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23 Apr 2024

Photos by Gary Hawkins

Porsche Anniversary Season Starts in Style

Round 1 Donington April 21st 

The 2024 Porsche Club Motorsport season started off in style at Donington Park on Sunday April 21st with some great races marking the 40th anniversary weekend of the Club’s first race series. Mark McAleer and Simon Clark shared Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli wins, Angus Archer took victory in both races in the new Porsche Club Motorsport AM Championship with Pirelli, while newcomer Ryan Charters and returnee Wayne Gregory claimed Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup honours.
Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli

Porsche Club Motorsport AM Championship with Pirelli
Race One

Simon Clark was on pole on his return to the series and the former champion duly led the field away, Mark McAleer slotting into second. That was the order at the end of lap one, with Pete Morris in third and Jake McAleer close behind.
Clark was pushing hard and opened a gap early on, while behind as they headed into lap three Jake McAleer got alongside Morris and took third round the outside through the first corner. As the front three now eased away Morris was under pressure for fourth from Bill Caley, Ed Hayes and teammate Chris Dyer, the latter three gaining and losing ground in an entertaining battle.
In the latter part of the race Mark McAleer began to close on the leader, who lost further ground as they encountered backmarkers. Together with three laps to go, McAleer dived down the inside into Redgate to take the lead and open his season with a win, Clark second from Jake McAleer. Behind, Morris held off his assailants, Dyer heading home Hayes and Caley.
“That was a great start to the season,” said Mark McAleer. “Simon got a good start and I had to work hard just to keep the gap stable, then the car started to come to me about halfway through. Managed to get close then he got delayed by a backmarker and I was able to get down the inside.”
“I made a good start and drove away for bit,” said Clark, “then could see Mark was holding my pace. The backmarkers didn’t work for me, I could have defended harder but it’s a long season and I wasn’t going to do too much. Pleased with second and looking forward to the next race.”
In the first running of the Porsche Club Motorsport AM Championship with Pirelli there was a great battle for the category win. Though only fifth fastest in qualifying, a great start from Andrew Porter saw him charge through to lead the class in his Boxster S, Angus Archer second from Darren Labbett and Shiraz Khan.
The front two eased away and Archer was putting Porter under pressure, the leader having to be defensive into the first corner as they headed into lap nine. From there on there was barely anything between them, more than once side-by-side into Redgate, Archer going past only to be repassed by Porter. 
Porter led the final few laps and looked to have the pace to hold Archer behind, but on the final lap they came out the last corner side-by-side once more. It was a drag race to the line and Archer had it by a nose, Labbett taking third from newcomer Jamie Callender and Khan.
“We were so close but raced with a lot of respect, it was just luck at the end!” said Archer. “He made a superb start, went from fifth to in front at the first corner, great race, great driving, have to do it again later.”
“I enjoyed every moment until the last second!” said Porter. “Angus and I had a really good race, and you can only go side-by-side with someone you completely trust. Still can’t believe I lost that on the line, but we have another race later.”
Race Two
In race two at the end of the day Clark once more made a good start at the head of the field in his 997, Mark McAleer second and Jake McAleer also getting away well to pass James Caley off the line, Caley having missed race one with a brake issue. The leader opened a gap but was greeted by the safety car at the end of lap two due to a Boxster off in the gravel at McLeans.
Racing resumed as they headed into lap five and Clark got the drop but Mark McAleer was also pushing hard, the two trading fastest outright race laps as they headed Jake McAleer. James Caley was fourth and soon under pressure from Morris, Dyer and son Bill Caley.
Just like race one Mark McAleer closed on the leader as the race progressed, but this time Clark had enough in hand to stay ahead and claim a win on his return to the series. Jake McAleer took his second podium finish of the day in third with his brand-new 997, James Caley just staying ahead of Morris to take fourth.
“Have to be happy with a first and a second, but Mark was superb, driving so well,” said Clark. “I’ve not raced like that with other cars so close since I was last racing with the Porsche Club and that seemed a ridiculously long 25-minutes.” 
“I think we were maybe quicker at the end,” said Mark McAleer, “but he didn’t give me an opportunity and was driving well. We have to be happy with the results today and the points we are leaving with.”
In the AM Championship Porter again headed the pack in the early laps, Labbett second and Archer third. Archer got into second and battle once more rejoined with Porter, their dice continued even as they were amongst some Club Championship cars recovering from early incidents.
Hopes of another close finish were dashed in the final laps as Porter lost pace, his car visibly smoking from the front at parts of the circuit. Archer made it a double win, Porter managing to still claim second even though his car was sat in a pool of fluid in Parc Ferme after the race.
Labbatt took his second podium finish with another third, Kahn fourth from Jessica Wilkinson, making her AM Championship debut.
“I’d have taken two wins quite happily at the start of the day – a perfect results,” said Archer. “We had a good battle early on then I could see he was slipping back.”
“I didn’t know the car was smoking,” said Porter, “but I had backed off a bit anyway and was struggling to push hard. Two good results to take from the day.”
Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup
Race One

