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Mark Sumpter claimed the 2018 Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli title with two second place finishes in the final races of the season at Brands Hatch yesterday, September 2nd. It was a dramatic weekend for Mark and the Paragon Porsche team, as an incident in testing the day before the races saw Mark fired off the track by an errant Porsche. The team worked into the early hours of race day to repair his Baylis & Harding-backed Porsche 996 C2.
“I am just amazed that the guys did such a good job on fixing the car,” explained Mark at Brands Hatch. “At one o’clock this morning they were still trying to get the rear suspension set-up right – the results from today are purely down to them. It is fantastic to take the title for the second time, we have worked hard all season, won seven of the fourteen races, and it is a great way to end the year.”
Having qualified second for both Porsche Club Championship races, just one tenth of a second away from pole position Mark was happy with the set up.
“The car felt ok in qualifying,” said Mark. “I didn’t quite get the lap in when the tyres were fresh, but I was happy with the outside of the front row.”
Mark slipped to third in the early running, but a move into second place by the end of the 25-minute race was enough to keep his title ambitions firmly on track.
“The start in race one was a bit weird, instead of the normal procedure we had a five-second board and the lights when green, I think they were trying to make it hard for me! There was quite a battle early on, but I got back into second, and I was just trying to do what I needed to do to win the championship so second and fastest lap is fine.”
Race two featured a dramatic first start that saw two multi-car incidents on the opening lap and the race stopped. Mark came through unscathed, but four cars from around him on the grid were out the race, and he was alone on the first two rows when the race was finally restarted over a shorter distance. A second place in the restarted race was enough to give Mark the title he had also won in 2011.
“I didn’t get the car off the line very well in race two,” said Mark afterwards, “I had some wheelspin, and it was a good job I had a gap to the rest of the grid! It was one of those times where you keep over-thinking it and I was trying to work out what I had to do to win the championship rather than just race. The car was good and I made one mistake when a Cayman got past, but having to drive defensively is not good for you!”
It was a day of highs and lows for Mark Sumpter and the Paragon Porsche team as the Porsche Club Championship made its second visit of 2018 to Silverstone, with two pole positions and a race win countered by Mark being knocked out of the first race on the opening lap. The results see Mark head into the final two rounds early next month with a slender one-point lead over his only rival for the overall title, so it will be all to play for at Brands Hatch on September 2nd, where he will be planning to add to his tally of seven wins in the series this season
For the first time the Porsche Club Championship used the International layout at Silverstone, but Mark showed the pace of his Baylis & Harding-backed 996 C2 to claim pole for both races.
“It was good, felt like a short session as everything happened so quickly. I’ve never raced on this circuit layout before, we tested here yesterday but it was very wet. Until you actually race a circuit you don’t fully get the correct lines, the link section across to the straight is very bumpy.
“I’m happy to get pole, though it is very close, but a good start to the day.”
The first of the two Porsches rounds was the opening race of the day, and the final qualifying session of the morning has seen oil go down at the first corner, several cars skating off there. The marshals had put down absorbent powder, but come the start of the race the corner caught the field out and Mark was hit hard from behind, spinning him round and damaging his car enough that he could only crawl back to the pits to retire.
“I thought that was a bit mad,” said a frustrated Mark, “we hadn’t been through that corner on the out lap and to me, conditions had changed since qualifying and none of us knew what the first corner was going to be like.
“I got hit from behind, I was trying to straddle the dust down to soak up the oil, had just turned in and I got spun round. That gave me a puncture and broke the rear trailing arm, it was a big whack. It is frustrating as we have lost points, not for the class as the other guys who are close lost out as well, but for the championship overall – Silverstone has not been lucky for me this year, that’s the second time I have been taken out!”
With the car repaired for race two later in the afternoon, Mark made a strong start but was still forced to go through the first corner side-by-side with a rival Porsche before claiming the inside line into the second corner. Having opened a gap to the rest in the early laps, the race one winner began closing in, but as they started lapping backmarkers Mark was able to open a gap and take the win.
