The Circuit - October 6/7 2012

Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire NN12 8TN 
Location: Next to A43, from J15A M1 or J10, M40 

Tel: 0844 3728 260


Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge GB finale at Silverstone

Media release: 1st October 2012

Source: Porsche Cars GB

The weekend of 6/7 October marks the biggest date so far in the history of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge GB as the final two rounds of the season put the drivers in action on the BTCC-supporting programme at Silverstone.
The GT3 Cup Challenge GB is managed by Porsche Cars GB alongside the Carrera Cup GB and has grown steadily across the season. The six-event, 12-race championship is for the Carrera Cup cars from 2009 or before, including the 996-model cars from up to 2006.
Now, for the final two races, the championship steps up to join the Carrera Cup on the BTCC support programme and, with the overall title to be decided by Sunday morning, it promises to be a fitting finale to the season.
Heading the entry into the final two rounds is championship leader James Birch (GT Marques), who has enjoyed a stunning season with five wins, three seconds and a third from 10 races to date. The Buckinghamshire racer heads to Silverstone with a 22-point lead and two more podiums would be enough to claim the title.  “I’m really looking forward to the weekend and, touch wood, wrapping up the championship,” said the former single-seater racer. “I just need to finish and beat Steve,” he added.
The Steve that Birch needs to be beat is Steven Liquorish (Team Parker Racing), who has claimed six podiums during a cracking season to be the only driver now in a position to come between Birch and the title. “Anything can happen yet in the last two races,” said Liquorish. “It’s going to be very tight on the National circuit.”
With three wins from the last four races, Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) is the man on top form right now. The former F3 racer missed a couple of races earlier in the season so is not in the overall title race, but is more than capable of winning again, while John Ferguson (ASK Racing) and local racer Peter Smallwood (Parr Motorsport) are both podium contenders.
Running fourth overall in a remarkable debut season of racing is Mark Cowne (Parr Motorsport), while new to the grid for Silverstone will be young Harry Whale (IN2Racing) and Nick Staveley (sibsport performance). Harry, the son of experienced all-rounder Nick, is showing great form at this early stage of his racing career, while Staveley makes a welcome return to racing after a five-year sabbatical.
After qualifying at 09.00 on Saturday, round 11 will start at 17.35, with round 12 at 10.25 on Sunday. Coverage of round 12 will be shown during the live BTCC programme on ITV4, which runs from 11am to 6pm.
Current provisional championship points:
Overall: 1 James Birch, 183; 2 Steven Liquorish, 161; 3 Justin Sherwood, 107; 4 Mark Cowne, 99; 5 John Ferguson, 93; 6 Peter Smallwood, 79; etc.
Class 2: 1 Tom Hallissey, 32; 2 Mark Cowne, 28.

Whale takes double pole

Media release: 6th October 2012

Source: Porsche Cars GB

The drivers had to deal with tricky conditions during the 20-minute qualifying session as heavy overnight rain left the track damp but drying and everyone elected to run wet tyres for the entire session. It was Harry Whale (IN2Racing), making his debut in the series, who topped the timesheets setting a best lap of 1m03.219s to secure pole position by a third of a second. “Fantastic! I was pleased it was wet, I knew going into it that it’d be better for me than if it was dry and it proved that way,” he said. Steven Liquorish (Team Parker Racing) was second fastest for both races but claimed the two points for pole position as Whale was not scoring points a guest driver in the championship. “Pleased with that,” said Liquorish. “Stuart Parker set the car up fantastically, all credit to Team Parker again: a great car underneath me,” he added. Championship leader Birch (GT Marques) was third quickest for both races, lapping within a tenth of Liquorish on both his fastest and second fastest laps. Double winner last time out at Donington, Justin Sherwood, (Team Parker Racing) was fourth with Pete Smallwood (Parr Motorsport) rounding out the top five.

