With half a dozen front-runners from 2013’s Supercup returning, including the 2012 G55 and 2013 G50 champions, to be joined by the last two Ginetta Junior champions and three of the top five from last year’s Ginetta GT5 Challenge, the 2014 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup is set to be the most competitive so far in the championship’s short history.
The 2013 Supercup was all about Tom Ingram, the KX-backed racer putting a stunning run of 22 consecutive podium finishes together en-route to a runaway title win. That success has earnt him a move into the BTCC for this season, where he’ll compete against 2011 Supercup victor Adam Morgan, with their adventures in the big time helping increase the Supercup’s stature in British motorsport.
One big change for the new campaign comes with a move to a single-class championship. After a difficult year with the two-class format last season, the G50 class having struggled for entries from start to finish, the championship has adopted GT4 regulations across the board for the first time, meaning both the G50 and G55 models will compete together on a level playing field.
The biggest name to announce his return to the championship is Carl Breeze. The 34 year old has finished in the top two of the Supercup in each of its three years, the 2012 champion currently having 17 category wins to his name, three shy of the series record set by Tom Sharp.
After a tough title defence last season, the former BTCC racer returns this season with a new team, having ended his long association with Total Control Racing. Now with series newcomers United Autosports, Breeze wants to reclaim his title this year and despite limited pre-season running with the G55’s new paddleshift gearbox, his vast Ginetta experience means he’s sure to be in the hunt from race one.
Hoping to show that experience doesn’t count for everything are two former Ginetta Junior racers set to embark on their second Supercup campaigns, Pepe Massot and Andrew Watson. Both return with the same teams they ended the season with last year, JHR Developments and Douglas Motorsport respectively, and both have a title challenge firmly in their sights.
Massot, in only his second season of car-racing, took two race wins in the first six races en-route to a top five championship finish in 2013, while Watson finished two places further back in the final standings after a year that featured three podium finishes alongside a host of bad luck.
Two other returning front-runners hoping to be in the thick of the championship battle this year are Sean Huyton and Jamie Orton. Huyton heads into the season with a chance to complete a unique Ginetta championship hat-trick, having won the Challenge crown in 2012 and the G50 honours last year, and after taking a podium finish on his G55 debut last year, he has high hopes for 2014 with Academy Motorsport.
Orton meanwhile heads into the season with confidence high after ending the 2013 season in style with his maiden Supercup win at Brands Hatch in his 47th race in the category. With that milestone reached, the Century Motorsport driver will be hoping to be a consistent front-runner this season.
Hoping to take the fight to the established Supercup names are the last two winners of the Ginetta Junior Championship, reigning champion Harry Woodhead and 2012 victor Charlie Robertson. Woodhead has joined Douglas Motorsport for the new season, while Robertson returns to Ginetta racing after a successful year in single-seater racing with HHC Motorsport, and both want to be winning races this season and challenging for the championship.
Joining them on making the next step up the Ginetta ladder is Will Burns, Luke Davenport and David Pittard, who finished second, fourth and fifth respectively in the GT5 Challenge last year. Burns sticks with Academy Motorsport for his first full campaign, having competed in the final three meetings in a G50 last year, while Davenport joins with United Autosports.
Pittard meanwhile enters the fray with series newcomers SV Racing, and his support from the KX Akademy continues the scheme’s association with the series, with outgoing champion Ingram and race-winner Rob Boston having enjoyed great success in the series last year with KX backing. All three Challenge graduates have the potential to win races as the year develops.
As well as the series newcomers, two of the potential surprise packages this year are returning Supercup drivers. Single-seater graduate Tom Oliphant made a strong Supercup debut during two meetings late last year, and many of his rivals are tipping him to impress as he combines the Supercup with a British GT campaign with Century Motorsport.
Reece Somerfield meanwhile enters his third season in the category having shown flashes of huge potential in his two years to date. The 25 year old took a best finish of fourth in a G55 last season, and will be hoping to challenge for podiums and wins this year.
Alongside Massot, reigning champions JHR will also be housing potential podium contenders Carl Boardley and Josh Wakefield. Former Hot Rod world champion Boardley took a breakthrough podium at Thruxton last year during his maiden Supercup campaign, while Wakefield returns to the series after a taking three podium finishes in a six weekend run in 2012.
Hoping to join them in a battle for podium finishes will be Priocept Racing driver Dan Norris-Jones, who took a number of top ten finishes last year after stepping up from a G50 to a G55 mid-season, and Fergus Walkinshaw, who took a stunning pole position at Thruxton last season during a mixed first campaign with his own FW Motorsport outfit.
With around sixteen drivers signed up for the opening meeting, numbers may not be as high as this time last year, but the quality taking to the grid for the opening three races at Brands Hatch this weekend is superb, and is sure to provide fans with some fantastic racing throughout 2014.