The Porsche Carrera Cup GB is set to enjoy its biggest season to date in 2011 with over twenty-five cars set to take to the grid at the season opener at Brands Hatch. This season iscould be one of the most competitive yet for the series, with the entry including more potential race winners than ever before, including two former champions.
The new season sees the introduction of the latest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. The 450bhp machines are the fastest car ever used in the nine year history of the Carrera Cup GB, with reigning champion Tim Harvey saying: “The car is a big step forward over the previous car. The pleasure in driving is up another notch this year and the new car feels quick, even on old tyres. These cars are seriously quick.”
The series will once again support the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship for the majority of the rounds, but 2011 also sees an exciting new opportunity for the Porsche racers, with the drivers being given the chance to compete on the world-famous Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany in the Porsche Carrera World Cup event. The race could see as many as 200 911 GT3 Cup cars competing on the 14-mile circuit.
This year's contenders will battle for a prize fund of over £160,000, shared out between the overall champion, the Pro-Am 1 and Pro-Am 2 winners, and the teams champion. The overall champion, Pro-Am 1 champion and the team manager of the winning team will also receive the additional prize of use of a road-going Porsche 911 for a year.
Tim Harvey heads into 2011 carrying the number one on his car after a superb season last year saw him take eleven wins on the way to his second Porsche GB title. The Oxford-based driver has switched teams to Motorbase Performance this season and will be hoping to repeat the incredible consistency that saw him finish outside the top two only twice in twenty races last year.
Harvey's move sees him join forces with his arch rival from recent seasons,Michael Caine, at the Kent-based outfit. Caine, Carrera Cup runner up in both 2008 and 2010, will hope this is the season he can finally break his championship duck, after coming so close last season when he picked up seven wins and eleven other podium finishes.
Returning to the series full time is 2007 champion James Sutton, racing with the SAS-backed Red Line Racing team. After a year in the British GT series, he returned to the series and finished runner up in 2009. After another year's hiatus, he's back and will look to be a frontrunner once again.
The Red Line outfit is also running two more potential race-winners in the shape of Michael Meadows and Benji Hetherington. SAS-backed Meadows, who won the 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup Scholarship, finished eighth in the series last season and will be pushing for a maiden win, while Hetherington joins as the latest winner of the Scholarship and moves from the Ginetta G50 Cup in which he took two wins last season.
Looking to compete against Motorbase and Red Line in the team's championship will be Team Parker Racing, who has two series newcomers joining a star from 2010 in their line up this season. Stephen Jelley returns after a plan to move into the Le Mans Series fell through, and the double race winner from last season will be looking to mount a title challenge.
He will be joined by 2009 Formula Palmer Audi Champion Richard Plant, who joins after a year out of racing, and former Renault Clio Cup race winnerSam Tordoff, both of whom will be looking to challenge for podium finishes.
Also looking to challenge for overall podium finishes will be young ScotsmanRory Butcher, competing with the Celtic Speed team and series returneeJonas Gelzinis, running with Lithuania based Juta Racing. Butcher made a guest appearance at Knockhill last year and took two top six finishes, while Gelzinis took a best result of fourth on his way to tenth overall in the standings.
The Pro-Am 1 class will see a battle between Red Line Racing's Ahmad Al Harthy, Motorbase Performance pairing George Richardson and Steve Parish, Team Parker Racing's Derek Pierce and series returnees Alex Martin and Andrew Shelley.
Pro-Am2 will be hotly contested between Celtic Speed duo George Brewster and Tommy Dreelan and series newcomer Keith Webster, as well as a selection of international racers, Juta Racing's LithuanianTautvydas Barstys, Parr Motorsport's Australian Richard Denny and Motorbase Performance's Swiss racer Daniele Perfetti.
The season kicks at Brands Hatch in Kent over the weekend of 2/3 April, with the first two rounds of the nineteen race schedule.