Porsche Carrera Cup GB 2013 season review part one
The 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season, like the 2012 season that preceded it, finished with Michael Meadows securing the championship. However, the way in which the 26-year-old Briton secured his second successive title differed quite dramatically.
With a host of exclusive photos, and onboard videos, Total 911 brings you part one of the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season review.
Rounds 1 & 2 – Brands Hatch Indy (30/31 March)
The Brands Hatch Indy circuit was the host for the opening two races of the season. The 1.2-mile track hardly features a straight bit of tarmac, providing an unrelenting experience for the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racers.
On his return to the cockpit of a racing car after battling cancer, 2010 FIA Formula Two champion, Dean Stoneman caused a stir in the paddock as he took pole for the opening race of the season.
Stoneman’s best lap of 46.139 seconds put him just four-hundredths of a second ahead of Meadows, who got his title defence off to a good start with pole position for the second encounter.
Despite a pre-race snow flurry, all the competitors started on slick tyres for the first round, making for a nervous few opening laps. Stoneman was able to get away in the lead but Meadows, who had started alongside, dropped to fourth.
Leading the chasing pack was Daniel Lloyd, with Rory Butcher in close tow. After Butcher reversed the duo’s running order, the scrap between the pair would end in tears after contact at Clearways put Lloyd out the race, and Butcher into the pits.
After the ensuing safety car period Stoneman tried to escape again however, contact with a backmarker at Paddock Hill Bend, and Meadows’ increasing pace ensured the Porsche debutant would be kept honest to the flag.
Behind the top two of Stoneman and Meadows, Jonas Gelzinis had enjoyed a calculated third-place, making use of others’ misfortune to move through the field.
In race two, Meadows once again dropped to fourth at the start. Stoneman again headed the field as they streamed into Druids, with Butcher finding a gap on the inside of Gelzinis to move into second.
On lap seven, Butcher made a mistake, slowing Gelzinis and allowing Meadows to get a run on the pair into the Druids hairpin. The Scot tried to stop Meadows from getting through, sending the reigning champion off the circuit and into the barriers.
With Butcher slowed, Gelzinis moved into second place where he began to challenge Stoneman for the lead. Stoneman resisted, eventually winning by a mere 0.606 seconds.
Behind, Lloyd rounded off the opening weekend of the season with third place, ahead of the recovering Butcher. Leaving the Kent circuit, Stoneman enjoyed a seven-point lead over Gelzins, with Meadows a further six back on 28 points.
Rounds 3 & 4 – Donington Park National (20/21 April)
The second round of the season saw the Carrera Cup GB circus head up to Leciestershire to take in the 1.98-mile ‘National’ layout at Donington Park.
As at Brands Hatch, it was again Dean Stoneman setting the fastest lap in qualifying, with Michael Meadows, Jonas Gelzinis, and Daniel Lloyd following on the race one grid. Ride onboard here with Lloyd around the Donington Park circuit:
The race two grid would have Meadows at its head, with Gelzinis and Stoneman in arrears.
As the lights went out for round three of the 2013 season, Stoneman again led the field away. However, unlike at Brands Hatch, Meadows’ challenge was more concerted.
On the tenth tour, the duo were nose to tail, with Gelzinis again waiting in the wings. It had appeared that Meadows was out of ideas when, on lap 18, Stoneman ran through the gravel at the Old Hairpin.
Meadows was through in an instant and immediately settled into a new rhythm, rattling off the remaining laps to take victory ahead of Gelzinis. Stoneman hung on to third, defending the final podium position from Rory Butcher.
In the second race, Meadows made full use of his pole position grid slot, entering Redgate for the first time in the lead. Despite an earnest challenge from Gelzinis and Stoneman, the 2012 champion led every lap to take a commanding victory.
Gelzinis took second, with Stoneman again in third having had to battle back passed Lloyd and Butcher mid-race. Meadows’ double win drew him level on points with Gelzinis, as Stoneman continued to hold on at the top of the standings.
Round 5 & 6 – Thruxton (4/5 May)
The ultra-fast sweeps of Hampshire’s Thruxton circuit are a challenge in any car. But, for the Porsche 997 GT3 Cup drivers, the long right-hand bends put an enormous strain on the Michelin tyres.
With confidence running high in the Samsung Smart Motorsport camp, it was perhaps no surprise to see Michael Meadows take both pole positions around Thruxton’s 2.36 miles.
Daniel Lloyd would join Meadows on the front row for both races, with Dean Stoneman securing a brace of third-place grid slots.
After his best qualifying results of the season to date, Lloyd was the man in the ascendency come race day. Into Allard, he swept round the outside of Meadows to take the lead on the opening lap.
Meadows’ bad start had a more lasting legacy as Stoneman drew alongside into the Complex, pushing the poleman onto the grass and into a spin. This allowed Lloyd to escape into a lead he would never relinquish.
However, Rory Butcher did give him a scare mid-race. After starting from the back of the grid, the opening lap dramas had promoted the Scot to fourth. After working his way passed Stoneman, Butcher rounded Gelzinis at the final chicane to take second place.
