The countdown to the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship begins officially on the Porsche stand (Hall 20, Stand 2545) at the Autosport International Show at the NEC, Birmingham (14 – 17 January), and the scene is set for another exciting season of thrills in the UK’s fastest single marque GT racing Championship.
Following last year’s guest appearance by the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at the world-renowned Spa-Francorchamps circuit in support of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), this year sees the grid of identical 460 hp rear-engined 911 GT3 Cup race cars join the bill at Silverstone, for the first round of the 2016 WEC on 15 – 17 April.
Once more the Carrera Cup GB teams will have the privilege of taking to the track ahead of the Porsche Team competing in the WEC, an initiative that will also emphasise the close ties between the domestic Championship and the international programmes in the Porsche Motorsport pyramid.
The commitment to motorsport by Porsche will be further underlined at Autosport International with the show debut not only of the actual 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours-winning 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car, but the newest addition to the Porsche Motorsport family: the Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Using the lightweight Cayman GT4 as the basis, Porsche Motorsport has developed a near-standard racing version. Just like its track-bred production sibling, the Cayman GT4 Clubsport is powered by a mid-mounted, 385 hp 3.8-litre flat-six engine. The racing version features an adapted six-speed Porsche double-clutch transmission, with shift paddles on the steering wheel and a mechanical limited-slip differential sending drive to the rear wheels.
The lightweight suspension strut front axle is taken from its big 911 GT3 Cup brother, which is campaigned in the 20 one-make Porsche Cup Championships around the world. The impressive racing brake system is fitted with 380 mm diameter steel brake discs on each corner. Fitted at the front are one-piece, six-piston aluminium fixed callipers, with a four-piston equivalent at the rear. The anti-lock brake system can be adjusted in twelve stages, and the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) has been expanded for use with ‘slick’ racing tyres.
Tipping the scales at just 1,300kg, the lightweight Cayman GT4 Clubsport is priced from £95,300 + VAT. Standard features for UK specification cars includes a welded-in safety cage, a racing seat with six-point harness, air jacks, fire extinguisher system and air conditioning. Such equipment ensures the car is eligible for the popular German VLN racing series, in addition to a variety of other disciplines.
919 Hybrid LMP1 – winner 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours and World Endurance Champion
After a 17 year absence from the top step of the Le Mans 24 Hours podium, victory last June for Porsche in the renowned French motor race was especially sweet. Furthermore, it was fitting that the winning squad comprised two drivers whose pathway to success was paved with extensive experience racing in Porsche Carrera Cup Championships: British ace Nick Tandy was a winner in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Porsche Supercup and overall Carrera Cup Deutschland Champion before becoming a member of the Porsche factory team, and prior to gaining his factory seat, Earl Bamber (NZ) was Carrera Cup Asia and Porsche Supercup Champion.
Joined by German Force India Grand Prix driver Nico Hülkenberg, the trio won the coveted trophy in the innovative Porsche 919 Hybrid exactly 45 years after the first overall win by Porsche at Le Mans was achieved. Timo Bernhard (D), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS) in the sister car added the icing to the cake by finishing second place. Romain Dumas (F), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (D) brought home the third Porsche 919 Hybrid in fifth position.
No other brand has won the world’s toughest endurance race so many times and is connected that closely to the Le Mans legend. The previous Porsche win was also a one-two – back in 1998 when Allan McNish (GB), Laurent Aiello (F) and Stéphane Ortelli (MC) finished first in their Porsche GT1.
Porsche only returned in 2014 to the top level of endurance racing, attracted by the new efficiency regulations. In the brand’s Research Centre in Weissach the most innovative car of the entire grid was developed. The Porsche 919 Hybrid has a trend-setting ‘downsized’ four cylinder, turbocharged engine and two energy recovery systems, which combined create a powertrain delivering 1,000 hp. It works as a racing laboratory for the highest efficiency of future road-going sports cars.
