Laubscher and Wilkins grin in Cheshire!

Porsche’s 911 GT3 Cup machine has been a kernel of Porsche’s motorsport offering for nearly thirty years. Today, the Weissach built machine’s relevance in motor sport now extends to the virtual world. Perfectly complementing Apex Racing League’s other series – TCR, GTE, F3, GT4 – the Apex Racing Academy Porsche Cup Championship (ARA PC) roared into life at Oulton park on October the 7th.

Le Mans winners like Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy and Matt Campbell all progressed through their respective regional Carrera Cup championships to the prestigious Mobil 1 Super Cup. All at the wheel of the 911 GT3 Cup machine. Of the nineteen Porsche Super Cup champions, ten have won the 24 hours of Le Mans.

With 485 horsepower on tap, no traction control, and no anti-lock braking system – the Porsche 911 GT3 cup car demands respect.

Partly due to the unconventional rear engine layout, the Porsche GT3 Cup car requires a specific technique. Apex Racing Academy Porsche Cup entrants will receive guidance and critical car set up data from Kevin Ellis Jr. to master these fickle machines.

Kevin is one of the Apex Racing Team elite and a world class specialist in Porsche Cup sim racing.

First up on the six-round calendar, is Oulton Park. Based in the heart of leafy Cheshire, this parkland circuit is a gem. Since 1953, many of the greats on two and four wheels have conquered Oulton’s undulating contours. In 1961, Sir Stirling Moss scored the only F1 win for a four-wheel drive car at the Oulton Park Gold Cup.

Unlike Moss, drivers in the ARA Porsche Cup championship must grapple with propulsion to the rear wheels only from a rasping four litre engine.

Round 1

In the opening ten-minute qualifying session of the season, AM class driver Logan Walker set the pace. A blistering 1 minute and 20.057 second lap was enough for the American ace to edge out PRO class contender, Ivo Laubscher, for overall pole position. A highly impressive feat indeed. Dutchman, Oscar Wilkins, was second quickest of the AM class contenders and seventh overall.

Swift Swiss star, Ivo Laubscher, launched his 911 perfectly and swept past Walker into turn one. Walker’s fortunes didn’t improve. On lap two, the American couldn’t slow his Porsche sufficiently to tip into Hislop chicane and dropped to eighth place.

Laubscher couldn’t be caught despite the best efforts of Phillipe Lauer, who shadowed Laubscher’s eye-catching Positively Racing Porsche for the entirety of the race. Luke Maxwell trailed eight seconds further back but claimed a maiden podium of the season.

Kev Copeland avoided trouble to claim fourth overall and a dominant AM class triumph.

Round 2

A traditional Apex Racing League reverse grid jumble placed Max Wolf on pole position alongside Pete Wadsworth. Race one victor, Ivo Laubscher, started back in tenth for the thirty-minute feature race.

Laubscher wouldn’t repeat his race one heroics. A spin on the exit of Old Hall corner left the Swiss star broadside across the track.  A snarling pack of Porsche’s arrived on the scene immediately, triggering a huge pile up.

Meanwhile, Max Wolf sped away from pole position in his Indy Autosport Porsche. However, the Dutchman’s delight lasted only a lap. A classic Porsche 911 pendulum effect spin sent Wolf twirling onto the grass and out of the lead. Following immediately behind, Oscar Wilkins swooped by and inherited the lead from his fellow countryman. Wilkins wouldn’t be worried again and cruised home to an imperious victory.

Wolf eventually fought back to fifth but a pit stop on the final lap, to repair damage, proved costly.

Eight minutes into a dramatic feature race, Logan Walker was on a charge. Keen to made amends for his race one blunder, the American used every inch of Oulton Park’s hallowed tarmac and more. However, Hislop’s chicane stole Walker’s chances of victory once more. A collision with the tyre wall left the Stateside star’s Porsche with damage. Walker fought back to third place but not without controversy. Ironically, Walker nudged Luke Maxwell into the wall at Hislop’s chicane and inherited third place on the final lap. Named in tribute to the former British Superbike Champion and eleven-time Isle of Man TT winner – Steve Hislop – the tricky chicane hadn’t been kind to Walker.

Bob Humphrey somehow evaded the watchful eye of the iRacing.com stewards and leapt off the line ahead of his rivals. Nevertheless, a clean drive yielded a second-place finish for the Englishman.

Rickard Karlsson profited most from a race of attrition. A heroic ascent from thirtieth on the grid to fifth in his Hellracers Porsche confirmed the Swede as the hardest charger in the field.

Post Race

Following a fiercely contested inaugural ARA Porsche Cup meeting, several drivers joined the Apex Racing TV broadcast crew to give their thoughts:

Max Wolf: “I didn’t expect my qualifying to go well after my recent ARL GT league performances, but I was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, it went a bit downhill from there.”

Oscar Wilkins: “I took it easy in the second race because the tyres can be quite cold in the first lap. Then I started to put some pressure on, and I think Max just made a mistake. After that, I wasn’t pushing too much. I just tried to do consistent laps.”

Luke Maxwell: “It was stressful out there! I was doing quite well and then a backmarker spun in front of me and I lost about six seconds. Unfortunately, at the end I was punted into the tyre barriers.”

Next up for the Apex Racing Academy Porsche Cup contenders is Imola. Like Oulton, Imola’s fickle curves are brutally unforgiving. Tune in to see how the drivers fare on the 14th of October at 19.10 GMT on Apex Racing TV.

Images by @Groove_Media (Link to 4k images)

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