Charlie Robertson heads to his home meeting at Knockhill this weekend aiming to extend his advantage at the top of the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup championship standings.
The Scottish teenager cemented his status as the driver to beat in the Supercup last time out at Snetterton, taking the opening two wins following a record fifth consecutive pole position, before almost making it three out of three in the final race with an all-or-nothing pass for the lead.
That move ultimately led to a spin and a ninth place finish though, but the HHC Motorsport racer still left Norfolk with a 46 point advantage at the head of the standings and goes to Knockhill full of confidence after taking a double win during his last visit there in 2012 in the Ginetta Juniors.
Carl Breeze was another double winner around the undulating Fife circuit two years ago, and those successes are part of a run of six podium finishes in the last eight Supercup races at Knockhill.
The United Autosports racer has firmly established himself as Robertson’s chief title rival with six rostrum finishes in the last eight races either side of the summer break, and will hope his experience will play into his hands this weekend as he aims to close the gap at the top of the standings.
Fellow championship contender Andrew Watson also heads to Knockhill with fond memories of the unique 1.3 mile circuit, having taken pole position and a fastest lap in the corresponding meeting twelve months ago.
The Irishman knows that he will need to replicate that pace and convert it into race wins this time around if he is to reignite his challenge to Robertson, with the Douglas Motorsport racer currently sitting 60 points adrift of Robertson after taking just one top five finish in the last six races.
The star of the field last time out at Snetterton was Tom Oliphant, with Robertson’s race three error meaning the Century Motorsport ace left the weekend as the top points scorer with a podium clean sweep including a second win of the campaign.
Despite those results, a 72 point deficit to Robertson means the 23 year old is apprehensive about his title chances, but a similar points haul this weekend would fill him with belief that he could be a contender heading into the final three meetings.
A title protagonist with work to do after a disaster at Snetterton meanwhile is David Pittard. The SV Racing ace had to be wheeled off of reverse grid pole after a wheelnut failure, his second retirement of the season leaving him two points ahead of Oliphant, meaning he needs wins in Scotland to restore his title chances.
Pittard’s fellow Ginetta GT5 Challenge graduates Luke Davenport and Will Burns both head into the meeting as race-win contenders meanwhile. Burns is riding high after taking a podium finish on each of the last two weekends, while Davenport will be looking to bounce back from a tough Snetterton with a return to the podium.
Amongst those to watch further down the field will be Jamie Orton, who took a trio of top six finishes at Snetterton with new team HHC Motorsport, the returning Fergus Walkinshaw who makes his first appearance since May, and the ever present Dan Norris-Jones who will be hoping for a strong weekend as he looks set to mark his 50th Supercup start in Round 20.
After losing a number of drivers in recent meetings, with Sean Huyton a notable continued absentee, the grid will be boosted from its season low of ten at Snetterton by the return of Walkinshaw and the addition of Rory Bryant.
The Scotsman joins the series with SV, their first expansion to a two-car line-up this season, and the former Britcar and British GT racer has local knowledge on his side having won two Scottish Fiesta ST championships and a Scottish Legends rookie title.
The weekend’s action will kick off with qualifying at 11:40 on Saturday, with the opening race following in the afternoon at 16:30. Race two kicks off Sunday’s action at 09:00, before race three comes televised live on ITV4 at 15:00.