Despite the pandemic delaying the commencement of the season, the 2020 GT Cup season was a thriller from start to finish. Consisting of five rounds, it was Team HARD drivers Josh Jackson and Simon Orange in their Ginetta G55 GT4 who took the title from season-long competitors Sam Randon and Ben Clayden in their Porsche 911 Carerra Cup Car.

GT3

The eagerly anticipated season opener saw guest drivers Michael Igoe and Dennis Lind take a clean sweep of victories in dominant fashion. Picking up where they left off last season, this would be their only appearance in the 2020 season as they ramped up their British GT efforts.

Early championship favorites John Seale and Marcus Clutton hit drama early on with contact in Race 1 putting them out of the weekend and already hindering their title hopes. Fellow GT3 rivals Grahame Tilley and Will Tregurtha missed the season opener with their Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, also denting their title chances before their season even began.

Silverstone was hit by torrential rain which tested the drivers to the extreme. It also marked the return of the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 after its absence from Snetterton. Unfortunately, it would be short-lived with a significant gearbox failure during Race 1 putting them out for the remainder of the weekend.

Seale rebounded from his Snetterton disappointment to claim two race victories with the assistance of Clutton in Saturday’s endurance race and Sunday’s sprint race. With no other GT3 competition, it was a solid weekend to boost their chances of the class title come Donington in October.

The season’s first of two visits to Donington park ran on the famous GP Loop and saw the return of Sam and Richard Neary who set about preparing the car for the following weekends British GT three-hour enduro at the Leicestershire venue.

With a season-high four GT3 cars, the competition was fierce and three different winners from four races continued to prove the sheer competitiveness of the series. Richard and Sam Neary won both of the sprint races. They even won Sunday’s endurance race on the road, but a yellow flag infringement saw them excluded and the win was given to the G-Cat Racing Porsche 911 GT3R.

Saturday’s endurance race was a thriller. With just ten minutes to go, Sam Neary and Marcus Clutton engaged in a fierce duel which ultimately saw the Lamborghini driver lunge up the inside at Goddards on the penultimate lap and fend off a fired-up Neary for the final lap to prevent a clean sweep of Saturday’s action.

Brands Hatch marked the return of the mighty Nissan although things didn’t go quite to plan. Race one saw Tilley steer clear of the lap one chaos only to lose a wheel with just five minutes remaining. Shamus Jennings, however, did get caught up in the turn one melee, but luckily avoided contact and resumed after a spin. The red mist set in with the Porsche scything its way through the pack and once Tilley retired, Jennings took over at the front for an unlikely victory.

Sunday’s action was dominated by Tilley and Tregurtha, partially helped by a serious mechanical failure from the Porsche and partly due to Tregurtha’s charge in the endurance race. Rejoining from a safety car pitstop last but one, he absolutely charged with the Nissan often seen on two wheels as he attacked the kerbs to gain all the time he could. With ten minutes to go, he made his move and sailed off into the lead to win the race.

The season finale at Donington saw only two GT3 runners once again with G-Cat electing to sit out and JMH making their return alongside the Nissan. It would be short-lived for the GT-R with another serious gearbox failure after their race one victory, putting them out of the weekend.

Ultimately it was left to Seale and Clutton to sweep up the remaining races and claim the GT3 class title in the process.

GTC

The season opener at Snetterton saw John Dhillon and team owner Aaron Scott take a clean sweep of wins showing great pace to keep the Simon Green Motorsport Porsches behind. This would be the only time these Porsches would run this season with Khera focusing his efforts on Ferrari Challenge UK, taking a title whilst winning all the races on offer.

Silverstone saw Khera return for one more crack but this time in a Ferrari co-driven by experienced driver, Ross Wylie. They took three wins, sharing the other with Dhillon despite winning race one on the road. It would be a track limits penalty that would cost them a perfect performance.

Clearly fired up, the duo did manage to take an overall victory in the final race of the weekend, an impressive feat against the fully-blown GT3 machinery it shared the track with.

With three ultra-competitive GTC cars entered at Donington, the heat was on to rise to the top. Jim and Glynn Geddie put on a masterclass to claim both races on the Saturday despite the monumental pressure from the fellow cars behind. Even having a lucky escape after a wheel parted company with the car on the cooldown lap after race two.

