Brands Hatch braced for unmissable BTCC finale

After nine events and 27 races, the destiny of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will be decided around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit this weekend (September 29/30) – and the fight is still very much on.

Since roaring into life at the Kent venue in early April the BTCC’s Diamond Jubilee year has been one to remember, with records tumbling on a consistent basis. Boasting an impressive 16 different race winners, the series has hit new heights and that is set to continue as the final chapter of the current campaign is written.

Colin Turkington heads to Brands Hatch as the man to beat holding a 34-point advantage over Tom Ingram at the top of the standings. Chasing a third BTCC crown, the Team BMW driver has once again underlined his class with a consistent season to-date.

A single victory, taken at Oulton Park, has been backed up by an additional nine podiums to leave the Northern Irishman with a clear road to the biggest prize in British motorsport.

Standing in the way of Turkington however is reigning Independents champion Ingram, who at the wheel of his Speedworks Toyota Avensis has pieced together a mesmerising championship challenge thus far.

Producing standout performance after standout performance, Ingram descends on Brands Hatch as the hunter and focused on overhauling the 34-point deficit he has to make up over the double champion. Renowned for his overtaking prowess and ability to rise to the occasion, the 25-year-old is expected to be on maximum attack from the get-go.

Tom Chilton also enters the final weekend of the year in mathematical contention for the title but with a gap of 64 markers to make up over Turkington, the Motorbase Performance driver’s chance of overall glory looks to be an unrealistic one.

Whilst the battle for the title will take centre stage, several other drivers will be keen to sign off their season’s in style. Having seen his aspirations of his retaining crown slip away, outgoing champion Ashley Sutton will be on the march for silverware and bidding to finish in the top three.

In addition, the likes of Andrew Jordan, Jack Goff, Adam Morgan, Josh Cook, Matt Neal, Aiden Moffat and Sam Tordoff, to name just a few, are also likely to be in the mix for silverware over the course of the weekend too.

Dan Cammish’s quest for a breakthrough BTCC victory will continue however the Halfords Yuasa Racing driver won’t need to worry about the Jack Sears Trophy after building up an unassailable lead at Silverstone last time out.

The remaining championships see Ingram and Chilton as well as Speedworks and Motorbase locked in a battle for both Independent titles whilst Team BMW will look to successfully retain their BTCC Manufacturer/Constructor and BTCC Teams Championship crowns too.

With a maximum 67 points up for grabs and three high-octane BTCC encounters set to take place around the 2.43 mile circuit, the final chapter of the Britain’s premier race series’ Diamond Jubilee is set to be an enthralling one – and it is not to be missed.

The all-important final qualifying session of the season will take place on Saturday at 15:20 before rounds 28, 29 & 30 take place on Sunday at 11:35, 14:25 & 17:15 respectively.

For more information in the event including links to the full timetable and live timing, click here.

Ginetta Junior trio set for championship crescendo

The destiny of the Ginetta Junior Championship will be decided at Brands Hatch this weekend (September 29/30) with three drivers set to duke it out across what is expected to be a trio of high-octane races.

This year’s crop of youngsters aged 14 to 17 have served up a feast of entertainment so far, with 23 races of blockbuster action already in the books.

Heading south to tackle the Grand Prix layout of the popular Kent venue, the trio of Louis Foster, Adam Smalley and Luke Browning look set to continue their season-long fight for supremacy.

Once penalty points are applied, Elite Motorsport’s Foster heads into the title showdown holding a 21-point advantage. On the cusp of writing his name into the history books by the winning the series at the first attempt, Foster will be keen to continue the impressive run of results that has seen him move to the top of the standings.

Having enjoyed a consistent first half of the year, six victories from the past seven races has seen the teenage sensation topple his rivals and take the lead of the championship with just three races to spare.

Former Ginetta Scholarship winner Smalley is Foster’s main protagonist in the title battle as it stands and he had been leading the standings for a majority of the season before Silverstone.

With a total of 15 podiums to his name, including six wins, Smalley has been a revelation in his second season in the championship and the Elite Motorsport driver could yet walk away as champion.

Richardson Racing’s Browning sits third on the leaderboard, albeit 48 points off the summit. Seven victories have been the peak of his season however a handful of low scoring rounds is the reason why the #11 machine will enter the weekend needing to do the most if he is to steal the title from under the noses of Foster and Smalley.

Whilst all eyes will be focused on the top three in the standings as they duke it out for the championship crown, several other drivers will be keen to end their 2018 campaigns on a high.

Patrick Kibble, James Taylor, Ruben Del Sarte, James Hedley and Greg Johnson are just a handful of drivers that have been in the mix for podium finishes this year and all of them, plus a host of others, could play a pivotal role in the outcome of the title if they throw themselves into the mix at the sharp end of the grid over the course of the weekend.

Qualifying for the Ginetta Junior Championship takes place on Saturday at 10:30 before races one and two at 14:45 and 17:45 later that day. The final round of the season takes place on Sunday at 12:55.

Dino Zamparelli leads Porsche Carrera Cup GB into season finale

Dino Zamparelli heads into the final weekend of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch this weekend (September 29/30) looking to avenge the heartache he suffered at the Kent circuit one year ago.

The Redline Racing driver scored the exact same amount of points as eventual champion Charlie Eastwood at the 2017 season finale but lost the title due to scoring one less win than the Northern Irishman over the course of the campaign.

Fast forward 12 months and Zamparelli descends on Brands Hatch sitting at the summit of the standings, holding an eight-point LEAD over his nearest challenger Tio Ellinas once dropped scores and penalties have been applied.

Having been tipped by many to be amongst the championship protagonists come the end of the season, the Nationwide-backed driver has been at the fore of the series since the opening round. Four victories, one of which was scored around the iconic Monza, have proven to be the cornerstone of Zamparelli’s challenge up to now.

