Oulton Park

The Circuit - June 9/10 2012

Oulton Park Circuit, Little Budworth, Tarporley, Cheshire CW6 9BW

Location:off the A49 from J18, M6 or J12, M53

Tel: 01474 872331

Website: www.oultonpark.co.uk

Oulton Park challenge for Porsche Carrera Cup GB

Media release: 4 June 2012

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

After a six-week spring break, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB is back in action at the scenic and challenging Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire next weekend (9/10 June) with Michael Meadows heading the title race after a magnificent start to the season.
 
Rated by many drivers as one of their favourite tracks, Oulton Park is also incredibly popular with the fans and attracted record crowds to the BTCC weekend last season. This year should be just as popular as the 2012 action resumes and with both Carrera Cup races on Sunday afternoon, it will be an important day in the title contest for the overall, Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 categories.
 
After the first six races, Meadows has taken a significant championship lead at the head of the points after scoring four wins in the 450bhp 911 GT3 Cup cars and his rivals know that they need to start pegging him back very soon.
 
Fresh from racing at Monaco in the Porsche Supercup race supporting the Grand Prix, Meadows (Redline Racing) will arrive at Oulton Park with a 29-point lead and his consistent pace over the opening races shows that he will be very tough to beat. However, with 20 points for a win, he knows it could all change in just one race.
 
Chasing Meadows, in a Pro category packed with fresh young talent, is Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) and he has previously shown great pace at the three-dimensional Cheshire track. A debut win for the hard-charging Lithuanian racer cannot be far away.
 
A truly memorable victory for Daniel Lloyd (JD Pierce with Team Parker) at Thruxton catapulted the Carrera Cup Scholarship racer into third in the points and he will be expected to be right in the forefront of the action on a track he knows well, while Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) is another driver poised for a debut win. Like Meadows, Barker heads to Oulton Park fresh from racing at Monaco, but in Ben’s case it was in a Classic Formula 3 car in which he took a resounding victory during the Grand Prix Historique.
 
Sam Tordoff and Richard Plant (Team Parker Racing), Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) and Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing) pack out the Pro category and all have the potential to win, so it really will be wide open and qualifying will be as vital as ever at a track where overtaking is not an easy task.
 
It has been a superb start to the season for Ahmad Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) who has taken firm control of the Pro-Am1 category to establish a very strong 31-point lead over Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Team Parker), Oly Mortimer (GT Marques) and Victor Jimenez (Redline/Oman Air). Though Pierce and Mortimer shared the wins at Brands Hatch when the season opened, Al Harthy has now won four times in a row and will be aiming to tighten his grip on Pro-Am1 by extending that winning sequence in Cheshire. Adding to the depth of quality in Pro-Am1 will be Yucel Ozbek (Redline/Marque 1) and Michael Leonard (Naas Court Hotel with Parker) and either of them could be on the podium.
 
In Pro-Am2, Tania Mann (sibsport performance) is at the head of the points after making a strong impression in her debut Carrera Cup races. However, she will face renewed Pro-Am2 opposition at Oulton Park as Will Goff (Goff Racing) and Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) rejoin the contest.
 
After qualifying at 11.45 on Saturday, round seven will start at 13.00 on Sunday, with round eight at 16.25. Both races are due to be broadcast on ITV4 during the extensive BTCC programme which runs from 11.30 until 16.00 and continues from 20.00 and 22.00.

Butcher heads Carrera Cup GB testing at Oulton Park

Media release: 8th June 2012

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

Rory Butcher headed the time sheets for the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Oulton Park today (Friday 8 June) during two very wet test sessions ahead of rounds seven and eight of the championship.
 
The first session started with a heavy shower before the track dried a little, but drivers reported that there was more grip in full wet conditions than when the track became greasy.
 
The very wet afternoon session was severely curtailed after Daniel Lloyd (JD Pierce with Team Parker) slid off at Lodge. Repairs to the barrier left only five minutes of running at the end of an inconclusive session and so arrangements were made for the Carrera Cup cars to run in a further 90-minute free test session later in the afternoon.
 
From the two official sessions, Butcher (Celtic Speed) set the standard with a best morning lap of 1m32.782s. Like many, Butcher did his best lap when the track was fully wet and underlined his wet weather prowess in tricky conditions. “There seemed to be less grip later in the session,” confirmed the young Scot. His best lap was a fifth of a second up on Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) with Lloyd third fastest before his session-halting off in the afternoon. “I didn’t brake really late, but it hit a puddle and there was nothing I could do,” said Lloyd. Damage to his car was cosmetic and the Parker squad had it repaired in time to run again in the additional session at the end of the afternoon.
 