“The start was good, I had to fight for the lead through the first couple of corners,” said Mark. “We were side-by-side and I was able carry a bit more pace through the second corner and get ahead. For the next couple of laps I thought it was going to be straightforward, then as my car started to lose a little pace he came on strong and started to close right in.
“We had a couple of laps bumper-to-bumper, and then when we reached the backmarkers I just had a bit more luck than he did. I got delayed once, but he lost out two or three times, and that’s win number seven – we have won half of the races now! I want to win both at Brands in the final rounds now.”
Mark Sumpter and the Paragon Porsche 996 C2 were the combination to beat when the Porsche Club Championship made its second visit of the season to Donington Park with Mark taking two pole positions, two race wins, and fastest lap in race two for a vital extra point. With the weather wet for qualifying and race two it was a day of widely varying track conditions, but Mark and the team rose to the occasion and his Baylis & Harding-backed Porsche was never headed in either race.
Quickest early on in qualifying, the session was interrupted by a safety car period to recover a stranded car before Mark pushed hard again, setting quickest time to take pole for race one – and with his second quickest lap being better than anyone’s else he claimed race two pole too.
Conditions had improved for race one and on slick tyres Mark made a good start and was able to quickly open a gap on the rest of the large field, staying clear over the 20-laps of the race for a dominant and uneventful race win.
“We seem to have some pace today,” said Mark right after race one. “I saw the car behind for a couple of laps and that was it. It’s nice when you don’t get tangled up and have to fight with anyone, I just got my head down, made a gap and worked my way through the back markers. We tested here on Friday so that helped as the track was dry then too, and we put that set-up back on the car.
“Half a lap in and it felt like a dry track. It’s getting exciting in the points now.”
Race two was at the end of the Donington Park race day and as rain started to fall on the cars in the collecting area before the race there was a sudden rush for all the teams to get wet-weather tyres on their cars. Despite the wet track it was exactly the same script for Mark, who again led the field away and was ten seconds clear of his squabbling rivals at the mid-point of the race.
Unchallenged in the final laps Mark picked his way through the backmarkers to take his sixth win from ten races and enhance his chances of the overall title.
“That was the same race but on wet tyres this time” explained Mark. “We all seemed to make the same decision in about 30-seconds in the assembly area and there was quite a bit of work going on for the crew. We didn’t have time to fully soften the car but it still felt good.
“The race was straightforward ,but you have to keep yourself in check as you can be so close to having a spin. A couple of times the back end would come round on acceleration and you can look really silly making a mistake with a lead like that! I had a clear lap near the end and was able to do a quick one to get the point for fastest lap.
“It’s has been a good day, I’m disappointed not to set fastest lap in race one as well but we can drive home happy this evening.”
A hot day’s racing at Snetterton on Saturday, June 30th, paid off for Mark Sumpter as he recorded a win and a second-place finish in the competitive Porsche Club Championship.
Mark qualified his Baylis & Harding-backed Porsche second on the grid for race one and on pole for race two in the early morning session, as temperatures at the circuit started to rise before the midday opening race.
A good start saw Mark right with the lead car and after being briefly side-by-side into the first corner, Mark had to slot in behind reigning champion Mark McAleer. From then on it was a high-speed train of five cars at the front, gaps altering by fractions every lap and drivers seeming to take turns to set the quickest race lap.
The key moment of the race came at the start of lap nine as the lead group reached a backmarker at the first corner. The leader went cleanly past, Mark following through but off-line and losing vital time, while the cars behind lost ground. That sealed the finishing order, Mark in a secure second at the end of the 25-minute race.
“That was flat-out the whole way,” said Mark, “but good fun. At one point the three of us at the front seemed to have the same car as we all had exactly the same pace. Between Mark McAleer and I we were just trading lap times, then he had a bit of luck with a backmarker that cost me a little time. “
“I’m pleased with the race, obviously you try to win but that was hard work and the car was really good.”
Race two saw Mark lead away from pole and push hard in the early laps to open a gap of almost four seconds over the rest. In the latter laps the car behind began to close in, and they entered the last lap within a second of Mark but he had enough in hand to hold and take his fourth win of the season in the Paragon Porsche 996 C2.
