2014 has been the most intriguing and competitive season in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup’s short history so far, with a fascinating four-way title battle currently headed by young starlet Charlie Robertson.
In the first season running with a one class series using GT4 specifications, the championship has seen eleven different drivers climb onto the podium in the first fourteen races, with a mixture of exciting first-year talents and experienced Supercup contenders battling it out for the title.
Robertson is top of the pile at the moment, the HHC Motorsport racer hitting the ground running in his first Supercup campaign with wins on each of the first two weekends at Brands Hatch and Donington Park. The second win gave him the points lead for the first time, which he went on to regain with a stunning double victory at Oulton Park.
While his raw pace was expected, the speed at which he’s managed to adapt to the car and the championship and put together a title challenge has surprised some of his more experienced rivals. The question now is whether he can maintain it and become the first rookie Supercup champion.
The early leader in the points was another Ginetta Junior graduate, albeit one with a year’s more experience in the Supercup, Andrew Watson. The 19 year old’s second season in a Douglas Motorsport-prepared G55 started perfectly with a podium hat-trick on the opening weekend at Brands Hatch.
The Irishman also led the way after a second win of the year at Thruxton, but has found the going tougher since then. A particularly frustrating outing at Croft last time out has pegged him back in the title race, but he’s shown he has the pace and maturity required to win.
The surprise package of the season so far meanwhile has been David Pittard. His Ginetta GT5 Challenge performances last season showed he had potential, but the KX Akademy recruit has exceeded all expectations so far en-route to second in the points.
Despite it being a new championship for him and his SV Racing team, Pittard was challenging for wins from the opening weekend. A double success at Thruxton and a further win at Croft, along with four other podiums, has seen him lead the championship twice.
For any of the young stars to win the title though, they’ll have to beat Carl Breeze. After a slow start to the season by his standards, as he adjusted to a new team with limited pre-season running, six podiums in the last eight races have moved him into contention for a second title.
Two wins at Croft have moved the United Autosports racer one shy of matching Tom Sharp’s all-time Supercup win record of twenty, and after sitting 96 points adrift at mid-season during his title-winning 2012 season, his current 39 point deficit to Robertson isn’t phasing him.
For Breeze’s team-mate Luke Davenport, three podium finishes, including a superb debut weekend win at Brands, were the highs from the first fifteen races. He’s been learning throughout, successfully improving his consistency and qualifying as the season’s progressed.
Another driver enjoying an impressive first full Supercup season so far is Tom Oliphant. The Century Motorsport ace is another frustrated by a lack of consistency with his front-end results, but five podium finishes shown he’s doing something right, with a maiden win at Donington the highlight.
His team-mate Jamie Orton has once again shown front-running pace in his third Supercup season, as exemplified by a podium at Brands, but hasn’t made the progress he’d have hoped to, leading to a move across to HHC Motorsport for the remainder of the season.
One team who hasn’t enjoyed the season they’d hoped for so far are Academy Motorsport. Reigning G50 champion Sean Huyton has been on the backfoot due to budgetary problems, while team-mate Will Burns had a tough induction to Supercup life. Both have seen fortunes improve in recent meetings, and will be aiming for more podiums now after taking one apiece at Croft.
While Pittard has been the surprise package at the front end of the field, the other big surprise of the first half of the season was the performances of Pepe Massot, who was widely tipped as a title favourite with reigning champions JHR Developments.
The Spaniard could only muster three top five finishes in eleven races though, however he did star at Donington with a win and a second place. Various troubles with team and car led to him quitting the series prior to Croft, electing to move across to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
Another driver to have left proceedings early, but in entirely different circumstances, is reigning Ginetta Junior champion Harry Woodhead. His graduation into the Supercup had started well with two podium finishes, however a cycling accident prior to Oulton has forced him out with injury since, with it not certain if he’ll return this season.
At the start of the season, Ginetta hoped the championship’s switch to GT4 specification would help boost grids to near the twenty mark, but so far this season that hasn’t been the case.
With Massot and Woodhead’s exits, plus the likes of Fergus Walkinshaw, Max Coates and Michael Munemann only making limited appearances, only ten drivers have completed every race so far, with a high of seventeen cars for the opener at Brands falling to a low of twelve at Oulton.
While the quantity hasn’t been there, the quality certainly has and with seven different race-winners and eleven different podium finishers so far, the Supercup has been the most exciting support series on the BTCC package and the second half of the season is sure to serve up more of the same.
Provisional Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Championship Standings (After Rd.14 of 27):
|1||Charlie Robertson||HHC Motorsport||355|
|2||David Pittard||SV Racing||326||-29|
|3||Andrew Watson||Douglas Motorsport||323||-32|
|4||Carl Breeze||United Autosports||316||-39|
|5||Tom Oliphant||Century Motorsport||277||-78|
|6||Luke Davenport||United Autosports||246||-109|
|7||Jamie Orton||Century Motorsport||183||-172|
|8||Will Burns||Academy Motorsport||180||-175|
|9||Pepe Massot||JHR Developments||176||-179|
|10||Sean Huyton||Academy Motorsport||149||-206|
|11||Dan Norris-Jones||Priocept Racing||126||-229|
|12||Harry Woodhead||Douglas Motorsport||113||-242|
|14||Fergus Walkinshaw||FW Motorsport||73||-282|
|15||Michael Munemann||Algarve Pro Racing Team||56||-299|
|17=||James Owen||FW Motorsport||28||-327|
|17=||Carl Boardley||JHR Developments||28||-327|
|19||Josh Wakefield||JHR Developments||19||-336|