Irishman Karl Leonard heads to the famous Spa Francorchamps Grand Prix circuit in Belgium in two weeks time to support the WEC as he continues his Porsche Carrera Cup Campaign.
A regular in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Leonard has entered round three and four of the series which will see the series support the FIA World Endurance Series at the historic venue.
There is great interest in this meeting as Porsche will unveil their third 919 Hybrid which will be driven by Nick Tandy and F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg as part of their preparations for the world famous 24 Hour Le Mans 2015.
Coming off the back of an impressive race at Brands Hatch, which saw him run with the quickest drivers before being caught up in an accident , Leonard is confident he will run competitively in Spa.
Karl Leonard: “Brands Hatch ultimately didn’t end well for us but we had plenty of pace. Team Parker Racing have given me a good car and I aim to repay them with a good result. It is going to very tough with a lot of GP3 drivers on the entry list. They have plenty of prior experience of the daunting Grand Prix Track”
The Carrera Cup cars approach the famous Eau Rouge at 160mph and it is reputed to be taken flat by some Supercup drivers. With just one test under his belt at the track, Leonard and the Team Parker Racing guys will have to make the most of the two sessions they get on the Thursday before qualifying
Brands Hatch Update:
In qualifying for the opening rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Karl went out behind eventual pole sitter Steven Jelley. Due to a miscommunication, did not have new wets tyres mounted and as they lined up, as luck would have it, the rain came! With some drivers using two new sets of wets in the qualifying, Karl was on the back foot having just a single set of used wets. The drivers estimated new wets to be worth .6 a lap- and only effective for 4 laps! This resulted in Karl qualifying back in tenth, with a lot of work to do.
In race one Karl made a good start, passing three drivers and was gaining on the class leader when the red flags came out, bringing the race to a premature halt. In race two, Karl again started tenth but immediately charged up through the order. By mid race he was leading the class comfortably and closing the overall leaders. Just as he caught reigning champion Josh Webster and Tom Sharpe disaster struck as Sharpe ran wide. As he rejoined, Leonard had no alternative but to take avoiding action, which saw him spin out and retire on the spot.
“Ultimately I am disappointed as we could have sprung a major surprise and possibly scored an overall podium, but we have to take the positives away with us. My new engineer Brad Fincham and the guys at Parker worked hard all weekend even changing setup again before race two and the car was mega.”
The Carrera Cup, the fastest and most successful single marque GT racing Championship in the UK, is contested byidentical examples of the latest ‘Type 991’ 911 GT3 Cup, each powered by a charismatic, rear-mounted 460 hp flat-six engine. The racing edition of the iconic 911 coupe has thrilled spectators around the UK in support of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) since 2003.
Over the past decade, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB has become an established stepping stone for drivers looking to forge a career in GT sports car and endurance racing. The Championship is fully integrated into the international Porsche Motorsport programme, and factory backing – not least in terms of parts and technical support –provides unrivalled opportunities for development. Consequently, victory in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB is highly prized and preserving this reputation for driver development lies at the heart of the programme of upgrades for 2015.
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