“There was half a plan to try to get away early on by working hard and doing some good laps,” explained Mark, “and it paid off. I managed to do five quick ones, they were squabbling behind and it was great to see that in my mirror as I pulled away.
“I built a gap, then maybe I just underestimated how much I had taken out the tyres or how much they had in hand as they started to close in towards the end. It was manageable up until the last three laps and they were closing in.
“The team let me know on the pitboard that there was a minute to go and I knew I had it then, the time I lost on the last lap was calculated whereas the laps before that wasn’t quite planned. It was one of those races where you are happy to see the time tick away.
“I’m happy with the day, we should be leading the class now, and it is very close racing – great fun and winning makes it all the better!”
Next Porsche Club Championship Races: Donington Park, East Midlands, July 29th.
The first visit of 2018 of the Porsche Club Championship to Silverstone on June 2nd saw two very different races for Mark Sumpter and the Paragon Porsche team, a podium finish in race one being followed by a clash with another car while leading putting Mark out of race two.
Qualifying on the Saturday morning had shown how tight the racing was going to be, with Mark third on the 37-car grid for race one in his Baylis & Harding-backed Porsche, the top five all covered by less than a second round the circuit’s full Grand Prix layout.
The start of race one was frenetic, a train of cars at the front trading paces lap by lap, Mark running as low as sixth at one point before starting to work his way back up. Coolant spilt on the circuit mid-race saw two of the lead group go off, Mark managing to control his 996 C2 and stay on the track, and a lap later he was into third and came home in that position after a hot and dramatic race.
“That race was hard,” explained Mark. “I got shuffled down to sixth and then got wrong-footed a lot, I always seemed to be in just the wrong part of the track as I caught back-markers. I kept looking and thinking I had an opportunity but lost a place or two and ended up in sixth.
“When the fluid went down on the circuit that took out two of the cars in front and we all went sideways, and from then on I was running fourth and eventually got past Kevin Harrison for third.
“It was a busy race, I wasn’t happy with my car but maybe that was because I was having to hustle it in different parts of the circuit.”
The second outing for the Porsche field was the final race of the day and Mark was on pole and led the field away, but with the quickest of the Caymans right with him. These two eased away from the field, Mark’s rival twice looking down the inside at Brooklands, Mark able to stay ahead into the next sequence of corners.
One lap before the end, and with the lead duo lancing through the back-markers, The Cayman again went inside Mark, but with backmarkers ahead the two touched, firing Mark off on to the grass only to come back across the track – the incident taking out the Cayman and a back-marker, and leaving Mark to retire his damaged 996 to the pits.
“I was happy in race two,“ said Mark after the race, “I could distance the car behind on an occasional lap, and got the gap up to about a second before we had waved yellow flags and I got boxed behind a slower Boxster. I had to slow until the green flag came out and that put us bag together.
“We were strong or weak in different parts of the circuit, but I had it under control before we came up to another bunch of back-markers. I thought I had it covered, we have to give the novices a lot of respect, and I got tapped and next thing I knew three of us were out with quite a lot of damage.
“The car is fixable but that was a shame, it could have been a good race and a second podium!”
Next Porsche Club Championship Races: Snetterton, Norfolk, June 30th.
It was a perfect race day for Mark Sumpter and the Paragon Porsche race team when the Porsche Club Championship visited Brands Hatch on Saturday May 5th, with two pole positions, two fastest laps and most importantly two race wins. Mark led all the way in both 25-minute races in his Baylis & Harding-backed Porsche 996 C2, and left with a healthy haul of vital championship points.
Qualifying early on Saturday morning saw 32-cars out on track, making finding a clear lap essential, but Mark pulled it off in style heading the times heading into the final minutes at which point he went even quicker again.
“I was worried about having all the new cars out there,” said Mark, “but they were very well-behaved, as long as you make any clear lap you get matter it can go well, and that is what we did. Right at the end I felt I had to push again, you can’t relax for a moment, and got a good lap in which was completely clear. We could maybe go just a little quicker, we have a good balance in the car.”
