Thruxton Circuit 2011

Circuit Map

Thruxton Circuit, Thruxton, Andover, Hampshire SP11 8PN

Location: off the A303 between Andover and Amesbury

Tel: 01264 882200


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Thruxton next for Porsche Carrera Cup GB

Media release: 23 April 2011

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

The 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB continues at Thruxton (30 April/1 May) for rounds five and six of the 19-race season. With a superb field of 24 of the new 450bhp 911 GT3 Cup cars on the grid at the fastest track on the schedule, it promises to be a fantastic weekend of racing at the challenging Hampshire circuit.

Four races, three winners and nine points covering the top three drivers point to a pretty good start to 2011 for the Carrera Cup GB, with James Sutton, Michael Meadows and Euan Hankey are setting the early pace. Thruxton is already the fastest track on the schedule and the new cars could break the 1m14s barrier and take the average lap speed past 115mph.

Current championship leader Sutton (SAS/Redline) says that the new car will be sensational around Thruxton. “It will be an extraordinary place to race the new car,” said Sutton. “The added aero will really work around the fast corners and the new car is purpose-built for circuits like Thruxton.”

Sutton, champion in 2007, is back with a very strong package and has been the most consistent driver across the first four races with three seconds and a third. Now he wants the top step of the podium as he builds a very strong title bid. Running alongside Sutton in the SAS squad is Meadows and a first victory at Donington will have been a timely boost for Michael as he develops his own title bid.

Right now, the driver really taking the fight to the SAS-backed cars is Hankey in the Parker with Juta car and he’s won twice. Euan was blisteringly quick at Thruxton a year ago on his Carrera Cup debut and will be another absolute benchmark. But this is not just about the trio at the head of the points, as drivers like Stephen Jelley (Parker with Juta), Team Parker Racing duo Sam Tordoff and Richard Plant and Ben Hetherington (Redline/Oman Air) are all showing great pace. Jelley won at Brands, but had a frustrating weekend at Donington, while Tordoff showed race winning pace in only his second Carrera Cup weekend.

For category veterans Tim Harvey and Michael Caine (Nationwide/Motorbase) it has been a troubled start to the season. Harvey has suffered two punctures in four races, while Caine’s campaign took a knock with a hefty testing accident at Donington. If there is any track where their experience will serve them well, it is Thruxton.

In the Pro-Am1 category, Lithuanian racer Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) has taken the early advantage and even claimed an overall pole position at Donington. He’s grabbed a points’ margin over Ahmad Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) and Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) and at least goes back to Thruxton this year knowing the track after his debut there a year ago.

There is another great contest going on in Pro-Am2 and so close is the category that the top drivers were three-abreast at Donington at one point. George Brewster (Celtic Speed) is the man with three wins from four races to his credit, but Andrew Shelley bagged a first win at Donington as his Redline Racing team mate Keith Webster ran them close. Steve Parish (Motorbase Performance) should be back in the mix this weekend, having missed Donington due to business commitments.

After qualifying at 14.35 on Saturday, round five will start at 12.10 on Sunday with round six at 16.25. Both races will be broadcast live on ITV4 during the extensive BTCC programme, which starts at 11.00 on Sunday.

Gelzinis tops Carrera Cup GB test at Thruxton

Media release: 29 April 2011

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

The stage is set for another superbly competitive pair of races in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Thruxton this weekend (30 April/1 May) after less than a second covered the top 12 drivers in testing today (Friday 29 April) ahead of rounds five and six of the championship.

For the second event in a row, it was Pro-Am1 racer Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) who topped the overall times, with James Sutton and Michael Meadows right behind for SAS/Redline. Meanwhile, Steve Parish headed the Pro-Am2 category for Motorbase Performance.

Gelzinis shot to the top of the times in the second session to post the fastest ever Carrera Cup lap of the Hampshire track. However, Sutton and Meadows were within four-hundredths of a second of the Lithuanian racer as he competed at Thruxton for the second time. “It is much easier this year,” said Gelzinis. “I know how to drive the circuit faster and the driving style for the new car seems to help me.” Sutton, meanwhile, believed there was a better lap still to come. “I think there is a 1m13s lap in there,” he said. “The balance of the car is good.” Meadows was a whisker slower than his team mate. “We did quite a lot of work between the sessions and it paid off,” he said.

Right in contention for the first time this season in fourth was Michael Caine (Nationwide/Motorbase), with a best lap only a tenth of a second away from Gelzinis.  “It feels alright,” said Caine. “That’s the most comfortable I’ve felt in the car so far,” he added. Team mate Tim Harvey was eighth fastest, but confident of a strong performance in the two races on Sunday. “We changed the car for the afternoon and it wasn’t so good; but looking after the tyres will be the big issue here.”

Well in the hunt were Stephen Jelley and Euan Hankey for the Parker with Juta team, while Richard Plant (Team Parker Racing) was a strong seventh ahead of his first race at Thruxton.