Fourth fastest was championship leader Michael Meadows (Redline Racing), but he ran just nine laps in the two official sessions. In the morning, Meadows did four laps and then parked his car in the pit lane, recognising that there was little to gain and a great deal to lose in the conditions. “That’s enough: the track’s getting slower now,” said Meadows mid-way through the first session.
 
Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing) and Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) completed the top six, while Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) was eighth best overall to head the Pro-Am1 category. The Omani racer was four-tenths of a second up on his nearest Pro-Am1 rival as Victor Jimenez (Redline/Oman Air), Oly Mortimer (GT Marques) and Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Team Parker) packed in closely to suggest some more great racing in the category.
 
With Tania Mann (sibsport performance) absent from this event, Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) and Will Goff (Goff Racing) will contest the Pro-Am2 category and with Barstys ahead by only four-tenths of a second in testing, it should be a tight battle.

Team Reaction

Despite a month gap between the last round at Thruxton and this weekend’s race at Oulton Park, the weather has changed very little. It was raining when we arrived to setup yesterday and it continued during today’s practice session. It occasionally eased but usually when we weren’t on track.

Session one started at 9:35 and allowed the drivers to get acclimatised to the track in wet conditions. With Karl Leonard rejoining the team as Ben’s teammate for the weekend some good mileage was covered. The only blot on the copybook was when Karl had a minor off when he spun and touched the wall on the first corner. When the car returned to the pits very little damage was discovered so he was able to continue.

Free practice two got off to an interesting start when a miscommunication between Porsche and TOCA meant that the session started before anyone could make it out onto the track! The paddock was prepared for the session to start at 1:45 so when the circuit called for Porsche’s to the assembly area at 1pm it caught everyone off guard. The result was a lot of lost running as we missed the start of the session. This was compounded when scholarship driver Daniel Lloyd crashed at the last corner bringing out the red flag. The net result was only four laps of running.

Luckily a third, hour and a half long practice session, was available to allow us to get some decent running. The time in the car gave both drivers confidence in the wet conditions if the rain continues over the weekend.

“We struggled a bit because we didn’t run new tyres,” said lead driver Ben Barker. “I haven’t been here since 2009 in a Formula Ford so it’s been a bit of a learning curve. We had older rubber and everyone else put on new tyres but it was alright. I know we’ll be on the pace tomorrow.“

“A very eventful day in terrible conditions,” added team boos Paul Robe. “Karl drove well today getting to a good position with the car and very comfortable.  We were careful on our tyre use. We’ve got tomorrow and we don’t know the weather but I think we’ll be in good shape.”

Tordoff and Meadows share Carrera Cup GB poles

Media release: 9th June 2012

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

Sam Tordoff and Michael Meadows took a pole position each during a dramatic qualifying session for rounds seven and eight of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Oulton Park today (Saturday 9 June).
 
As track conditions improved throughout the 30-minute session the times tumbled and Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) finally claimed pole for round seven with a best lap eight-tenths of a second inside the existing lap record. However, Meadows (Redline Racing) made it seven poles for eight races by posting pole for round eight, while Victor Jimenez (Redline/Oman Air) in Pro-Am1 and Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) in Pro-Am2 headed their respective categories.
 
With the rain clearing and the track starting to dry, most drivers opted to start the session on slick tyres even though the dry line was still emerging. By mid-session the times were improving every lap and the time charts changed constantly as drivers pushed ever harder. Finally, a mighty lap from Tordoff secured pole for round seven as he became the only driver to break the 1m23s barrier. “I’m ecstatic,” said Tordoff. “We needed this after Thruxton and I knew I had it in me. The circuit was dry apart from water running across at Cascades, but you couldn’t afford to go off line.”
 
Meadows was second fastest, but did the best second fastest lap to secure pole for round eight, with Tordoff next up. “Every lap was changing,” said Meadows. “The pace is unbelievable compared to last year when it was fully dry and warm. You’ve got to be on the front row here,” he added of a track where overtaking can be very difficult.
 
Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) and Daniel Lloyd (JD Pierce with Team Parker) were third and fourth fastest and then reversed their positions for round eight. Gelzinis was always in contention but Lloyd had to push very hard after missing some of the early session when a water pipe detached. “It’s not what we wanted, but it could have been worse,” said Lloyd.
 
Richard Plant (Team Parker Racing) and Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing) each took a fifth and a sixth place in the very competitive Pro category, with Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) and Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) sharing seventh and eighth.
 
Jimenez drove superbly in Pro-Am1 to end Ahmad Al Harthy’s run of six pole positions from the previous six races, as the Spanish racer clinched category pole for both races. “The track conditions made it very difficult,” said Jimenez, who continues to increase his pace as his experience builds. Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Team Parker) and Oly Mortimer (GT Marques) shared second and third in Pro-Am1 and kept points’ leader Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) back in fourth for both races.
 
