TAKE OFF FOR 2017 AT THE SILVERSTONE WING
How will the new-look Race Boxsters fair this weekend on Silverstone's long straights in the Toyo Tires Porsches? – Photo: Jon Elsey
Silverstone, the “Home of British Motorsport” is a place that always buzzes with activity all year round. Thankfully, this weekend sees the BRSCC own the International Circuit for the weekend with endurance racing dominating proceedings amongst a top notch timetable of tin-top and sports car racing on offer.
The endurance racing is split across both days, with the sensational FunCup taking up most of Saturday’s competitive track time. With numbers and interest both at their highest in recent years, a 4 hour encounter awaits the teams with a whole host of new names and teams joining the established competitors. Last year’s champions JPR Uvio are back to defend the title with Graham Roberts and Scott Fitzgerald proudly displaying #1 on the door. That said, there’s a ton of competitive line-ups ready to steal it from him, while new teams to watch include the FunCup Academy and Team BRIT outfits.
As for Sunday’s long-distance encounters, it will be the turn of the Dunlop Endurance Championship by the new-look Britcar organisation. Headed up by Claire and Rob Hedley, the series now heads into its second season under their administration after a successful first year. There’s a 50-minute race before lunch followed by a 2-hour battle to round out the weekend, where you can expect to see fine racing examples from Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Mosler and Ginetta to name a few. With such variety and support, this pair of races should be fascinating to watch as several top drivers test their mettle in competitive multi-class competition.
Two championships come to Silverstone having already kicked off their seasons. The first is the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship, with an excellent entry appearing for Oulton Park two weeks ago. 2015 champion Ed Hayes got back to winning ways in the newly aero-enhanced Race Boxster class, while the 924s saw a double victory from guest driver and reigning champion Richard Styrin, however the man who kept him honest all weekend was PDC Racing’s Pip Hammond. His form on the day was rather ominous in terms of his title prospects and he’ll want to make sure he carries this on here this weekend. Another high calibre entry is expected for their second meeting.
The other is the excellent Alfa Romeo Championship, where Italian flair and exuberance is never in short supply here. Andrew Bourke was fortunate enough to go from rolling his car at Brands Hatch last season to leaving Oulton Park with the championship lead, as reigning title holder Tom Hill had mixed fortunes. Along with the usual suspects in the Twin Spark Cup, there’s also classes for both Modified and Power Trophy cars involving Alfas that pack a little more punch than their more standard counterparts. Overall, this year’s championship looks to be well supported, with some new additions registered for 2017 alongside all the familiar faces.
Kicking off their 2017 campaign on Saturday will be the fantastically popular Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup with its brand new title sponsor. After an incredible debut season running with the BRSCC, the decision was made to sell the championship to the Club, making a sensational addition to its in-house portfolio. James “Jiggy” Gornall added the 2016 crown to his British GT credentials and has elected to come back for more, whilst former Scottish BMW champ Steven Dailly has designs on stealing it from him, amongst many more. Once again proving to be immensely popular, the BMWs are back as the same venue which saw a nail-biting last lap title decider – more of that, please!
Last but certainly not least, we’ve another guest championship in the form of our friends in the Sports 2000 Championship. One of the longest standing series in British motorsport and with a rich history, Sports 2000 is one of the few out and out sports prototype championships that exist in the UK with chassis from MCR, Carbir and Lola usually filling most grids. Classes cater for cars powered by either Ford Duratec or Pinto engines, while there’s room for both contemporary and slightly more historic cars. These cars put good use to the combination of low weight and high aerodynamics, meaning lap times will tumble across the weekend.
There’s a nice variety here this weekend, meaning there’s ample opportunity to pick your favourites and cheer them on. The long straights of the International layout will allow drivers to achieve major slipstreaming opportunities, while the relatively high speed nature will mean a real chance for the cars to stretch their legs. Whoever comes out on top in each of the races, we know it will have been a hard fought battle to reach the flag first!
On top of that, the competitors will be running in what's set to be beautiful weather conditions. The latest forecast shows clear skies, sunshine and a high of 20 degrees on Sunday. What more could you ask for? The full forecast for Silverstone can be found here – SILVERSTONE WEATHER.
Also, all of the key information you need for this weekend can be found via the following post on our Facebook page – SILVERSTONE SEASON OPENER