In race one Mark had to hold off a challenge from the second place Porsche Cayman into Druids, the hairpin, on lap one, and looked set to open a lead when the safety car came out to slow down the field as a car was off at the first corner. When racing resumed three laps later Mark made a good restart setting the fastest race lap on his way to opening up a seconds lead and taking his first win of the day.
“It’s all going very well today,” said Mark right after race one. “I really didn’t need to see the safety car out there, I had just broken the tow on the car behind and thought I was away. In the end it didn’t really hurt me, I got a good restart and I have saved some wear on the tyres for race two!
“It was quite difficult with the backmarkers as I was the first car to reach them but they were very good. I lost out at one point when I caught two of them when yellow flags were waving, but a win is a win!”
Race two late in the afternoon at a sunny Brands Hatch went to a very similar script, Mark again on pole position on the grid and leading the first three laps to be again greeted by the safety car due to an incident out on the circuit’s Grand Prix loop. This time the field spent five slow laps behind the safety car, leaving a three-lap sprint to the finish which again saw Mark stay clear of the rapid Cayman to record win number two of the day, and another fastest lap to make it a clean sweep over the day.
“A pretty good day! I got two good starts in that race, and when I was leading behind the safety car I was probably the only driver out there who would have been happy for the race to end that way. Not only did I get maximum points but we have had some different people on the podium so the other points have been shared around.”
Next Rounds: Silverstone, Northants, June 2nd.
Donington Park on Saturday April 14th hosted the opening rounds of the 2018 Porsche Club Championship, with Mark Sumpter and the Paragon Porsche team as they left the East Midlands circuit with a win and a second-place finish to their name. Both races were hard, Mark chasing home the leader in the first race of the day before leading all the way late in the afternoon to score the team’s first win of 2018.
The day started well as Mark put the Baylis & Harding-backed 996 C2 on pole for both races in the morning’s qualifying session.
“It took a few laps but a fantastic start,” said Mark. “There was some mud on the circuit which made it tricky early on but I knew I could go quicker so I’m really pleased. It is very noticeable that we have more cars out in the series this year – you had to work to get a clear run, and when you go for one you have to make it count.”
In the opening race of the day Mark was headed into the first corner, and then part of a four-car battle for the lead. Having briefly slipped down to third, Mark was second across the line, the race stopped a few laps early due a car stranded on the outside of a corner.
“I was enjoying the race and would have liked it to have run full distance,” said Mark. “Craig was starting to slide a little, he had been defending hard for a long time, but it’s good to get a podium and bank the points early on. We are only doing this to have a good race, and that was really fun.”
The second race was the final one of Donington’s Saturday action, this time Mark nailing the start and heading the large field away. Having pulled a gap a safety car period from lap three put his rivals right back with him, but when racing restarted Mark again eased around a second clear, increasing his pace in the later laps to come home over four seconds clear.
“I was looking after the brakes as the race went on, then got caught out by a couple of backmarkers and I realized the margin I had wasn’t enough,” said Mark. “I didn’t want the them too close so I decided to get my head down for two laps and break away.
“I think this year with other cars being so quick we are going to have to treat the championships seriously, and maybe accept there will be days where we don’t have the pace, and the other models will come into play. To win championships, even if you don’t have the fastest car you have to keep scoring points. I’ll settle for this for a start to the season.”
Next Races: May 5th, Brands Hatch, Kent.
14 April - Donington Park Club
5 / 6 May - Brands Hatch GP +
2 June - Silverstone Arena GP +
30 June - Snetterton 300
29 July - Donington Park Club
11 August - Silverstone International
2 September - Brands Hatch Indy Festival of Porsche
At the Motorsport Award Dinner on November 11th, Mark picked up his trophy for second place in Class 1 of the Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli.
A hard-fought but good-humoured season was won overall by Mark McAleer, with Mark Sumpter in his Paragon-liveried 996 challenging his early dominance through some exciting on-track battles.
With the points standing tied at 428 points each, the victory went to Mark McAleer via his 12 best scores.
"It's been a brilliant season and a really fun championship - we've had some fantastic battles with our competitors. Congratulations to Mark McAleer and his team, they dominated early on and fully deserve to be Champions this year".
