This year’s Radical SR1 Cup gets underway with two races at Oulton Park on Saturday 20th April, featuring an entirely refreshed field consisting of new drivers, new teams and the promise of close and unpredictable racing.
With the top two from last year’s championship – James Pinkerton and Ryan Harper-Ellam – moving on to pastures new, we’re guaranteed to have a fresh face on the top step of the podium this weekend, but guessing who that will be is a tough task.
Since its introduction in mid-2017, the Generation 2 SR1 has proven a hit with both experienced racers and novices alike, boasting a 182bhp 1340cc RPE-Suzuki engine, improved aerodynamics and enhanced drivability over the original model. The SR1 offers unrivalled bang-for-buck motorsport, which has kept many drivers coming back, and also tempted promising new entries into one of the UK’s fastest single-make series.
Heading the entry this weekend is the returning Will Hunt. Having won the Rookie Cup title last year and finished third in the overall points, Hunt is arguably a championship favourite. With some single-seater experience behind him, the Scorpio Motorsport man scored multiple podiums during 2018, but so far the outright race win has eluded him.
“Last year was a big learning curve; with the car, the circuits and my racecraft, but largely the year surpassed expectations,” says Hunt. “This year we start again. We know the car better as a team, and I’m driving better. My goal is to add consistency, and the sole goal is to push for that top step as often as possible.”
Hunt’s main rival from last year will also return. Chris Short pushed Hunt all the way in the Rookie Cup battle last year and showed some superb skill behind the wheel during his maiden season of racing. Could the two class leaders become the outright men to beat this season?
Shane Stoney will be hoping not. The multiple Mini racing champion and leading Ginetta driver made the switch to Radical late last year and took just four races to break into the top three. With Oulton Park also being one of his favoured circuits, expect big things from the Yorkshireman.
“I’ve worked hard on my driving style over the winter, and taught myself to left-foot brake, which I think is the fastest technique in these cars,” says Stoney. “The pace was there last year, so hopefully I can go for wins and the title this season.”
BMW racer Ross Elliott also returns with last year’s title-winning team, Avidity Motorsport. Elliott showed promising pace during a handful of races last season.
Mark Williams and Gavin McAlpine finished fifth and sixth respectively in the 2018 title chase, and will be looking to improve on that this year.
There’s been an influx of new talent this season too, with rallying convert Simon Bailey joining alongside Lotus racer Dean Warriner as part of a new entry from British GT team Track Focused. Andy Wilkins learned his craft aboard a Renault Clio but will now switch to rear-wheel drive with multiple tin-top title-winner Team Pyro, which enters Radical racing for the first time this year. Other new entries include Fun Cup graduate Matthew Jones and racing newcomer Mark Tranter.
Nick Zapolski is another new face, making his SR1 debut along with the Hart GT team. Zapolski has been a podium finisher in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge in recent years and will be looking to adapt as quickly as Stoney managed.
The Fangio Trophy class, for drivers aged 45 and over, has remained stable, with the top three in the category all returning. David Tagg took the 2018 honours, but can Paul Clark and Julian Lay overhaul him this season?
The Radical SR1 Cup gets underway on Saturday, April 20 at Oulton Park Circuit in Cheshire, supporting the prestigious British GT Championship. The day begins with a 20-minute qualifying session at 10:40 before the first of the 20-minute sprint races at 13:20. Race two is at 17:25. Live timing is available via www.tsl-timing.com