With Gelzinis setting the overall pace, second in Pro-Am1 was Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman Air/Redline) with a late push to edge Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) back to third. Butcher was another Thruxton newcomer. “I really learnt a lot today,” said Butcher. “It’s really physical out there!”

In Pro-Am2, Parish topped the times from Redline Racing duo Keith Webster and Andrew Shelley. “I like it here and I had a lot of good advice from my senior team mates,” he said of Caine and Harvey.  “It’s all about confidence and it’s coming,” said Webster.

Sutton takes double Carrera Cup GB pole at Thruxton

Media release: 30 April 2011

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

 James Sutton was the man on top in qualifying for the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Thruxton today (30 April) when he took pole position for both rounds five and six of the championship. Jonas Gelzinis did the double In Pro-Am1, while George Brewster took both Pro-Am2 poles.

With his car nudging 165mph on the charge up Woodham Hill towards the Club Chicane, Sutton (SAS/Redline) became the fastest ever Carrera Cup driver at Thruxton by twice breaking the 1m14s barrier to secure an impressive double pole. “We knew we had room for improvement after testing, but I didn’t get the best out of my first set of tyres,” said Sutton.  His mid-session pit stop strategy worked well and Sutton was one of the first drivers to rejoin the session after his tyre change. “I got 2.3 miles of clear track to give myself the best chance,” he said after topping both grids.

Leading the challenge to Sutton was Euan Hankey (Parker with Juta), who also broke the 1m14s mark for the opening race. However, Hankey believed it could have been even better. “I had a big moment into the chicane; I locked the rears and bounced over the middle kerb and it was still a 13.9s lap,” said Hankey, who will start second for both races.

Third places were shared between Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) and Stephen Jelley (Parker with Juta). “There was a lot of traffic, but I’m leading Pro-Am1 and that is the focus,” said Gelzinis, who slipped to fifth for round six. Jelley, meanwhile, was confident that he would be strong for the races. “We did a very good race run in testing and we’re in good shape for tomorrow,” he said.

Michael Meadows (SAS/Redline) and Tim Harvey (Nationwide/Motorbase) both took top six places for each race, but there was frustration for Harvey’s team mate Michael Caine. “We’ve got mega understeer; the car is very different to testing,” said Caine who had been right on the pace in testing but will start in ninth place for both races.

While Gelzinis set a searing pace in Pro-Am1, Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) was very impressive on his debut weekend at Thruxton to lead the chase of the Lithuanian driver. Importantly, Butcher did the fewest number o laps in qualifying to keep his tyres in as good a condition as possible at a track that it notoriously tough on tyres. “I seem to have taken to the circuit relatively quickly and I’m in among the Pro drivers, which is where we want to be,” said the Scot. On both grids, Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman Air/Redline) and Alex Martin (Dextra/JD Pierce by Parker) were third and fourth in Pro-Am1.

Making it a good session for Celtic Speed, Brewster headed Pro-Am2 for both races and, like his team mate, had been very conservative on tyre usage. “It was excellent; we had a game plan to do the minimum number of laps to save the tyres,” said Brewster. Andrew Shelley (Red Line Racing) was twice second for Pro-Am2, but felt that a better time was within reach, while third and fourth places in the Pro-Am2 were shared between Steve Parish (Motorbase Performance) and Keith Webster (Red Line Racing).

Sutton wins Carrera Cup round five at Thruxton

Media release: 1 May 2011

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

James Sutton topped an absorbing round five of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Thruxton today (Sunday 1 May) when he countered a determined challenge from Euan Hankey as battles all down the field made for superb live television action on ITV4.

Jonas Gelzinis took the spoils in Pro-Am1 ahead of Rory Butcher, while Pro-Am2 victory went to Andrew Shelley after a big contest with Keith Webster.

Sutton (SAS/Redline) fended off Hankey (Parker with Juta) on the run to the first corner, but then had to withstand constant pressure over the following 20 laps as Hankey was never more than a second behind. At a circuit that is notoriously tough on tyres, Sutton had to manage his tyres and fend off Hankey as they steadily pulled clear of the battle for third place.

The result was always in doubt and at the finish each driver paid tribute to his rival. “We had an exceptional car, but Euan was driving particularly well,” said Sutton. “I was working myself hard because he was a constant shadow.” Equally, Hankey acknowledged his rival. “He drove a very good race; it was just really frustrating. Every time I got close to him I got understeer at Church and lost ground,” said Hankey.