"We ran a new car this year and early in the season we didn't manage to get the absolute best out of it. During the second half however we were the fastest car so we're looking forward to 2018!".
It promises to be an exciting battle next year - and we'll keep you updated here.
April 29th Brands Hatch Indy
May 13th Oulton Park
June 17th Silverstone GP
Aug. 19th Croft
Sept 3rd Oulton Park
Sept 10th Brands Hatch GP
Oct. 14th Castle Combe
Paragon’s Mark Sumpter went into the final two rounds of the Porsche Club Championship at Castle Combe with a chance of taking the title in his comeback season in the series, almost pulling it off but having to settle for a close second overall after an exciting day’s racing.
It was a day when every point that was up for grabs became vital, and it started well when Mark set a blistering pace in qualifying in his Baylis & Harding-backed 996 C2, taking pole for both the 25-minute races, and the welcome point that came for each.
“I can’t do those lap times for a whole race,” said Sumpter. “I have tested here and we did a lot of work on damper settings, but this was our first run on new rubber and I’m pleased with the time.”
From pole in race one Mark led the field away and was never headed on his way to the win, but was under pressure almost the whole way with two cars right with him including championship Mark McAleer in third. It was only when they reached backmarkers late in the race that Mark was able to open a gap, taking the win but missing out on the extra point for fastest lap by a fraction.
“I was under pressure all the way,” said Mark after race one, “more pressure than I had thought. It was only in the last three minutes or so when I was able to make better use of the backmarkers that I had a gap. There were only minutes to go and I was able to stroke it home, but up until then the pace was amazing we were all doing 1m11s laps even 20-minutes into that race.
“I’m disappointed to miss out on the point for fastest lap, but I have to be pleased and it was better to have Craig Wilkins on my rear bumper than Mark McAleer – we all have to go and check on the points now and see what we need to do in the next race.”
Race two later in the afternoon followed a very similar script, the same three cars easing clear of the field and lapping at speed, trading fastest race laps. Mark knew that point for setting the quickest time in the race could be crucial, and when informed by his crew one of his rivals had taken it he went into lap seven pushing hard.
Alas, the tricky Quarry corner proved his undoing and the Paragon Porsche had a rare spin, Mark having to let several cars before past before he was able to rejoin. Finally coming home fifth after regaining places, Mark had to settle for second in the championship – still a fine result up against drivers and teams with much more experience of running the 996 in the series.
“Despite leading the race I wasn’t in a position where I had the championship and I knew I had to get the point for fastest lap,” explained Mark. “As I was the lead car I didn’t have any chance of a tow so I had to try to make some time, I’d had a good start to the lap, my brain said the car wouldn’t take full throttle there but I had to go for it...and the car didn’t take full throttle and round we went.
“It just shows how close to the limit we all are, I wasn’t that much quicker than the lap before and by the time I got sideways and realised it wasn’t coming back I was spinning, and had to wait for a group of cars to go past.
“The pace of the car is good now and we have pushed everyone hard, I think we have a great car to work on through the winter and see what happens for next year. I have really enjoyed this year, we have done a good job to push Mark McAleer this hard, and we will be back next year!”
It was a perfect day for Mark Sumpter and the Paragon Porsche team as the Porsche Club Championship made its second visit of 2017 to Brands Hatch on Sunday September 10th, Mark recording two pole positions starts, two fastest race laps and two race wins. Racing on the full Grand Prix layout of the Kent circuit, conditions were often tricky as rain hit the circuit during the day, but Mark used his pace and experience to take two commanding victories.
Qualifying on Sunday morning saw the circuit still damp in places from overnight rain, but Mark was quickest at the end of the 20-minutes, just a tenth clear of the field which promised a close first race later in the day.
“First couple of laps it was damp under the trees but that was a good session,” said Mark after qualifying. “I really like the full GP circuit, the back part of it hasn’t changed in years other than Dingle Dell. – you need to take a brave pill to be quick. It’s close at the front and should be a good race.”
At the start of race one a flying getaway from second row starter Kevin Harrison saw him alongside Mark’s Baylis & Harding-backed 996 C2 into the first corner, but Mark had the inside line and led at the end of lap one. The lead pulled away, and when Harrison slowed on lap six that put Mark well ahead, the only worry over the remaining laps some light rain that threatened at one point.
