Throw in all the clichés you like but 2014 really is a year of massive change for the Porsche Carrera Cup of Great Britain, as the series moves into the new Type 991 GT3 Cup era.
A respectable 13 cars took to the track at Brands Hatch today for testing; the field composed of some experienced chargers, young talent and gentleman drivers who are the backbone of GT racing.
Heading the entry list is reigning double champion Michael Meadows, who returns to Redline Racing after spending a year with the GT Marques squad. He is joined in a 4 car Redline team by 2014-2015 Porsche Scholar Josh Webster, Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher who will compete in Pro-Am2 and 2013 Pro-Am1 champion Victor Jimenez.
Meadows may be title favourite but Webster would be a personal tip for the top, the former single seater star was only a quarter of a second down on the double champion at the media day test and finished ahead of his more far more experienced team mate in the second Free Practice session earlier today.
Jimenez demonstrated superb consistency on his way to the 2013 Pro-Am1 crown, 9 wins were backed up by a further 9 podiums. This consistency may well net him a few overall podiums this season, don’t rule out the occasional victory.
Fletcher will complete a part time Pro-Am2 season, he was the final ever winner of a Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race (the series has been axed for 2014 to allow Porsche to focus on the main Carrera Cup) in 2013.
In2Racing have two full time entries for 2014, Will Goff will launch a concerted Pro-Am2 attack and led the class times during testing today. Paul Rees returns to racing after skipping 2013 to focus on his work as a road car development driver. Whilst a championship challenge is unlikely, don’t be surprised to see some late season podiums or victories from another experienced single seater racer.
Jake Hill joins the team for Brands Hatch, he only got his first taste of the new Type 991 car today, however Hill can always be relied on to pull results out of the bag.
Team Parker Racing will be aiming for success in the increasingly competitive Pro-Am2 class, running Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge graduates Steven Liquorish and Justin Sherwood. The returning Karl Leonard would be a sensible tip for Pro-Am 1 glory.
Parr Motorsport houses Kieran Gallagher for a Pro-Am1 assault; Gallagher made his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship debut at Knockhill in 2013. Peter Kyle-Henney is yet another Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge graduate taking on the Pro-Am2 class.
However, the most interesting addition to the team is the returning Porsche VIP entry for Brands Hatch. Behind the wheel is 2012 Carrera Cup GB runner up Ben Barker, who topped testing times today. The battle between him and Meadows this weekend will be fantastic for the crowds at the circuit and those watching on TV to enjoy.
The calendar for this year will follow the BTCC for 9 meetings, the championship having elected to skip the Oulton Park TOCA weekend. This is in order to run a single round event as a support race to the historic Le Mans 24 Hours in June. Such an addition to the calendar is just the icing on a very special Porsche cake.
With a growing, quality filled grid and spectacular new car, the 2014 Carrera Cup GB is set to be the most thrilling in years. Enjoy the show.