Sherwood wins from Birch and Whale

Media release: 6th October 2012

Source: Porsche Cars GB

As the race got underway polesitter Whale made a tardy start – his first standing start - while from the second row Sherwood hooked up a near perfect start to pull alongside Liquorish and into the lead by the time he reached Copse corner. Birch maintained third ahead of John Ferguson (ASK Racing) as Whale found himself fifth by the end of the first lap. Further back, contact between Guy Riall (Almara Racing) and Neil Houston (Team Parker Racing) at Copse ruined both of their races as the damage to Riall’s car caused him to retire instantly while Houston limped back to the pits with a puncture and consequently rejoined a lap down on the leaders.

The safety car was deployed while the marshals moved Riall’s stranded car and Sherwood judged the restart perfectly to pull a decent gap over Liquorish and the rest of the chasing pack. It was then confirmed that Liquorish had been given a ten-second penalty for a false start. That meant as long as Birch stayed within ten seconds of Liquorish by the finish he would be champion. However, unaware of the penalty, Birch pressed Liquorish and found a way through on lap nine and set off after Sherwood. Although initially the gap decreased, Sherwood had enough in hand to keep the gap to Birch at around two seconds and in the later stages he was able to pull further clear, taking the gap to over four seconds at the flag. He said: “It’s fantastic. I wasn’t expecting to win to be honest, starting from fourth. Steve, James and Harry are all quick lads in front of me but I had a cracking start.”

Finishing in second Birch was confirmed as champion. “So, so pleased to win the championship, I’m lost for words a bit to be honest,” said Birch. “Massive thanks to GT Marques for a great end to the season and for being great support.”

Completing the podium was Whale who battled back to finish third at the flag. “I’m thrilled to be on the podium for my first race in the GT3 Cup Challenge,” he said. “Considering I started on pole I am perhaps a bit disappointed, I think it was my start but I’ve never started one of these cars before.”

Ferguson crossed the line fourth just half a second clear of Smallwood but the positions were reversed after the race as Ferguson was given a five-second penalty for exceeding the track limits. Liquorish rounded off the top six courtesy of his time penalty and a spin midway through the race. In Class 2 Tom Hallissey (ASK Racing) took the honours, recording a top ten finish in the process. “I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the race,” said Hallissey. “During the race we improved on our times from testing on Wednesday by a few seconds so we’re heading in the right direction.” 

Round 11: 1 Justin Sherwood; 2 James Birch; 3 Harry Whale. Class Two: 1 Tom Hallissey. Fastest Lap: Sherwood 58.031s (101.76mph).

Birch takes win and title

Media release: 7th October 2012

Source: Porsche Cars GB

On Sunday Birch round off his title winning year with a victory in the 12th and final round. Again polesitter Whale was slow away and he was swamped into the first corner. Sherwood tried a repeat of his move from the opening race but Birch covered the inside line and slotted in behind front row starter Liquorish as the pack went into Copse for the first time.

Birch pressured Liquorish and powered through before the end of the first lap. Liquorish was then tagged by Ferguson at Brooklands and the resultant delay demoted the pair to fifth and eighth. This promoted Sherwood to second and he quickly got onto the tail of Birch. However, this did not fluster the champion and by lap nine he began to edge clear. Behind, Whale was starting to gain on Sherwood and was gifted second position when Sherwood had a spin while lapping Hallissey. Whale then ran into his own trouble with lapped traffic as he was severely held up, allowing the recovering Liquorish to get right behind him.
Whale defended his position and as the race entered the closing stages Liquorish began to struggle with tyres, as he dropped back from Whale and into the clutches of the charging Smallwood. Back at the head of the race, Birch cruised across the line to take his sixth victory of the season. “I’m so happy, fantastic race. Great end to the season, I couldn’t have wished for more,” said Birch.

Whale took his best result of the weekend with second. “I’m over the moon with the weekend, I really enjoyed it,” he said. Smallwood battled past Liquorish with an excellent manoeuvre at the final corner of the final lap to claim a podium at his home circuit. “It was a fantastic race. I’ve worked so hard for this round, it feels like a win to me,” enthused Smallwood. Liquorish was a disappointed fourth with Sherwood fifth and Ferguson sixth. Hallissey again won Class 2 and claimed a top ten finish.

Round 12: 1 James Birch; 2 Harry Whale; 3 Pete Smallwood. Fastest Lap: Birch 58.110s (101.62mph).