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Orange Racing Taste Double GT Cup Title Success At Snetterton
Oct 08 2022

Orange Racing Taste Double GT Cup Title Success At Snetterton

Victories on day one of the GT Cup Championship's season finale at Snetterton went the way of Orange Racing with JMH Automotive and Enduro Motorsport, but Simon Orange and Michael O'Brien provisionally clinched the title.

The #67 McLaren 720s of Orange and O'Brien entered the final meeting in the driving seat for overall championship honours heading to the Snetterton 300 circuit in Norwich, and a consistent day was backed up by victory in race one to help them confirm not only the GT3 group title, but overall GT Cup spoils for 2022 - provisionally - to make Orange the first man to win the overall crown twice.

Morgan Tillbrook had initially won race one on the road before a penalty, but made up for it with race two success along with Enduro Motorsport team-mate Marcus Clutton.

The GTC group title went to Topcats Racing with thanks to two victories for their Lamborghini Huracan, the team also grabbing a pair of GTA wins with its Ginetta thanks to Charlotte Birch and Sam Randon.

The GTH group championship honours were sealed by the impressive Valluga Racing team on a day where James Wallis excelled, bringing home a pole position and Endurance race victory for the team's Porsche.



A tense qualifying session began the weekend for the GT Cup competitors, with sunny skies greeting them for the battle against the clock. Fastest out of the blocks was the eye-catching green Mercedes GT3 machine of RAM Racing's Mike Price, pipping team-mate Ian Loggie to the top spot initially.

Hugo Cook soon made it a Mercedes one-two-three at the head of the time sheets by splitting the pair, only to save his very best until the final seconds with a scorching effort to grab pole position for the Sprint race.

GTC honours went to the title-contending Topcats Racing with Lamborghini Huracan of Jensen Lunn, with the GTH group topped by the flying Paddock Motorsport McLaren 570s of Temhur Chohan which got the better of Tim Creswick's Parr Motorsport Porsche Cayman. GTB and GTA poles were claimed by Murphy (Whitebridge Motorsport - BMW) and the Topcats Ginetta.


Sprint Race

The weekend's opening race was not short of drama in the early going. After a clean start for the pole-sitting Mercedes of Cook, the battle was in his mirrors as Tillbrook charged forward into the battle for third as Price and Orange fought over the spot at the hairpin.

Contact at Agostini hairpin between Tillbrook and Price spun the latter's Mercedes, while more drama occurred on the second lap at the head of the field. Firstly, a mechanical problem slowed Cook's Mercedes to a halt, only for new leader Ian Loggie to crash out moments later at Agostinis.

Through the mayhem, Tillbrook grabbed the race lead ahead of Orange who also recovered from a slide on a slippery surface, proving unchallenged for the remainder of the contest to add what would have been his ninth win of the season. A post-race penalty demoted him three placees however, gifting Orange a crucial victory ahead of Greystone GT's Iain Campbell and the recovering Price.

Lunn brought home another GTC win in the Topcats Racing with Lamborghini, while another fierce battle took place in GTH between the Orange Racing with JMH Automotive McLaren of Will Dendy and Valluga Racing's James Wallis - the latter still an overall title contender. Wallis pounced in traffic to take the lead at Murray's, but Dendy retaliated on the very last lap of the race to steal the group win.

GTB went to Murphy in the rapid BMW, while GTA was claimed by the Topcats Racing Ginetta of Charlotte Birch.


Pitstop Race

Race two of the day would be the 50-minute Endurance outing, and it would be Cook leading the way from the front of the pack ahead of Tillbrook. The battle behind would be a close one once more with Price tussling it out with the McLarens of Orange and Campbell.

Price watched on as Orange sent his 720s up the inside of the similar car of Greystone GT's Campbell at the second hairpin for third place, Cook heading the field up to the mandatory pit stops. Emerging ahead, his race would be damaged by a drive-through penalty for pitting outside the window to come in, demoting him down to second place.

The Mercedes man remained just under six seconds away from the new leader, Marcus Clutton, who was able to weather the storm of any pressure from Cook and hold out for a fine win. Third went to the flying Price and Callum MacLeod, beating Orange and O'Brien who did enough on the road to provisionally seal the overall Drivers' Championship.

GTH this time went to Valluga Racing after a sublime early stint by Wallis, Sam Maher-Loughnan bringing the Porsche Cayman home for a comfortable win that would not be enough to keep them in the overall title fight. Second went to the charging Greystone GT McLaren thanks to Michael Broadhurst, while Make Happen Racing's Chris Hart and Simon Walton climbed to third in the group in their Mercedes GT4.

A double win once more went to Topcats Racing with in both GTC and GTA, while Murphy and Whitebridge Motorsport continued their success in GTB.


#67 Simon Orange

“I don’t like to brag, but I think I’m the only person to have won the overall title twice! Just for the record, Michael wasn’t involved in the first one so he’s only won it once! It’s been a good debut season and Graham, who is our team principal - we call him Toto, and JMH have been unbelievable. I’ve got to say Michael, it’s my first season in GT3, we had three or four test days beforehand and he’s gone from calling me a useless ** on the first to ‘I think you might be able to compete’ on the fourth! Michael’s been brilliant, what a professional, and I don’t think anybody has been any quicker than him throughout the season. I remember when we were testing at Silverstone, I was four seconds behind Michael and I was distraught. I got it down to three seconds and I was still distraught until I realised the nearest Pro on the day was two seconds off him! He’s going to start charging me more next year!”


#50 James Wallis

“It’s a bit overwhelming at the moment! It’s hard to believe. It’s been a great year so far and I’ve learned so much so far - all thanks to Sam, my big bronze! There’s some really talented drivers in GTH, and it’s been good to compare myself to better drivers who are in the factories, like Euan Hankey, and I’ve been pushed along by Sam, my Pro driver, who has got me to where I should be and now we’ve got the rewards for it.”


#9 Jensen Lunn

“Getting the Group title is what I want as a driver, I think we’ve outscored Orange Racing today so I think it’s still possible to do the Teams Championship but we’d have to do some calculations on that - I know we got more points than them in the Pit Stop race. We did what we needed to do, pole, fastest lap and a win is a faultless day and that’s what Charlotte and Sam have been doing in GTA as well. This year has been tougher, we thought this year would be easier because we had experience in the Lamborghinis, but with the health issue I had and with Warren’s big crash, Lucky has pushed us all the way in the Ferrari - it’s been a tough year. I was hoping he would be here because I’m a better chaser, I’m a lot quicker when I’m chasing somebody. Overall, it’s been the toughest year I’ve had, we’re Group champions and hopefully we can take the Team trophy too.”


#11 Mike Price

“It’s been a really good day. It’s a busy day with GT Cup, that’s one of the joys of the format and qualifying was a peach. We did a lot of testing on Friday and by the end of it I had done a lot of laps, but the key thing was that we made progress. It doesn’t always happen that you can wake up in the morning and continue to deliver what you finished with the day before but it just clicked. When you watch the lap back, as all good laps should look, it was pretty straight forward and it makes you think ‘why can’t I do this all the time?’ So taking that into the race, in the Sprint race we thought the car was still well set-up but motorsport can catch you out. I’ve been there before, so it was head-down and the safety car was a bonus so it was easier to get through the GTHs and then it was mental discipline, getting good laps in. We always felt that with no pitstop penalty, a good result was possible and I knew when I brought it in I was probably a few seconds off where I needed to be for Callum but very pleased with the result.”

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