“Kevin Harrison did really well at the start,” said Mark, “and it was a bit close for a moment but he has been racing long enough to know once you get to the apex of the corner going round the outside is not going to work. Once I was out of Druids in the lead I knew it was mine to lose.
“It was matter of making sure I didn’t slip on a wet patch and being the lead car you find out how much grip there is first and you look really stupid if you spin! I knew I had time in hand with three laps to go so I backed it off to save the tyres.’
Heavy rain shortly before race two saw the whole Porsche field opt for wet-weather tyres, and gain Mark got away well and into the lead, before again easing away for the battling field as the race progressed. The quickest car on the track for much of the race, the only issue on the way to win number two was the drying track which was seeing the heavily grooved wet tyres losing grip as they began to overheat.
“The last few minutes were hard as the tyres were overheating and every time you turned into a corner you almost had to turn back out again and have another go,” said Sumpter. “It was good I had built up that lead and it has been a good day today, it’s our local circuit, we have lots of guests here and we have scored plenty of points.”
Next Rounds: Castle Combe, Wiltshire, October 14th
The second visit of the year for the Porsche Club Championship to the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire on Saturday September 2nd saw two podium finishes for Mark Sumpter and the Paragon Porsche team, a third-place in the opening race after leading for much of it being followed up by a fine win in the second race of the day.
The hard work done to develop the Paragon 996 C2 over the previous few weeks paid off in qualifying as Mark lapped half a second clear of the rest of the field, with his second-best lap also quicker than the rest giving him pole position for both the 25-minute races.
“We were here testing yesterday, worked out a plan, and it came together for once!” joked Mark. “We have been working on fine-tuning the suspension and we have found a second per lap since we were last here. If I can get off the line well we will have a good race car”
Slightly slower off the line than he wanted, Mark had close rival Mark McAleer alongside, but he was forced to tuck behind and the Baylis & Harding-backed Paragon Porsche led the field. Over the next few laps Mark eased away, with the race win already looking likely.
Into lap ten Mark was over three seconds clear, when accelerating away from the Island hairpin he suddenly found it impossible to select a gear. He finally got the Porsche into third gear, but not before McAleer had gone past to take the lead, and the third –placed car was now right with him.
Mark slipped back to third but despite just having the one usable gear was able to hold off two rivals to cross the line in that position at the end of lap 14.
“That was in the bag,’ said Mark. “I was just looking after the car, I had a three second gap, and I came out of the chicane, went for a gear and had no gears. Mark McAleer got past me and I just managed to hook a gear which luckily was third which is mid-range for here, but I knew there was only five minutes to go and I might be able to still get some points.
“I didn’t expect to be on the podium but third gear worked round here. It was just frustrating, we had a good day testing here yesterday and thought about the race and what to do, and everything was going to plan until then, but that’s racing.”
The gear issue resolved, race two saw Mark again lose places off the line, dropping to third but immediately setting about moving the Paragon Porsche back up the order. Into second on lap five, a series of fastest race laps put Mark right with leader McAleer, and on lap eight he got alongside the other Porsche into the first corner, braving it out as they went side-by-side through the corner down the hill on the exit, going ahead into the next corner.
From then on he began to ease away, only to lose ground with three laps to go with a brief trip across the grass at Knickerbrook due to oil down on the circuit. He was able to hold onto the lead and finished three seconds clear of the field for the second Paragon win of the season.
“I didn’t quite nail the start, I tried to do it at lower revs but we still got wheelspin,” said Mark. “Then Pete Morris had the widest car ever but I once I was past he fell back, and I wasn’t aiming for a move on Mark McAleer into Old Hall but he was on the inside and braked early so I had a go.
“At this stage of the championship I can be a bit cheeky with him as he is looking for points but he was very fair and won’t be upset with second! I needed to win that race to be happy on the six-hour drive home.
“The car was good, though there was lots of oil down later in the race which made it hard. I had the car flick sideways on the oil late in the race and had to be more careful from then on, looking forwards to Brands Hatch now!”
