Having spent 4 years in the Carrera Cup, and after announcing that my 2019 year will take a new direction (to be announced tomorrow) I thought what better way to look back at the last 4 years with ‘my favourite 5 overtakes’ in the series. A tad self absorbed, well in fact really self absorbed, and of course, a few drivers will have bragging rights over me at times…but who cares, looking back on some highlights is fun and great to share. I’ve listed them out from 5th to 1st, with an explanation of each moment and my thoughts.
They all take place at different circuits and all against different opposition which is quite neat. I have to say that overtaking in a Cup Car isn’t the easiest of things to do. We’re all in the same car going at similar speeds, so to get the run and move done without crashing, especially on a tight and twisty natured UK circuit, is tough. We haven’t got things like boost, KERS or DRS aids so it does come down to a bit of the old bravery pill vs opportunity.
Anyway, enough chat. Let’s get into it.
#5 - VS Oliphant at Brands Hatch
First up is an overtake that took place at the very start of 2017 at Brands Hatch. It was against Tom Oliphant into the Druids corner. The reason I quite liked this one is because it’s notoriously difficult to overtake at Brands Hatch. The tight and twisty nature means it’s so easy to defend as the driver ahead and at times, I’ve been unable to get passed drivers who are us much as a second off the pace. But this one here was set up well from turn 1 at Paddock Hill and although it looked done before Druids; I still had some work to do on the brakes without locking up and hitting a solid pro in Tom. Job done and a satisfying one.
# 4 - VS Rovera at Le Mans
Number 4 was at my all time favourite circuit in Le Mans. I had a difficult race, initially leading the race but struggling to keep ahead on the straight lines, I started losing ground, and fell back to nearly 5th. I managed to regroup and climb my way back to 3rd, before grabbing 2nd place on the final lap with a few corners to go. I had strong pace into the final section but alas ran out of corners as my GB nemesis Dan Cammish took a deserving victory at the famous circuit. I probably have Cammish to thank for my overtake as he swept round the outside of Rovera the corner before in a pretty awesome move, it has to be said. This led to Rovera scrambling around into this section which allowed me to get a strong exit and hold on into the Porsche curves. This last lap is worth a watch, very dicey between us top 4 and has received millions of views on social media. My number 4 overtake is here and I’ve added the last few corners to show how close it was!
#3 - VS Eastwood at Snetterton
So into my top 3, and we start with me vs Charlie Eastwood. Eastwood had a good run in qualifying, pipping me by 8 hundredths to land both pole positions…fair enough. This was the first year for Team JTR (Nick Tandy’s Carrera Cup team) and we were all three team mates (Lewis Plato, Tio Ellinas and myself) searching for the team’s first win. This was a particularly satisfying one as I had spent 12 laps putting Eastwood under some pressure, trying anything to get him to crack. Race 1 took place earlier on and he took the victory then with my sat behind in 2nd place unable to do much. But this race I remember Tandy and the team trying to G us all up to do anything to get the win. We all needed it so badly - for me to ignite the championship challenge and for the team to taste their first victory in Porsche Carrera Cup cars. If you look closely enough through turn 1, I was all 4 wheels drifting as I tried everything to get the run into turn 2. I feigned with a dummy and this was enough to put him off and for me to push through and go on to take the victory. Of course, Eastwood can have the last laugh by claiming the championship by virtue of one more win than myself by the last race. But, for this one at least, an enjoyable moment in a fun year in 2017.
#2 - VS Ellinas/Perez at Monza
Monza is an awesome place to race. It oozes in history and passion and is ‘home to Italian racing’. Of course having Italian heritage and family near Monza meant I wanted to do really well during the 2018 season rounds 5 & 6. Race 1 was a victory with a fastest lap which was great. For Race 2, the reverse grid meant I started in 6th place and with my main rival Ellinas starting in 5th thanks to the reverse grid. I knew that Monza was going to be the best place to get an overtake done on him vs any UK circuit. It got better as I was able to fire it down the inside of Perez into turn 1 and take not one but 2 places in 2 corners. I ended up finishing 2nd place in this race and came away from this Italian weekend extremely happy and satisfied. Once again, Ellinas takes the final laugh by claiming the 2018 title but at least I can say he never overtook me during the 2018 season.
#1 - VS Cammish at Silverstone
Alright so my favourite overtake of all 4 years in Carrera Cup came in 2017 at Silverstone. There’s a few reasons why this has to be number 1 of mine. I think the number one was the quality of opposition. Dan Cammish needs no introduction, if we’re honest. Him and Redline were super successful over the years, especially when he was on pole and leading a race. It was a cold wet morning at Silverstone and we were all on slick tyres but it was tricky to get around. I got a great run out of turn 2 and braved it round the outside of Brooklands corner, to not only take the place but eventually go on to win the race. So considering it led to a win, considering it was against a high quality opponent, considering it was wet and cold, considering it was around the outside and considering it was at the home of British Motor Racing…this was my favourite overtake of my time in Carrera Cup.
I look back at my 4 years with great appreciation and admiration. I came 2nd three years in a row but all for varying reasons. 2017 and 2018 could well have landed my a double championship but it wasn’t to be. We had the pace and determination to get it, but perhaps luck was not on our side on both years.
But, I’ve learned a lot and it’s certainly turned me into a better driver than when I went in. I’m excited for a new challenge in 2019 and ready to attack, attack, attack!