Ryan Harper-Ellam says he’s taking nothing for granted ahead of his home round of the SR1 Cup Championship at Silverstone, insisting he still has a tough task to catch championship leader James Pinkerton.
After a difficult first outing at Oulton Park, which was hindered by a snapped drive-chain in the first race of the season, Harper-Ellam has been playing catch-up to Pinkerton, who was a double winner in Cheshire.
However, SR1 Shootout winner Harper-Ellam’s title aspirations received a huge boost following his own double victory last time out at Snetterton.
The results mean the championship battle is turning out to be a straight fight between two drivers in differing machinery. While the SR1 Cup is a single-make championship, the introduction of the new Gen-2 machine – powered by the same 182bhp 1340cc RPE engine and six-speed sequential Quaife gearbox – has produced some variety within the grid.
Harper-Ellam, who handles the newer Gen-2 car, now trails Gen-1 SR1 driver Pinkerton by 26 points heading in to the third round of the campaign.
“Snetterton was a dream weekend for me, and really worked wonders for my season,” says Harper-Ellam. “The weekend was run in changeable conditions, and to get a win in the wet first race really boosted my confidence. I’ve not done a lot in the wet in my career, so you could say it’s a weakness of mine.
“Silverstone will be a different matter though, and I can’t get carried away as there’s still a long way to go in this championship. James is remarkably consistent, so wherever I finish he’ll likely be on or around the podium, so catching him will still be very tough. Hopefully I can get a few more wins at my home track to help close the gap.
“It’s taken a while to learn about the car and get used to how it moves around, how the tyres behave and how to get the best out of the brakes. While it looks like a head-to-head fight between James and I, drivers like Chris Short are getting faster with each outing too.”
Hot on the leading pair’s heels will be both Will Hunt and Short. Hunt boasted some single-seater experience before signing up for his first full season of racing in the SR1s this year, and was twice a podium finisher at Oulton. A tough weekend at Snetterton has limited him to fourth in the points, but he has the speed to upset the established order.
Short sits third in the championship and also has a podium finish to his name this term, and will no doubt be hungry for more.
The midfield battle is just as fraught, with Mark Williams and Gavin McAlpine constantly closing the gap to the frontrunners. Then there’s the Fangio Trophy division for drivers aged 45 or over. Peter Devlin leads that, ahead of David Tagg, Paul Clark, the absent Chris Preen and Julian Lay.
The field swells to 14 cars for this weekend with newcomers Ross Elliott, Adarsh Radia, Andrew Ritchie and Richard Wilson joining the fray.
The SR1 Cup action kicks off at Silverstone on Saturday 23 June with qualifying at 09.00, ahead of two 20-minute races at 12.05 and 15.10 (all timings remain provisional). Live timing is available via www.tsl-timing.com Race highlights will also be uploaded to the new Radical Sportscars YouTube channel.