Sunday was a different story, last year’s runner-up James Webb and John Dhillon and Phil Quaife sharing the wins over the day with the Geddie Lamborghini horribly off the pace and even packing up before the final race in which they would not compete.

Brands Hatch saw the Geddies return alongside Dhillon and Quaife. This would be the last event where the class was populated with more than one entry.

It was a near-perfect performance for the Ferrari duo who even managed to claim an outright victory in the weather-affected race two.

Race one saw Dhillon on the podium after escaping the first corner chaos. He would later inherit the lead after Tilley’s front right wheel fell off however, it was short-lived as the G-Cat Porsche blasted past and stormed off to win.

Race two saw the Ferrari duo pull off the unthinkable, an outright win against GT3 cars. A strategy masterstroke by Dhillon saw him pit immediately as drops of rain started to fall. He would emerge in the lead after the rest of the stops and would never be headed claiming his first outright win in the series.

Races three and four were split between the Ferrari and Lamborghini with the Geddies finding enough pace to finish second in race three with the Ferrari cleaning up race four of the day with another second place.

The season finale at Donington saw just the Ferrari enter the GTC class and therefore take all four class wins on the way to the GTC title. Even so, Dhillon and Quaife didn’t let off the pace and four-second place finishes from four races was a great way to end the season and head into the British GT season finale.

GTB

GTB saw high levels of competition all season long. An overall title contender emerged early on with the Team HARD Porsche 911 Cup of Sam Randon and Ben Clayden.

The aforementioned duo took three class victories at Snetterton on their way to the overall championship lead. What made this all the more impressive was the fact neither driver had even sat in the car prior to the event showing how quickly they both adapted to the rear-engined machine.

The remaining win was claimed by the Topcats Racing Marcos Mantis. An impressive feat considering the car is 23 years old and competing against much younger machinery.

Silverstone saw a result much the same as Snetterton with the wet conditions not phasing the drivers. Jensen Lunn took advantage of some early race squabbling to pull clear of his rivals and storm to another victory. All the more impressive seeing as the Mantis is the only car on the grid to run without driver aids.

The remaining three races were taken by the rapid Team HARD Porsche with both drivers putting in faultless performances and Clayden only taking part in his third race weekend.

The spectacular Saxon Motorsport BMW 1-Series returned for the Donington GP race weekend. A unique car powered by a BMW V10 lifted from the E60 M5. Driver Tom Barrow was on top form and blew the competition out of the water during Saturday’s races.

He wasn’t able to maintain this for Sunday’s races but still took four podiums from four races, an impressive feat.

Sunday’s races were taken by Warren Gilbert in the Mantis and David Frankland claimed race four having enlisted the services of Will Tregurtha after the Nissan withdrew from the meeting.
It wasn’t the best of weekends for title hopefuls Randon and Clayden. They managed to secure two podium finishes over Saturday’s action but strong performances from teammates Josh Jackson and Simon Orange saw their title lead eradicated over the day.

On Sunday the title advantage swung in the favour of Jackson and Orange with Randon and Clayden facing troubles in race three and being classified last overall and two laps down from the class podium. They managed to rebound from this in race four and take second after Tregurtha’s almighty stint.

At Brands Hatch two wins each went to ALP Racing with their Saker Rapex and the Team HARD Porsche. Race one was a disaster for Randon as fluid started pouring from the car on the reconnaissance lap forcing him to retire before the race even started.

He would rebound with Clayden and win the next two. It even looked like they would win the final race but a mid-race safety car coupled with the maximum pitstop success penalty saw them drop to the back of the compressed field. They would ultimately not recover and finished off of the podium as ALP claimed the class win and third overall.

Randon and Clayden went into the season finale at Donington 31 points behind Jackson and Orange. The Porsche duo threw everything at it and scored four class victories from four races including two outright podium finishes.

Randon had a scare during race one after running way off track — despite the team telling him to stay calm and keep it on track just moments before. Luckily he recovered and didn’t lose any positions.

Their championships chase came to nothing after the Ginetta managed to score enough points before race four to clinch the title.

GTH

Reigning GTH champions Steve Ruston and John Whitehouse sported a striking new livery on their McLaren 570s GT4. All eyes were on the JMH duo but it was Craig Wilkins in his Scott Sport Ginetta that stole the show, winning three from four races at the Snetterton season opener. Ending the round just three points behind the Team HARD Porsche, he was set for a strong season.

