The fifth round of the 2019 Radical Challenge championship descends on Silverstone, Northamptonshire, on 17-18 August, with a three-way title fight set to unfold amid the largest grid of the year so far.
Just 76 points separate current championship leader and defending champion Dominik Jackson (RAW Motorsports), former SR1 Cup champion Jérôme de Sadeleer (360 Racing) and series newcomer Jac Constable (Fix Auto with Hart GT). With 84 points up for grabs in each endurance race alone – and with two of those plus a sprint race in store this weekend – the title fight won’t be decided for a while yet, but Silverstone will certainly be a major factor in the title chase.
There’s not much to split the top three protagonists with Jackson and de Sadeleer sharing nine podium finishes apiece, while Dominik holds the upper hand on race wins by a single one. Constable joined the winner’s circle during the last round at Oulton Park, however, to add a win to his haul of seven rostrum visits so far. All three drivers share a non-finish, and absolutely none can afford another if they are to stay in the hunt.
Although Fix Auto with Hart GT’s Constable never anticipated being in with a chance of seizing the championship crown in his maiden term, the 21-year-old Ginetta GT4 Supercup graduate is delighted with his form so far. He says: “I’m really pleased with our first win of the season at Oulton Park as it was the first meeting where we were able to truly match the pace of the frontrunners. Whilst you’re always hopeful of getting to grips with a new car early enough to compete in a championship, I didn’t expect to be in the title chase in our first season. I’m very proud of our performance as a team and very happy to be in the mix. We will take anything from here!
“I hope we can bring a competitive package to Silverstone and build on our winning form but you never know until the day. It’s a nice flowing track and a circuit where we would hope to be towards the front of the pack, but we’re still learning. We’ll continue the hard work we’ve been putting in all year, and hopefully lady luck will do the rest.”
With the grid swelling to 27 cars, the leaders face some significant new threats. Enter Marcus Clutton, who upset the order at Snetterton in May with two out of three race wins for Valour Racing. Mark Richards, who is hungry for his first Challenge victory, is back in for the rest of the year, while Joe Stables proved he could also steal points from the title fight after his debut podium at Oulton Park.
Other podium contenders include Jon MacRae (Valour Racing) and John MacLeod (RAW Motorsports), while Mark Crader makes a welcome return to the Challenge fold amid his Le Mans Cup duties.
Add to that mix the ever-closing midfield and there’s a raft of drivers waiting to taste the podium champagne, not least Elliot Goodman, who leads the fight for fourth in the standings from Spencer Bourne, Brian Caudwell and Peter Brookes. Brian Murphy, John Caudwell, Jason Rishover, Rod Goodman, Oli Marateotto Jnr and Auðunn S. Guðmundsson will all be in the mix. Martin Verity, John Harrison and Kasper Jensen are also set to return for their second outing of the season.
In the Team category, class leaders Amir Feyzulin and Anton Zakharov (Works) must head-off fresh challenges from father-and-son pairing Chris and Dan Headlam (Lanan Racing) who took a hat-trick of victories at Spa-Francorchamps before skipping Oulton Park. Andrew and Hector Hurst also join the category and make their series debut with Scorpio.
There’s also new pressure from Jeff Curtis and James Edmeades, both from the UAE, taking their Radical Gulf Cup prize with the Works Team. Eager to make their Challenge debut, Jeff says: “We’re really looking forward to Silverstone and being supported by Radical UK. Personally, I’m slightly apprehensive as an amateur racer making my European debut at such a prestigious venue. Grids in the Middle East are somewhat smaller and with only two full seasons under my belt I am keen to see where the racecraft developed in that time puts me in a European environment.
“James has competed at the highest level on two wheels, riding for many works teams he’s raced on most UK circuits, and the Isle of Man TT. Now competing on four wheels, he has yet to tackle Silverstone. I have raced there twice, including when I was invited to race with the Autofarm ‘Stand up to Cancer’ Citroen for the C1 24 Hours of Silverstone in April. Although I think I have a good memory of the track, the Radical line looks much more technical, mainly due to the Radical’s aero, and it’s a heck of a lot faster. I just hope that I can keep my times respectable and race hard.”
The fifth round Radical Challenge battle gets underway with qualifying at 09:00 on Saturday, 17 August. The first 50-minute endurance race, with compulsory pit stop, goes green at 11:20, followed by a 20-minute sprint race at 15:00. The action concludes with another 50-minute showdown at 12:25 on Sunday. Live timing is available at www.tsl-timing.com, and the race highlights will be aired after the event on the Radical Sportscars YouTube and social media channels.