SEASON REVIEW: SAKER CHALLENGE
A full Saker grid is certainly a spectacular sight. Photo: Saker Sportscars UK
The UK series kicked off with a successful first year and there are now eight cars sold in Britain. The Challenge, now renamed Saker Challenge with Enduro Cup, also introduced an invitation class which welcomed many types of sports and saloon cars, such as the Chevron GR8, Porsches, BMWs, Ferrari 355s, Ginetta G50s and LM300 cars. This increased the grids and ensured some great competition. The new name has been introduced to encourage and welcome even more invitation cars to compete at the 2012 events.
Saker Challenge with Enduro Cup, having already been successfully established in Holland for eight years, was introduced to the UK in 2011, by JPR Group, the organisers of the hugely successful Fun Cup endurance championship.
The concept is aimed at racers who enjoy close, exciting, GT style racing, in a series that promotes one make cars minus the added expense of constant modifications and updates. The UK’s Dutch counterpart already has over 65 of the sleek GT style racing machines in Holland and a hugely successful and reputable Saker Championship.
The UK calendar hosted six events in 2011, at some of the UK’s most prestigious circuits such as Oulton, Snetterton and Brands Hatch, with a format of four half hour races. From the get go, the races saw some serious competition and never failed to entertain.
At the UK season starter at Snetterton 200, Saker UK welcomed the Dutch teams and it was their very own Derwin Belt who stole the show and managed an impressive performance to take home most of the silverware.
Next, they moved to Anglesey, followed by Oulton Park. Every race was intensely close at the front of the pack, with the winner often decided on the final lap. Saker’s Tim Wheeldon, Graham Pattle and Paul Rose all took overall victories, but had to fight hard for them. At Oulton Park, the invitation class had a strong entry, with the Porsche 965 Turbo of Bret Winstanley tagging onto a scrap between four of the Sakers at the front, but there was no way he was coming past and the Sakers proved their worth, taking the top three spots in all of the races.
After this, was Brands Hatch and the series then returned to Snetterton, but this time the 300 circuit and the invitation class saw the addition of two Chevron GR8s for the second time that year. But, the Saker’s proved themselves as true pedigree sportcars and took the top three podium spots for every race.
The series finished in Zandvoort for the World Finals, where a healthy grid of thirty Sakers competed for the honour of being crowned world champion. The format consisted of two twelve lap sprint races and a longer seventy minute endurance race. Paul Rose led the way for the Brits, closely followed by veteran Nigel Greensall. But, a puncture and a whack from a fellow competitor meant that Rose’s highest finish was 5th overall and 1st for the UK.
The 2012 calendar has now been confirmed, with some great venues and JPR Group is looking forward to another year of close racing.
Series Director, Paul Rose, said: “We are excited about the second year of Saker Challenge with Enduro Cup. Having just returned from the Autosport Show, there is a great deal of interest from people wanting to test with a view to buying a car or taking advantage of one of our arrive and drive packages. I am now looking forward to the start of the season!”
For more information visit www.sakercars.co.uk