July 14, 2014


2014 so far has been a season full of exciting, intense racing in every category of GPVWC, and with just seven rounds left, what better time to review the Superleague, Supercup and Formula Challenge championships than now?

We shall begin with the ever growing Formula Challenge series. Now in the third year of becoming part of the GPVWC career ladder, the series continues to thrive, with many talented drivers involved in the current season as well as many graduates from the series now competing in Supercup and Superleague. With the top five in the Drivers championship separated by just sixty-one points, these final few rounds will be crucial in deciding who will become 2014 Formula Challenge champion.

Tanskanen Racing (1st)

Drivers: Jonathan Holmes (5th) & James Johnson (3rd)

Tanskanen Racing remain one of just a handful of teams that decided to continue competing in the Formula Challenge series, and for 2014 brought in two very talented drivers in the form of rookie Jonathan Holmes, and James Johnson. While not always the outright fastest, both drivers are continually mixing it up at the sharp end of the field, rewarding the team as current Constructors leaders with a commanding lead over Smile Power Racing. Consistency has been key for both drivers, and while Johnson has four wins to his name compared to none yet for Holmes, both drivers remain in the hunt for the Drivers championship. Holmes has been extremely close to winning on a number of occasions, racking up six second place finishes. Firm favourites to take home the Constructors championship after finishing fourth in 2013.

Smile Power Racing (2nd)

Drivers: Tommi Ojala (17th), Jesper Taulborg (4th), Eric Stranne (11th) & Scott Berrisford (6th)

It took Smile Power Racing a few races to really get into the groove, but results have massively improved since. Taulborg's recent win followed by a second place at Hockenheim have elevated him into a title contender, and also moved the team ahead of Constructors rivals THR. Tommi Ojala's season hasn't been quite as straightforward, with a mixture of solid results and some tough times seeing him perhaps not as high up in the championship as he'd like. One-off appearances from Eric Stranne and Scott Berrisford at Austria and Britain respectively certainly did them no harm. Taulborg must maintain these kind of results to keep himself in the mix for the title, while Ojala will hope for some better luck to move himself up the table as well as keep Smile Power Racing in their current position.

THR (3rd)

Drivers: David Jundt (2nd), Robert Wiesenmuller (21st), Adrian Holm (26th), David Carter (42nd) & Juha Tuunainen (34th)

Touted as one of the pre-season favourites, THR haven't disappointed in terms of results, but a lack of consistency with their driver pairing hasn't necessarily helped their cause in the Constructors championship. Drivers championship contender David Jundt is the only driver in the team who has contested every race. Not necessarily the quickest driver on the grid, but Jundt's famed consistency has seen him even lead the championship at various points. His biggest points hauls have come from reverse grid race results, and at times we've seen him back off in Race 1 to give himself a better grid slot for Race 2. It seems to be working so far, apart from the last race at Hockenheim. Jundt finally has a regular teammate in the form of Juha Tuunainen, who although he has shown some solid pace, has only finished in the points twice since joining the team in Monaco. To re-pass Smile Power and hold off team rivals behind them, Tuunainen will need to bring the car home on a much more regular basis. It will be fascinating to see what these last seven rounds hold for THR and Jundt.

Walk Racing (4th)

Drivers: Lewis Travis (29th), Matias Canapino (-), Petar Brljak (1st), Patrick Wannemuller (37th), Benediktas Sinkevicius (-), Justinas Ribelis (-) & Peter Duivelaar (28th)

Walk Racing and their seemingly infinite cheque book had just nine points to their name after the opening two rounds of the season, but threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the Formula Challenge fraternity by bringing in veteran sim racer Petar Brljak. Since joining the field in Malaysia, he has racked up five wins for Walk (one for Aurora), and took the lead in the Drivers championship after Hockenheim. Although arguably the quickest driver on the grid, occasional clashes with other drivers have stunted his attempts to truly dominate the series. Numerous drivers have appeared in Walk Racing colours, but the team seem to have finally settled on a teammate for Brljak in the form of another extremely quick driver, Peter Duivelaar. If Brljak and Duivelaar stay together and complete the season, Walk Racing may well have Smile Power and THR looking over their shoulders, but it would take a huge collapse from Tanskanen Racing to see them contend for the Constuctors title. Brljak still remains the favourite to win the Drivers championship, but the unpredictable nature of the Croatian driver means this is still wide open.

