CHAMPIONSHIP GOLD AWAITS AT SILVERSTONE


CATEGORIES:

Ten championships, including Formula Jedi, conclude this weekend at Silverstone – Photo: Shaun Smith

The “Home of British Motorsport” will this weekend be home to our long awaited Finals Weekend, with Silverstone’s International layout set to see the seasons of Caterham Motorsport, Toyo Tires Porsches, Production GTis and Formula Jedi bow out in style.

With two titles already signed, sealed and delivered, Caterham Motorsport still have four more going down to the wire at Silverstone, starting with the White Group of the GQ Caterham Academy. This one is set to be a nail biter and will swing one of two ways, depending on which order the two championship contenders finish. It’s between Andy Perry and Russ Olivant to settle it, although Perry has an easier task. If he only finishes 2nd, then he’s champion. Even if the man on the top step is Olivant, which would put both drivers tied on points, Perry would take it on countback on number of wins. Olivant needs to win with at least one car between him and his rival in order to stand any chance. It’s not impossible, but it’s a tall order given the pair’s fairly equal run of form lately. It’s certain the likes of Daniel Bremner, Lee Collins, Chris Aubrey and Daniel Quintero will be in the mix to make the outcome more potentially a little more interesting.

As for the Green Group, Rui Ferreira has already sealed his champion status after scoring the points he needed at Oulton Park. The race is now on for 2nd in the standings, with an additional 5 points incentive on offer to drivers throughout the season who have completed a day’s marshalling. Provided they’ve all done this, four drivers will go into combat for P2 – Rob Yates, Will Lloyd, Kieran McAleer and David Bevan. Given recent form, Lloyd enters the final round as favourite after a superb victory at Oulton, but never discount the other three as they will be just as hungry to walk away with the Academy title.

Along with the regular scheduled races, the GQ Academy drivers get the chance to graduate in style. To celebrate their first year racing, a large number of them will take part in the special Academy Autumn Trophy. This is seen as a last hurrah at the end of the season before the graduates move on into Roadsports and beyond. At the time of writing this preview, 37 cars are due to take to the grid – quite possibly the biggest Caterham field all season! It’s a great chance for drivers of both groups to race against each other, some of which for the first time. One car to keep an eye out on in particular will be #7 – this is Caterham’s own guest car to be piloted by their very own championship co-ordinator Abi Hay, who starts her very first race ever on Sunday. What a way to begin your racing career!

Giving the new graduates a prime example of what to expect next year will be the Avon Tyres Roadsports, where David Webber is seen by some as odds on to swipe the crown. Anthony Barnes tops the table, however even if he grabs a clean sweep of wins and fastest laps, Webber can wrap it up by placing 5th twice. One driver sure to give them both headaches will be Olly Wigg, who has made a terrific comeback despite a less than ideal beginning to the season. Olly does have an outside chance of becoming champion himself, however it would require both Webber and Barnes to suffer serious misfortunes to do so. Other drivers to keep an eye on will be Olly’s brother Benjamin Wigg, Steve McCulley and Alistair Calvert.

One, if not THE most competitive of all the Caterham series in 2015 could be argued as being the Avon Tyres Tracksports. Timothy Dickins has had a stellar breakout year, collecting the first wins of his career back at Snetterton before continuing his fine form throughout. He enters this weekend just fractionally behind Henry Heaton in the table, who has also shown his prowess several times this year as well. Ideally, Dickens needs to dominate both races to proclaim himself champion. However, as has been the case quite often this year, more than one driver likes to pop up and get amongst the title contenders and if this happens, along with whoever steals fastest laps, it could be an potential nightmare to work out just who wins! You can be certain that Dan Gore will do everything he can do cause an upset, along with Jack Brown, Max McDonagh, Max Robinson, Chris “Cheesy” Hutchinson and Christian Szaruta. This one really could be too close to call!

