Porsche Carrera Cup GB: Brands Hatch GP, rounds fifteen and sixteen

Porsche Carrera Cup GB: Brands Hatch GP, rounds fifteen and sixteen

Three champions line up for no-holds-barred finale

Porsche Carrera Cup GB, the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK, travels to Kent for a no-holds-barred season finale with the 2014, 2018 and 2019 champions as part of a bolstered grid of over 20 cars. While the Pro and Am category titles may have been decided, fierce battles still rage in the Pro-Am, Rookie and Team categories.

The challenging 2.4-mile Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit will play its part in deciding the remaining championships during the final weekend of 2019, the outcome of the Team championship being equally anticipated. As the race transporters unpack in Kent, JTR will enjoy a lead of 35 points over local team Motorbase Performance, with Amigos Redline Racing sitting a further five points adrift.

With a maximum 44 points still available across the two points-scoring drivers in each team, JTR (Dan Harper and Jamie Orton) has the advantage when it comes to defending its 2018 crown. However, Motorbase Performance (Lewis Plato and Dan Vaughan) and Amigos Redline Racing (George Gamble and Seb Perez) have top challengers keen to bank as many points as possible.

Following the championship's penultimate weekend at Silverstone, 18-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) was crowned 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion – the youngest in the championship’s history. In the same weekend, Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) was declared Am category champion.

Rounds thirteen and fourteen saw several familiar and new faces join the championship for the remaining rounds, propelling the grid the highest level since 2016. Leading the returnees was reigning 2018 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Tio Ellinas (Redline Racing), the Cypriot conducting a dual campaign between Porsche Carrera Cup GB and Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup for the remainder of the season. Ellinas made a spectacular impact in round fourteen, having been on the receiving end of one in round thirteen, mixing with the established front runners to finish second after a charge back through the pack – underlining his undoubted speed.

Another returnee making a proud return at Silverstone was Ross Wylie (IN2 Racing). Despite not having competed in the championship since 2017, the Scotsman made the right call on tyres to charge through from eleventh on the grid to second in race one. Race two proved it was no chance result, fifth in tricky conditions showing Wylie will be a contender at Brands Hatch although ineligible to score points.

Three newcomers all enjoyed noteworthy debuts at Silverstone: Pro-Am category driver Aaron Mason (Team Connect it), and Am runners Lucky Khera (Team Parker Racing) and Lee Frost (Team Parker Racing) – Mason taking two category victories and Khera initially leading race two overall. All three are ineligible to score championship points, but will be looking to make their presence felt once more.

Mixed weather conditions for round thirteen delivered a slippery circuit which saw Dan Harper finish seventh overall, the highest placed driver on slick tyres. The result, netting him 10 points for second in the Pro category, was enough to see him crowned as 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion. However, Harper's work is not done – at Brands Hatch he needs to assist JTR in securing the coveted Team championship, while the record-breaking teenager will want to underline his form as he eyes his next move up the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid.

Now four times a race winner in 2019, George Gamble (Amigos Redline Racing) enjoyed the most successful weekend of his Porsche Carrera Cup GB career at Silverstone, becoming one of only two drivers to take double victory in a weekend since the introduction of a reverse grid race two at the start of 2018. Gamble's dominant performance across the difficult conditions of rounds thirteen and fourteen accelerated him up the Pro category standings, the 23-year old arriving in Kent sitting in second spot just one point ahead of Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing). As three drivers race for second place in the Pro category, there is more than just glory at stake - £10,000 in prize money separates second and third places.

Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) made a dramatic return to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB for rounds three and four at Donington Park, and the 2014 champion has not disappointed since. On his way to a podium finish in round fourteen, Webster enjoyed battles with 2018 champion Ellinas and 2019 champion Harper. Following Gamble's haul of points at Silverstone, Webster maintains third in the Pro championship battle having passed Lewis Plato (Motorbase Performance). Just one point separates Webster from Gamble, meaning the pair will resolve their fight at Brands Hatch. Webster's best result on the Grand Prix circuit stands as a pair of second-placed finishes in 2014.

Round six winner Lewis Plato, fourth in the standings, endured a difficult weekend at Silverstone but currently sits just eight points behind Gamble and seven behind rival Webster going into the Brands Hatch finale. Plato has chalked-up an impressive eight podium appearances in 2019, and returns to the scene of a victory in 2018 – taking the win in race one ahead of Ellinas, a result he will want to repeat to climb back ahead of his challengers.

Like team mate Plato, Dan Vaughan (Motorbase Performance) had a troubled Silverstone weekend with retirement in race one and a thirteenth-placed finish in race two. Vaughan has recorded two podium results so far this season – at Croft and Silverstone Grand Prix – and stood on the Pro-Am category podium at Brands Hatch Grand Prix in 2018. Now a Pro category runner, the 22-year-old from Hampshire will want to close his season with a strong result.