Enterprise GP (5th)

Drivers: Hansko Mebius (16th), Scott Berrisford (6th), David Carter (42nd) & Eric Stranne (11th)

It's been a solid season for Enterprise GP in their first season of Formula Challenge action. Both Mebius and Berrisford have shown good pace throughout the season, especially Berrisford who took home a couple of wins for the team at China and Monaco. Mebius has always been in the hunt for points, but perhaps hasn't always delivered the results his talent is capable of. With Berrisford moving up to Supercup mid-season, he has been replaced with another quick driver in the form of Eric Stranne, who has instantly kept Enterprise up at the sharp end of the grid thanks to some good results, including a race two win at the previous round in Hockenheim. Although Enterprise recently dropped to fifth in the Constructors championship, if Stranne and Mebius can keep the points rolling in, there is no reason why they can't keep Smile Power, THR and Walk Racing within very close touching distance and maybe even overtake them.

Racing Team Schroten (6th)

Drivers: Ben Warren (7th) & Mike Schroten (9th)

Along with Tanskanen, RTS are one of the only teams in Formula Challenge that have kept the same driver line-up for every race. Both Ben Warren and Mike Schroten have been a model of consistency, picking up regular points finishes despite not necessarily being the quickest drivers on the grid. If both of them can remain in the top ten of the Drivers championship, it would be a fantastic achievement for the team. RTS are kind of in no mans land in the Constructors championship in an excellent sixth position, and while they don't look like they'll be able to provide a threat to the top five teams, they have a reasonably healthy gap over the rest of their rivals. RTS are very much set for a sixth place finish as long as Ben and Mike keep up their regular points scoring results.

Bastvik Grand Prix (7th)

Drivers: Jon MacLean (43rd), Santiago Niza (30th), Benediktas Sinkevicius (36th), James Kirk (19th) & Dovydas Polaras (13th)

After a fairly disappointing opening few races for the team aside from some points from Santiago Niza and Benediktas Sinkevicius, Bastvik have finally settled on a consistent line-up with James Kirk and Dovydas Polaras. Kirk has now found himself a consistent points scorer which has helped move the team up the order, while new-boy Polaras has shown instant speed, winning race two of Monaco in only his second outing for the team. Since then, Polaras has been regularly in the top ten like his teammate, and with both drivers delivering points, the season certainly looks a lot brighter! It might be tough to overhaul RTS if they keep their consistency up, but no doubt they will keep trying to chip away at the gap.

Zedderick Racing (8th)

Drivers: Roy Verzijl (8th), Pedro Gomes (24th), Sandeep Choda (47th) & Andrejs Pestovs (-)

It's been a solid debut for Doug Hilliard's Zedderick Racing team, with Dutch driver Roy Verzijl leading the way with some solid points finishes. He was perhaps guilty of throwing away some strong finishes in the early part of the season, but the result have improved lately, helping the team into eighth place currently. His partner in crime has changed a couple of times this season though, but the returning Andrejs Pestovs has now filled the role permanently. Although without points right now, the enthusiastic Latvian will be looking to keep improving and help the team remain in the top ten.

Katana Motorsports (9th)

Drivers: Mark Wicks (35th), Terence Grech (10th) & Chris Williamson (-)

The partnership of Mark Wicks and Terence Grech promised much before the season start. However, Wicksy has suffered a tremendous amount of bad luck throughout a large part of the season, and hasn't been able to deliver the solid consistent results we're so accustomed to seeing from him. Grech has delivered some strong results, but even then, not quite as consistently as he would've hoped, although two podium finishes so far will have pleased the Maltese driver. Results can certainly be improved, but with only eight rounds of the season left, it may be tough to move any higher than their current ninth position. Grech will be looking to cement himself a position in the top ten of the Drivers championship with some good results the rest of the way.

