Donington

The Circuit - August 18/19 2012

Donington Park Circuit - Castle Donington, Derby DE74 2RP

Location: Off the A453, Nr. East Midlands Airport, from J23a or 24, M1 (M42 interchange)

Tel: 01332 810048

Website: www.donington-park.co.uk

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge GB heads for Donington

Media release: 9 August 2012

Source: Porsche Cars GB

The fabulous sweeps of Donington Park await contenders in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge GB for rounds nine and ten of the 12-race season (18/19 August). With only the final two races of the season at Silverstone to follow, championship leader James Birch will be striving to maintain or even extend his overall advantage.
 
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge is managed by Porsche Cars GB alongside the Carrera Cup GB and is growing as the season develops, with steadily building competitor interest. The series gained championship status this year for the six-event, 12-race season and is for the cars from 2009 or before, including the 996-model cars from up to 2006.
 
Heading the GT3 Cup Challenge GB entry into rounds nine and ten will be championship leader Birch (GT Marques), who is enjoying a stunning season with five wins and two seconds from eight races to date. The Buckinghamshire racer heads to Donington with a 20-point lead and will need to build that to at least 45 points by the end of the Donington weekend to clinch the title. More probable is that the title contest will be resolved in front of the BTCC crowds at Silverstone over the weekend of 6/7 October.
 
Last time out at Croft, two drivers kept Birch away from the top step of the podium as Justin Sherwood and Steven Liquorish each took a win for Team Parker Racing. It is Liquorish who is really taking the fight to Birch across the season and his second win of the campaign in the most recent race at Croft shows that Liquorish is still very much in the title race. He now needs to peg back Birch’s points’ lead at Donington to ensure a cliff-hanging finish at Silverstone.
 
Although he has not contested all the races this season, former F3 racer Sherwood has shown excellent pace and he will be firmly on home ground at Donington, so expect him to be very rapid. Meanwhile, making a welcome return to the GT3 Cup Challenge after missing a couple of events is Peter Smallwood (Parr Motorsport) and he is another driver with overall podium ambitions.
 
John Ferguson (ASK Racing) could be a dark horse in the battle for overall wins having shown strong pace at unfamiliar circuits over recent races. Donington should suit the Birmingham-based Irishman and he has the pace to rival Birch, Liquorish and Sherwood at the very head of the contest. Joining Ferguson in the Dublin-based ASK Racing squad is Tom Hallissey in the team’s Class Two 996-model 911 GT3 Cup.
 
Now running third overall in what is proving to be a remarkable debut season of racing is Mark Cowne (Parr Motorsport), while back on track after missing the Croft races will be Mark Flaherty (Redline Racing).
 
After qualifying at 11.15 on Saturday, round nine will start at 16.30, with round ten at 13.45 on Sunday. Both races will be filmed for transmission on the Porsche Origin website and Porsche’s YouTube channel.

Current provisional championship points:

Overall: 1 James Birch, 149; 2 Steven Liquorish, 129; 3 Mark Cowne, 90; 4 John Ferguson, 69; 5 Justin Sherwood, 63; 6 Neil Houston, 60; etc.
Class 2: 1 Mark Cowne, 28; 2 Tom Hallissey, 11.

Double pole joy for Sherwood

Media release: 18 August 2012

Source: Porsche Cars GB

Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) took pole position for both races in a close qualifying session. Initially championship leader Birch (GT Marques) headed the times but a gear linkage problem meant he was only able to complete three laps and spent the majority of the session in the pits.

Steven Liquorish (Team Parker Racing) moved to the top of the timesheets at the half way point of the session and looked on course for pole until, with three minutes remaining, Sherwood leapt ahead with a lap of 1m10.433s. He said: “Fantastic, it’s nice to be back at Donington, even though I only live a couple of miles away it is 2003 since I last raced here,” said Sherwood. “It’s a fantastic circuit and the car really stretches its legs round the quick part of the track. Team Parker set the car up beautifully and I’m pleased with that.”

Simon Blanckley (sibsport performance) was second, 0.116 seconds adrift of Sherwood after edging Liquorish back to third by one thousandth of a second with a last gasp effort. “I’m happy, the lads gave me a good car, it should be a good race, it’s very close at the front,” said Blanckley.

Liquorish meanwhile was disappointed to have missed out on a front row start by such a narrow margin and was left to rue a mistake on his best lap. “Out of the chicane I just lit it up a little bit too much but the encouraging thing is it’s the quickest I’ve been so we’re going in the right direction,” he said. Pete Smallwood (Parr Motorsport) was fourth ahead of John Ferguson (Ask Racing) in fifth while Birch was forced to settle for sixth. The order remained unchanged on the grid for the second race of the weekend.

