A hugely competitive 2013 Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge championship comes down to a deciding double header at Donington this weekend, with three drivers separated by just three points in the race for the crown.
Leading the way by the skin of his teeth is the driver who has held that position for the majority of the season, Brad Bailey, the former Ginetta Junior race winner having been a consistent force throughout the 2013 season and picking up two wins along the way.
Since claiming those two victories in the Oulton Park season opener, Bailey’s ability to avoid trouble has been the key to his position in the standings, but that trump card was blotted at Brands Hatch by his first non-finish of the season after being victim of an impatient Paddock Hill Bend pile-up, his points lead trimmed to just two points over Will Burns.
Burns now lies within striking distance and is certainly no stranger to success this season, but Bailey has fond memories of Donington Park after claiming his maiden GT5 Challenge victory at this very track last year.
Consistency-wise, Burns has not been as convincing in 2013, but when it has gone right it has done so lavishly, the Academy Motorsport driver lying on six victories thanks to treble triumphs at both Rockingham and Spa that made up for a messy Snetterton.
A further point back sits Oli Basey-Fisher, the team-mate to Burns entering the final round on the back of the most enticing purple patch of form of anybody on the grid.
Basey-Fisher launched himself into championship contention with a perfect weekend at Brands Hatch last time out, a hat-trick and clean sweep of the points leaving him on four wins and right on the tail of his two rivals heading to Donington.
Their title contest will be interloped by many rivals, led by David Pittard, the SV21 rookie singling himself out as a name to look out for after four wins (five on the road) and now adorning the BRDC blue roundel on his blue G40 after being awarded Rising Star status.
Pittard is defending fourth place in the championship from Luke Davenport, the Reflex Racing driver also one with his name on the winners list for 2013. Davenport will hope for a return to his Oulton Park form as he bids to overturn the 20-point deficit to his SV21 rival, and will be another front-runner for the top three to keep caution over.
Other names to keep on the brain include Jake Giddings, the Clio racer instantly a contender for wins since joining the series during the fourth round at Snetterton, while the experienced Clive Richards will enter the final two rounds a comfortable sixth in the championship ahead of a tight battle for seventh between Callum Pointon, Ben Hyland and 2012 G20 champion Matt Flowers, all split by just 17 points.
Giddings and Pointon will be joined this weekend by a familiar name to Ginetta, George Gamble, the rapid former Ginetta Junior race winner joining Total Control Racing to bolster their line-up at Donington Park.
The series sees another new face enter the grid this weekend, Ashley White making his debut in a G40 machine as reward for his success in the recent want2race challenge.
While overall spoils are up in the air, the G20 championship trophy has already been secured, Stuart Pearson having dominated the secondary class to put himself out of reach thanks to a staggering 15 wins from 18 races.
Gary Simms will be one of his biggest contenders at Donington this weekend after a selection of strong performances, while Brian Murphy recently sealed second in the championship. Mark de Spong holds a 56-point cushion in third over Jonny Greenwood, with David Pattison lurking two points fiurther adrift.
Championship standings with two races remaining:
1) Brad Bailey – 431 points