Dan Cammish. There. Said it. The 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup GB summed up in two words. Statistically, this season was a white wash. Eleven victories from sixteen races, a hit rate of 68.75% is impressive enough.
Yet pure numbers don’t really fully illustrate Cammish’s dominance. These victories, particularly four mid-season at Croft and Snetterton, were barely contested after the first lap. Part of a run of six that extended to Knockhill. His pace on cold tyres, the set-up he and Redline Racing had found, was devastating.
But. Shouldn’t start a sentence with a but. This is a big one though. Looking at the statistics, 2015 was a far more competitive year than 2014, which featured a nail biting title fight between Scholar Josh Webster and Michael Meadows that went down to the final race and saw the apprentice emerge victorious.
Those two were only joined by Paul Rees at Rockingham as race winners. In 2015, champion Cammish was accompanied on the top step of the podium by Webster during the first race at Spa-Francorchamps and Meadows who went on to win the opener at Oulton Park.
After Cammish won the second Oulton race we had to wait until Silverstone for a new winner in the form of GT Marques recruit Dino Zamparelli. Zamparelli won the opener convincingly in Northamptonshire and was then gifted the second race after Webster clashed with Meadows as the pair fought to claim their second wins of the year.
Twelve months previously, the clash would have been the headline of the weekend, the title tusslers coming to blows. This year they were bit part players. Silverstone was the first weekend Cammish didn’t win a race. It didn’t matter. He became the first TOCA champion of 2015 in the thirteenth race of the year. His success was in a big way the key to Redline Racing’s teams’ title; they only bested Team Parker Racing by nineteen points after the final chequered flag fell.
Webster moved to Team Parker Racing but for one reason or another, it just never came together. A penalty in the very first race at Brands Hatch set the tone for his season. Said Spa success should have set him on course for a title defence. It didn’t. His year is perhaps best summed up by his travails at Knockhill, where he was easily the fastest driver in the opener before a seemingly inconsequential mistake threw him off the road.
Meadows’ year is far harder to round up. Again there were mistakes, notably at Spa but then this was countered at Oulton Park where his Samsung SUHD TV Racing car was easily the equal of Cammish’s Redline machine. Silverstone should have been his in the second race but for Webster’s overly optimistic manoeuvre. Then again the fact that the 2012/2013 champion was seemingly the cork in the bottle, was even more puzzling.
The man who inherited that victory, Zamparelli, took a while to get to grips with the Type 991 machine. An off in the second Brands Hatch race in April was a microcosm for the first three quarters of his season. For a rookie his pace was perfectly acceptable. Acceptable wasn’t what was expected though. Something was missing, the last tenth or two. When he split with Parr Motorsport you sensed that he needed to ace his first weekend with his new GT Marques team.
He did. Two wins at Silverstone were followed by two thirds at Brands Hatch on the tricky GP loop and if the former GP3 man can return for 2016, such pace would make him a man to watch.
Zamparelli though, was not the most impressive rookie of the year. That accolade goes to IDL Racing and Tom Sharp, both objectively and statistically. Sharp had to wait until Snetterton to score his first podium in the category and until race sixteen to finally make the jump to the top step. His consistency after two early season DNFs, one self-inflicted at Brands Hatch and one mechanical at Spa, was unbelievable. Never out of the top six in the other fourteen races, he seemed to unlock a slightly greater edge from the Type 991 earlier than the Anglo/Italian. His £50,000 Rookie windfall was much deserved.
Other names to mention from the Pro class include reigning Formula Ford GB champion Jayde Kruger. Racing with the brand new Brookspeed squad meant the South African was never going to be able to show his true potential and so the lack of podiums can be forgiven. Despite never scoring top results he was always there or there abouts and seventh in the championship was admirable.
This was one place ahead of Parr Motorsport’s 2014 winner Rees, who seemingly lacked raw pace in comparison with his rivals this season. He skipped Snetterton due to injury but didn’t feature on the podium and perhaps under delivered. Ditto Webster’s teammate Stephen Jelley.
Or maybe not. Jelley was a mystery this season, fifth in the series and behind Rookie champion Sharp. At Brands Hatch in April he scored two poles and looked set for a fantastic comeback. In both races he was outmuscled by Cammish in a way most unusual for a former BTCC racer. Deserves the opportunity to try again next year and put the pieces back together.
