Preview: Three Races. Two Drivers. One Supercup Champion.

by Simon Paice

An intriguing 2016 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup season comes to a close this weekend, with three races left to decide whether it’s Tom Wrigley or Will Burns who adds their name to the history books as the sixth Supercup champion.

The Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit is the venue for the all-important season finale, having been the scene of Supercup title successes in the past for Carl Breeze, Charlie Robertson and most recently Tom Oliphant, with Wrigley heading to Kent as the favourite to succeed him.

The Rob Boston Racing ace bounced back superbly from his troubles at Rockingham last month to extend his championship lead with a pair of podium finishes at Silverstone two weeks ago – though it was only an eight point gain with Burns scoring a podium double of his own.

That means the gap between the two is currently 24 points, and although it stretches to 33 when dropped scores are applied, the title cannot be decided in the opening race this weekend, meaning the tension is sure to rise heading into races two and three.

While Wrigley is the favourite for the crown, having recorded nine wins so far this year to Burns’ two, whilst also posting four pole positions as Burns still chases his first, the latter remains firmly in striking distance and is ready to pounce on any slip ups from the leader.

One driver who could well play a hand in where the championship goes this weekend by taking points off the title protagonists is Jamie Orton, who heads into the season finale as the in-form driver in the championship with six wins in the last eight races he’s contested.

Those came courtesy of double victories at Snetterton, Rockingham and Silverstone, with the corresponding points hauls leaving a feeling of ‘what if’ for his title challenge – an average points score across the four races he missed at Knockhill would have put him right on Wrigley’s tail.

Can Orton Continue His Winning Run At Brands Hatch? - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Can Orton Continue His Winning Run At Brands Hatch? – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

As the last few meetings have shown, it is far from a three driver battle at the front of the field though, with Carl Boardley, Mark Davies, Callum Pointon, Tom Hibbert and Ben Green having all established themselves in the podium picture.

Boardley was the star of the show at Silverstone as he took his maiden pole position and race win to make it four consecutive meetings with top three finishes, while Pointon fought to his maiden podium result with second place in the opening race.

Davies picked up his first win of the season at Rockingham meanwhile, before celebrating his 75th Supercup start last time out, while at the other end of the experience spectrum, first year contenders Hibbert and Green have taken two podiums apiece in recent meetings.

Hoping to break onto the Supercup podium for the first time at Brands will be 2014 Ginetta Junior champion Jack Mitchell, who secured a fifth place finish on his series debut at Silverstone, while one to watch will be debutant Jack Bartholomew, the 2016 British GT4 vice-champion.

It’s not just the overall championship that’s still to be decided this weekend meanwhile, with the AM class honours still up for grabs despite the dominance of Colin White over the course of the season – the Ginetta stalwart only missing out on victory in four races so far.

That means he is firmly odds-on favourite to take the class title for a second consecutive season, but if he suffers a nightmare weekend, then Chris Ingram could steal the title to cap off a campaign that has featured thirteen podiums in the last fourteen races.

David Brooks is another driver on a strong run of form in the class, having climbed onto the rostrum on six occasions across the last three meetings, while Fraser Robertson took a hugely popular and long-awaited maiden class win at Silverstone.

Following official free practice on Friday, the weekend’s action kicks off with qualifying at 09:00 on Saturday, with two races following that afternoon at 14:00 and 16:50. The final race of the season, set to be televised live on ITV4, follows at 15:00.

Full championship standings ahead of the weekend can be found here.

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