Round one to Sherwood

Media release: 19 August 2012

Source: Porsche Cars GB

Sherwood took his second victory of the season with a dominant performance in the opening race. As the lights went out the pole sitter made a decent getaway but was forced to defend from the fast starting Smallwood who attempted to go around the outside of Sherwood as they headed down to Redgate. With Smallwood out on the dirty side of the track, Blanckley and Ferguson moved past to demote him to fourth. Meanwhile Birch moved up to fifth past the slow starting Liquorish who found himself down in sixth by the end of the first lap.

On lap two Ferguson found a way past Blanckley to move into second position while Birch and Liquorish passed Smallwood at the Craner Curves. The next time around Birch and Liquorish overtook Blanckley to be third and fourth. As the five-car train continued to battle relentlessly for position, Sherwood set about building an unassailable lead by setting consistently quick laps. His pace was such that by lap six he had a lead of over ten seconds.

Behind Sherwood, Ferguson drove very defensively in an attempt to keep Birch at bay but eventually the pressure paid off and Birch moved into second. He then pulled a small gap over Ferguson who was instantly under attack from Liquorish. It only took the Team Parker driver one lap to get past but in the process he lost a place to Blanckley. The pair then fought over the final podium place for the remainder of the race.

At the flag Sherwood’s margin over Birch was 7.6 seconds. “I was pleased with that and I really enjoyed it,” said Sherwood. “The car was great and everyone battling enabled me to pull a big gap. After that it was just a matter of pacing myself. That was very much my best drive of the season so far.”

Birch finished a rather solitary second after breaking away from the gaggle of cars behind but failing to make significant inroads into Sherwood’s lead. “I’m very, very happy for the championship,” said Birch who, by finishing ahead of Liquorish, extended his lead. Blanckley held on to third and managed to both keep Birch in sight and shake off the close attention of Liquorish in the closing stages. “I’m pleased with that, it was a good but hard race,” said Blanckley. Liquorish was fourth whilst behind him Ferguson and Smallwood scrapped for fifth position right until the final corner of the last lap when Smallwood jinked out of the slipstream and encouraged Ferguson to leave his braking a fraction too late, which allowed Smallwood through for fifth. Tom Hallissey finished seventh in his Class Two car.

Results

Round nine: 1 Justin Sherwood; 2 James Birch; 3 Simon Blanckley. Class Two: 1 Tom Hallissey. Fastest lap: Sherwood 1m11.240s (100.00mph).

Sherwood takes double on home soil

Media release: 19 August 2012

Source: Porsche Cars GB

For Sherwood, Sunday’s race was pretty much a re-run as high ambient temperatures made it tough for the drivers. Sherwood got away from the start as his rivals battled mightily for second as five cars initially ran in very close formation to make a great spectacle for the crowd.

The fast starting Smallwood cut the early pace in second, but Liquorish had nailed the start this time and ran third before diving into second at the Old Hairpin on the third lap. Next it was Birch, up from the tail of the grid, who was challenging Smallwood and once ahead the championship leader set off after Liquorish. After a dogged pursuit, Birch grabbed second place at Redgate, but Liquorish immediately re-challenged and went back ahead as Birch ran wide onto the grass at the Old Hairpin.

Once again Birch set about hunting Liquorish down, but he ran out of laps and Liquorish took a well-deserved second place. However, up front, Sherwood had been dominant and won in style to the delight of many family and friends. “It seemed a bit harder this time,” admitted Sherwood. “I had a moment at the Old Hairpin, but I was able to pull away in the first couple of laps.”

“I did have to work for that,” said Liquorish after a fine performance. “It was a good battle with James and when he passed me I just tried to keep him under pressure.” Birch, meanwhile, takes a 22-point championship lead into the final two races. ”I had the speed to take second,” said Birch. “I was just too eager to get away from Steven and pushed too hard.”

Ferguson raced hard to take fourth, but had to fend off the recovering Blanckley as the Newcastle driver battled back after a mid-race moment, while Smallwood took sixth. Mark Cowne (Team Parker Racing) dashed back from holiday to join the grid on Sunday and finished seventh on his Donington debut, while Hallissey again took Class Two.

Results

Round ten: 1 Justin Sherwood; 2 Steven Liquorish; 3 James Birch. Class Two: 1 Tom Hallissey. Fastest lap: Sherwood 1m10.843s (100.56mph).

Provisional overall points after round ten:

1 Birch 183; 2 Liquorish 161; 3 Sherwood 107; 4 Cowne 99; 5 Ferguson 93; 6 Smallwood 79; etc.

Final rounds: Silverstone, 6/7 October