The remaining victory was taken by James Guess in the Feathers Motorsport Ginetta. A similarly strong performance left him third in the championship leaving Snetterton, 38 points behind the leading Porsche.

Whitehouse and Ruston ended up fifth in the points after a consistent weekend left them second in the class standings.

Silverstone saw further success for Guess as he and Andy Robey engaged in a drag race to the line with Guess coming out on top by just 0.072 seconds.

The reigning champions returned to form in race two with a dominant win in the treacherous conditions. Race three almost yielded another victory after a race-long battle with Chris Murphy with the McLaren losing out by just half a second to the older spec Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4.

The final race of the weekend had Balfe Motorsport taking a win in their only appearance of the season before focusing back on their British GT campaign.

Donington GP was a well-needed return to form for Whitehouse and Ruston as they decimated the competition and cleaned up the weekend with all four race victories. Their strong performance left them third in the overall championship and leading class GTH.

Behind the all-conquering McLaren, the competition was fierce with every car in class taking a class podium over the course of the weekend. BTCC star Tom Ingram absolutely flew in the Supra GT4 — quite literally at points — and took second in race two. Fellow pro-driver Alex Toth-Jones claimed two podiums in the Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 whilst Motus One, Whitebridge, Feathers, and Scott Sport all took a podium through the four races.

Brands Hatch was next and it was a different story to Donington with three different winners from the four races.

Race one saw Ginetta driver Craig Wilkins take a dominant victory, coming home sixteen seconds ahead of James Guess who returned after missing the Donington round to continue his consistent performance in class.

Race two saw usual GT3 competitor Marcus Clutton — running a GT4 Mercedes for Brands Hatch — master the weather along with co-driver Morgan Tillbrook and dominate GTH by a monstrous thirty seconds. Guess was on another level on Sunday winning both races although a late-race attack saw Sunday’s sprint decided by just half a second.

Whitehouse and Ruston entered Donington as outside title contenders, 32.5 points behind the leading Ginetta of Jackson and Orange. Things didn’t quite go their way with only two visits to the podium and failing to win any of the races, they were eliminated from the hunt before Sunday even going.

It was British GT regulars, Alex Toth-Jones and Ian Loggie who dominated the weekend with Toth-Jones taking three with Loggie winning race two in his Porsche Cayman GT4.

GTA

A hugely impressive season from Team HARD’s Josh Jackson and Simon Orange saw them take the championship lead at the first Donington round and never looked back. Taking class wins at every round except the championship finale was more than enough to seal the title from the charging Porsche of the same team.

Great pace at Snetterton and even claiming two wins set them up perfectly. It looked set to be a titanic battle with the sister car in class after they won the other two races, however, the consistency lacked and they drifted away in the standings.

Jackson and Orange grabbed another double victory and a second-place at Silverstone to further close on the leading Porsches title lead and leapfrog James Guess into second place overall. There was no question by this point they were serious title contenders.

Donington GP didn’t get off to the best of starts after contact early in race one saw the car beached in the gravel. After a little assistance they were on their way again but no safety car saw them drop four laps behind. To make matters worse, Orange — who was driving at the time — rolled up his sleeves exposing bare skin, and was subsequently fined £150 for this infraction. He still made it onto the podium finishing in third after troubles for the other class cars.

Races three and four saw yet another double victory and with the Porsche failing to win any of their class races, they even jumped into the overall championship lead.

Teammates Russ Lindsay and Patrick Collins took their first win since Snetterton during race one with Century Motorsports winning race two after their Silverstone success.

Brands Hatch saw Orange and Jackson enter the event with a 31-point advantage over the Randon and Clayden-driven Porsche. Once again taking two wins, there was no stopping the little Ginetta as they extended their championship lead.

MakeHappenRacing made their return to the series and marked it in style by winning the remaining two races in class.

The season finale at Donington saw the streak of winning two races per weekend ended. However, with three podium finishes, this gave Jackson and Orange an unassailable advantage heading into the final race of the weekend. They caught a lucky break that they had claimed the title as a driveshaft failure put them way out of contention for a decent result but it didn’t matter.

It was the Ginettas of the duo of Steve Walton and Chris Hart, and Henry Dawes who took two wins apiece and both maintaining a 100-percent podium record across the weekend.

 
 

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