Experience leads the way at the halfway point of the 2015 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup season with series stalwart Carl Breeze topping the standings by 22 points as he pursues his second Supercup title.
The fifth year of the Supercup era has seen reigning champions HHC Motorsport be the dominant force once again so far, with top three lockouts in three of the first four qualifying sessions and two of the races.
It’s no surprise then that Breeze’s closest challenger is one of his team-mates, Jamie Orton, with those two having equally shared eight of the opening eleven race wins as they reaped the rewards of their hard work in pre-season testing.
Orton was the early pace-setter with a double victory at the Brands Hatch opener and a further success at Donington Park as part of six podium finishes in the first seven races, however a retirement at Thruxton allowed Breeze to edge ahead thanks to a double victory in Hampshire.
Breeze has added wins at Donington and Oulton Park as part of a run of eleven podium finishes in the fourteen races so far, his best record ever at this stage of a Supercup season, however a DNF of his own at Croft has allowed Orton to gain back some ground.
Joining his team-mates at the head of the field meanwhile is Will Burns, who featured on the podium six times in the first nine races and narrowly missed out on a maiden Supercup win at Thruxton on the final lap, having led throughout.
That was one of a few cases in which luck has been against the 25 year old, and a tough run of three retirements in the last five races, including two for mechanical failures, have meant he’s slipped to fifth in the standings.
Breaking the HHC dominance at the head of the championship meanwhile is Tom Oliphant with Century Motorsport, with the partnership lying third in the standings, right back in the title mix, after a dominant double win at Croft last time out.
Bar an engine failure at Thruxton, Oliphant has finished every race so far within the top four and has joined Breeze and Orton on stepping onto the podium at each meeting to date – form that is filling him with confidence for a sustained title assault.
One driver who many anticipated would be in the championship mix, but hasn’t quite reached those heights yet is former British GT champion Michael Caine with JHR Developments.
With twelve top six finishes so far he’s been a consistent presence at the head of the field, but has made just three visits to the podium as he continues to get to grips with his Amigos G55 – though one of them was on the top step as he stole the third race win at Thruxton from Burns.
Like Caine, Bradley Smith also heads into the second half of the season as someone hoping to feature on the podium more regularly, after heading into the summer break on a high with a maiden victory at Croft.
That was the former multiple Radical champion’s first visit to the podium this season, with his early season efforts hampered by a range of mechanical problems that have restricted him to only two other top six finishes alongside his win.
Also reaching the podium for the first time at Croft was Ollie Jackson, the culmination of some steady improvement throughout the season for the former BTCC racer who has carded a total of seven top six finishes
Jackson has regularly found himself in a close-fought midfield pack which also features Reece Somerfield, who stunned the paddock with a reverse grid win at the Brands Hatch season opener and returned to the podium in the Croft closer.
Also in the thick of the action has been Tom Wrigley, who fought his way into the top six for the first time at Croft with Rob Boston Racing, while Mitchell Hale has shown strong pace in his SV Racing G55, as evidenced by a fourth place at Thruxton, but has been hampered by mechanical problems.
In the AM class, Colin White had used all his previous Ginetta experience to his advantage to take eight class wins in the first eleven races. White skipped Croft last time out however, allowing Osamu Kawashima to snatch a narrow class points lead with a treble win in Yorkshire to make it five in total.
Fraser Robertson sits third in the standings after being a regular podium finisher, though is still looking to make the top step, while Chris Ingram is fourth as the only other regular in the class. Five drivers have made one-off appearances meanwhile, the stand-out performance coming from Ade Barwick who took a victory at Oulton Park with the returning Optimum Motorsport.
One-off outings in the Pro class have seen former race-winner Rob Boston highlight his pace with a double fastest lap at Donington, while GT Academy and Le Mans racer Gaeten Paletou got in the thick of the action with a top eight treble at Thruxton.
Ginetta GT5 Challenge racer Callum Pointon showed strong pace on his debut at Oulton, while high-profile entries from ex-BTCC racer Jack Clarke and former British GT champion Bradley Ellis with SV Racing didn’t produce the results anticipated at Brands and Donington respectively.
Grid numbers reached a low of thirteen at Croft, having hit a high of eighteen just one meeting prior, but they are expected to rise for the second half of the year with returns anticipated for White, Pointon and Barwick as well as some new faces on the grid.
The 2015 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup returns to action at Snetterton on August 8/9, before heading across the border to Knockhill in Scotland later that month. Visits to Rockingham and Silverstone follow in September, before the Brands Hatch GP finale in October.
The full championship standings after 14 of the 27 races can be found here.