The Porsche Team added to its Le Mans success by scoring overall victory in the World Endurance Championship for Manufacturers and by Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber clinching the Drivers’ title.
Meet Charlie Eastwood, 2016/17 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Scholar
Representing the next generation of Porsche sports car drivers at Autosport International will be new Carrera Cup GB Scholar Charlie Eastwood.
The 20-year-old Ulsterman has an incredible opportunity to be part of the UK’s fastest single-marque Championship and begin to build a career as a professional sports car racer with one of the most illustrious marques worldwide.
On top of £80,000 per year towards his 2016 and 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup GB budgets, bespoke training plans with Porsche Human Performance and world-class media training, he will also gain priceless exposure to the international Porsche Motorsport family.
Charlie will be on the Porsche stand, meeting fans over the duration of the Show and he will also be making a guest appearance on the Autosport Main Stage on Thursday – alongside Le Mans winner Nick Tandy.
2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship calendar confirmed
The Carrera Cup GB Championship will be contested over 16 races and eight weekends, and continues to support the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at seven circuits. Teams, drivers and sponsors will therefore benefit from Porsche Carrera Cup GB action being broadcast live on ITV4 and total crowds of approximately 370,000 over the season.
The 2016 season also heralds a series of enhancements to the Championship for the new year. A substantial increase in prize money for the top three finishers in the Pro category, three exclusive fully-supported in-season tests, and an increase in each driver’s slick tyre allocation all serve to cement the reputation of the Carrera Cup GB as the premier BTCC support.
These additions will complement the highly successful concepts introduced at the beginning of 2015. These included the Rookie Class with its £50,000 winner’s purse and highly popular ‘Team Cayenne’ scheme which rewarded teams with two or more drivers.
Porsche GB Motorsport Manager, James MacNaughton, commented: “I am delighted that we will be racing at seven rounds on the BTCC package. The TV exposure, media coverage and race day crowds it offers are exceptional. It is fantastic we are also supporting the World Endurance Championship at Silverstone. Not only does this give the drivers a superb platform for their talent but it will also allow their UK-based sponsors even greater exposure.”
2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship
|1-3 April||Rounds 1 and 2||Brands Hatch (Indy)|
|15-17 April||Rounds 3 and 4||WEC Silverstone (GP)|
|3-5 June||Rounds 5 and 6||Oulton Park (Island Circuit)|
|17-19 June||Rounds 7 and 8||Croft|
|29-31 July||Rounds 9 and 10||Snetterton|
|12-14 August||Rounds 11 and 12||Knockhill|
|16-18 September||Rounds 13 and 14||Silverstone (National)|
|30 Sept – 2 Oct||Rounds 15 and 16||Brands Hatch (GP)|
Porsche Carrera Cup GB overview
The Carrera Cup, the fastest and most successful single marque GT racing Championship in the UK, is contested by identical examples of the latest ‘Type 991’ 911 GT3 Cup, each powered by a charismatic, rear-mounted 460 hp flat-six engine. The racing edition of the iconic 911 coupe has thrilled spectators around the UK in support of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) since 2003.
Over the past decade, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB has become an established stepping stone for drivers looking to forge a career in GT sports car and endurance racing. The Championship is fully integrated into the international Porsche Motorsport programme, and factory backing – not least in terms of parts and technical support –provides unrivalled opportunities for development. Consequently, victory in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB is highly prized and careful, constant evolution maintains this reputation for driver development.
Core to the appeal of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB to sponsors is that it lies within the proven TOCA package as a support race to the BTCC, and the action is transmitted live on ITV4. Over the course of the season, these broadcasts reach an annual audience in excess of 20m viewers on Sunday afternoons.
Over 30,000 enthusiastic spectators attend the majority of races, and total crowds of approximately 370,000 over the duration of the season visit the circuits in England and Scotland to enjoy the high octane atmosphere. Away from the circuits, news and action from the race weekends is shared via the porsche.co.uk/trackside website and Twitter feed.