The Porsche Carrera Cup GB season kicks off this weekend at Thruxton with a full capacity grid of twenty-eight cars spanning three categories; the Pro category sees a total of eight drivers challenging for the outright championship, eleven drivers in the Pro-Am 1 category and nine in the Pro-Am 2 class.
2008 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Tim Harvey leads the charge for the Pro category as he looks to regain the title he lost to Tim Bridgman in 2009. With Bridgman off to bigger things in the Mobil 1 Supercup and James Sutton not taking part in the series this year, Harvey’s main competition looks to come from the highly experienced Michael Caine as he looks for his first PCCGB title along with young charger Glynn Geddie who took the 2009 Pro-Am 1 title and the 2008 Pro-Am 2 title.
Geddie gears up for a very busy season as he looks to run in up to six different GT championships including the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, British GT, GT Cup Trophy, Dutch Supercar Challenge and Britcar GT, sharing driving duties with father Jim. The BRDC Rising Star is also expected to take part in selected Porsche Supercup races.
A new addition to the Carrera Cup but not to the BTCC circuit is Stephen Jelley, who makes the switch from touring cars this year after a long hard winter forced him out of the main series due to lack of budget, admitting “You can only stay where you can afford to be”.
Other contenders in the Pro category include Michael Meadows, Euan Hankey, Charles Bateman and 2009 Porsche scholarship winner Tom Bradshaw who looks to build on a promising first season in the series.
With Oliver Jackson and Tony Gilham expected to lead the way, the Pro-Am 1 category sees a new team in the shape of Lithuania based Juta Racing who have taken the decision to switch from the Carrera Cup Scandinavia, running Jonas Gelzinis and Tautvydas Barstys. Archie Hamilton joins the Pro-Am 1 grid with a clear goal, make the step up to the Pro category in 2011.
2009 Formula Renault BARC runner-up Ahmad Al Harty becomes the first Arab driver to join the GB Porsche series while Andrew Shelley makes a welcome return to the series in which he last competed six years ago. Other contenders for the Pro-Am 1 category come in the shape of Michael Leonard, Liam Griffin, Tommy Dreelan and Alex Martin.
Glenn McMenamin returns with Red Line Racing to defend his Pro-Am 2 title but he knows it’s going to be a tough task, “It’s going to be even more competitive than last year, there are seven or eight really strong drivers”. The Milton Keynes based youngster missed the start of the 2009 season while he qualified for the National “A” licence he needed to take part in the series, so goes in to the first round with a lack of track time at Thruxton.
McMenamin’s most likely threat looks to come from Steve Parish in his Motorbase prepared Carrera, who topped the timesheets for Pro-Am 2 runners at the official test session in March. Other drivers who will be challenging McMenamin and Parish include Mark Hazell, Richard Denny, George Richardson, Ray Dias, Paul Hogarth, Bob Lyons and George Brewster.
Round 1 sees the first races of the season take place with two 45 minute practice sessions on Friday, 30 minute Qualifying session on Saturday and two 21 lap races on Sunday. Both races are expected to be broadcast live on ITV4 (and online via the ITV website) with Race 1 taking part at 12.10 and Race 2 at 16.25.
2009 saw Tim Harvey take the win in Race 1 ahead of Michael Caine and Tim Bridgman with Caine grabbing the win in Race 2 ahead of Harvey and James Sutton. Will the results fall in the favour of the 2009 winners or will see Geddie top the podium? Qualifying could throw up some suprises with the weather more than likely playing its part, the weather forecast says rain, thankfully for Sunday it looks to be dry.
Photo credit: Vince Pettit Photography