This weekend’s final round of the Radical SR1 Cup at Snetterton is set to feature the largest grid of the season, signalling good things ahead of the 2020 campaign for one of the UK’s fastest single-make sportscar championships.
While the title battle may be done and dusted, with the dominant Shane Stoney (Quattro Motorsport) putting the crown out of reach of his rivals last time out at Donington Park, the bumper entry means there’s still much to enjoy about the packed field of 182bhp SR1s.
Stoney has indeed been the class of the field all season, winning all but one of the races so far, and he’s out to try and cap his incredible campaign with yet more silverware, but there’s a host of talent determined to make one final charge in an effort to stop him.
Potentially best placed to depose Stoney is 2018 SR1 Cup Champion James Pinkerton (JP Motorsport), who makes a welcome return to the grid this weekend. Pinkerton pushed Stoney hard across the first two rounds of 2019 before focusing on other interests, but he’s back for the season finale and ready to make his mark.
There’s also a tense battle for second and third in the championship, with Chris Short (Works), Matt Jones (Privateer), Will Hunt (Scorpio Motorsport) and Ross Elliott (Avidity) all in contention.
Short has been in scintillating form recently, having featured on the podium in each of the last three races, bringing his tally of rostrum appearances for the year to six. Jones has been ever-present in the top five, and has therefore scored well in every race so far this term, while Elliott has really clicked with his SR1 in recent rounds, having secured a front-row start and back-to-back podium finishes last time out at Donington. In contrast, Hunt has struggled in recent races, but still has the potential to mix it at the front, so cannot be ruled out.
Others to watch include Dean Warriner (Track Focused), Mackenzie Walker (Matthew Bentley Racing), Gavin McAlpine (RAW Motorsports) and newcomer Martyn Astley (University of Derby).
There are also the class battles to settle. Short’s efforts this term have helped him into the lead of the Fangio Trophy class – for drivers aged 40 and over – and he holds a healthy 20-point lead over Jones in that division. Things went south for Julian Lay (RAW) – the year’s only other outright race winner, alongside Stoney – with two retirements at Donington, which have left him trailing in third.
Short says he needs to be fully on form to ensure he gets it over the line in the class fight. “I’m really looking forward to Snetterton, but I’m fully aware that I can’t afford a slip-up at this stage of the season,” he says. “Look at what happened to Julian at Donington, bad results can happen to anyone and change a season on its head, so I’ll need full focus to get the job done as Matt has been really quick and very consistent all year.
“I’m loving driving the SR1 at the moment. I’m more comfortable than I’ve ever been in the car and my confidence is up, and I think working with the Radical Works team has been a huge part of that. Last time at Snetterton I went from 11th to second, so I need another one of those performances as I want to be on the podium – second or even better!”
The Rookie Cup for novice drivers is also still up for grabs, with Mark Tranter (Privateer) leading from Simon Bailey (Track Focused). Andy Lowe (Works) joined the field at the last round and showed well, and we welcome DriveTribe’s Mike Fernie (Works) to the grid this weekend.
Despite sitting at the top of the Rookie Cup points, Tranter adds that he’s not feeling the pressure of being on the verge of securing a class crown in his first season.
“I just need to focus on the finish, and that’s the main thing as I have the points cushion to protect me,” says Tranter. “But Snetterton is a tough track, with a very long and technical lap and it’s safe to say that I’ve not quite mastered it yet. You can easily lose a second on each straight if you don’t maximise your corner exit speed. But to be close to a title in my first year is amazing. It’s been a brilliant year and I’ve learned so much, yet still have so much more to learn. I’ve worked with RAW Motorsports on setup in recent rounds and found some time, so hopefully that partnership can pay off again this weekend.”
Qualifying for the final round of the Radical SR1 Cup is scheduled for 09:25 on Saturday, October 19, with the first race set to get underway at 11:40, followed by the final race of the year at 15:25. Live timing will be available all weekend via TSL-Timing.com