250 days since the last race in Mexico, that saw Michael Ammermüller crowned as champion for the third time, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will finally get underway in Austria with 24 competitors.
While the start of the year has been delayed, the series will still manage to fit in a total of eight race weekends, kicking off with the back-to-back race weekends in Austria, before heading to Hungary. The series will then travel to the UK for another back-to-back date at Silverstone before heading over to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The series closes out with a visit to Spa-Francorchamps, ending the year at Monza in September.
Regulars amongst missing faces
With the Coronavirus pandemic disrupting motorsport programmes across the world, the biggest name missing from the grid in 2020 is reigning champion Ammermüller. The German was due to run a dual programme this season, splitting his time between Supercup and the ADAC GT Masters series in Germany.
Unfortunately with the changes in schedule, the triple champion was forced to choose between the two, and for the first time since 2012 will not line up on the grid. Ammermüller’s teammate and third-placed finisher in the 2019 championship, Julian Andlauer has also moved on from the series as he focuses on endurance racing.
Another frontrunner missing this season is Tio Ellinas, the 2018 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion was due to be returning for his second full season. Unfortunately, the uncertainty brought by the pandemic, means the Cypriot is unable to line up on the grid with his sponsors having to pull out of the deal.
French Carrera Cup racer Hugo Chevalier has also had to abandon his Supercup programme for 2020, while Jaden Conwright is hopeful of joining the grid later this year after being rejected entry to Europe due to travel restrictions.
Evans sets the bar in the Pro class
Despite the absence of Ammermüller and Ellinas, the Pro class is looking set for another ultra-competitive year with ten drivers set to take part.
Jaxon Evans returns for his second year in the series, topping the timesheets in Austria last week for the two-day test. This year the Kiwi moves to the reigning Teams’ champions BWT Lechner Racing, partnered by race winner Dylan Pereira.
Championship runner-up Ayhancan Güven will be a clear threat to the leading pack, the Turkish driver took on victory and a further second-place finishes in a sucessful 2019 campaign. The Porsche Junior will be back to challenge for the title with the Martinet by Alméras team.
Larry ten Voorde pushed hard for the championship in 2019, despite missing the opening round of the series, ending the year in fourth place, having taken three third places and a victory in Monza. The Dutchman takes on his 2020 programme with Team GP Elite and if his form in testing is anything to go by, he will be pushing all of the way to the chequered flag for victory.
Frenchman Florian Latorre also showed good pace in testing and will threaten for race wins this year to add to his 2018 victory at Silverstone. For 2020 he lines up with the French CLRT team.
Another returning Dutchman is the veteran Porsche driver Jaap van Lagen, back for another year with FACH AUTO TECH. While he may not always challenge for victory, he is usually challenging in the top five on race weekends.
Norwegian driver Marius Nakken rounded out his 2019 season with his best finishes in Mexico, a duo of seventh-place finishes ending the year in fourteenth place in the championship. He returns to the grid with Dinamic Motorsport.
Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East frontrunner Julian Hanses joins the grid for 2020 under the Lechner Racing Middle East. The German-run in the mid-pack during the two day Red Bull Ring test session.
Finland’s Jukka Honkavuori lines up with MRS GT-Racing for his first full season in the championship, pre-season testing placed him in the middle of the timesheets, but expect improvement as the season goes on.
Jesse van Kuijk took part in four races last year with a best finish of eighteenth place, he returns for a full season and will likely benefit for running alongside his countryman ten Voorde in Team GP Elite.
Nine Rookies ready to upset the Pro’s
This season sees an influx of nine rookies to the grid, and they have big shoes to fill. 2019 saw Güven storm the rookie standings (and almost the overall championship) so the class of 2020 have a lot to live up to.
German driver Leon Köhler was the most promising rookie in the pre-season tests, running in the top-ten over the four sessions, ending the Thursday in an impressive fourth place overall. Köhler took part in three Supercup races last year and will be looking to disrupt the Pro drivers this season with the Lechner Racing Middle East team.
Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer already has five Supercup races under his belt despite only turning 19 in November. The Frenchman showed impressive form throughout testing with the Lechner Racing Middle East team, even finishing in third place on the Wednesday afternoon session. Simmernauer is one to watch for the future, with more experience under his belt he is a strong contender for the rookie title this year.
Looking to follow in the footsteps of former Porsche Carrera Cup Australia champions Matt Campbell and Jaxon Evans, Jordan Love joins the grid after success downunder. Love showed steady improvement over the two days of testing in Austria, with more experience of European circuits he definately has the pace to succeed in the future.
A familiar surname on the grid, but new to the series is Moritz Sager, son of Pro-Am front-runner Philipp Sager. Moritz joins the Dinamic Motorsport team, lining up alongside his father. A promising performance in testing saw him gain confidence over the two days, ending the final afternoon session in fourteenth place.
Making history as the youngest driver on the grid for this year at the age of 16, along with being the first Latin American driver competing a full season, will be the Guatamarlian driver Mateo Llarena. While he may be the youngest on the grid he already has some GT experience under his belt. 2020 will be a year of learning, but with MRS GT-Racing by his side it will be an interesting year for the youngster.
Marvin Klein was a constant in the top-ten times over the two test days, last year he took an eighth-place finish at the Red Bull Ring. This year he is back for a full season and is likely to challenge for the rookie title this year with the Martinet by Alméras team.
Matching the pace of Klein closely during the test was Dutchman Max van Splunteren, who lines up with Team GP Elite. Van Splunteren took part in four races last season with a best finish of tenth place in Barcelona, and is already showing improvement this year. It will be interesting to see who makes the most of this year to come out on top of the battle with Klein.
After taking part in the Spa-Francorchamps round last season, Lucas Groeneveld is back for a full season, teaming up with the GP Elite team in one of their five cars. Groenveld ended the final session in twelth place and with consistancy this season could be a regular challenger in the midfield.
Daan van Kuijk is a regular in Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux and earlier this year finished the Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East season in seventh place. Van Kuijk lines up in the mega-Dutch GP Elite team and seems to be evenly paced with his rookie teammates.
Pro Am class
The reigning champion Roar Lindland is back to defend his title for another year, racing under the familiar #20 he is back with the Pierre Martinet by Alméras team. The Norwegian heads in the to the season as title favourite, topping the timesheets for the Pro-Am class last week.
Philipp Sager is the biggest threat to Lindland’s defence of the title and will be pushing harder in 2020 to make sure he doesn’t miss out again after finishing just eight points behind the champion. With his son in the rookie class, this could prove to be an additional drive with some friendly family rivalry.
Stéphane Denoual and Clément Mateu line up with the Pierre Martinet by Alméras team, while racing veteran Philippe Haezebrouke is living his dreams right now, at the age of 65 he joins the Supercup grid with CLRT. Last season he raced a variety of cars including a BMW M6 GT3, Tatuus FR 2.0, BMW M4 GT4, and a Dallara GP2 car.
Friday 3 July – 16:55 – 17:40 – Practice
Saturday 4 July – 12:30 – 13:00 – Qualifying
Sunday 5 July – 11:25 – 12:00 – Race
All times BST.