Wayne Gregory was on pole for the opening Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup race of the season, but it was fellow front row starter Perry Darling who led the field at the end of lap one, Gregory second and Ryan Charters, on his debut in the series, third. On lap two Charters was into second, Gregory right with him and series returnee Darren King next up.
In the early laps Darling was heading a train of cars with the front six all nose to tail, gaps beginning to form as they battled amongst themselves heading into mid-race. That let Darling open a gap, but as the race progressed the pack started to close on him again, and the top three were back together again, Charters getting alongside Darling down the Craner Curves and going past on lap 15.
A lap later they encountered backmarkers heading into Coppice and a resultant incident left Gregory and a backmarker off in the gravel, and Darling excluded from the results. That left Charter clear to win in his first race, King taking second and Faye Noble-Evans, who had closed on King as the race progressed, taking her first podium finish in third.
“That was due to a lot of luck, a good car, and good conditions!” said Charters. “That seemed a very long race, I even had my door fly open at one point, but we had a great battle and it was hard to keep them all behind.”
“It was so busy I didn’t know if I should attack or defend,” said King. “I thought there might be a coming together as we got mixed up in the backmarkers, we were three abreast at one point! It’s great to be back, and a podium on my birthday!”
Race Two
Once more it was Gregory on pole and this time he got away well to lead the pack, while Noble-Evans was another quick starter, ending lap one in second from the third row of the grid. Gregory was able to pull away to have an advantage of a second after four laps, Darling and Ben Grewcock fighting over third before Darling started to close on Noble-Evans, Charters into fourth on lap six.
On lap eight Charters took advantage of Darling being momentarily baulked by a backmarker to claim third, the pair right with Noble-Evans, Charter claimed second on lap ten and opened a gap, although by this time Gregory was too far down the road to mount a challenge.
Gregory duly took the win, a good end to the day after failing to finish in race one. Charters was second, while Darling passed Noble-Evans with two laps to go to take third. Grewcock took fifth with Graham Heard the next finisher.
“The car was outstanding, great work by the guys from Unique Racing,” said Gregory. “I got in front and it seemed plain sailing from then on, everything just went right. It was a case of staying calm and bring the car home.”
“I wasn’t expecting a day like this,” said Charters. “The car was so good, but I messed up at the start so had to work hard and it is a good end to a great day.”
Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli
Race One:
1 Mark McAleer (997 C2S) 20 Laps
2 Simon Clark (997 C2S) +3.051s
3 Jake McAleer (997 C2s)
4 Pete Morris (997 C2S).
Fastest Lap: Mark McAleer 1m14.666s (95.42mph).
Race Two:
1 Clark 19 Laps;
2 Mark McAleer +0.394s;
3 Jake McAleer (997 C2S)
4 James Caley (997 C2S).
Fastest Lap: Mark McAleer 1m14.337s (95.84mph).
Porsche Club Motorsport AM Championship with Pirelli

Race One:
1 Angus Archer (Boxster S) 20 Laps
2 Andrew Porter (Boxster S) +0.186s
3 Darren Labbett (Boxster S)
4 Jamie Callender (Boxster S).
Fastest Lap: Archer 1m17.417s (92.02mph).
Race Two:
1 Archer 19 Laps
2 Porter +6.635s
3 Labbett
4 Khan.
Fastest Lap: Archer 1m16.829s (92.73mph).  
Woods Foodservice Boxster Cup Championship
Race One:
1 Ryan Charters (Boxster S) 19 Laps
2 Darren King (Boxster S) +3.699s
3 Faye Noble0Evans (Boxster S)
4 Ben Grewcock (Boxster S)
Fastest Lap: Wayne Gregory (Boxster S) 1m20.073s (88.97mph).
Race Two:
1 Gregory 19 Laps
2 Charters +3.349s
3 Perry Darling (Boxster S)
Fastest Lap: Gregory 1m19.854s (89.22mph).
Next Races; Brands Hatch, Kent, 18th May 2024.

Race Report - Paul Jurd