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11 Sep 2023

Photos by Gary Hawkins

Festival crowds entertained by the best of Porsche racing

Porsche Festival September 3rd 

All of Porsche Club Motorsport’s competitive series took to the Brands Hatch circuit in front of a huge crowd at the Festival of Porsche on Sunday, September 3rd, and put on a great show in superb weather to make the day a memorable one. Mark McAleer and Kevin Harrison took Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli race wins, in the Eden Porsche Club Motorsport Open Cup it was two wins for Archie Hamilton and one for Nathan Luckey, a hat-trick of Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup wins saw Jonny Lovell virtually seal his championship win, while Neil Harvey and James Neal claimed 911 Challenge wins, Neal announcing his retirement from racing on the podium.

Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli

Race One:

Mark McAleer led the field away in race one, Pete Morris initially second from James Caley, before a determined Kevin Harrison climbed up from fourth on lap one to be in second by lap five. Harrison closed in his 996 and was with McAleer by mid-race, their battle resuming after a mid-race safety car before fluid on the track caught Harrison out and he slid wide at Paddock Hill Bend and into the gravel, ending the race early.
McAleer claimed the win, Morris second from Caley, Chris Dyer fourth from Jim Bryan and Andy Toon.
“That was really hard work,” said McAleer, “Kevin was right with me and he was quicker in the first part of the lap and I had the advantage in the second. We were similar of pace but have raced together for years so you can trust the other driver.”

In class two Christian Walker was the man to beat coming round seventh at the end of the opening lap and keeping class one cars between himself and his class rivals all race. Behind, Paul Simpson had to fend off championship leader Oliver Chatham for the entire race, the pair joined by Darren Labbett early in the race before a spin, and then by Angus Archer in the final laps.
“I was able to stay with the class one cars and clear of the rest”, said Walker. “It was a really hot race, conditions are very different to qualifying when it was cloudy.”

Race Two:

McAleer was again the early leader in his 997, but this time Harrison was right with him at the end of lap one having made a good start from the second row. Putting the leader under pressure Harrison was ahead on lap three, McAleer close with Pete Morris right there too, James Caley in fourth.
Never more than a second clear all race Harrison drove faultlessly to take the win, McAleer second with Morris third and Dyer coming through to take fourth.
“That was a great race,” said Harrison. “We were all running so close but I trust these guys which means we can get close but stay safe.”

In class two it looked to be running to the same script as earlier in the day as Walker was clear of the rest, but a spin heading into lap 16 saw him forced to pit while leading. Simpson was now ahead but as before with Chatham right with him, Labbett making it a three way battle for the class win.
Simpson hung on to take the victory, Chatham a close second while a delighted Labbett recorded his first class two podium finish.

Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup

Race One:

Championship leader Jonny Lovell was a second clear of the chasing Mike Thompson after a lap of the opening Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup race, and slowly increased his advantage as the race progressed until a safety car period on lap 14 put Thompson and third placed Perry Darling right with him.
Released for a final four laps of racing, Lovell was again able to extend his advantage and claimed the win from Thompson and Darling, a battling drive from Matt Gough seeing him come through for fourth.

Race Two

Again Lovell had the pace of the field in race two, this time clear race long with no safety car interruptions to take his second win of the day. Thompson was second early on but lost out to Gough on lap three.
Lap eight saw Thompson ahead again as the duo battled over second, and the pair stayed in that order, holding off Faye Noble-Evans who closed in but had to settle for fourth.

Race Three:

Unusually the Boxster Cup field had three races in a day, the final one making up for a drastically shortened race at Oulton Park in July and running for 20-minutes and not the usual 25. That didn’t bother Lovell who promptly claimed win number three, and thus pulled well clear in the points table to a potentially unassailable lead pending the official points being issued.

Thompson made it a hat-trick of runner-up slots, while a fine drive from Scot Adams saw him claim the final podium slot to round off a busy day of Boxster racing.
“It’s been a brilliant day,” said Lovell. “I never dreamed of a hat-trick as you can’t take anything for granted but I’m pretty sure we have the championship now, it’s been a great meeting for us.”

Eden Porsche Club Motorsport Open Cup and 911 Challenge

Race One:

Eden Porsche Club Motorsport Open Cup race to date Archie Hamilton continued his winning ways with victory in race one, while behind the excitement was provided by the battle for second, Davis Harrison and Charlie Bird battling in their GT3s. the two never more than a few seconds apart and finishing in that order, Jodie Sloss fourth on her first race on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
In the 911 category James Neal stayed clear of Mike Johnson to take the win in his 964.

Race Two:

Hamilton was the man to beat in race two as he again led all the way to the flag, and once more it was the same two cars battling behind, but this time with different drivers. Now it was Nathan Lucky in the Team Tasman GT3 raced by Harrison in the first race, with Kevin Bird now in the number 86 car.
 Luckey led early on but Bird was past on lap two although he couldn’t get away and the two equally matched GT3s circulated together for the rest of the race, Luckey just unable to find a way past, Sloss again coming home fourth.

 “It’s hard work,” said Hamilton, “So hot in the cars and the sweat gets in your eyes but you have to ignore it. It’s been a fun year, I’ve enjoyed racing here.”
 Neil Harvey was first 911 Challenge car home, in the 964 raced by James Neal in race one.

 Race Three:

The cars lined up on the grid without Hamilton for the final race of the day, and the Porsche Open season, the double winner donating parts from his car to get a team-mate on the grid. That meant the two GT3s that had battled over second all day were now competing for the win, and it was Nathan Luckey who took the victory over Charlie Bird in an entertaining 20 laps that closed the race action at the Festival of Porsche, Sloss claiming third on her Brands Hatch debut.

"That was a great race, I was trying every trick in the book to keep him behind,” said Luckey. “I looked at the time countdown at one point thinking we were nearly at the end of the race and couldn’t believe there were seven minutes left!”
Porsche Club Motorsport Speed and Hillclimb Championship with Pirelli

Joining Porsche Club Motorsport race series at Brands Hatch were the runners for the Speed championship who did three competitive times runs round a lap and a half of the Brands Hatch circuit.
 Tim Barber set Fastest Time of the Day in the 996 GT3 he shares with David Hilton, who was third overall with a time set on his final run. Andy Fagan was second in his Boxster, while John Baldock, Mel Spear and Stephen Jory were other class winners alongside Barber.
Next Races: Snetterton, Norfolk, October 7th.