Bruce Winfield ends season runner-up and wins Tom Walker Memorial Trophy
Following an action-packed final three rounds at Donington Park on August Bank Holiday Monday, Lewis Kent emerged as the 2021 Goodyear Touring Car Trophy TCR UK winner. In a truly exciting and unpredictable trilogy of races, a calculated performance saw him do exactly what was needed to retain the title he won in 2020.
Victory in the 14th and final round wrapped up a valuable points scoring weekend for Bruce Winfield, his performance over the three races seeing him jump from fifth to second in the drivers’ standings and claim the coveted Tom Walker Memorial Trophy in the process.
With 25 for a win and another for setting the fastest lap, a total of 78 points were up for grabs for the final meeting of what has been a game-changing season for the Goodyear Touring Car Trophy. Consequently, five drivers headed to the event with a mathematical chance of securing the title: Lewis Kent on 200 points, Dan Kirby on 179, Bradley Kent on 176, Max Hart on 169 and Bruce Winfield on 162.
During the pre-race interviews all five contenders expressed the importance of qualifying well. Driving his Area Motorsport Cupra TCR, Winfield did just that and went fastest, with round eight winner and non-points scoring driver Alex Morgan second in his Maximum Motorsport CUPRA TCR. Second of the title protagonists Bradley Kent put his Essex & Kent Hyundai i30N TCR in third, with Jac Constable and his Power Maxed Car Care Racing CUPRA TCR fourth, followed by Max Hart in his Maximum Motorsport-run Hyundai i30N TCR.
Whilst the starting line-up put three of the would-be Champions in the top five, the big surprise was Lewis Kent, who’s quick laps in his Essex and Kent Hyundai were all disallowed due to track limit infringements. And with Kirby not having the best of Qualifying sessions, he would start from P14 in his Power Maxed Car Care Racing CUPRA TCR.
Winfield and Morgan turned into the first corner at Redgate side-by-side, but a sideways moment for Winfield in the Craner Curves enabled Morgan to get ahead at the Old Hairpin, followed by Constable. As cars entered Redgate for the second time, a heroic move by Hart netted him third place. But it didn’t last long, as the Irishman ran wide at Coppice half-a-lap later.
This brief excursion allowed Bradley Kent into fourth, whilst his brother Lewis was rapidly making progress through the field and had climbed to 12th as cars crossed the line to start the third lap. In fifth and in contention with the leading group was Andy Wilmot in his Maximum Motorsport CUPRA TCR, followed by Kirby and now Hart a few seconds back and battling it out for sixth and those all-important championship points. They held stations until half-way through the 20-minute race, when a coming together at Redgate saw them swap places. Fortunately, both were able to continue.
Then, just when the leading positions looked like they were established, Morgan appeared to slow and in his eagerness to get past, Constable ran wide at the Forgarty Essess. Consequently, with one lap to go, Winfield and Bradley Kent closed up – so-much-so that Winfield was able to get past Constable under braking into the final corner, claim second place and importantly, collect more points than any of his title rivals.
With Bradley Kent 4th, Max Hart 5th, Dan Kirby 6th and Lewis Kent 7th, going into race two there were still five drivers in contention for the big prize, with 25 points between them and 52 points on offer.
Regulations dictate that the top six drivers in race-one start in reverse order for race-two. This put Kirby on pole and significantly, Lewis Kent in seventh behind his championship rivals.
Other than Lewis overtaking his brother at the start, positions were maintained for the first part of the opening lap, but things started to change in dramatic fashion when the field reached Coppice Corner, Hart going past Kirby and into the lead whilst Lewis Kent found himself off the track and in the gravel on the outside of the corner, before rejoining the race in last place.
As cars dropped into the Craner Curves for the third time, Hart, Kirby, Morgan and Constable went four abreast and, as everyone held their breath, it was Constable who exited the Old Hairpin first. At the same time, Bradley Kent and Winfield were battling it out just behind for fifth place, the frantic activity allowing Wilmot and then Hugo Cook in his Audi RS3 TCR to join the leading group.
