Less than a week since the Dunlop Endurance Championship burst back into life at Silverstone, the same organising team returned to the home of British motorsports to launch the brand new Dunlop Prototype Series. Appearing as a support act for the 24 Hours of Silverstone, the Britcar team behind the series have, it seems, surpassed themselves again.
s major championships go, few have been conceived and born as quickly as this one. Whilst Claire and Rob Headley were in the midst of organising the Dunlop Endurance Championship, questions were asked whether prototype cars would be eligible for the series. The answer was no. However, sensing a gap in the market and with the racing season only a few short months away, they used their experience and contacts in the business to pull together a four race championship with the shortest of notice.
On Friday afternoon the hard work came to fruition when a modest eight cars lined up on the grid. To some a ‘mere’ eight cars might not have been impressive, but considering they were starting in a championship that didn’t exist at the end of 2015, it makes the achievement ever more remarkable.
The field comprised of 4 Ginetta G57s, 2 Radical SR8s, a Radical RXC Spyder, and a Riley MKXXII TDC and attracted drivers of the quality of Craig Dolby, Alex Kapadia, Paul White and Ginetta boss Laurence Tomlinson.
In order to offer the greatest amount of racing variety, the series will be broken down into four classes catering for cars such as the Ginetta G57, Praga R1, Tampolli, Riley and Aquila. Class 2 covers, the Radical family of RXC, RXC Spyder and SR8. Class 3 is CN from 2011 and Class 4 is CN up to 2010.
The cars saw action in two races over the weekend, both an hour in length and each including a mandatory pit stop. Race 1 saw Laurence Tomlinson take the victory in his Ginetta G57 despite spending most of the race over fifteen seconds behind the Radical SR8 of Alex Kapadia. After completing a pit stop allowing Paul Spencer to take over the Radical, Spencer was forced to stop again to tighten his seatbelts, thus giving up the lead to Tomlinson. Third place was taken by Craig Dolby in the Riley Daytona Prototype just 0.8 seconds ahead of the Ginetta G57 of Paul White.
Race 2 was a closer affair with Kapadia and Tomlinson once more going toe to toe for the first half of the race, whilst early leader Dolby dropped back to fourth. After the pit stops shook out, Tomlinson was once again in the lead. Taking over from Kapadia in the Radical, Paul Spencer dropped down the field allowing Michael Munemann in the Algarve Pro Racing Ginetta G57 up to second, with Paul White rounding off an all Ginetta podium with third and Dolby taking fourth.
With three rounds remaining taking in Snetterton, Donington Park and Spa-Francorchamps, coupled with plenty of driver interest, the two opening races have shown the scope for this championship to grow in time for a full scale series in 2017.