The fastest race circuit on the calendar is the setting for rounds three and four of the 2005 Porsche Carrera Cup GB as the championship heads south to the Thruxton circuit near Andover in Hampshire over the weekend of 30 April/1 May.
For Southampton racer Jon Barnes, the weekend represents the chance of a lifetime as he has been selected to race the car entered by Porsche Cars GB in association with Team Autosport. The 21-year old former Caterham champion has been given a fabulous chance to show his potential at Thruxton and plans to make the very most of the opportunity. "I'm very thankful for the opportunity to drive the Porsche at Thruxton. This could be the only time I get to race this year and it is a great chance to showcase my ability," says Barnes.
Heading the field to Thruxton, where average lap speeds in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars top 110mph, is Richard Westbrook (Hackney, London). Having won both of the opening races at Donington Park against a fierce challenge from his arch-rival Tim Harvey (Witney, Oxon), Westbrook has seized the early points lead in the title race. With a road-going Porsche 911 Carrera presented at the end of the season to the champion, there is a lot to play for!
Harvey - who drives for Worcester-based Team RPM - finished both races at Donington right on Westbrook's tail and, had the second race been a couple of laps longer, the result could have changed. Thruxton is a challenging track and Harvey will be very determined to claim his first win of the season. Last season, Westbrook and Harvey shared the wins at Thruxton.
Fastest in the Thruxton test session at the beginning of April was Jason Templeman (Nottingham) when he set the fastest ever Carrera Cup lap of the circuit. Jason didn’t have a great weekend at Donington and a couple of fourth places is less than should be expected from the SAS International-backed racer. He will be expecting more from the Thruxton races. Alongside Templeman in the pair of SAS-sponsored cars is Damien Faulkner (Co Donegal, Ireland) and he was very close to his team-mate’s pace in testing, so the distinctive blue and white cars should be right with Westbrook and Harvey in Hampshire.
Leading the chase of the 'big four' at Donington was Nigel Rice (Beverley, East Yorkshire) and he showed the speed needed to get in amongst the leading quintet. Rice was a podium finisher at Thruxton in 2004 and could do the same again this year. Meanwhile, his Red Line Racing team mate Jason Young (Oakham, Leicestershire) had a great weekend at Donington and earned the 'Driver of the Day' award for his pace.
Completing the Red Line Racing squad (based in Stockton on Tees, Cleveland) is Stephen Shanly (Clapham), a former race winner at Thruxton in National Supersports. He had a torrid time at Donington when an accident in testing masked his true speed and he is aiming to put that straight at Thruxton.
Another promising championship newcomer is UK-based American racer Emmanuel Crouvisier (Milton Keynes), who is gaining speed with every outing in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, while Steve Clark (Stourbridge) is also building his pace and experience. Both of these drivers will be racing at Thruxton for the first time, so solid point scores will be their main aim. Joining Crouvisier and Clark with limited Thruxton experience will be the Trackspeed pairing of David Ashburn (London) and Rory Fordyce (Winchester, Hampshire).
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