At the halfway point of the VW Racing Cup incorporating the Goodyear Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK it’s Lewis Kent who leads the standings with a healthy 50 point lead over his nearest rival and younger brother Bradley Kent.
As we enter the Oulton Park weekend, the drivers are eagerly waiting to return to the circuit that until this year had been a traditional starting point for the season. During our inaugural campaign in 2019, it was Carl Swift and Ollie Taylor who famously sprayed the campaign atop the Cheshire podium, while last year, Henry Neal and Lewis Kent took one win apiece as they begun their season-long campaign of battling for supremacy.
No driver has tasted victory more than once around Oulton Park in the Touring Car Trophy era, giving further incentive to the Essex & Kent Motorsport team as Lewis looks to claim his third win of the year. As mentioned, he’ll be joined once again by younger brother Bradley, who is equally chasing a third win as part of the dominant start to the season we have seen by the Hyundai i30 N TCR’s.
For Kent, the younger, though, his more immediate thoughts must be on securing second place in the title fight. Sitting on 107 points, he is just one point ahead of Max Hart, who for much of this season has been the Kent’s closest rival and still a title contender. Racing for Maximum Motorsport in his blue, red and white Selco-sponsored Hyundai, Hart will be determined to make up lost ground after a crash with Lewis took him out of the opening race of the Brands Hatch triple-header last time out.
Next up in our run of title protagonists is Dan Kirby. The 35-year-old is no stranger to racing and came into his own last round, picking up his maiden victory during an action-packed opening race that saw his fellow favourites fall away. Racing for Power Maxed Car Care Racing, he is the highest placed of the Cupra TCR SEQ’s. He won’t be the only Cupra in the mix though as Bruce Winfield looks to make a mend for Brands. The 2020 Milltek Civic Cup champion has proven to be one of the best defenders in the field, holding off the entire pack, including Lewis Kent for much of the final race, until a late crash brought an end to proceedings.
In the TCT class cars for this weekend, Darron Lewis and Daniel Wylie will go head to head in their battle for Team HARD. supremacy. Wylie, driving a BMW 1 Series, previously owned by West Surrey Racing in the BTCC, will look to once again get his elbows out against the Mercedes A Class NGTC that has seen Lewis pick up an overall podium this year.
For BTCC fans, Team HARD. won’t be the only recognisable name either, as Power Maxed are fielding four cars this weekend. Alongside team leader Kirby, Alex Morgan will step into the #5 Cupra Leon as he returns to racing in the UK. A winner in the Seat Leon Eurocup series and former vice-champion of Clio Cup UK, the 34-year-old is well experienced with his machine. Racing in the teams two other Cupra TCR SEQ’s will be former Ginetta GT4 Supercup-AM champion Jac Constable, aiming to build upon his front frow start at Castle Combe and William Butler who will be looking forward to Oulton after missing out last year.
Making his return to the series this weekend is Andy Wilmot. The former BTCC driver and current Volkswagen Racing Cup champion has purchased a new Cupra TCR for this weekends action and will be eager to build upon his experience he gained from the opening round at Silverstone. Joining him for this round at Maximum Motorsport will be Jack Depper. Another VW Cup veteran, the current points leader makes the step up to TCR to drive the Volkswagen Golf that has previously been driven by Tim Docker to Britcar success.
At 16, Hugo Cook is the series youngest driver and after his one-off appearance at Silverstone has decided to see out the season with the model Audi RS3 that guided him to a top five finish on his debut. The addition of the Audi brings us up to six manufacturers this weekend.
Continuing our run of new faces, the TCR class also welcomes in two brand new faces as Mark Smith and Jamie Sturges join for our trip up north. Sturges, a former Castle Combe GT champion will compete for Zest Racecar Engineering driving our second Volkswagen Golf TCR, while Smith pilots the #77 Seat Leon.
Rounding out our bumper grid of 17 drivers, our largest of the season so far, will be series regulars Alex Kite and Danny Krywyj. The #14 Hyundai of Krywyj will continue to fly the flag for Motus One Racing this weekend as Kite continues to gain further experience in his Cupra TCR.
Held over one day on the Oulton Park Island circuit, Free Practice will kick off at 08:50 local time, with qualifying a 15 minute session at 10:50. The afternoon will then conclude with two races at 13:35 and 16:00 on Saturday 17th July 2021.