Redline Racing’s Matty Graham has been crowned the Rookie champion in the 2020 Porsche Carrera Cup GB following the season finale at Brands Hatch this past weekend (14/15 November).
The Teeside squad entered the final rounds of the season with an expanded four car entry. Alongside their regular Pro class contenders Graham and Scott McKenna, they welcomed two new drivers to the Carrera Cup GB; Jake Rattenbury and JM Littman in Pro Am and Am respectively.
Knockhill race-winner Graham entered the weekend as the driver to beat in the Rookie class competition, holding a nine point advantage over chief rival Lorcan Hanafin. McKenna was also in contention too, albeit with a 26 point deficit to his team-mate.
Qualifying took place in tricky wet conditions on Saturday morning and it was McKenna who starred. A blistering effort of 53.302s around the short Indy layout secured him a maiden Carrera Cup GB pole position by the narrowest of margins, just two thousandths of a second.
Graham was close behind in fourth on the grid and he started strongly to move into third on lap one. As the light faded over Brands Hatch in the late November afternoon, the Eighty-One Powerdrink backed duo ran in formation in the podium positions before Graham moved ahead at Druids.
Following a short safety car period, Graham began to pile the pressure on the race leader and got alongside a couple of times. With two laps to go, an attempted move unfortunately led to contact with McKenna and a spin onto the grass, with his team-mate pitting with a puncture.
After finishing that race at the rear of the field, both drivers were determined to bounce back strongly in the final race on Sunday. It was particularly important for Graham, who had an increased 11 point lead in the Rookie class heading into the 34 lap encounter.
Starting a lowly 16th and 17th on the grid, Graham and McKenna made brilliant progress through the order. Scything their way into the top ten prior to the halfway mark, they ended up each gaining ten positions en-route to sixth and seventh. That was more than enough for Graham to secure the rookie title.
Rattenbury meanwhile encountered a mixed debut in the championship. The former two-time Lamborghini World Champion had no trouble getting acquainted with his Wild Water Group backed Porsche 911 and he impressive qualified second quickest in the competitive Pro Am class.
Unfortunately the Welshman had a difficult first race and was forced to retire at mid-distance, but he bounced back strongly to make progress in the second race and pick up a first piece of Porsche silverware with third in class.
Fellow debutant Littman entered the season with plenty of experience in tin-top, GT and prototype machinery. Throw in at the deep end with the tricky, changing conditions across the event, he adapted well and qualified fourth fastest in the Am class.
The former British GT and ELMS racer went toe-to-toe with drivers holding much more experience in the current Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and emerged with an impressive fourth in class in race one, before replicating that result in the second encounter.
Simon Leonard – Team Boss: “It’s been a rollercoaster season in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, so to secure a championship title is a great way to end the year. A massive congratulations to Matty [Graham], he’s performed very well across his first season in the series.
“Scott [McKenna] has too and it’s been great having two drivers right at the sharp end of the field on a regular basis. Both have huge potential as GT drivers and we’ve enjoyed working with them, as well as Eighty One Powerdrink this season.
“We enjoyed having Jake [Rattenbury] and JM [Littman] as part of the team this weekend. It’s a tough introduction to the series for both drivers to join at the end of the year on a circuit with such close margins in time, but they acquitted themselves very well and Jake deserved his podium.
“The unique 2020 season has been the most intense we’ve experienced, racing on 11 of the last 16 weekends across the Carrera Cup GB and Sprint Challenge GB. Every member of our team has been magnificent and my personal thanks to all them for their hard work and dedication to Redline Racing.”
Image from Dan Bathie / Porsche GB.