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Round 1 Report: Record Grid for Season Opener at Donington 2023





The CALM All Porsche Trophy kicked off the 2023 season with a terrific entry of 31 cars, a new record for this rapidly expanding Series. 14 new drivers also joined the Series at Donington, another record.



Steve Hewson was one of our new recruits and races the only ex-road 718 Cayman in the UK

The overall format was familiar, a 20 minute qualifying session followed by a 40 minute pit-stop race, with 1 or 2 drivers in each car. The classes have been tweaked slightly for 2023 to ensure closer and fairer competition in each class, and this year the power of the cars is measured at the wheels rather than at the flywheel.


At Donington the SP1 class consisted of a variety of Caymans including series newcomer Steve Hewson in his 718 which features a 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder motor, the balance being 6 cylinder cars. SP2 was the biggest class at Donington with 18 Boxsters entered, while SP3 was home to a variety of 944 and 968 3-litre cars, with 924s and a solitary 924S making up the SP4 entries.


Qualifying


27 cars took to the track for morning qualifying, after a small number of withdrawls. Conditions were far from ideal following heavy overnight rain and high winds, but with a drying track, initial caution was followed by some excellent performances although times were generally a few seconds slower than dry times after the allotted 20 minutes.


A great tribute to the standard of driving in the series is that all cars made it through qualifying unscathed despite the treacherous conditions, the only major problem being the unfortunate Tom McHugh who’s 944 pulled in early with a gearbox stuck in 2nd that was fixed for the race.



Ivor Mairs took the SP4 pole, race win and fastest lap – in a car he’d not even sat in before Donington!

Steve Hewson took pole in his rapid SP1 Cayman, followed by 3 SP2 Boxsters, piloted by newcomers Ryan Charters, Edward Harvey/Ross Morris and Pete Morris partnering series regular Brian Richardson.


The first SP3 car was the impressive Calum Lockie/Roger Coy 968 a spectacular 5th overall and less than half a second off the front row.


Equally impressive was Jamie McHugh in his 968 just one tenth off the Lockie/Coy car.


Ivor Mairs took his newly acquired 924 to the SP4 pole in 19th overall, the nimble car thriving in the damp conditions ahead of some more powerful opposition and almost 3 seconds clear of the next 924.


Race


By the time the cars lined up behind the Safety Car for the rolling start the circuit was practically dry, and all cars took the start to make for a great spectacle as they headed into Redgate on the first lap.


Steve Hewson took an immediate lead in the 718 Cayman, 3.5 seconds ahead of the field after one lap, a position he never looked like losing and he finished the race a comfortable 8 seconds ahead of P2 after a quick and well controlled performance.


Colin Tester, sharing with newcomer Mike Fiebig was soon established in a comfortable second place, lapping consistently and very quickly to maintain the place until the pit stops, whereafter the pairing fell back to a good 8th place by the finish and fastest SP2 lap.

Christian Walker meanwhile started in 7th after a steady qualifying, but was right on the pace once the race got underway circulating near the front in formation with dad Jon, finishing 6 seconds apart in 2nd and 3rd overall and P1/2 in SP2 by the chequered flag. The Scharfegger/Cunniffe, Richardson/Morris and Harvey/Morris Boxsters initially joined in with the Walker family convoy, but this group was depleted on lap 4 when the Scharfegger/Cunniffe car pitted to retire with a broken exhaust manifold. Ryan Charters completed the SP2 podium, having dropped from the front row of the grid to 11th on the first lap, but fighting back throughout the race to 5th overall.


There were a total of five DNFs – all Boxsters – including Sam’s Boxster whose main power isolator decided to cut all power to the car by itself.


Jamie McHugh took his 968 to an SP3 win and 4th overall

The SP3 winner was Jamie McHugh’s 968 in a remarkable 4th overall despite a 15 second time penalty imposed due to his liberal interpretation of track limits. 2nd SP3 was the 968 pedalled by Dan Crego, starting in 10th , Dan moved through to a fine 6th overall, holding off the ever-closing Coy/Lockie combination that finished 3rd, although with the consolation of the fastest class lap, 0.7 seconds clear of the Crego 968.


SP4 was won by Ivor “The Driver” Mairs in 18th overall and over a lap ahead of the remaining SP4 cars. Ivor was deservedly awarded Driver of the Day for his giant-killing performance in a car he’d never even sat in prior to qualifying.


Also winning an award was the Edward Harvey/Ross Morris pairing who had to retire their Boxster after featuring strongly, but with the consolation of winning the prize for best turned out car.


Words: John Broadley, photo: Sean Mulcahy – full photo gallery on Flickr

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