The stars of the most competitive championship on the BTCC support package, the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup, are preparing for the latest instalment of an intriguing season this weekend at Oulton Park.
The opening nine races of the season have produced six different race-winners and nine different podium finishers so far, with a mix of championship newbies and returning stars mixing it at the top of the championship standings.
Three different drivers held the championship lead at one stage over the course of the Thruxton meeting five weeks ago, with victory in the final race meaning Andrew Watson leads the way heading to Oulton.
The Irishman had headed the standings after a hat-trick of podium finishes on the opening weekend at Brands Hatch, but lost some ground at Donington Park. Three top four finishes, including the win, at Thruxton has moved the Douglas Motorsport ace back on top.
Only three points adrift though is the star of the Thruxton weekend, David Pittard, the SV Racing ace having shone with the opening two victories of the meeting, his first wins in the championship.
Those successes briefly moved him into the points lead for the first time, and after slipping back behind Watson after taking second in race three, the KX Akademy protégé will be hungry to regain the advantage at Oulton.
Chrlie Robertson had led the standings heading into the Thruxton weekend after two wins in the first six races, however the HHC Motorsport racer has slipped back to fourth overall after a tough meeting in Hampshire, and will be aiming to bounce back this weekend.
Alongside Pittard, the other surprise package of 2014 so far has been Tom Oliphant. The Century Motorsport racer has four podiums to his name in the first nine races, including one win, and will now be looking to move up from his current third place in the standings.
One to watch at Oulton will be 2012 Supercup champion Carl Breeze, who returned to form at Thruxton with a pair of second place finishes. Those were his first podiums of the season, and he’ll want more at Oulton to help claw himself back into title contention.
Pepe Massot will also be on a charge in Cheshire, as he aims to fight back after a horrid start to the campaign. While the Spaniard took a win and second at Donington, they were two of only three top five finishes so far, leaving him 76 points adrift of Watson in the title fight.
Also hoping to be in contention for the race wins will be Jamie Orton, a podium finisher at Brands Hatch, Will Burns, a double top six finisher in Hampshire, Brands Hatch race-winner Luke Davenport, and the returning Sean Huyton, who is back after missing Thruxton due to a budget shortfall.
While Huyton returns, two other drivers are missing from the grid this weekend. Harry Woodhead is out after injuring his knee ligaments in a cycling accident, and hopes to be back for Croft at the end of the month, while Michael Munemann is skipping the meeting due to commitments ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours next weekend.
While the drivers will have only two chances to shine this weekend, with the compact Oulton timetable meaning there will be just two races rather than the usual three, expect them to be a couple of the standout races on the card.
The action kicks off with qualifying on Saturday morning at 12:15, with Round 10 taking place at 17:10. Round 11 follows on Sunday at 15:10.
Follow The Checkered Flag across the weekend, and post-event, for all the race reports, news and interviews from the teams and drivers.
2014 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Championship Standings (After Rd.9 of 27):
1. Andrew Watson – Douglas Motorsport – 230pts
2. David Pittard – SV Racing – 227pts
3. Tom Oliphant – Century Motorsport – 207pts
4. Charlie Robertson – HHC Motorsport – 204pts
5. Carl Breeze – United Autosports – 166pts
6. Luke Davenport – United Autosports – 157pts
7. Pepe Massot – JHR Developments – 154pts
8. Jamie Orton – Century Motorsport – 117pts
9. Harry Woodhead – Douglas Motorsport – 113pts
10. Dan Norris-Jones – Priocept Racing – 83pts