The long trip north to the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire on Saturday, August 19th proved frustrating for the Baylis & Harding-backed Paragon Porsche team and driver Mark Sumpter, a fine second place in race one of two Porsche Club Championship races sadly being followed by a non-finish in the second race after a touch from another car left him in the gravel trap at the first corner.
A lot of work on the Paragon Porsche 996 C2 since the previous round at Silverstone paid off in the morning qualifying with Mark second quickest, just hundredths of a second off pole.
“We’re happy,” said Mark, “we have done a lot of work on the car over the break since the last races, including 140-laps of Brands Hatch, and tried things with the set-up to try to keep the handling more consistent. We were focussing more on race runs than outright one-lap pace, but it’s good to be so quick round here and hopefully we will have two good races.”
The first of the two 25-minute races was red—flagged after the start, and restarted after a short shower while the cars were on the grid. Mark slotted into second behind championship leader Mark McAleer and was soon part of a high-speed train of cars contesting the lead positions.
For lap after lap the lead group circulated just fractions of a second apart, Mark getting alongside the leader through the hairpin at the end of the lap on lap nine but having to slot back into second on the exit. After briefly losing ground another attempt at the same place on lap fifteen saw Mark get inside McAleer’s similar 996 but a back-marker was in front of them and again he had to slide back into second, crossing the line in that position after 17-laps of intense racing.
“There was oil down and I caught it which lost me a couple of seconds with about seven minutes to go,” explained Mark. “I’m pleased we have proved we have the pace back in the car, but its tight round here and Mark lives just down the road and has done a lap or two round here!
“Now we just have to go one better later on in race two.”
Race two though proved to be a short one for Mark, as a clash with another car in the first corner saw the Paragon 996 C2 beached in the gravel on the outside of the first corner with damaged suspension and out the race.
“I really wanted a good start,” said Mark. “I wanted to get in front of McAleer as I had spent too much time behind him in race one but I missed a gear as I went from second to third. That put me alongside Craig Wilkins instead of in front of him, and I think it is fair to say he squeezed me wide a little and we touched.
“Normally it wouldn’t have been a problem but it must have just caught my rear wheel at a bad angle and broke the toe-link and I was spat off into the gravel. It was a disappointment as one fluff of a gear-change at a critical time was all it took – but that is racing! It is high pressure at the front of this series.”
It was a testing day of action for Mark Sumpter and his Paragon Porsche 996 C2 at Silverstone on Saturday June 17th, with a 3rd and 4th position after two hectic races in the summer sun on the circuit’s full Grand Prix layout.
Qualifying went well, with Mark’s Baylis & Harding-backed car second of the Porsche Club Championship runners on the grid despite briefly leaving the circuit at the end of the session.
“I had a short trip through the gravel – they have changed the circuit layout slightly since yesterday and that’s my excuse!” said Mark. “Seriously, I have raced on this layout loads of times and was on a good lap and pushing hard. By then I felt I had the best of the tyres and thought I had done enough as we were a second quicker than pole here last year, but Mark McAleer was even quicker, the pace keeps moving on. The car feels good, I’m looking forward to the race.”
A great start in race one saw Mark head the field into the first corner, but it was to prove a troubled race, a damper issue causing Mark’s car to handle poorly. Unable to match his qualifying pace, he was in second by the end of lap one and despite defending lap after lap had slipped to fourth at the end of the 25-minute race.
“We had a problem with a damper and that was causing a handling imbalance,” explained Mark. “It was strange we lost two seconds of pace between qualifying and the race and I had to drive defensively the entire race.”
Race two saw another superb start by Mark and in a display of aggressive yet controlled driving Mark sat it out side-by-side with the car on pole round the first half of the Silverstone lap, finally having to slip into second at the end of the long Hanger Straight. He was in second for much of the race despite heavy pressure from behind, but the whole shape of the race changed on the final lap.
“We didn’t change the car other than set it back to how it was yesterday,” said Mark after another hot race, “and maybe we should have softened it as the heat was so much more today, but I wanted to know what had happened earlier so we ran with that. As the race progressed it was getting harder and harder to defend but I am disappointed to get hit like that.
