When Chris Middlehurst crossed the line at Rockingham to become the 2013 Protyre Formula Renault Champion, it was not only a special moment for the driver, but also for the MGR Motorsport team as they secured their first-ever championship title.
Driven on by the disappointment of narrowly missing out on the 2012 title, the Leicestershire-based outfit hit the ground running at the start of this season and with Middlehurst on top form, they have been the team to beat all campaign.
Six wins and thirteen podiums in fourteen races sealed the title for the BRDC Rising Star, to the joy of team owner and founder Mark Godwin.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” Godwin told thecheckeredflag.co.uk. “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work from everyone this season. I think we’ve raised our game a little bit this season, even from last year where we had a great season, and to finally wrap it up and in good style, before the last rounds of the year, is testament to the effort that everyone’s put in.”
For Godwin, the championship win taking place at Rockingham made it extra special, with him feeling their chances in last year’s championship slipped away at the Northamptonshire venue.
In the second round of the 2012 season, a big accident in qualifying derailed the weekend of their title protagonist Josh Webster, with the now GP3 racer picking up just eleven points from the meeting. From then on, the team were playing catch-up to eventual champion Scott Malvern, with Webster ultimately losing out by 33 points.
“It’s extra special in a way that we did it here at Rockingham,” Godwin explained. “For me, we lost the title the championship here last year. We could comfortably finish in the top three or four with Josh last season, but here we came away with just eleven points from two races, and if you look at where we ended up at the end of the year, the points we should have got from the Rockingham round would have covered the deficit.”
With both MGR and Middlehurst aiming to move into European Formula Renault next season, the partnership looks set to continue into 2014 and beyond, with Godwin feeling Middlehurst has the potential for future success.
“Chris is a different kind of driver to those we’ve had before,” enthused Goodwin. “He’s a very intelligent racer, he’s very enthusiastic about all things mechanical, so he’s a different breed to the drivers we’ve had before.
“Chris can develop into a very good driver, he has still got areas to improve in, which is a good sign for the future and we’ll hopefully continue the partnership with him into next season.”
MGR are now looking to complete a memorable championship double in the BRDC Formula 4 series, with their driver Jake Dalton right in the mix at the top of the standings. The two-time race winner sits 23 points adrift heading into Rounds 16, 17 and 18 at Silverstone this weekend.