“The first set of tyres was amazing, but I couldn’t hook up the second set,” said Pierce, who was among the top three overall in the first half of the session. Mortimer, meanwhile, played a waiting game and only used one set of new tyres when he pushed later in the session.
 
In Pro-Am2, Barstys headed Will Goff (Goff Racing) for both races as the Lithuanian racer tagged onto the tail of the Pro-Am1 times. Goff, however, was frustrated and knew that he could have been quicker after leaving his car on full wet settings as the circuit dried out.

Team Reaction

With the rain from Friday thankfully having stopped, the Oulton Park paddock was a much more pleasant place to be on Saturday morning. There was still a large amount of water around, though they were mainly collecting in large puddles in the car park.

The delayed qualifying session got underway at midday and the drivers got to test the conditions out on track. With the dry weather and earlier running of the other support championship sessions, the track had a dry line but was still damp in places, presenting a real challenge to the drivers. All the drivers were eager to make the most of the half hour session so seventeen cars hit the track as the session started. Ben set a good initial pace with a time that put him seventh in the standings. The track was getting faster all the time so when Ben pitted for new tyres he fell down the times as other drivers improved. In the final ten minutes though he was able to set a number of faster times but still only netted him seventh and eight on the grid for Sunday’s races.

Karl Leonard fared much the same in the sister Parr Motorsport car only able to set times fast enough to share the seventh row of the grid for both race with his brother Michael.

 “I’m a little bit disappointed with our position in qualifying,” said team boss Paul Robe. “In hindsight the conditions we encountered today were so different to Friday so for Ben to come out and work in a car that he’s never driven in the dry here and expect to be fastest is probably a bit excessive. We thought we’d do a little bit better but it is all to go for tomorrow.”

“It’s not that great just because the track dried out and we were playing chase,” added a phlegmatic Ben Barker. It was a bit frustrating but we’ll definitely, definitely gain pace tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to it. Position seven is not fantastic but you can race from there and get a few moves done down at the hairpin and into chicane as well so, wet or dry, I think we’re ready.”

Tordoff wins Carrera Cup GB round seven

Media release: 10th June 2012

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

Sam Tordoff was the star of the race in round seven of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Oulton Park today (Sunday 10 June) as the young Yorkshireman drove a faultless race under constant pressure to take his first win in the championship.
 
Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) won from pole while Michael Meadows (Redline Racing) and Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) battled hard for second as they raced nose-to-tail around the challenging Cheshire track. Victor Jimenez (Redline/Oman Air) raced to the head of Pro-Am1, while Will Goff (Goff Racing) took a commanding win in Pro-Am2.
 
Tordoff set the seal on his victory with a great start, but it was only in the final five laps that he could even start to relax as Meadows and Gelzinis were a constant threat. But Tordoff never put a wheel wrong and controlled the race superbly as Meadows had to balance attacking for the lead with defending against a persistent attack from Gelzinis.
 
“That was fantastic,” said Tordoff after a breakthrough victory. “I got a great start and Michael never really got close enough to mount a serious challenge,” said Tordoff. “I had that bit of a cushion but it was pressure all the way.” In turn, Meadows had to contend with the challenge of Gelzinis and, in the closing stages, they were side-by-side several times as the Lithuanian driver attacked.
 
Eventually, Meadows was able to secure second place but Gelzinis was less than half a second behind at the flag. “We were all quick in different places,” said Meadows. “Unless I got past Sam in the first two laps I was never going to overtake him. Off the racing line the track was very dirty.” Gelzinis never stopped trying, but didn’t get the chance he needed to take second. “I pushed really hard and we went side-by-side,” said Gelzinis.
 
Behind the leading trio, Daniel Lloyd (JD Pierce with Parker) ran a close fourth initially, but dropped back a little and was being caught over the closing laps by Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) after Butcher tigered ahead of Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport).
 
Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Parker) made the early running in Pro-Am1, but a sideways moment at the Island Hairpin dropped him behind Jimenez. “My own fault,” said Pierce. “I missed the blip on the down change into second and Victor was beside me.” Once through, Jimenez eased away as Pierce had to defend second place from Ahmad Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air). With a storming opening salvo, Al Harthy got onto Pierce’s bumper, but that was how they stayed as Pierce never allowed his rival any opportunity.
 
In Pro-Am2, Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) led away from pole but an early spin at Cascades cost him time and put Goff clear at the head of the category. “Everything was fine,” said Goff. “But the gym programme starts on Monday,” he added after 18 tough laps of Oulton Park.

Team Reaction

With the sun out and a bone-dry track the conditions for race day were a marked difference from the previous two. With Ben and Karl lined up on the grid in seventh and 14th respectively we would be in for an interesting race. The lack of previous dry running added an element of the unknown as we were not able to optimise the car for the track conditions based on data gathered over the weekend.

