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26 Feb 2020

Photos by Rich Pearce

Open Season in the Boxster Cup

The new Boxster Cup is encouraging members to get a first footing on the Porsche motorsport ladder

Following the second and final season of the Porsche Classic Restoracing Championship in 2019, a revised format devised in partnership with PCGB will keep this popular series in rude health going forward. 

For 2020, the same basic premise of the championship will continue, but all Club members are now eligible to take part where previously the grid was restricted to entries from official Porsche Centres.

What is now established as the Porsche Classic Boxster Cup will still run as part of the Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli, joining the field in its own class for the third consecutive year. The cars in question remain the 986 generation 3.2-litre S Boxsters, close to road-going stock to keep costs to a minimum.

A seven-round calendar will pit novice and former races against each other in the midst of a highly competitive field in cars that will, broadly speaking, be evenly matched. This offers an excellent opportunity to develop or revisit your race craft on a largely level playing field. And with low running costs and a professional but friendly atmosphere, it’s a uniquely accessible entry point into Porsche motorsport.

A number of last year’s cars will continue to race, while a handful are currently for sale on the Club's motorsport website for anyone interested in an off-the-peg car, fully prepared and raced already by a Porsche Centre. Alternatively, you can source and prepare your own 986 Boxster S in accordance with series regulations, which are available here.

The aim is that the Boxster Cup will act as a first rung on the ladder for members who wish to progress from trackdays into racing – an affordable and informative gateway to the Club Championship and beyond. But as the last two years have demonstrated, it is also an end in itself, a challenging but hugely enjoyable series that has thrown up some excellent racing on some of the country’s most prestigious circuits and in front of a knowledgeable and passionate crowd.

The car you see here was prepared and run for two seasons by Porsche Centre Bournemouth and raced to no fewer than 14 wins by Ben McLoughlin. As a Porsche Experience driving instructor with previous race experience, Ben was ineligible for points in the first season but allowed to compete in earnest in 2019. After clinching the title at Oulton Park in August, he is full of praise for the series.

“Apart from myself and two or three others, the guys who built and raced these cars had never done anything like this before. And there were a few incidents: a couple of engines went pop, there was a small fire – but they were quickly rectified because everyone helped one another. It was lovely to see that camaraderie.”

In its initial format, the Restoracing Championship was a challenge for Porsche Centres to restore a 986 and finish it in an iconic Porsche racing livery, with quality of workmanship before and during the season all playing a part in the final outcome. The Boxster Cup will be freer and judged solely on the driving, although the limitations on development remain extremely strict, with the likes of modest brake and suspension mods the limited areas in which a competitive advantage can be gained.

Set-up is important but relatively straightforward, as McLoughlin explains: “Speaking with a number of other drivers, they all set up their cars in a very similar way. The cars are interesting enough to read up on how to set a car up, but you can’t get too lost as there isn’t too much to adjust. And with 260bhp they’re quick enough to get a fair lick on down the straights, but they’re not frightening in any way.”

What McLoughlin, himself an experienced GT racer, underlines about the Restoracing and new Boxster Cup series is its accessibility across the skill spectrum. “Anyone with a lot of experience will jump in the car and think ‘Oh, this is interesting. Let’s play with the set-up and see what it does.’ And someone who has never driven the car before can make it very soft and easy to drive, and then start stiffening it up and increasing the challenge as they get used to it.”

The 2020 season begins on 5 April at Donington Park and works its way around the country across the spring and summer, taking in Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Snetterton and Oulton Park as part of the Club Championship rounds. The final two weekends of the season, however, will see the Boxster Cup enjoy its own races on the Indy Circuit at Brands for the Festival of Porsche and back at Oulton Park for the grand finale in early October. 
It’s hoped that in its second full season, with a full complement of competitors, the Boxster Cup will be able to function like this throughout the year as a separate Club championship.
The registration form can be found alongside the Championship regulations – now approved by Motorsport UK can be found here. Registrations are growing steadily with competitor numbers now being allocated for 2020.