He quickly closed up to the leader however, Lloyds’ defences were staunch. Butcher’s tyres eventually fell away, leaving him exposed to Gelzinis and Stoneman, both of whom found a way back passed.
A puncture for Butcher confirmed the podium line-up, while also allowing Meadows to recover to an eventual sixth place.
The second encounter was a less frenetic affair, as all the Carrera Cup GB competitors needed to nurse their tyres across the abrasive Thruxton surface.
After a dire race one, Meadows made amends with a classy display, taking a lights to flag victory from the Lloyd. Initially, it looked as if Butcher would be the man to challenge Meadows.
However, after failing to find a way passed Lloyd, Butcher suffered a second tyre failure of the weekend, allowing Gelzinis to take third position. Stoneman suffered a torrid race after a puncture ruled him out of fifth place.
Gelzinis’ solid points haul saw the Lithuanian move into the lead of the standings, just a single point ahead of Meadows. Stoneman dropped to third, 12 points off the head of the table.
Rounds 7 & 8 – Oulton Park Island (8/9 June)
The picturesque setting of Oulton Park was the destination for rounds seven and eight of the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season.
Qualifying on the undulating 2.23-miles of the Island circuit once again played host to a double masterclass from Michael Meadows, as the Samsung Smart Motorsport driver took pole position for both races at the Cheshire venue.
Jonas Gelzinis took second place for both races, but had his second fastest lap time disallowed for exceeding track limits, dropping him to fifth for race two. Daniel Lloyd took third and second for the races respectively. You can ride onboard with him below:
Meadows had struggled so far getting away from the grid cleanly. However, Oulton Park saw the defending champion led the pack into Old Hall for the first time.
Behind, Lloyd slotted into second, ahead of the fast-starting Rory Butcher, and Dean Stoneman. Butcher’s third place would not last long, as contact with Stoneman would send him into a spin.
Lloyd, meanwhile, was pressuring Meadows without success. Despite the Porsche Scholar’s best efforts, Meadows hung on to take a 0.8 second victory. Stoneman crossed the line third, but was demoted to fifth for the incident with Butcher. This promoted Pro-Am1 runner, Karl Leonard to a debut overall podium.
Like Donington Park in April, Meadows secured his second double-victory of the season in race two at Oulton Park. As was becoming a feature of the 26-year-old’s victories, Meadows led every lap after starting from pole position.
With the blue Porsche 911 GT3 Cup wrapping up the top step of the podium, Lloyd enjoyed a lonely race to second place in the KX Akademy machine. Butcher got the better of Stoneman on the last lap to take third, after the latter locked up at Island.
After finishing ninth and fifth in the two races, Gelzinis saw his championship lead annihilated, falling 23 points behind Meadows. Stoneman’s solid results ensured that he kept the pressure on the Lithuanian, just six points in arrears.
ROUNDS 9 & 10 – Croft (22/23 June)
Yorkshire’s Croft circuit played host to the fifth meeting of the season. Glorious sunshine greeted the Porsche racers in qualifying, as Michael Meadows secured both pole positions for the third time in 2013.
For both races, Dean Stoneman, Daniel Lloyd, and Celtic Speed’s Rory Butcher would occupy positions two, three, and four respectively.
The opening encounter of the weekend was another monumental tussle, with Stoneman making the better start and edging ahead of Meadows into the first corner, Clervaux.
Lloyd tried to follow the ex-single seater racer through however, the gap wasn’t big enough. Meadows survived the ensuing contact, but Lloyd would spin, falling to the tail end of the field.
Butcher had made it through into second during the collision. However, Meadows was immediately on the offensive, looking for a way back into the second.
As the race entered its final stages, Meadows finally found a way through, only to suffer a gearbox malfunction, leaving him stuck in third gear. Butcher was free to take second, as Gelzinis failed to relinquish Meadows of third.
Controversy was the order of the day for round ten of the season. The result was effectively decided within the first two corners, after five of the six Pro class cars were eliminated in a crash.
On a track that was damp in places, Stoneman took the lead into Clervaux, jumping ahead of Meadows as in race one. As Stoneman braked early for Hawthorn, Meadows hit the back of the Brands Hatch winner.
The concertina effect saw Lloyd make similar contact with the back of Meadows, with both forced out on the spot with broken radiators. On the spilt cooling fluid, Butcher (who had hit the back of Lloyd) was tipped into a spin by James Birch.
Butcher’s car spun into the path of the helpless Dan De Zille, wiping them both out. The safety car was inevitably called as the plethora of broken Porsche 911 GT3 Cups were cleaned up.
At the restart, Stoneman sprinted clear from Gelzinis, who in turn worked his way ahead of the Pro-Am1 battle between George Brewster and Victor Jimenez. Stoneman would be disqualified for his part in the opening lap accident, gifting the win to Gelzinis.
At the halfway point of the season, the chaos of Croft had allowed Gelzinis to close to within six points of Meadows, while Stoneman occupied third place, 12 point ahead of Daniel Lloyd.
The unpredictable nature of each Carrera Cup GB weekend was making it impossible to predict a championship victor, despite Meadows prodigious speed. To find out how the second half of the season panned out, head over to part two of our epic review now.