Knight Racing (10th)

Drivers: Ben Willis (-), Fran Lopez (12th), Chris Knight (-) & Alexander van der Woude (-)

Knight Racing currently find themselves in a very unexpected top ten position in the Constructors thanks to some very strong results from young Spaniard, Fran Lopez, which included a second and first place finish at his home races in Catalunya. Unsurprisingly, Lopez has since moved up the ladder to compete in the GPVWC Supercup series, leaving Knight without a points scorer. Ben Willis has shown gradual improvement throughout the season, and he now has a regular teammate in the form of Alexander van der Woude. While neither driver has a point to their name, they have eight rounds to deliver on their hard work and try to add something to the board. Their chances at remaining in the top ten look extremely slim though, and would require a dramatic improvement on their recent results.

Royal Blue Racing (11th)

Drivers: Paul Joseph (15th), Matthew Clipp (45th), Florian Engel (-) & Benediktas Sinkevicius (36th)

After such a promising opening to the season, with Paul Joseph delivering strong results including a podium in China, the wheels have come off the wagon for RBR since he decided to retire from racing for the time being. Matthew Clipp delivered strong results for this very team last season, but hasn't been seen in the cockpit since Spain. The team haven't put a single point on the board since Monaco when Joseph left, and have subsequently slipped down the order. There have even been times where the team have shown up with just one car, putting a lot of pressure on new driver Florian Engel, who as of yet has not scored a point. It's difficult to see RBR make any inroads towards the teams above them, and it's expected that their slide down the Constructors standings will continue.

Viking Racing (12th)

Drivers: Matt Richards (-), Ben Hackeson (44th), Olli Pelkonen (18th), Ben Horrill (40th) & Ryan Walker (39th)

Stability, or lack of it has had an impact on Viking Racing this season, with various different line-ups appearing on the grid for them so far. Olli Pelkonen has been a bright spark for the team though, delivering some solid if unspectacular results to keep the team in contention for a top ten Constructors spot. Ben Hackeson started the season out with some solid points finishes, but since then has suffered a very up and down season results wise. The team will need him to deliver some more points to keep up the fight, but he's capable of delivering if he's able to stay out of trouble.

Velocity Racing (13th)

Drivers: Teemu Toikka (14th), Ollie Woods (-) & William Tringas (-)

After what was nothing short of a disastrous season in 2013, Velocity have staged somewhat of a fightback thanks to solid results from Teemu Toikka, most recently achieving the first Velocity Racing podium since their odebut season in 2012. Teemu has been the sole points scorer for the team so far, with Ollie Woods and William Tringas sharing the second seat. The battle for tenth downwards is extremely tight in the Constructors standings, and Velocity only find themselves five points from a potential top ten spot, something the team did not expect to be competing for. Achieving this will require Toikka to keep up his solid results, and may also require Woods or Tringas to get themselves into the mix for points.

Team Proline (14th)

Drivers: Thomas Pfadler (20th), Victor Silva (27th), Dave van Gils (-) & Nick De Koninck (-)

Again, another team that showed initial promise, but have failed to deliver on it. Thomas Pfadler in particular showed strong pace in the opening rounds, but through the season he more often than not was involved in accidents, whether caused by himself or other people. Pfadler called it a day after Monaco, leaving teammate Victor Silva to carry the team the rest of the way. Results have been up and down, but Team Proline will need to find Silva a teammate for the remaining rounds if they're to have any hope of moving up the order, or to defend their position.