The following laps saw the battles between these top seven drivers continue, enabling Constable to increase his advantage at the front of the pack and Lewis Kent to close up at the back. However, he didn’t have it his own way, as Jack Depper in the Maximum Motorsport Golf TCR joined the battle only to be another to run wide onto the gravel at Coppice.
Unfortunately for Kirby, his car slowed at half-distance forcing him to visit to the pits and in doing so, put himself out of title contention.
Constable went on to cross the line to win by a comfortable margin ahead of Hart, who had successfully held off Morgan in the latter part of the race, followed by Winfield who had passed Bradley Kent whos’ Hyundai was showing signs of battle.
The outcome of race two meant there were now four drivers left for what was, due to fading light and an ever-tightening timetable, a 15-minute showdown for the title.
For the third race of the day, grid positions are dictated by the second-fastest time set in qualifying. This put Morgan on Pole, Winfield second and Constable third, whilst Hart, Bradley Kent and his brother were 4th, 6th and 16th respectively – a starting line-up that made predicting who would become champion even more of a lottery.
Morgan’s race ended as soon as it started, with a lack of drive away from the line. Thankfully he manged to pull onto the grass and let the grid behind him past. This allowed Winfield and Constable to pull away and with Hart’s smoking car clearly struggling for power, it was Wilmot who grabbed third ahead of Kirby and Bradley Kent.
As the race reached its half-way point Bradley Kent passed Kirby and got onto the back of the leading trio. A lap later and with all four nose-to-tail, Constable went for the lead and pulled alongside Winfield as they dived down the Craner Curves, the two cars touched and trying to avoid going into the back of them, so did those of Kent and Wilmot – the high-speed contact sending Constable and Wilmot into the gravel and out of the race.
Whilst Winfield continued unscathed, the same could not be said for Bradley Kent, who pulled into the pits and retired at the end of the lap. Kirby was only too pleased to inherit second place with Cook now third and Will Butler – who was having his best race of the day – in fourth driving his Power Maxed Car Care Racing CUPRA TCR.
Importantly for the title, Lewis Kent was now 7th and with only Winfieldnow able to ruin the party, the champion elect made sure he kept out of trouble to secure his second Touring Car Trophy title in succession.
Following the race, Goodyear announced that it would provide Lewis with an opportunity to test BTCC car in November.
Winfield went on to take his second race victory of the season and by doing so, elevated himself to second place in the drivers’ standings and was awarded the Tom Walker Memorial Trophy by scoring the highest number of points during the day.
Lewis Kent – 2022 Goodyear Touring Car Trophy Champion
“What a day! That was intense. Because of what happened in qualifying and because we were struggling for pace on occasions, I have to admit I was a bit concerned this morning. So to take the title – and for the second year running – is fantastic. I can’t believe it. I’m lost for words.
“For the last race I was counting down the laps and the cars I passed. It really was a case of just keeping out of trouble and getting across the line.
“It was shame what happened to Brad. It would have been great to score a one-two for the team. I really can’t thank all the guys and our sponsors enough for all the support. I’m now looking forward to celebrating the season we’ve had and then making plans for our next.”
Stewart Lines – Championship Manager
“I’m delighted with the way this season has gone. With all that happened last year, to see such close and exciting racing, the increase in competitor numbers and the return of spectators has been fantastic.
“The increased profile added to an association with Club Time Attack has enabled us to provide a great package for competitors, sponsors and fans. There’s no doubt that 2021 has been a landmark year for us and put the Goodyear Touring Car Trophy and TCR UK well and truly on the map.
“I have to congratulate Lewis and Essex and Kent Motorsport for a job well done this year and thank all the other drivers, teams and our sponsors for their support in what has been a truly exciting and game-changing season. Bring on 2022!”