With alumni including BTCC stars Adam Morgan and Tom Ingram, Porsche talents Tom Oliphant and Tom Sharp, plus Ginetta prototype star Charlie Robertson, the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup has firmly established itself in recent years as a proving ground for the GT and tin-top stars of the future.
With the leading stars from 2016 moving onto pastures new – champion Tom Wrigley following his predecessor to the crown Oliphant into the Porsche Carrera Cup GB alongside fellow front-runner Jamie Orton; vice-champion Will Burns stepping up to the BTCC – a new batch of racers head into 2017 ready to assume position at the head of the field.
The 2017 Supercup campaign kicks off this weekend (1/2 April) at Brands Hatch, with the entry list for the season opener headed by one of the returning stars from last season, Carl Boardley, who is ready to turn a superb end to 2016 into a full championship challenge this year.
Boardley will be one of only two drivers on the grid this season to have previously won a race in the championship, having taken a long-awaited first two wins during the final four races last year, and that experience could be key as he aims to take the title in his fifth year of Supercup competition.
The other former race-winner on the grid is privateer entrant Tom Hibbert, who like Boardley heads into the new season with confidence high after a superb end to 2016; with breakthrough podiums at Knockhill and Rockingham being followed by a brilliant maiden victory at the Brands Hatch finale.
There’s plenty of other talents who have their sights on the title though, including a pair of driver who have teamed up with 2015 champions Century Motorsport, Ben Green and Declan Jones, both of whom have front-running experience in the series.
Jones has finished in the top five in each of the last five Supercup races he’s contested during one-off outings in 2014 and 2016, while Green enjoyed an impressive debut campaign with his family SuperGreen outfit last year, taking a trio of third place finishes in his first year of non-Junior racing.
Other returning podium finishers are Callum Pointon, who switches to HHC Motorsport after taking a breakthrough second place finish at Silverstone last season, and Jack Mitchell, who links up with BTCC outfit Laser Tools Racing after taking a best of third in a two-weekend spell at the end of 2016.
A number of exciting newcomers are entering the series this year, with Renault UK Clio Cup podium-finisher Charlie Ladell making his GT bow with reigning champions Rob Boston Racing, whilst Ginetta Junior race-winner Seb Perez steps up the ladder with JHR Developments.
Another driver in the JHR with Ginetta Junior race-winning experience is George Gamble, who also won the Ginetta GT5 Challenge title in 2014, whilst former double Castle Combe Formula Ford champion Adam Higgins joins the grid with his own Hurricane Motorsport team.
Two familiar names returning to the grid this year are Reece Somerfield and Colin White, who between them have accrued 240 race starts since the Supercup’s inception in 2011, with the former being a previous race-winner in the series back in 2015.
CWS Racing’s White meanwhile will be looking to complete an AM class title hat-trick this year, though he will face stiff competition from a field that includes former class podium-finishers Grahame Tilley, Chris Car and David Brooks.
Joining a bigger-than-ever AM class field are a number of series debutants; Xentek Motorsport trio Jac Constable, Alex Taylor and Jack Minshaw, TCR’s Ian Robinson, and Dan Kirby, who joins the grid with BTCC and British GT squad Team HARD.
The 2017 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup will be contested over 23 races across eight race weekends, all of which will come in support of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.