2017 SEASON REVIEW: TOYO TIRES PORSCHE CHAMPIONSHIP


CATEGORIES:

The latest version of Toyo’s R888 road-legal regulation tyre, combined with a new aero package for the Class A Boxsters, helped our quicker drivers set new fastest lap records through the year; in the 924s these invariably went to part-time Stock Hatch racer Pip Hammond, but in the Boxsters it looked like a number of guys we capable of impressive times, including James Coleman with a pole at both Castle Combe and Brands Hatch.

Few superlatives remain to aptly sum up just how dominant Pip Hammond’s charge to the 924 title really was – Photo: Jon Elsey

Overall numbers were up on 2016 and our most popular round was the final one of the year, at Brands Hatch, with a grid approaching 30 cars as part of the BRSCC’s Formula Ford Festival. Our 924s proved the most popular class with no less than 19 registered drivers and interest is already very high for next year, the veritable front-engine, rear-drive cars providing a relatively low-cost but very much enjoyable route into Porsche racing.

Championship chairman Nick Hull campaigned the 2016 title-winning 986, and his season long battles with Kevin Molyneaux were a highlight, the pair repeating  their 2016 standings of 4th and 5th in the Class A table.

Not once did Adam Southgate appear outside of the quickest four in qualifying, the Jaguar/Landrover ABS specialist piloting his distinctive orange grey and white 986 in an often entertaining fashion; it was simply more wins that left Ed Hayes almost uncatchable by the end of our penultimate round. Richard Avery, dogged by crashes (Anglesey) and mechanical problems on and off through the year, robbing him of vital points but nevertheless leaving him third in Class A behind Southgate. It was therefore Hayes, bouncing back from a particularly disappointing 2016, who went on to land his second Class A title.

Andy Baker made light work of the Class B crown for the second year running with his only rival, Matthew Harris, arriving too late in the season and despite improving pace, not standing a chance of catching him. Both drivers are set to return in 2018, moving up to Class A and showing that the “stepping stone” of Class B still works well.

An horrendous crash marred our appearance at Rockingham, all parties thankfully unhurt but leaving Pip Hammond with heavy repair work to do before the final races, at Brands Hatch, where just a single win would be required to avoid seceding the 2017 924 title to PDC Racing team mate Gavin Johnson. Dark horse in a dark car, the returning Peter Smith showed considerably pace delivering a number of podiums through the year. Moluto Motorsport fielded a total of four drivers in Class C, including Philip Waters in a rare new-build left-hand drive car, but it was the young Ryan Lowry who finished the year 18 points shy of Johnson to take 3rd overall in the 924s.

Looking into 2018 and we’ve been awarded support slots at two TCR UK events, one of which will see us visit Knockhill for the first time. John Broadley will again be our coordinator and we thank him for his considerable efforts in making our race weekends run smoothly. We also thank the ever-present Tony ‘Tyres’ Mekwinski who, together with long-term title sponsor Toyo UK, continue to keep us supplied and fitted with R888Rs.

Championship Positions

Class A Race Boxster
1              Ed Hayes              480
2              Adam Southgate              427
3              Richard Avery    373

Class B Production Boxster
1              Andy Baker         252.5
2              Matthew Harris 190

Class C 924
1              Pip Hammond   454
2              Gavin Johnson  411
3              Ryan Lowry         393