram instead have to settle for a comfortable third in the points.
Ingram’s fellow G50 graduate Richardson had a frustrating campaign on his way to fourth in the points. The 21 year old regularly showed top three pace during the campaign and the Richardson Racing star was able to pick up seven podiums including a maiden win at Silverstone, though he arguably deserved more, though a lot of bad luck stopped him.
Colin White and Hunter Abbott completed the championship top six, both proving to be consistent top eight finishers, with both enjoying two trips to the podium during the campaign. Seventh meanwhile was Jake Hill, the 18 year old joining the series at the fourth meeting and having an instant impact, securing a maiden win on the second weekend as he took six podiums in total
An early season front-runner came in the form of Josh Wakefield, with the GT racer taking three rostrum finishes in the opening six meetings before leaving the championship. His car was taken over by Nathan Freke for one meeting, the team boss showing his class with a race win, before Freddie Hetherington enjoyed a two weekend spell in it.
In the G50 class, the entry was headed by Davies, with the reigning Ginetta Challenge champion pitted against former Ginetta Junior racer Max Coates, newcomer Reece Somerfield and second year drivers Rob Gaffney and Louise Richardson.
Davies, running with Richardson Racing, stamped his authority from the off, winning the opening race to set off on a run of 21 podium finishes in 24 races, including a sensational fourteen wins, his performances helping Richardson Racing to the teams title.
This stunning form wrapped him up the class title a weekend early, with the 31 year old using this as a chance to make a debut in the G55’s on the final weekend. Despite the step up in class, Davies was able to continue his dominant form, taking two wins on his debut weekend.
Davies’ closest rival at the start of the season was fellow Yorkshireman Coates, who followed up a maiden win on the opening weekend with a tremendous triple victory at Donington Park. His challenge didn’t last long though, with a shortfall in budget forcing him to pull out after four weekends.
After a one-off return at his home circuit at Croft, where he took another win, Coates didn’t reappear in the G50’s again during the season. He did return to the series on the final weekend at Brands GP though, making a competitive debut in the G55 class with Century Motorsport.
With Coates out the equation, it was Gaffney who ended up as Davies’ closest contender. Running with Meridian Motorsport, Gaffney was consistently quick through the campaign, taking eighteen podium finishes in 27 races, however he was never really able to take the fight to Davies, ending the year over a hundred points adrift.
Other race-winners during the season included Somerfield, who finished third in the standings after a great end to the year saw him take seven podiums, including two wins, in the final eleven races, Declan Jones, who picked up two wins in a twelve race spell in the series, and Richardson, who took one win in the four events she competed in.
The main problem in the G50 class was the lack of regular competitors, with Gaffney ending up as the only driver to compete in every race over the season. Many drivers made guest appearance through the campaign, with Ian Parsons, Brad Bailey, Ian White, Harry Cockill, Connaire Finn and Dan Norris-Jones all enjoying podium success during their run-outs.
Final 2012 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup ‘G55’ Standings:
- Carl Breeze – 719 points
- Tom Sharp – 714 points
- Tom Ingram – 658 points
- Andrew Richardson – 469 points
- Colin White – 402 points
- Hunter Abbott – 386 points
- Jake Hill – 375 points
- Fergus Walkinshaw – 322 points
- Jamie Orton – 271 points
- Marcus Hoggarth – 270 points
- Josh Wakefield – 240 points
- Nathan Freke – 84 points
- Mark Davies – 82 points
- Freddie Hetherington – 53 points
- Max Coates – 41 points
- Mark Davies – 766 points
- Rob Gaffney – 654 points
- Reece Somerfield – 475 points
- James Owen – 356 points
- Declan Jones – 273 points
- Max Coates – 272 points
- Louise Richardson – 258 points
- Harry Cockill – 111 points
- Connaire Finn – 110 points
- Ian Parsons – 79 points
- Brad Bailey – 78 points
- Ian White – 78 points
- Dan Norris-Jones – 70 points
- Giles Dawson – 40 points
All Photos: Jakob Ebrey Photography