The UK’s second Prototype Championship launched in October with a convincing win for the Tockwith Motorsports pairing of Nigel Moore and Phil Hansen. With just a single round to debut the championship but with the promise of a full season in 2017, a field of 8 Ligier JS P3’s took to the track at Snetterton in the east of England.
The series will go under the name of the Prototype Cup and will be organised by Bute Motorsport who already run the highly successful GT Cup Championship and with backing from Ligier’s UK agents, United Autosports, the omens are good.
With 4 cars entered by United Autosports the remainder of the field was made up with the single entry from Tockwith Motorsports who have already appeared in the 2016 ELMS and days after this event would be shipping the car out to the Asian Le Mans Series. Team West Tec have made their name in single seaters with ongoing campaigns in F3 and F4 whilst also providing technical support to a number of ELMS teams so their entry marks a new era for the team as a fully-fledged prototype team.
Rounding up the entry was Douglas Motorsport whose experience includes F4 and Ginetta Juniors and were another making their prototype debut.
At the start Phil Hansen took the lead and built a good lead ahead of the Jacques Duyver/Charlie Hollings pairing in the number 3 United Autosports car. Behind them was the Team West Tec car with Christian England behind the wheel who was able to slip by early on and start chasing Hansen who had by this point built a 10 second lead.
Despite having only picked up the car 3 days earlier a determined drive from England had cut the lead to 5 seconds by the time the pit stops came around but with Moore now taking over the Tockwith car the final result didn’t seem in too much doubt.
Rounding off the podium was Jay Palmer and Wayne Boyd who had a great recovery drive after Palmer span at the Montreal hairpin on lap 1 leaving him at the back of the pack. Having got back up to fifth place, Palmer handed over to Boyd who then took the final podium place following an almost race long battle with Duyver and Hollings and Patrick Byrne and Guy Cosmo all in United Autosports cars.
The Douglas Motorsport car of Mike Newbould and Thomas Randle also had a strong run but a pit lane infringement brought a 10 second penalty which dropped them down the order to finish just ahead of Shaun Lynn who was driving solo in the final United Autosports car.
This article originally appeared here: www.gt-report.com/2016/10/20/the-new-cup/