YTF1 (15th)

Drivers: Wopke Hoekstra (22nd), Adam Ozgur (38th) & Rob Mason (48th)

The enigma that is Wopke Hoekstra. Undoubtedly quick, but unfortunately not always able to deliver on his pace. Races such as Canada Race two prove the young Dutchman has pace, but he hasn't been able to put a consistent streak of results together, leaving him lower in the Drivers standings than perhaps where he should be. His teammate Adam Ozgur has spent much of the season dipping in and out of a points scoring position, his best result so far is a ninth place finish at Austria. Rob Mason has also contributed points to a young, but ever improving team.

Aurora Motorsports (16th)

Drivers: Lewis McGlade (31st), Sam Jones (39th) & Petar Brljak (1st)

The Aurora Motorsports team can be proud that driver turmoil hasn't been too much of an issue for them. Current championship leader Petar Brljak made his Formula Challenge debut for Aurora before moving on to Walk Racing, which helped the team to a victory in Malaysia race one. Since then, points have been a little difficult to come by for regular pairing McGlade and Jones, though McGlade in particular showed a good turn of speed at Silverstone, delivering two top ten finishes. Unless he can replicate those types of finishes on a more regular basis though, it may be difficult for Aurora Motorsports to move up the Constructors standings.

Airastream Motorsport (17th)

Drivers: Scott Sovik (-), John Munro (33rd) & Philipp Konig (25th)

Airastream Motorsport had high hopes coming into the season, and things were looking up with Munro delivering two top six finishes at Melbourne. Two DNFs at Malaysia though led to John Munro not returning to the series, while Scott Sovik carried on a little longer before no longer competing, without a point to his name. Stand-in driver Philipp Konig gave the team one last hurrah with an excellent and unexpected Race Two win in China, but the team have not appeared on the grid since.

Playseat Racing (18th)

Drivers: Matthew Williams (50th), Lee McLaughlin (41st), Philip Morby (-), Nico Schweinzer (23rd), Tim Straub (-) & Bruno Sousa Ferreira (46th)

TSA's sister team Playseat Racing came into the championship with strong backing, but unfortunately the season has been a disappointment to this point so far. Numerous driver changes throughout the year have not helped, and while they've delivered some solid results on occasion, the haul of points just hasn't been enough to see them any higher than eighteenth in the Constructors standings. Nico Schweinzer has been the bright spark for the team, helping the team to sixth and seventh in both the Spanish races, but he hasn't been in the car since Monaco. Newest signing Bruno Sousa Ferreira has the potential to score some vital points for the team which sees them still very much in the hunt for a top fifteen position, so there is still light at the end of the tunnel for Playseat.

JRT (19th)

Drivers: Ric Scott (-), Jack Nicholls (32nd), Santiago Niza (30th), Sven Smits (-), Sandeep Chodha (37th) & Arjan Zijlstra (-)

Ambitions for a higher Constructors position would perhaps be an unfair expectation on a team Jack Nicholls has entered mainly as an outlet for himself and Ric Scott to race as and when they're available, but with Santiago Niza moving up to Supercup, and with Nicholls delivering some strong early season results, they may still be a little disappointed to not be any higher in the championship. Jack's commentary obligations will of course always come first, but when he does race, he's always a threat for the top ten.

Cosmo Autosport (20th)

Drivers: Ben Horrill (40th), Richard Coxon (-) & Scott Sovik (-)

Cosmo Autosport didn't make their Formula Challenge debut until Canada, but have picked up a couple of solid results along the way. Ben Horrill has been the only source of points so far, but with a team still in their relative infancy, there is room to grow.

BackMarker Brigade (21st)

Drivers: Simon Smith (-), Marco Vandenbroeck (-) & Joshua Anderson (-)

They may have a big fat zero points tally, but BnB are still the most fabulous team on the grid, and we love them regardless. Simon Smith keeps plugging away to try and get his first points of the season for both himself and his team, and we all sincerely hope he can achieve this!

The "Season So Far" series will return shortly with a look at the Supercup championship and how that's shaping up so far, before swimming with the sharks as we review the Superleague championship and what's in store for this last part of the season. I hope you all enjoyed reading this! (Sorry for any names I've missed, or any incorrect driver line-ups, I did my best!)

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