Perhaps the Avon Tyres Supersports will be a little simpler to work out. To put it simply, it’s Stephen Nuttall’s to lose. Caterham stalwart Clive Richards may have more wins in 2nd place, however it’s Nuttall’s consistency that’s earned him the position he’s in. All he needs is 2nd and 3rd from both races to seal the deal, even if Richards has everything his way all weekend. One driver sure to provide a catalyst is former points leader Phil Jenkins. A single point is all that separates him from 2nd place now and while the task of ending on top has been made significantly harder due to bad luck in recent races, he’s definitely not someone to count out just yet. Suffolk’s Will Smith and Spaniard Andres Sinclair will also want to leave their mark on the weekend as well. Supersports also have someone new to play with in the field this time – former British GT racer Jamie Stanley in the guest car.

Finally on the Caterham front, the BookATrack.com Superlight R-300Ss are out in force for their second trip of the year to Silverstone – and they have a new playmate too! A certain British GT4 champion and Britcar 24 Hour winner by the name of Jamie Chadwick enters the fray! The 17 year old BRDC Rising Star has jumped at the chance of getting behind the wheel of an R-300S and has declared that she’s looking forward to pitting herself against the best the championship, also in another of Caterham’s guest cars. As for the title? Well, David Robinson has sewn that up already after securing the points he needed at Oulton Park. Season long rival and outgoing champion Aaron Head is set to be strong here this weekend and complete 2nd in the standings, while for 3rd it’s a 3-man brawl between Sean Byrne, Lee Wiggins and Jonathan Mortimer. One thing is for certain, though – with the added element of Chadwick in the mix, this could be one of the most intriguing races to watch.

Outside of Caterhams, there’s still a score to settle in the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship. There’s still a Race Boxster class to resolve and Ed Hayes is still the man on top coming into this weekend. One thing he can breathe a sigh of relief about is that former champion Rick Styrin’s successful 3-weekend comeback has ended, so this can leave Hayes to seal the deal. However, with the likes of Adam Southgate, Richard Avery and Gary Lawrence snapping at his heels, he may not see things go his own way if they’re allowed a shot at taking away points.

The 924 class is already done and dusted as Adam Croft completed his title run last time at Croft. Alastair Kirkham and Karl Rossin are still battling for 2nd in points, so this will also be a story to keep an eye on as 9 cars will be present in the class this weekend.

For single-seater nuts, the eclectic little Formula Jedis will be provide the perfect antidote with their screaming bike engines and lightning pace. There’s still a championship to decide and it looks odds on to go the way of Ben Hingeley. Despite favourite to claim the title, Hingeley is in no position to relax as he will have Lee Morgan and Michael Watton keeping him honest all the to the end, with only 11 points separating 1st and 2nd after dropped scores. Formula Jedis are one of the fastest junior single seater formulas in the country, so you’re certain to be blown away by their speed!

Last but definitely not least, the Teekay Coupling Production GTis complete another successful year, both for their Mk2 Championship and the inaugural campaign for the new Mk5 Series. Mk2s have already crowned Tom Witts the 16V champion and he’ll be raring to go, fresh off the back of his debut in the Renault Clio Cup UK at the BTCC finale last weekend at Brands Hatch. Jason Tingle appears to have it easy in 2nd, although it won’t stay that way if Adam Hance, Chris Webb, Josh Johnson and co have anything to do with it. As for the 8Vs, Craig Roberts looks set for the honours ahead of Luke Wales. In the Mk5s, Tingle will be on double duty again to continue his rep as the man to beat. This weekend sees one of the biggest fields of the year, with more cars expected next season as the series bids to become a full time championship in the future.

So, what of the weather for the finals? All signs point to it being cloudy, dry and a little bit chilly. Temperatures aren’t expected to go beyond 12 degrees over the duration of the weekend, so we suggest you bring a coat and wrap up just in case. There’s a full broadcast for the weekend over here at SILVERSTONE WEATHER.

Also, the provisional timetable, final instructions and bumper entry list are all located at SILVERSTONE FINALS WEEKEND.

Scott Woodwiss