SEASON REVIEW: 2017 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup


Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Callum Pointon certainly wasn’t the outright fastest driver in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup this season, but impressive consistency and intelligent racing saw him emerge on top from the class of 2017 and write himself into the record books as the seventh different champion in series history.

In the inaugural Supercup campaign back in 2011, now BTCC star Adam Morgan took the crown despite winning only three races and Pointon’s march to the honours followed a similar pattern as regular podium finishes rather than race victories built him a lead at the top.

In fact, no less than seven drivers led more laps than Pointon this year and he emerged with less race wins and podium finishes than any of his six predecessors to the crown, but it was still enough to ensure he completed a superb return to the series for the now two-time Supercup champions HHC Motorsport.

A slow start for his eventual title rival Ben Green and some missed meetings for Jack Mitchell would open the door for Pointon to build an advantage, with two podium finishes on each of the first four weekends being followed by a stunning top three hat-trick at Snetterton.

That weekend would feature his second of two race victories across the campaign, but a remarkable run of fourteen top three finishes in the first eighteen races and at least one podium finish in every meeting except the Brands Hatch GP finale meant he would secure the title with a race to spare.

Second year contender Green will have ended the year with the feeling of ‘what might have been’, having led the way with an impressive seven race victories across the campaign – only one shy of the tally Charlie Robertson and Tom Oliphant took in their title-winning seasons.

Green Comfortably Led More Races (Nine) and Laps (107) Than Anyone Else This Season – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

The Century Motorsport ace was always playing catch up though after suffering three retirements in the first seven races and eventually finished 22 points adrift of Pointon, but he certainly made his mark with stunning double victories at Croft and Rockingham within thirteen podium finishes.

While it came down to Pointon versus Green for the title in the end, Mitchell will believe that had he taken the decision at the start of the campaign to fully commit to the Supercup rather than miss two meetings for British GT commitments, he would have been in the title picture.

In his Rob Boston Racing prepared, Laser Tools branded G55, Mitchell picked up three victories across the campaign amongst ten podium finishes, with the former Ginetta Junior champion particularly impressing late in the season with his speed in wet weather conditions.

When Mitchell was missing from action his G55 was taken over by Tom Roche, who belied his lack of experience in the car to produce a pair of sensational weekends as he finished in the top four in each of the six races he contested, taking a victory at both Donington Park and Croft amongst four podium finishes.

Another driver who will be frustrated not to have been a real title contender would be George Gamble, who started the campaign superbly with two victories in the season opener, but then encountered a tough couple of meetings before returning to form with a podium hat-trick at Croft in the summer.

The suspension of his team JHR Developments from Ginetta competition forced Gamble to move to Rob Boston Racing for the final three meetings of the season, but he coped with the move well and enjoyed a return to form with victories at Silverstone and Brands Hatch GP to finish the year third in the standings.

Gamble’s Four Wins For The Year Was Second Only To Green – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

One place behind was Declan Jones, who would take two podium finishes in the first half of the season before making a mid-year switch of teams from Century to Rob Boston, which led to an upturn in fortunes and a strong end to the season with a maiden win at Snetterton plus a maiden series pole position and a second victory at Rockingham.

Two drivers who had hoped to turn their Supercup experience into title challenges this year were Tom Hibbert and Carl Boardley. Hibbert’s standout moment came with a commanding double win at Oulton Park, but he could only add three other podium finishes, while Boardley could also only notch five top three finishes including a sole win at Snetterton.

Former Clio Cup racer Charlie Ladell produced a strong campaign in his first year in GT racing, finishing on the podium three times amongst regular top six finishes, whilst championship stalwart Reece Somerfield joined him in breaking into the top six a few times and narrowly missed out on the rostrum.

The Pro class field was completed by Seb Perez, who’s best outing of a difficult year came with a pair of top six finishes during the Brands Hatch season opener, while Adam Higgins took a best of sixth as a privateer entrant and Jason Baker fought to a best of eighth after stepping up from the AM class for the final three meetings.

There was a changing of the guard in the AM category this season meanwhile as the dominant Colin White was deprived of a title hat-trick as a sensational first foray into the Supercup for Xentek Motorsport’s Jac Constable ended with championship success.

White was the early pace-setter with five wins in the opening seven races, once Constable had found his feet he would be almost untouchable over the summer as he recorded ten victories in twelve races, regularly mixing it with the tail end of the Pro Class contingent as he built a healthy lead atop the standings.

At His Peak, Constable Took Six Wins In A Row At Croft And Snetterton – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Constable would eventually take the crown with eighteen podium finishes across the campaign, two less than White’s final tally of twenty, with the duo’s dominance over the class being shown by the fact they would win every race bar one – which Constable only lost due to a time penalty in the Rockingham opener.

The driver to enjoy that success was Jack Minshaw, who joined his Xentek team-mate Constable in making the step up from the Ginetta GT5 Challenge this season and went on to finish a clear third in the final standings after impressively notching thirteen podium finishes in his distinctive Demon Tweeks livered G55.

The Rockingham weekend would also see the Xentek team take a memorable class podium lock-out, as Alexis Taylor joined his stablemates in battling at the front of the class on his way to a trio of rostrum finishes and a top five championship finish behind four-time podium visitor Ian Robinson.

Dan Kirby would show strong pace through the season with six podium finishes in the opening five meetings, however a nightmare run of five retirements in the last nine races dropped him to sixth in the final standings ahead of the only other ever-present driver in the class, David Brooks, who took a sole podium at Brands Hatch.

The other rostrum finishers for the year were Baker, who took a double top three on his Oulton Park debut before stepping up to the Pro class, and Toby Bearne who ended the year with a pair of podiums in the season finale, while Andy Wilmot, Paul Taylor, Graham Tilley, Fraser Robertson and Gary Lancashire also made outings through the year.

The final championship standings can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/file/?f=TOCA/2017/173903ptsg50.pdf