We’re back on the road north to the venerable Knockhill circuit in Scotland for Rounds 10 and 11 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. After my first outing back in the car at Snetterton 10days ago, I’ll be looking to build on those performances and score more points for the Redline Racing team.
Despite being a comparatively short track (just over a mile in length), Knockhill is a very physical circuit and there’s a variety of corners to test the driver from tight the tight turns at Scotsman Corner and Clark’s, to the Real Radio hairpin and the long sweeping bend of Hislop’s – let’s not forget the SEAT curves and the technical John R Weir chicane either…
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars are incredibly well built and engineered but this circuit on the Fife hillside will definitely test the resilience of the brakes as in between the aforementioned corners are some really short, but fast straights, too.
Since Snetterton I’ve been determined to improve my fitness even further and have been commuting into the office on my e-bike…come rain or shine! In between that I’ve got my road bicycle out on the weekend for a longer ride and it really doesn’t feel like fitness training when you’re out in the open air outside the hustle and bustle of Teesside.
Yesterday featured a specially arranged track sessions from Porsche, so we were all out testing the cars. This will be followed by practice sessions on Friday, qualifying Saturday and the two races on Sunday. Excited!
I hope to see as many of my friends and racing enthusiasts at Knockhill over the weekend as it promises to be a humdinger of a race. If you’re undecided still, I encourage you to come and watch as there’s always so much to do at the circuit with the whole family. Plus, if you're looking for ideas to make a long weekend of it, check out the Visit Scotland site for some great ideas on things to see and do up there. Give us a wave if you are there and tag @johnmccullagh33 on Twitter in any of your pictures or on Facebook. In the mean time though, here’s the official Porsche Carrera Cup GB race preview below the image:
Best of three in Scotland as Cammish returns to challenge Eastwood and Zamparelli
Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing) heads to Scotland leading the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. The Porsche GB 2016 / 2017 Scholar reclaimed the top spot after double-champion Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) missed the previous two rounds, but normal service will be resumed around the challenging Knockhill circuit with Eastwood, Dino Zamparelli (JTR) and Cammish poised to go head to head for the rest of the season.
While Cammish was consolidating third in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup standings with a third place finish in searing conditions, Eastwood and Zamparelli demoted him to third in Porsche Carrera Cup GB, temporarily halting the reigning champion’s charge towards a record third title.
However, Cammish only trails Eastwood by 15 points and Zamparelli by 4. Each driver has one dropped score still to play, which if applied to the standings in advance of Knockhill reduces Eastwood’s lead over Cammish to just 7 and leaves Zamparelli third, 15 points adrift. In comparison, last year Cammish left Knockhill with a 44 point cushion at the top of the table, adding a further 12 points by the end of the season.
At Snetterton, Eastwood and Zamparelli were under pressure to score maximum points and both delivered in the face of increased competition. As with that weekend, the majority of teams will attend a full day’s exclusive testing during the week leading up to free practice, bringing the field even closer together. For rounds ten and eleven, 11 drivers are competing in the Pro category, but the momentum belongs to Zamparelli.
The last time the Bristolian finished lower than second was back in April, and in round nine scored his first win of 2017 – also the first for JTR in Porsche Carrera Cup GB. Confirming the potential of the JTR squad, Tio Ellinas claimed his first fastest lap and podium, while Lewis Plato made his fourth podium visit of the season.
For his part, Eastwood can draw on his 2016 experience when he pushed Cammish hard in both races, and his consistently strong performances in qualifying, a session that will be a key factor around the twisty Fife circuit. Tom Oliphant (Redline Racing) has scored consistently to earn himself fourth in the championship standings, but brothers Euan and Dan McKay (Redline Racing) will be looking to make the most of their home advantage. Both dominated the weekend in Pro-Am1 last year and have a number of miles under their belt around their local circuit.
Also relishing a home race will be Ross Wylie (Slidesports), the Dumfries driver and Rookie category contender sharing the McKays’ wealth of experience at Knockhill. Another Rookie keen to make an impression in Scotland is Tom Wrigley (IN2 Racing). The Donington podium finisher has shown his pace and will want another opportunity to convert it into solid points. Wrigley is joined by his 2016 sparring partner Jamie Orton, absent from Snetterton but returning to the fray with IN2 Racing.
Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) continues to lead in Pro-Am1, the gap to Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing) a scant three points. On-track the pair are equally close, although John McCullagh (Redline Racing) made impressive progress on his return to the championship at Snetterton. Knockhill has not always been the kindest circuit to McCullagh, but he will hoping for a change in luck to take the fight to the pair ahead.
Pro-Am2 has provided some of the closest racing of the season, and holding all the cards is Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing). Despite a run of wins and an edge in outright pace from second-placed Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing), Jennings has scored consistently to ease ahead by eight points. Inching up to just one point behind Kyle-Henney is Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing), but on the move is David Fairbrother (Slidesports).
A first win last time out has catapulted the Rookie up the standings, now just two points behind category podium finisher Rupert Martin (Team Parker Racing) in fourth. Matt Telling (Welch Motorsport) returns to the category after missing the previous two rounds due to an injury sustained outside the cockpit.
Rounds ten and eleven take place on Sunday 13 August, round ten at 10:50 with round eleven live on ITV4 at 16:15. The 2017 title fight is proving closer than ever, and both Eastwood and Zamparelli will need to maintain their form to keep any championship hopes alive. Cammish proved himself a master of Knockhill in 2016, and remains in imperious form. Follow their battles at @CarreraCupGB on Twitter and @CarreraCupGB on Facebook.
Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship positions
Charlie Eastwood - Redline Racing - 147
Dino Zamparelli - JTR – 138
Dan Cammish - Redline Racing - 132
Justin Sherwood - Team Parker Racing - 70
Alex Martin - Team Parker Racing - 67
Graeme Mundy - Team Parker Racing - 48
Shamus Jennings - G-Cat Racing - 68
Peter Kyle-Henney - IN2 Racing - 60
Iain Dockerill - Asset Advantage Racing - 59