BGTC: Thruxton preview

GT racers set for high-speed showdown at Thruxton The British N-GT Championship heads to the high speed circuit of Thruxton in Hampshire this weekend (August 29/30) with a chance of the NGT class title being decided over the course of the ...

GT racers set for high-speed showdown at Thruxton

The British N-GT Championship heads to the high speed circuit of Thruxton in Hampshire this weekend (August 29/30) with a chance of the NGT class title being decided over the course of the weekend.

GruppeM Porsche driver Jonathan Cocker stands 20 points clear of the Scuderia Ecosse pair of Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy at the head of the standings. With just four races left this season, a pair of good results in the two, hour-long events at Thruxton could be enough to give the 18-year-old the British GT crown.

However, every team on the grid will be out to make its mark at the Hampshire track, a circuit where outright speed and more than a hint of bravery means quick and competitive lap times.

A race one victory on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit gave Kinch and Kirkaldy a vital boost as they tried to maintain their title bid. However, the mixed weather conditions in the second race meant they were left struggling on slick tyres on a very slippery circuit. Third place was enough to keep them in the hunt, but they need a slip up from Cocker this weekend to stay in contention up to the final round.

Tim Mullen and Chris Niarchos have been over-shadowed a little in the older Ferrari 360 Modena. But, fourth in the last race at Silverstone was a good result in the conditions. The faster, more flowing nature of Thruxton might give them a better chance to fight for the top step of the podium.

After missing a round due to racing commitments in America, Tim Sugden now stands second in the points and will be once again alongside Cocker at Thruxton. He can still take runner-up in the championship, but he will need to keep up his current form if he is to take the place.

Mike Jordan and Mark Sumpter can no longer take the title that Sumpter won in 2000. However, they are still in with a chance to take second place by the end of the season if the Ferrari-mounted drivers should slip up over the next four races.

It was a disappointing meeting for the Jordan Warnock Racing squad at Silverstone. A podium result for Godfrey and David Jones was the only N-GT consolation for the team. Jordan was convinced that his and Sumpter's Porsche 911 GT3-RS is 'cursed' by the end of the weekend. The whole team will be aiming for the top step of the podium in both races, so qualifying should be spectacular on Sunday afternoon.

The two Corvettes of Embassy Racing and Xero will be ones to watch. The Chevrolet V8s will be able to stretch their legs and Cole and Le Bas have come close to victory before this season. Ben Collins will be partnering Neil Cunningham in the Embassy car and those two shouldn't be discounted for a chance of victory.

Two other cars under Chevy power will also be in the running. The Rollcentre Mosler MT900R will be backed up by the return of the Balfe Motorsport team with its car, too. The Balfe team took victory at Thruxton last season, against Le Mans and FIA GT competition and the team is out to prove that it has lost none of its race-winning form while racing in Spain in the early part of 2004.

The GT Cup Class is now led by Adam Wilcox and Ni Amorim in the DRM Ferrari. Early season problems and dramas for the team seem to have disappeared and they now have a nine-point lead over Barrie Whight and Gavan Kershaw. The Yellow Ferrari will be joined by another this weekend as the team wheels out its second car for Lourenco de Viega and Jamie Smythe.

The fantastic little Lotus Elise of Kershaw and Whight has been one of the stars of the championship, taking some impressive results against some of the more 'acknowledged' sports cars on the Cup class grid. A non-finish in first race at Silverstone, and a pit-lane mix-up in the second, meant they were unable to chase the leaders to the flag. Thruxton might not be the best circuit for the car, but Kershaw and Whight will certainly be ones to look out for over the course of the weekend.

Adam Sharpe is just four points behind the Lotus pair and is still in with a chance of lifting the title too. The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup won at the track last season and is well suited to it. His new team-mate Dominic Lesniewski has acclimatised well to the car and should be in a good position to help Adam move a step closer to the four guys in front of him.

Mark Cole and David Wandless will be in the second Tech 9 Motorsport Porsche. They will have Sharpe and Lesniewski as a benchmark over the weekend and they will no doubt want to prove a point to team boss Phil Hindley.

Pete Chambers and Michael Caine starred at Silverstone, taking fourth place overall and second in class in the slippery conditions. It was a better weekend for the Cup class section of the Jordan Warnock Racing squad, with Steve Wood and Stuart Scott also taking points on the Grand Prix circuit. The four of them could play a part in the outcome of the championship with the class being this competitive.

Chris Beighton and Jon Finnemore have surprised the established teams with their Marcos Mantis during the first half of the year. Race wins at Snetterton and Castle Combe have proved that the car is both reliable and extremely quick. Thruxton could be another place for the Team Tiger Marcos to seek out the top step of the podium.

Martin Short will have another new co-driver in the Rollcentre Noble M12GTO3R. TVR Tuscan racer David Mason will be making his GT debut alongside the team boss. The Noble has been getting quicker and quicker all season. Both drivers cut their teeth in the Tuscan championship they will definitely have the racecraft to move themselves up the order if it is necessary. The bright green car will certainly be hard to miss over the weekend.

Paul Horton will be partnered by Stuart Turvey in the Jensen Motorsport Corvette. The car has overcome its early season gremlins and has been impressive in the last few races. With the N-GT Corvettes expected to go well at Thruxton, it might be worth keeping an eye on the Cup class example at Thruxton, it might be worth keeping an eye on the Cup class example too.

Keith Ahlers and Aaron Scott managed to bring home points at Silverstone after changing cars over night following an engine problem in qualifying. The team should be back up to full strength at Thruxton and the powerful Morgan engine could cause an upset to the rest of the runners.

Rob Horsfield and Frazer Corbyn had a nightmare start to the Silverstone meeting, with an engine change and fuel injector problems causing them to miss the free practice session. A lack of track time meant they were playing catch-up all weekend. The other Lotus Elise team in the class will want to get onto terms with the rest of the field from the first session at Thruxton.


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About this article
Series GT
Drivers Stuart Turvey , Aaron Scott , Ben Collins , Adam Wilcox , Martin Short , Neil Cunningham , Tim Sugden , Michael Caine , Chris Beighton , Nathan Kinch , Adam Sharpe , Chris Niarchos , Tim Mullen , Keith Ahlers , Andrew Kirkaldy , Jonathan Cocker , Jon Finnemore , Rob Horsfield , Frazer Corbyn , Mark Sumpter , Gavan Kershaw , David Jones , Stuart Scott , David Wandless , Jamie Smyth , Mark Cole , Mike Jordan , David Mason