Closely matched rivals Vaughan and Seb Perez (Amigos Redline Racing) carried their Pro-Am category battle into Pro category campaigns this season and, like his rival, Perez has made two podium appearances in 2019. Going into the Silverstone weekend, Perez had a four point deficit to Vaughan for fifth in the championship standings but, despite suffering a tricky Silverstone weekend himself, the 20-year old has reduced that gap to just two points. At the Brands Hatch Grand Prix weekend in 2018, both Vaughan and Perez scored one second place Pro-Am category finish and one non-score, further underlining the parallels in their Porsche Carrera Cup GB careers.

A sixth place finish in round fourteen at Silverstone moved Welshman Tom Roche (Rob Boston Racing) to within striking distance of both Perez and Vaughan in the Pro category championship standings. The current Rookie championship leader has already proved himself to be fast in wet weather conditions, first shown by his memorable performance in the rain at Thruxton. Likewise, a staunch defence of a reverse grid pole position at Oulton Park showed the 32-year-old can also be a force in the dry.

Jamie Orton (JTR) split his 2019 season between Pro and Pro-Am category campaigns, as a result he has accrued points in both categories this season. Since moving into the Pro category mid-season, Orton's best result has been second in round eight at Croft, the 39-year old continuing to be a regular feature in close and exciting battles.

In the Pro-Am battle, experienced racer Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) – who has competed in more than 50 races since making his championship debut in 2008 – increased his lead at Silverstone following a qualifying performance that netted the flying Dubliner third overall. The 43-year-old now enjoys a 13 point advantage over Rookie Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing) and a 16 point gap ahead of Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques), meaning that the Brands Hatch Grand Prix weekend will host a Pro-Am title showdown between the three. The trio will battle for the top category prize fund of £7,000 and the use of a Porsche for one year, £4,000 for second and £2,000 for third.

Rookie Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing) faces two important fights on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix weekend. The 19-year old can not only usurp Leonard for Pro-Am championship honours, but also topple Roche in the Rookie championship. The top-placed Rookie receives £35,000, with £15,000 for the driver in second, meaning that McCarthy could potentially receive a maximum £42,000 championship reward at his home circuit if he takes both categories. Whenever he has taken the chequered flag in 2019, McCarthy has finished no lower than fourth in category, recording an impressive total of 11 category podium appearances from 14 races.

Kent-based Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques) has slipped from the category lead she held mid-season to third in the Pro-Am rankings, demonstrating how close-fought Pro-Am has been in 2019. While the Oulton Park and Silverstone Grand Prix weekends netted strong results, Hawkey's return to Silverstone last time out saw her suffer a frustrating DNF in round fourteen. The 21-year-old, who conducted a dual campaign in Porsche Carrera Cup GB and W Series in 2019, now sits 13 points adrift of Pro-Am category leader Leonard, but will be confident that a home advantage can help her quest for category honours.

Rookie Adam Hatfield (Valluga) was involved in an incident that led to his retirement in round thirteen, only his fifth race in the championship, but he recovered to place fourth in Pro-Am in round fourteen and posted the fastest lap in category. The 21-year old from Norfolk has competed in three Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekends to date and continues to adapt well to the unique challenges of the championship.

Sam Brabham (Team Connect it) continued to impress at Silverstone, notching up another category podium appearance. Across the six races he has undertaken in Porsche Carrera Cup GB in 2019, Brabham has taken one category victory, one second and two third place finishes. The 24-year-old third-generation racing driver continues the Brabham family racing tradition in the footsteps of father David and grandfather Sir Jack Brabham – three times Formula One World Champion.

Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) has an unbroken record of Am category podium appearances in 2019, securing him the Am category title at the penultimate weekend. Sherwood's experience shone through at Silverstone, the 43-year old opting for the correct tyre strategy in mixed conditions to finish round thirteen an incredible third overall. That stand-out performance was followed up with seventh overall in round fourteen, underlining the Loughborough-based driver's raw ability.

Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing), the championship's most successful Am category driver with 27 wins, finished race one at Silverstone in an impressive fifth overall and second in category. In round fourteen he added another second in category to his tally of Am category podium appearances in 2019 – now 11 from 14 races. At Brands Hatch, Kyle-Henney cannot catch champion Sherwood in the Am standings, but he has now moved into second position in the season's rankings – a position he looks almost certain to retain as the year comes to a close.

Rookie Adam Knight (JTR) returned to Porsche Carrera Cup GB for the Silverstone Grand Prix weekend, where he secured two category podium appearances with new team, JTR. The 45-year old added to that tally upon his return to Silverstone last time out, recording a podium finish in round fourteen and looking most likely to challenge the newcomers to the category – Frost and Khera.

Returning to the championship for the first time since 2018 at the Silverstone Grand Prix weekend, Yorkshireman Fraser Robertson (Redline Racing) continued to reacquainting himself with Porsche Carrera Cup GB racing during the Silverstone National weekend, mixing with adversaries old and new.

Follow the lead up to rounds fifteen and sixteen via Twitter at @CarreraCupGB.