With three different winners from the first four races, the 2014 Group C Racing season is shaping up to be its most competitive for some time, with new cars, new drivers and some great racing all combining to put on a great show for the viewing public.
The Jaguar XJR14 was the star of last year’s Classic, with Nic Minassian squeezing every last ounce of performance out of the 3.5ltr engine during the Sunday race; the Saturday evening race having sadly fallen victim to the torrential downpours that swept across the circuit.
The Jaguar was an Invitation entry last year, but 2014 has seen the introduction of a third class (for cars of 1991 vintage/configuration or later) and the Silk Cut-liveried machine will thus be eligible for points in the hands of Gareth Evans.
Katsu Kubota began the season in style in Barcelona, when he took his Nissan R90CK to a surprise victory over the Mercedes C11 that had dominated the 2013 season. Bob Berridge restored balance in the second race with a win for the Silver Arrows, but the Japanese racer has formed a potent partnership with Spaniard Joaquin Folch and one or both have appeared on the Class 1 podium at all four races so far.
Berridge enjoyed victory at both Barcelona and Spa, but retirement at Le Mans left the door open for Shaun Lynn, who took his ex-Michael Schumacher C11 to a resounding victory in only his second race. Lynn was still getting to know his recently-acquired Mercedes when he took the flag in France and will only be quicker this time out.
As well as the two Mercs, Class 1 will also be graced by a second R90CK as Steve Tandy brings his FROMA-liveried Nissan out to play.
Somewhat surprisingly, there are just four Porsches in the 17-strong class – the ex-works Rothmans Porsche 956 of Kriton Lendoudis being a late withdrawal following engine failure at the Goodwood Festival of Speed – but look out for the Tic Tac 962 of Henrik Lindberg and the Leyton House 962 of Tommy Dreelan; the Dane and the Irish racer having developed quite a rivalry over the past year.
Christophe D’Ansembourg was last seen at Silverstone in his Jägermeister Porsche 962, but this year will be bringing along his 1987 Jaguar XJR8. This is the car’s first appearance in the Belgian’s hands and he shares it with compatriot Hervé Regout, who raced in Group C in its heyday.
The Mazda 767B of German brothers Max and Moritz Werner had a torrid time at Le Mans, losing two engines, but if a replacement can be sourced and fitted in time, the Charge-liveried machine is sure to be a fan favourite. Other marques represented in the class – potentially nine in total – include the Cheetah of Eric Rickenbacher, the Courage C26S of Georg Kjallgren, the Lancia LC2 of Rupert Clevely and the Lola T711 – a Corvette GTP – of Australian racer Paul Stubber.
Class 2 may be smaller in number, but should still put on a show. Mike Donovan has won the class title for two years running and his #111 Rexona Spice SE88 is often to be found amongst the Class 1 frontrunners. Taking the battle to him, though, will be Aaron Scott in the #170 Listerine SE86, along with the TIGAs of Scott Couper and Jonathan Fay, in an all-British class.
Four cars, too, for the more-exotic Class 3, where the XJR14 will take on the XJR16 of Richard Eyre, the Gebhardt C91 of Frank Lyons and the Intrepid RM1 of Peter Garrod. Eyre has been increasingly competitive in the IMSA GTP Jaguar and will be looking for another good result on home turf after enjoying a class win at Le Mans. The 3.5ltr Gebhardt also went well at Le Mans and its MOMO livery will make it very easy to spot. Michael Lyons will once again be sharing the car with Frank this weekend, so we could well be seeing father and son celebrating another podium finish.
So there we have it, almost two dozen Group C cars and two great races to look forward to; and no sign of any rain spoiling the show this year, thank goodness!
|1||2||1||Shaun Lynn||Mercedes C11||1990||5000|
|3||5||1||Peter Harburg||Porsche 962||1990||3200|
|4||6||1||Rupert Clevely||Lancia LC2||1984||3000|
|5||14||1||Tommy Dreelan||Porsche 962||1987||3000|
|6||15||1||Adrian Watt||Spice SE89P||1989||6133|
|7||21||1||Paul Stubber||Lola T711||1984||6000|
|9||27||1||Steve Tandy||Nissan R90CK||1990||3500|
|10||31||1||Bob Berridge||Mercedes C11||1989||5000|
|11||33||1||Henrik Lindberg||Porsche 962||1989||3000|
|13||60||1||Eric Rickenbacher||Cheetah G606||1990||3500|
|14||71||1||Georg Kjallgren||Courage C26S||1989||2800|
|16||106||2||Scott Couper||TIGA GC288||1988||3300|
|17||111||2||Mike Donovan||Spice SE88||1988||3900|
|18||112||2||Jonathan Fay||TIGA GC287||1986||4000|
|19||170||2||Aaron Scott||Spice SE86||1986||3300|
|20||3||3||Richard Eyre||Jaguar XJR16||1991||3000|
|21||8||3||Gareth Evans||Jaguar XJR14||1991||3500|
|23||38||3||Peter Garrod||Intrepid RM1||1991||6500|