2016 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup: Barcelona, Spain preview
Six-and-a-half months after Philipp Eng was crowned as last year’s champion, the 2016 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season is finally here. However, having been signed as a BMW works driver during the winter, the Austrian racer won’t be on the grid to defend his title this year.
With the total number of Supercup titles accumulated between all the drivers on the grid at the Circuit de Catalunya season opener in Barcelona totalling zero, we’re guaranteed a new champion in 2016.
The Lechner MSG Racing Team is fielding two of the undoubted favourites for this years title, with German duo, Michael Ammermüller and Sven Müller teaming up in Walter Lechner’s famous squad.
Ammermüller has finished third in the last three Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup championships and will no doubt be a strong contender at the first race of the season in Spain this weekend.
Last season, the 30-year-old driver dominated the opening round, romping home to a seven-second victory around the Circuit de Catalunya having started from pole position.
Lechner teammate, Müller is perhaps the overwhelming favourite for the Supercup crown this year though. The Porsche Junior – in his third season under Weissach’s wing – was a revelation in the tail part of 2015, winning four of the final six Supercup races to finish second in the final standings.
The young German star has started 2016 in similarly imperious fashion too, dominating the opening rounds of the Carrera Cup Deutschland at Oschersleben before adding to his two victories with another triumph Hockenheim last weekend.
Christian Englehart – driving in 2016 for MRS GT-Racing – may well be the closest challenger to his fellow Germans. His consistency currently sees him sit second in the German Carrera Cup and he finished fourth overall in the Supercup last year.
2016 is unlikely to be an all-German affair however. Sven Müller’s fellow Porsche Junior, Matteo Cairoli – back for his second Supercup campaign – nearly won at Monza in his debut season last year and, in the opening round of the Carrera Cup France in April was lapping faster than the winning Supercup pace at Barcelona.
The Italian though was bested in that opening Carrera Cup France encounter this year by Frenchman, Mathieu Jaminet. The 21-year-old joins Cairoli and Müller on Porsche Junior’s books this season and is likely to prove quick.
Finally, Total 911 columnist (and new FIA WEC racer), Ben Barker will return to the series for a fourth Supercup season. Racing again for MOMO-Megatron, the Brit will hope to emulate 2014 this weekend when he started the year with a podium at the Spanish circuit.
The sole 45-minute practice session takes place this afternoon at 3:45pm local time before qualifying gets underway tomorrow at 11:25am. The opening race of the year gets underway at 10:35am on Sunday morning.
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