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Motorsport

15 May 2024

Photos by Gary Hawkins

Porsche Club Racers Set for Brands Hatch Big Weekend

Round Two May 18th, Preview by Paul Jurd 

The popular Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit hosts the latest round of Porsche Club Motorsport’s race series this coming Saturday, May 18th. With the Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli, the Porsche Club Motorsport AM Championship and the Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup all in action, there will be big grids and some all-action racing.

This is a landmark season for the Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli as it marks the 40th year of Porsche Club’s premier race championship, and the Brands Hatch GP circuit has long been a fixture in the calendar. The series has supported some major events at the circuit including leading international series and always entertains and this weekend should be no different.

The opening round at Donington Park in April saw two close races for the Porsche Club Motorsport Championship with Pirelli runners, former champions Mark McAleer and Simon Clark taking a win and a second apiece in their 997s. Jake McAleer claimed third both races, all three set to be front runners once more.

Behind the lead three there was some exciting racing, with Pete Morris, yet another former champion, fourth in race one, and James Caley filling that slot later in the day. Also in the top ten battle were divers such as Bill Caley, Chris Dyer, James Caley, Ed Hayes and Jim Bryan, and they will be in the mix and aiming for the podium this weekend.

The newly named Porsche Club Motorsport AM Championship with Pirelli replaces the old class two label but features the same cars and regulations and sees a mix of familiar faces and new additions. Angus Archer started the season in style with both class wins, the first by just nosing ahead of Andrew Porter on the race to the line out the last corner, Porter also second in race two. Darren Labbett rounded out the podium in the Boxster dominated class in both races.

The class features a mix of regular and 2024 newcomers and Jamie Callendar announced his arrival with fourth in race one at Donington. Shiraz Khan stepped up from the Boxter Cup last season and is overdue a podium finish, while graduates for 2024 include Boxster Cup reigning champion Jonny Lovell and Jess Wilkinson.

The Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup features a strong entry and the usual intriguing mix of series regulars and exciting newcomers. It was a newcomer who claimed the opening win of the season at Donington Park in April, Ryan Charters winning race one and claiming a strong points haul with second in race two. Having missed most of the 2023 season Wayne Gregory announced his return with the race two win, and both will be eager to build on their early season success.

Darren King was another to return to the series after a year out, and the former race winner claimed second in race one at Donington Park and showed all his old pace. Third overall in the points last season was Faye Noble-Evans and she took her first podium finish to come home right with King in that race and claimed fourth in race two. Mike Thompson was series runner-up in 2023 but missed the opening weekend with a car problem but returns for Brands Hatch.

Some series regulars provide stiff benchmarks for the influx of newcomers, Sarah Thomson is quick in her distinctive yellow and red Boxster and has led at Brands Hatch before. Eric Bridges, like Thomson, bears a livery also derived from that worn by a Porsche sportscar in the 1970s, and has claimed podium finishes in the past.

Ben Grewcock and Graham Heard made their Boxster Cup debuts at Donington Park and ran comfortably in the top ten for two good finishes each. Luck didn’t smile on two other new faces, Barrington Darcy and Tony Levy both eliminated in qualifying and they will be aiming to make their first grids this weekend, while a number of other drivers will now have two races under their belt and should be up to full race pace very quickly.

Each series has two 25-minute races, the Porsche Club Motorsport Championship and Porsche Club Motorsport AM Championship fields running together, while the Boxster Cup entrants have their own races