Both got off the line well and held their positions as the cars charged into the first corner. At the start of the second lap fifth placed Glynn Geddie spun out at Cascades promoting Ben to sixth place. That become fifth when he slipped up the inside of Plant into the chicane, both out-braking themselves and taking to the grass. No damage was done though and both were able to continue. Karl meanwhile had overtaken his brother for thirteenth through the first corner and gained twelfth courtesy of the spinning Geddie.

By lap four Ben set the fastest lap of the race but two laps later sixth placed Scot Rory Butcher began to put Ben under pressure. The result was a superb tussle for position, which would last ten laps. At times they would catch the fourth placed car of Lloyd but then the battle would resume and the gap would stretch again. With two laps to go, Butcher took the place going in to the final corner and was then able to pull away from Ben to finish 1.7 seconds in front of him as the flag fell.

Karl would lose the place he gained from his brother when he was retaken. Four laps later Michael would hit the curbs at the chicane too hard which de-stablised the car and spun him off. Having regained twelfth, Karl held his position until he crossed the line. ““It was okay”, commented the Irishman. “The pace between all the Pro-Am1 guys was the same so there was a bit of a gap and you just couldn’t close it, so hopefully it will be closer in the second race. Paul Robe added, “Karl drove well and put in a good performance that we can work with for the second race.”

“I just struggled with the tyre pressures because we don’t have the information from testing here.” Said Ben of his race. “I didn’t have a great car at the end of the race but at the start it was really quick so we know the pace is there.” Team boss Paul echoed his sentiments “It was a good race. A little bit disappointed we didn’t hold our position with Rory. A little bit of testing and knowledge would have helped us but we know where we are now and we’re ready for the next race.

Meadows wins Carrera Cup GB round eight

Media release: 10th June 2012

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain
 
Michael Meadows made it five wins from eight races this season in round eight of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Oulton Park today (Sunday 10 June). In a race full of incident, Meadows fended off the challenge of Jonas Gelzinis as round seven winner Sam Tordoff battled back to third place.
 
With two separate incidents of coolant being dropped on the track, the conditions were very challenging and fortunes changed lap by lap. In Pro-Am1, Oly Mortimer held off a big late attack from Ahmad Al Harthy to win, while Will Goff completed a double Pro-Am2 victory as category rival Tautvydas Barstys slid off at Druids.
 
Meadows (Redline Racing) converted pole position into a first lap lead from Daniel Lloyd (JD Pierce with Parker) and Gelzinis (Juta Racing), but Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) was squeezed wide on the exit of the first corner and dropped to fifth place behind Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing). However, part way round the opening lap, Michael Leonard (Naas Court Hotel with Parker) damaged a front radiator and dropped coolant.
 
On the second lap, the leaders hit the coolant at Knickerbrook and Lloyd had a big moment. Geddie suffered even more and bounced across the gravel, losing many places in the process. That drama allowed Meadows and Gelzinis to go clear at the front of the race as Tordoff battled into third from the recovering Lloyd and Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed).
 
Up front, Meadows controlled the race but more coolant was dropped six laps later when Geddie damaged a radiator. Meadows had a big moment across the grass at Knickerbrook as a result and a lap later Gelzinis did the same thing, so that the gap remained static. Steadily, Meadows then extended his lead from Gelzinis, while Tordoff closed the gap in third before Gelzinis responded to hold the place.
 
“That’s been a tough weekend,” said Meadows, who extended his championship lead to 34 points. “The coolant caused havoc, but it worked in my favour. On one lap I ended up bouncing across the grass, but luckily Jonas did the same thing.” Tordoff, meanwhile, was named ‘driver of the weekend’ and reckoned the race had been tougher than the earlier race. “We were all driving on different lines to try and avoid the coolant,” he said. Butcher worked ahead of Lloyd to complete a strong weekend with fourth place.
 
Despite feeling decidedly unwell, Mortimer (GT Marques) drove a superb race to win Pro-Am1 and fended off Pro racer Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) for many laps. Once Barker found a way ahead, Mortimer came under increasing pressure from Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air), who had started at the back of the grid as a penalty for taking new tyres for the race. Al Harthy stormed up the order and closed in on Mortimer, before mounting a persistent attack over the closing stages.
 
“I got a clear track on the first lap,” said Mortimer after clinching victory. “That’s the hardest race I’ve ever had.” Al Harthy, meanwhile, had raced from 17th to ninth in a race full of drama. “I had to push hard and I had to take the coolant as an advantage,” he said. “I’m really happy with that.” Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Parker) had been running with Al Harthy until losing ground on the coolant, but still took the final podium place in Pro-Am1.
 
In Pro-Am2, Goff raced home unopposed once Barstys slid into the tyre wall, but it was still a testing race. “It was very slippery,” said Goff. “It had just cleared and then more went down.”