After a superb 2012 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup season, hopes are high for a repeat performance from the series in 2013.
Last year we saw a fascinating championship battle between early runaway leader Tom Sharp and a resurgent Carl Breeze go down to the wire, with Breeze eventually securing a long-awaited Ginetta title.
The Supercup is renowned for producing fantastic racing and the fans are sure to have more of the same to enjoy this season, with the entry list packed with seasoned Ginetta competitors and former champions from all forms of racing.
The stand-out names on the entry list are two of last year’s star performers, G55 race-winner Tom Ingram and G50 champion Mark Davies.
For Ingram, the second season in the championship provides him another chance to complete a stunning Ginetta title hat-trick, to add to his Junior and G50 successes in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The 19 year old took six wins last season en-route to third in the championship and will once again run with JHR Developments with backing from the KX Akademy.
Davies meanwhile utterly dominated the G50 class in the series last season, securing the title with a weekend to spare having secured 14 class wins in 24 races. The former Ginetta Challenge champion went on to win twice on his G55 debut at the final rounds, giving him plenty of momentum for the championship challenge with Total Control Racing.
Amongst their closest challengers will be a trio of fellow returnees, Jamie Orton (Total Control Racing), Fergus Walkinshaw (FW Motorsport) and Marcus Hoggarth (JHR Developments). Orton and Walkinshaw both secured a solitary podium finish in 2012, while Hoggarth picked up a best finish of fifth, with all three targeting maiden wins and a title challenge this season.
Looking to take on the experienced G55 competitors are two race-winners from its feeder series the Ginetta Junior Championship, Spaniard Pepe Massot and Irishman Andrew Watson. They both join the grid with new teams to the Supercup, the outfits that ran them to their Junior success, Hillspeed and Douglas Motorsport respectively.
The grid will be bolstered by the inclusion of reigning Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge GB champion James Birch. He enters the series with front-running outfit Century Motorsport and will certainly be one to watch, as will Rob Boston. The reigning Lotus Elise Trophy champion is backed by the KX Akademy scheme and will run alongside fellow member Ingram in the JHR garage.
Two more drivers with championship winning experience will compete against them, with 2005 and 2007 Ginetta Challenge champion Matt Nicoll-Jones and four-time Hot Rod World Champion Carl Boardley joining with their own teams, Academy Motorsport and CBM Motorsport respectively.
While the G55 category has a strong field, the Supercup’s secondary class for the G50 car is finding it tougher for entries, with only three drivers confirmed by Ginetta so far.
The first of which is reigning Ginetta Challenge champion Sean Huyton, who will be looking to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor to the Challenge crown, Davies, and win the G50 crown with Academy Motorsport. Sean will come up against Dan Norris-Jones, who has committed to his first full season with Priocept Racing after taking a podium finish on his debut during the 2012 season finale, and Reece Somerfield, who finished third in the G50’s last season with two class wins.
With ten days to go until the opening rounds at Brands Hatch on March 30/31, more names are sure to appear on the entry list for the weekend, with rumours going around about a number of drivers looking to join the grid, including a possible return for reigning G55 champion Breeze.
*The Checkered Flag will be providing in-depth coverage of the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup throughout 2013, including race reports from every round, driver interviews, features and more.*
All photos: Jakob Ebrey Photography