Pro-Am1: A Fantastic Fair Fight
Pro-Am1 could have been the main class this year. The protagonists were compelling, the battles hard but fair and the title was decided by five points in a dramatic season finale. Ultimately Juta Racing prevailed and denied Redline Racing a clean sweep of all three drivers’ titles.
Ignas Gelzinis prevailed after taking five victories throughout the season (One apiece at Brands Hatch, Spa, Oulton, Silverstone and the GP loop at Brands), compared with Jordan Witt’s seven (One at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, and Silverstone complimented by doubles at Snetterton and Knockhill). Yet key to the story of the season was the second Brands Hatch Indy race at season’s start. Gelzinis limped a wounded Porsche to the finish, last but the only car in Pro-Am1 to finish the race.
Other notable performances came from some-time entrant Karl Leonard, who extracted devastating performance from his Team Parker Racing car for individual successes at Spa-Francorchamps, Oulton Park and Croft. The only other winner in the class was In2Racing’s Daniel McKay who snuck past the title battlers in round sixteenth after they finally came to blows.
Witt’s teammate Jack Falla scored four podiums throughout the year, meanwhile Parr Motorsport man Mark Cole finished on the rostrum at Spa, twice at Knockhill and once in the first race of the final day of racing at Brands.
Peter Jennings scored two class points before correctly being switched to Pro-Am2 for G-Cat Racing whilst Chris Dockerill finished sixth in the standings for Credit4Cars, the only man in the class who failed to score a podium in the whole season. A class of eight, that proved you don’t need big grids for fantastic racing.
Pro-Am2: Mighty McCullagh
Pro-Am2. Well. In a gentleman’s class you would expect gentlemanly racing. There was. Sometimes. On occasions the racing was a little uncivil. Which is a shame.
The above points shouldn’t detract from Redline Racing man John McCullagh’s success. McCullagh was barely ever caught in any of the occasional incidents that featured in Pro-Am2, he took six individual class victories (One time successes at Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Silverstone and the season finale with a double success at Croft).
Ian Dockerill won the first race of the year for Credit4Cars but would not win again, he finished third in the title race. Juta Racing’s Nerijus Dagilis finished title runner up and he stood on top of the rostrum at Spa-Francorchamps, Knockhill and Silverstone.
The mathematically minded will have noticed that leaves six victories to be claimed. Graeme Mundy claimed two of those during his early season campaign for In2Racing, back to back as it were with second race success at Spa and first race success at Oulton Park. Father/son due Peter and Thomas (Shamus) Jennings claimed a win apiece, father at Snetterton and son at Knockhill. Father outdid son as it were in the title race, Peter finishing fourth in the final classification and Thomas seventh.
Scott Marshal claimed GT Marques’ only Pro-Am2 win of the season at Oulton Park, whilst Tautvydas Barstys ensured all three Juta Racing drivers won at least once during the year with success at Brands Hatch during finals day.
Two other drivers achieved slightly lower podium results, Paul McKay could have starred for In2Racing after two seconds at Brands Hatch and Spa but after a horrifying accident in the second Spa race he was ruled out for the remainder of the season.
GT Marques driver Francis Galashan stealthily claimed two podiums, one in the season opener and his final notable success mid-season at Croft.
The Chequered Flag: Onwards and Upwards
In certain ways, 2015 looks set to be the end of an era for the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. Josh Webster and Michael Meadows have sparred wonderfully over the past two seasons but the general expectation is that both will move forward in 2016.
The same could be said of champion Dan Cammish. You cannot reiterate enough this young man’s talent that he displayed so sublimely in his debut Carrera Cup campaign and quite frankly it would be a shame to not see him come back and defend his crown. Only issue is that he has nothing left to prove at this level.
Tom Sharp and Dino Zamparelli both most definitely do. They have the potential to write a little bit of Carrera Cup history next season and raise their Rookie class scrap up to a full on title fight.
Ignas Gelzinis should step up from Pro-Am1 and he is definitely a name for the future. We must not forget John McCullagh either, who would be a brilliant addition to any Pro-Am GT line-up if he moves away from the series.
The Carrera Cup is back on track and with a new Scholar, and fresh faces joining old, next season could move the series even further forward. You will not want to miss it.
For full championship results, follow this link here: Carrera Cup GB Full Standings