Triumphing at Silverstone last time out, last year’s runner-up will need to be at the top of his game around the Grand Prix circuit this weekend to hold off the charging Ellinas however.

Spearheading the Slidesports Engineering squad, Ellinas has been the epitome of consistency in 2018 and is good value for where he sits in the championship standings. Despite his only race win coming in round three at Donington Park, the Cypriot has been a regular fixture on the rostrum – scoring a further ten podiums in total.

Needing to make up more than eight points on Zamparelli across both 17-lap encounters, Ellinas will be one to watch from the get-go.

Whilst many will be focused on the top two in the title battle, Tom Wrigley can’t be discounted from proceedings either. Sitting third in the points, the JTR driver is only 19 points off the summit once all dropped scores and penalties are taken into consideration.

Riding a crest of momentum having won last time out at Silverstone, the former Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup could yet add another TOCA title to his impressive racing CV if the top two encounter trouble.

Such has been the high level of competition in the Carrera Cup GB this season that the top three won’t be the only drivers challenging for victory at Brands Hatch. Scholarship winner Daniel Harper has been a tour-de-force at times in his maiden season whilst Lewis Plato and George Gamble have also taken on starring roles throughout the year too.

In the Pro-Am category, Seb Perez and Dan Vaughan are set to take their battle for title honours down to the wire with Peter Mangion and Peter Kyle-Henney doing the same in the Am class.

The Porsche Carrera Cup GB’s final qualifying session of the season takes place on Saturday at 13:35 before rounds 15 & 16 take place on Sunday at 10:40 and 16:20 respectively.

Charlie Ladell on the cusp of title glory as Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup heads to Brands Hatch

Brands Hatch will provide the backdrop to the final three rounds of the 2018 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup this weekend (September 29/30), with Charlie Ladell sitting on the cusp of being crowned champion.

In what has been another competitive season in the TOCA support series, the battle for supremacy will be decided with Ladell and Carl Boardley set to go head-to-head around the iconic 2.43 mile Grand Prix layout.

Returning to the scene of the 2018 curtain-raiser, Ladell has proven to be the benchmark driver in the GT4 Supercup this year – leading the championship standings throughout.

At the wheel of his Rob Boston Racing machine, the 22-year-old has been the epitome of consistency, scoring eight wins, six second place finishes and a further four third place finishes along the way.

Underlining his title credentials throughout, Ladell descends on Brands Hatch with a 42-point lead, a comfortable gap but one that he can’t let slip across the weekend’s three races if he is to follow in the footsteps of Callum Pointon, Tom Wrigley and Tom Oliphant by lifting the coveted championship trophy.

Series veteran Boardley remains the only man to stop Ladell from clinching the title and he’ll be using all of his experience to overhaul the series leader. Remaining hot on the heels of Ladell since the opening weekend of the season, Boardley’s focus is likely to add to the six wins he has already notched in 2018 if he is to stand any chance of topping the points come Sunday evening.

Harry King and Tom Roche may yet have their say on the outcome of the title too depending on how their weekend’s play out. The pair have been regular front runners throughout the season and have showcased that they can dice with Ladell and Boardley on multiple occasions.

The trio of Jac Constable, Angus Fender and Reece Somerfield will also be drivers to keep a keen eye on too as the weekend progresses.

In the Amateur class, Michael Crees will bid to convert his charge to the summit of the points into championship celebrations, however Jack Minshaw and Colin White can still stop the popular racer.

Qualifying for the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup kicks off the weekend’s track action at 09:00 on Saturday before races one and two follow later that day at 14:15 and 17:10 respectively. The third and final encounter is scheduled to begin at 15:05 on Sunday, screened live on ITV4.

Tio Ellinas snatches Porsche Carrera Cup GB title

Two podium finishes for Tio Ellinas was enough for him to snatch the Porsche Carrera Cup GB title at Brands Hatch this past weekend (September 29/30), overhauling season-long rival Dino Zamparelli in the process.

Entering the final event of the season sitting second in the standings, the Slidesports Engineering driver had a deficit of eight points to make up on championship leader Zamparelli around the Kent circuit.

The opening encounter of the weekend proved to be a milestone 300th for the championship since its inception in 2003, and it didn’t disappoint. Starting on the outside of the front row, Zamparelli jumped pole sitter Daniel Harper and began to make his escape from the chasing pack.

Firmly in control of proceedings, the Redline Racing driver soon found himself in strife as he spun on coolant dropped by another car, pitching him into the gravel and tumbling down the order. Managing to get going again, ZamaprellI’s hopes of the title were soon on a knife-edge.

Back at the front, Harper’s hopes of victory dropped away and Lewis Plato came to the fore, taking the lead and ultimately going on to score his second win of the season. Behind the JTR driver was Ellinas who bagged second place and with it, closed the gap to Zamparelli to zero – meaning the pair would go into the final race of the season tied on points.

With it coming down to who finished in front of the other, all eyes were on Ellinas and Zamparelli as they prepared for the final chapter of the 2018 season. As the lights went out, series returnee Michael Caine found himself in strife at Paddock Hill Bend the field streamed round the opening sequence of corners.

As Tom Wrigley vaulted into the lead, Ellinas slotted into second place – a championship-winning position at the time. Further back Zamparelli’s progress had been strong to begin with but as the race wore on, the runner-up the previous two seasons was unable to find a way past Harper.

Second place for Ellinas meanwhile proved to be enough to give him his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup GB title by just two points.

Seb Perez emerged as the victor in the Pro-Am category and Peter Manigon wrapped up the Am class.

For the full championship classification and results from all sessions, click here.