The full Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit hosts round three and four of the 2023 Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli and for the Woods Foodservice Boxster Cup on Saturday 29th of April, and already the season is shaping up to be a great one for both championships. Donington Park at the start of the month saw the opening rounds and both series put on a strong show – and these crucial early season rounds can provide valuable points for any driver aiming to mount a title challenge.
Class one of the Club Championship saw two first-time winners last time out, with Steve Wood in the distinctive yellow Autofarm 996 taking race two, chased home by the Cayman S of race one winner Harry Mailer. Two podium finishes for double champion Pete Morris sees him only outscored by Mailer, and he was a winner on this Brands Hatch layout last year so his goal of being the first driver to win three titles could be helped with a good haul of points.
James Caley took a podium here last year in his 997 and also at Donington Park last time out so should be bang on the pace, while Neil Delargy and Chris Dyer were also quick at Donington, Dyer taking a third and setting fastest race lap here last year. Former double-champion Mark McAleer returned to the series at Donington but was eliminated in a first lap incident that also took out Bill Caley, so both will be keen to make amends today.
Also having problems at Donington was reigning champion Colin Tester. Having taken the tile in a class two Boxster last season, he has stepped up to a class one Cayman for 2023 but was side-lined with an electrical problem and missed both races.
The all Porsche Boxster Class two was equally as entertaining at Donington, with class wins going to Andrew Porter and Oliver Chatham. Porter won the opening race taking fastest lap but retired with an issue from race two, Chatham taking second in race two with Ross Morris, another former overall champion, second.
Third on the result sheets for race one was newcomer Harry Rice, who raced with his car still in Boxster Cup spec after a late class change, while Carl Hazelton took the points for third from race two. Two drivers stepping up from the Boxster Cup have pace and are learning about racing on slicks with every track session, so watch out for Shiraz Khan and Darren Labbett to be working towards their first podium finishes.
Paul Simpson is a previous race winner on the shorter Brands Hatch Indy circuit, while Julian Morris and Brian Richardson should also be in the thick of the action.
Woods Foodservice & Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup
In the Boxster Cup newcomer Jonny Lovell claimed the maiden pole of the season four weeks ago at Donington Park, and in the race held off fellow debutante Tom Andrew for much of the race before losing out and having to settle for second. The same pair were on the front row of the grid for race two there and this time Lovell held off his challenger to record his first ever race win, and their battle should be re-joined at Brands Hatch.
Ashley White took a brace of third place finishes in the Porsche Centre Nottingham car he is set to share with Matt Gough this season, and that car has the pace to be a front-runner. A feature of the Boxster Cup is the option to share a car and thus costs, with the points going to the car and combination of drivers, race winner Andrew set to share with his father Paul.
Just off the podium places at Donington Park was some great racing, with Vikram Sudera and Faye Noble-Evans taking fourth and fifth in the opening race and running together for much of race two. In the second race they were dicing as Sarah Thomson rapidly closed on the pair, and when they both got out of shape at the Old Hairpin Thomson dived past to take fourth, her best finish in the series to date.
Mike Thomson was runner-up in the series last season and returns in the Porsche Centre Bolton car, and Eric Bridges is another back for more. Scot Adams and Perry Darling missed Donington but are very welcome returnees to the Boxster Cup grid. Simon Ruffell-Ward drove the lap of the season at Brands Hatch last September going from fifth to third on the final lap, and is another representing an official Porsche Centre, in this case Leeds.
The series has seen many drivers take their first ever race starts and the 2023 season opener was no exception and saw a number of new female drivers boost the gender mix on the grid, and with two races under their belts Sarah Wood, Zoe Kyle-Henney and Jess Wilkinson now take on the challenge of the full Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit for the first time.
The Club Championship racers have qualifying at 09.00 on Saturday, and races at 12.15 and 15.25, while the Boxster Cup field qualifies at 10.35 and races at 14.20 and 17.15 – all races are 25-minutes in length.