911 in Motorsport: Porsche Carrera Cup GB Silverstone preview
Four points. That is all that divides Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racers, Michael Meadows and Jonas Gelzinis as they enter rounds 17 and 18 of the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix, is the venue for the pair of 28-lap races. However, unlike the F1 stars, the Carrera Cup GB drivers will be battling across the shorter 1.64-mile National circuit.
Meadows, the defending champion, has endured an erratic 2013 campaign. After Oulton Park, he was leading the championship by 23 points and looking comfortable. However, a disastrous weekend at Croft left him with a slim advantage over Gelzinis of just six points.
The British driver made amends with a perfect pair of races at Knockhill, before Rockingham once again saw the momentum swing back towards Gelzinis who slashed Meadows’s lead to just four points.
Meadows has undoubtedly been the fastest driver over the course of the season, his tally of seven wins (over double anyone else) confirms that tag. But, Gelzinis’s consistency has proved to be an equal match to Meadows’s pace.
Alongside his three wins, the young Lithuanian has taken eight other podiums compared to Meadows’s tally of just three. Rockingham was a perfect example of Gelzinis’s season where, despite not taking a win, he managed to secure a second and a third in tricky conditions.
While it is not possible for Gelzinis to take the title at Silverstone, Meadows could wrap up the championship if he secures a perfect points haul and his Lithuanian rival fails to score.
Of course, the man with the momentum at the moment is Scot, Rory Butcher. After a slow start to the season, the Fife-based racer has come on strong, scoring more points over the last three rounds than both Meadows and Gelzinis.
Last time out, Butcher (a master of damp conditions) dominated proceedings around the Rockingham Motor Speedway, with two victories closing the gap to the top of the points standings. He is now just 56 points behind Meadows and must be considered an outside bet for the title.
After a scintillating debut season, where he became the first Porsche Scholarship winner to take a victory in his debut Carrera Cup GB season, Daniel Lloyd has had a more subdued season.
That is not to say that the KX Akademy driver has lacked the sparkle of his 2012 campaign. A win at the ultra-fast Thruxton circuit showed he still has the speed. However a lack of consistent pace compared to his rivals has left him slightly adrift in the title battle.
Total 911’s ‘one to watch’, Dean Stoneman was the revelation of the early season races, taking a double victory in the 2013 curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch. However, since then Stoneman has found his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup wrapped up in a series of incidents at both Croft and Knockhill.
As a result, ex FIA F2 champion was forced to sit out the Rockingham races as he served a two-race ban. Silverstone will mark his return to the 911 grid and, although they are faint glimmers, his championship hopes are still mathematically possible.
In Pro-Am1, Victor Jimenez could well be confirmed as the 2013 champion at the close of play on Sunday. The Spaniard needs a 45-point advantage over series debutant, Dan de Zille.
With a 60-point lead going into the 17th and 18th races of the year, the smart money would be on Jimenez, especially after his tremendous campaign to date.
There will be a new element to this weekend’s races too. Joining the Carrera Cup GB racers on the circuit will be the drivers of the GT3 Cup Challenge. This smaller national championship serves as a perfect proving ground for drivers before the step up to the Carrera Cup GB.
Justin Sherwood, driving for Team Parker Racing, has already secured the title after taking nine wins (and a third place) from the first ten races. However, he will still be pushed hard by Parr Motorsport’s Peter Kyle-Henney.
Kyle-Henney only started racing in April yet managed to take a win last time out at Brands Hatch. Of course, his path to the top step of the podium may well be blocked by Steven Liquorish who has finished second in every race this season.
Sherwood’s Team Parker teammate will desperately be looking for that breakthrough win.
Both championships will get separate qualifying sessions on Saturday afternoon before combining for the two races on Sunday. The first encounter gets underway at 10:20am, before the second race (televised live on ITV4) starts at 3:10pm.
The GT3 Challenge Cup cars will run yellow windscreen strips and three-digit numbers to distinguish them from the Carrera Cup GB 911s.