The 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season began at Silverstone, on a cold, bright day in March. For the first time, all the teams, cars and drivers who would light up six circuits over eight weekends and 16 rounds were together in one place. The class of 2016 was a mixture of veterans, winners, newcomers and returnees spread across three categories – Pro, Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2. In addition, the Rookie championship had five young guns aiming for the generous £50,000 prize. The big question was: could anyone beat Dan Cammish, the driver who took 11 wins from 16 races to secure the 2015 title?
In just his second Porsche Carrera Cup GB season, Dan Cammish and the Redline Racing team soaked up the immense pressure that comes with defending a title and fought off stiff competition to secure back to back titles – a feat achieved only twice before. In a season where hundredths rather than tenths made the difference, Cammish stamped his authority on the championship by storming to a record 12 wins.
However, the title was harder-fought than pure statistics show. The pace throughout the grid in 2016 was intense, one lap record was broken by over half a second, and double 2015 race winner Dino Zamparelli with the GT Marques team, fought Cammish hard all the way.
He took a win and three fastest laps from the first four races, and a weekend at Croft that brought two more wins and fastest laps, moved him to within three points of the championship lead by the mid-point of the season. When the flag fell at the end of the final race, Zamparelli had claimed 11 podiums, five fastest laps and three wins, but this was not enough to counter a winning streak from Cammish that covered seven of the last eight races. Fittingly, Cammish took Redline Racing’s 100th Porsche Carrera Cup GB victory at Snetterton – another record.
While all eyes were on the captivating duel to head the championship, the initial advantage of familiarity enjoyed by the returning drivers was slowly but surely being eroded by the newcomers. As their experience built, Tom Oliphant (Team Redline), Alessandro Latif (GT Marques), Lewis Plato (Team Redline) and Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing) all made their presence felt.
As the Porsche GB 2016/2017 Scholar, Eastwood carried a great weight of expectation on his shoulders. He certainly didn’t disappoint, finishing on the overall podium in 10 of the 16 races, setting a lap record at Snetterton and securing the Rookie championship. Eastwood’s performance steadily and surely helped him climb to third overall in the championship and culminated in his first pole position and win at the penultimate round.
As for the returning drivers, 2011 Pro-Am1 champion and 2013 overall runner-up Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) brought his spectacular style all the way from Lithuania to earn a second place at Croft, the scene of his first win of 2013. Always at the heart of the action, 2015 Rookie champion Tom Sharp (IDL Racing) provided some of the closest racing of the season as he fought Oliphant for fourth in the championship. Oliphant proved a master of overtaking, showing consistent speed and finding opportunities where seemingly none existed. His reward was a first Porsche podium and fourth in the championship.
On his way to fifth overall, at Oulton Park former race winner Stephen Jelley (Team Parker Racing) very nearly added his name to the exclusive list of 2016 race winners. Only bad luck pushed him off the top step into a result that was one of five strong podium finishes for the seasoned campaigner.
The story of Pro-Am1 in 2016 was one of an amazing – and unique in the championship’s history – sibling rivalry. Such was their pace that a McKay took fastest lap in all but two of the rounds. Twice over the course of the season Euan and Dan posted lap times identical to the nearest thousandth of a second.
In the end, it was an outstanding run of results – twelve consecutive podium finishes, none lower than second – that took Euan McKay and IN2 Racing to the 2016 Pro-Am1 title. After a challenging start to his season, Dan McKay (IN2 Racing) converted his pace into results and over the last eight races was never off the podium, a performance that steadily worked him up the points table into second.
Getting his season off to the best start though was the reigning 2015 Pro-Am2 champion John McCullagh (Redline Racing). Stepping up a category for a fresh challenge in 2016, the 52-year-old won first time out and proved his experience as the only driver in the category to finish every race.
Also stepping up a category for 2016, was Pro-Am2 race winner Peter Jennings (G-Cat Racing), while 2014 Pro-Am1 champion Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) returned from a year out to lead the category early on. However, in the end rapid Rookie Sean Hudspeth (Parr Motorsport) took third in the Pro-Am1 championship with ten podium finishes, despite being in only his third season of car racing.
Tautvydas Barstys only just stood clear at the top of the Pro-Am2 championship table after a three-way fight that lasted the whole season. Making the most of his 2015 experience, Barstys and the Juta Racing team fought off intense competition in the closest-fought category to take the 2016 title. Eleven trips to the podium, six fastest laps and four wins secured him a slender seven-point advantage when the final flag fell.
One of the three in contention for the title was Peter Kyle-Henney (Parr Motorsport). Returning for his first full season since 2014 when he placed second in the category, and having only started racing in 2013, Kyle-Henney fended off third-placed Mark Radcliffe with four class wins and six fastest laps to match his 2014 result.
2016 was an impressive debut season for Radcliffe and the Intersport Racing team. Despite lacking his competitors’ experience, Radcliffe claimed three fastest laps, eleven podiums and seven wins – the most of any driver in the category – to lead the championship at several stages during the season.
Also impressing alongside newcomer Barrie Baxter (Redline Racing) and the experienced Rupert Martin (Team Parker Racing) was veteran Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) with seven podiums and one category win, Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) with six podiums, and Peter Parsons (Car Loan Centre) who achieved his first Porsche podium in the last race.
Edited by: Glen Smale
Images by: Porsche Motorsport