The UK’s second Prototype championship launched last weekend with a convincing win for the Tockwith Motorsports pairing of Nigel Moore and Phil Hanson. With just a single round to debut the championship but with the promise of a full season in 2017, a field of eight Ligier JS P3s took to the track at Snetterton in the east of England.
The series will go under the name of the Prototype Cup and will be organised by Bute Motorsport who already run the highly successful GT Cup Championship and with backing from Ligier’s UK agents, United Autosports, the omens are good.
With four cars entered by United Autosports, the remainder of the field was made up with the single entry from Tockwith Motorsports who have already appeared in the 2016 European Le Mans Series and days after this event would be shipping the car out east to the Asian Le Mans Series. Team West Tec have made their name in single seaters with ongoing campaigns in Formula 3 and Formula 4 whilst also providing technical support to a number of ELMS teams, so their entry marks a new era for the team as a fully-fledged prototype team.
Rounding up the entry list was Douglas Motorsport whose experience includes Formula 4 and Ginetta Juniors and were another squad making their prototype debut.
At the start Phil Hanson took the lead and built a gap ahead of the Jacques Duyver-Charlie Hollings pairing in the number 3 United Autosports car. Behind them was the Team West Tec car with Christian England who was able to slip by Duyver early on and start chasing Hanson who had by this point built a ten second lead.
Despite having only picked up the car three days earlier, a determined drive from England had cut the lead to five seconds by the time the pit stops came around but with Moore now taking over the Tockwith car the final result didn’t seem in too much doubt.
Rounding off the podium were Jay Palmer and Wayne Boyd who had a great recovery drive after Palmer spun at the Montreal hairpin on lap one, leaving him at the back of the pack. Having got back up to fifth place, Palmer handed over to Boyd who then took the final podium place following an almost race-long battle with Duyver, Hollings, Patrick Byrne and Guy Cosmo all in United Autosports cars.
The Douglas Motorsport car of Mike Newbould and Thomas Randle also had a strong run, but a pit lane infringement brought a ten second penalty. This dropped them down the order to finish just ahead of Shaun Lynn who was driving solo in the final United Autosports car.