In the early laps, Gelzinis (Juta Racing) fended of Michael Meadows (SAS/Redline) and Stephen Jelley (Parker with Juta) for third but as the race developed Jelley was able to work his way to the head of the pack. “I went wide around a slower car and got a lot of debris on the tyres,” said Gelzinis of the moment that led to him losing third place. Jelley had been forced wide at the Complex on the first lap and dropped two places as a result, but battled back to third as the race progressed. “I just prayed on their mistakes,” he said of Meadows and Gelzinis. Late in the race, Jelley also went wide to pass a slower car and the pick-up on his tyres left him struggling to fend off Meadows to the flag.

Recognising that winning Pro-Am1 was his prime target, Gelzinis was content to slot into a secure fifth ahead of Tim Harvey (Nationwide/Motorbase). Second in Pro-Am1 and seventh overall was a fine result for Butcher (Celtic Speed), who fended off a late race challenge from Ben Hetherington (Oman Air/Redline). “I’m happy with that; it was a good clean race,” said Butcher, who chased Harvey in the opening laps before easing back to conserve his tyres.

Third in Pro-Am1 was the subject of a mighty four-way contest as Derek Pierce (Dextra/JD Pierce by Parker) fended off a mammoth challenge from Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman Air/Redline), Alex Martin Dextra/JD Pierce by Parker) and George Richardson (Motorbase Performance). To mark his birthday, Pierce held on for the final place on the podium, but Al Harthy challenged at just about every corner on every lap of the race. “He was all over me all the time,” said Pierce. “He was really good on the brakes.”

There was more drama in Pro-Am2 as poleman George Brewster (Celtic Speed) was sidelined early on by a puncture. Instead, Redline Racing team mates Shelley and Webster enacted a race-long contest with the category lead changing many times before Webster finally asserted himself to take his first category victory. “That was such hard work, and it’s great to get a first win,” said Webster. Shelley was still only a second behind at the flag, acknowledging that he was losing too much time at the chicane. Through to complete the Pro-Am2 podium went Richard Denny (Parr Motorsport) who had to fight back after an early spin.

However, after the race the cars of Al Harthy and Webster were excluded from the results over a technical infringement. The championship results will remain provisional.

Sutton takes Carrera Cup GB double at Thruxton

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

Media release: 1 May 2011

James Sutton completed a perfect weekend in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Thruxton today (Sunday 1 May) when he won round six to take a 19-point lead into the five-week spring break in the calendar.

In another action-packed race, Jonas Gelzinis completed a double win in Pro-Am1, while George Brewster won Pro-Am2 with a commanding drive.

Sutton (SAS/Redline) again converted pole position into a first lap lead despite pressure from Euan Hankey (Parker with Juta). In the early laps, this pair eased away from the chasing pack as Stephen Jelley (Parker with Juta) slotted into third from Gelzinis (Juta Racing), Tim Harvey (Nationwide/Motorbase) and Michael Meadows (SAS/Redline).

Over the first half of the race Hankey tracked Sutton, but as the race moved into the later stages, Hankey knew he was in tyre trouble. “The rear tyres just went away,” he said of the punishing Thruxton track surface. “Then I had a big moment with a backmarker at Goodwood and lost two seconds in one lap.” Instead of chasing Sutton, Hankey now had to focus his attention on Jelley, who was closing in.

Meanwhile, Sutton reeled off the remaining laps to complete a double win and extend his early points’ lead. “Over the course of the weekend I was really starting to find the limit of the car,” he said of the latest 450bhp 911GT3 Cup. “I’m very, very pleased with the weekend.”

The battle for second was a real highlight as Hankey and Jelley went wheel-to-wheel in a sporting contest. It was finally resolved in Jelley’s favour at the chicane with a lap to run. “Euan covered the inside so there was only one place to go,” said Jelley after diving to the outside under braking. Hankey left his braking very late, but had to leap his car over the chicane kerbs as Jelley grabbed the place.  “The car was really consistent all the way through,” said Jelley, which contrasted with his team mate’s experience. “It was really strong at the start but later I had massive oversteer. I salvaged something!”

Meadows battled ahead of Harvey and Gelzinis to take a strong fourth, while Gelzinis was pleased to secure another Pro-Am1 victory in fifth place ahead of Harvey and Michael Caine (Nationwide/Motorbase).

In the early laps, Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) chased Harvey with good pace, but a spin into the chicane dropped him behind the battling pack of Team Parker Racing’s Richard Plant and Sam Tordoff and Ben Hetherington (Redline/Oman Air). Butcher still recovered to take second in Pro-Am1 and complete an excellent weekend at the challenging Hampshire track. “I’ve made a big step forward with the car this weekend,” said Butcher. Ahmad Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) wrapped up the Pro-Am2 podium.

Brewster (Celtic Speed) always controlled Pro-Am2, with Andrew Shelley (Redline Racing) and Steve Parish (Motorbase Performance) delayed in a first corner tangle. While Brewster led from the front, Keith Webster (Redline Racing) ran second from Richard Denny (Parr Motorsport). That was how it finished, but Denny had to contend with a strong challenge from the recovering Shelley over the closing stages.