Tuesday, 12th Sept. 2017
Donington sets the stage for dramatic season finale
The inaugural Henderson Insurance Brokers LMP3 Cup Championship heads back to Donington Park for what should be an action packed final two rounds of the season.
The number 79 Ecurie Ecosse car of Alasdair McCaig and Colin Noble secured the title last time out at Snetterton. The pair battled all season against the United Autosports number 3 car of Tony Wells and Matt Bell, but a retirement for the latter pairing, caused by technical problems, helped put the title out of reach. McCaig and Noble took two victories at Donington Park on the National circuit in April’s season opener, and will want to finish their championship season on a high.
Jack Butel has enjoyed a successful year in the number 96 Speedworks Motorsport entry and sits third in the standings, ahead of the number 2 United Autosports Ligier of CJ Wilson, Christian England and Andrew Evans. Butel secured two second place finishes at Snetterton and will want to climb on the top step of the podium this weekend as he drives solo for the first time. Also set to cause an upset is the rapid Callan O’Keeffe in the Douglas Motorsport number 72 car he will share with teammate Mike Newbould.
Returning to the championship is the Nielsen Racing duo of Jason Rishover and Jamie Spence. They took a podium finish at Donington Park in April, and Spence was leading at Brands Hatch before a puncture spun him into retirement so should not be counted out for a strong finish.
Joining them will be a third Nielsen Racing entry for Khaled Al Mudhaf and Michael Vergers. Al Mudhaf took a Pro Am victory in the Dubai 24 Hours in 2014, while Vergers holds the production lap record around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, so the pair could surprise a few of the full-season regulars.
There are several newcomers to the grid this weekend, including Olympian and 2015 European Le Mans Series LMP3 champion Sir Chris Hoy, who partners youngster Sandy Mitchell in the Sports Insure Young Driver Initiative United Autosports machine. 17-year old Mitchell won a public vote to win the drive and has been successful in GT4 racing, but hasn't driven a prototype before. He is a rising talent and will want to make the most of this opportunity.
Joining them at United Autosports are Johnny Mowlem and Bonamy Grimes, who is stepping up from GT racing for the first time. Experienced racer Mowlem is coaching Grimes towards his dream of competing at Le Mans, and believes the LMP3 is an ideal car to continue his education. Mowlem has a host of successes in prototype racing, but hasn’t raced this machine yet. It’s all shaping up to be a dramatic end to a fantastic season of prototype racing.