“I was defending into the slower corners, I had my car on the right-hand side of the track into a slow right-hander and he was on the grass, didn’t stop and hit me in the side and knocked me back to sixth. I was lucky to be able to pull places back and came back to third in the last half a lap.
“It wasn’t the weekend we wanted, I think we need to test the car some more!”
Next Races: Croft, North Yorkshire, August 19th.
A win and a second place from the latest two rounds of the Porsche Club Championship at Oulton Park left Mark Sumpter and the Paragon Porsche team in a good mood as they set off on the long drive back to East Sussex from the Cheshire circuit. Mark led much of the opening race of the day before having to settle for second, but from pole position in race two made no mistake to lead the field all the way for his maiden win on the team’s return to the series.
The morning’s qualifying session had gone well, with Mark setting times good enough to take pole for both the day’s races in his Baylis & Harding backed 992 C2. He led the field away in race one only to be greeted by the sight of the safety car at the end of lap two. The field was set off to race again with ten minutes remaining, Mark heading a train of cars.
Trading fastest race laps with second placed Mark McAleer, Mark’s 996 got briefly out of shape as he powered out of Old Hall corner on lap 10 allowing McAleer to go by and take the win, Mark less than a second behind at the end.
“I just made a mistake coming out of Old Hall,” said Mark, “I knew my car was good in the first half of the lap and Mark was good in the second so I wanted to push and open a gap but I just got it a bit wrong!”
The final race of the day followed the same script in the early laps, Mark having to hold off the similar 996 of McAleer, the pair never more than a second apart over the first nine laps. Mark led over the line into lap ten, only for McAleer to suddenly slow exiting Old Hall, Mark coming round at the end of the lap a second clear of the field.
Over the remaining laps Mark was able to ease away to be over two and a half seconds clear at the end, the 2011 Porsche Club champion taking his first win on his return to the series this season.
“I had to work hard,” said Sumpter,” it seems like for most of the day I have had another car within inches of me. Mark McAleer was pressing hard so when he suddenly slowed that gave me an advantage, it’s nice to take our first win on our return to the series.”
Next Rounds: Silverstone, Northants., June 17th.
Mark Sumpter and the Paragon Porsche team returned to the Porsche Club Championship at Brands Hatch on Saturday April 29th, and reminded the series regulars of their pace with two podium finishes first time out in their new Porsche 996 C2. Mark overcame a brake problem in the first of the two 25-minute races to finish third, only to go one place better later in the day with a fine second place finish.
Mark’s Baylis & Harding–backed Porsche also bore allegiance with recently injured racer Billy Monger, Mark’s cousin, with a large ‘Billy Whizz’ logo on the front of the car, the rest of the Porsche racers gathering round the car after qualifying for a picture to show their support of the recovering teenager. The team’s first qualifying with the 996, which Mark went to buy over the winter initially not knowing it was a car he had raced at the end of the 1990s, went well, Mark taking fourth on the competitive grid.
Fourth in the early laps of race one, Mark went into third at the Druids hairpin on lap four and closed in the car in second, former champion Pete Morris. Close to the car ahead by mid-race, Mark was also under pressure from behind and having to be precise where he positioned the car on the track, an issue made harder as a brake problem hampered his car.
In the final laps Mark was right with the second place Morris, but couldn’t find a way past, taking third at the flag less than two-tenths of a second behind.
“I enjoyed that, pleased to be on the podium and racing Pete Morris again,” said Mark. “I have the same car as him now and we will have some good races this year. The car was good, we have to go away and improve it in certain areas and it will be a good season – though we had front brake issues in that race.”
Mark started race two fourth on the grid again, but a strong first lap saw him immediately up to third. That put him on the tail of Craig Wilkins, and Mark kept up the pressure over the next few laps before Wilkins suddenly slowed, pulling into the pits and moving Mark into second.
By that point the leader was too far ahead for Mark to challenge, but second place at the end of the 18-laps was enough for Mark to be happy with his day’s racing.
“The brakes weren’t a problem but we know now where we have to improve the car,” said Mark after race two. “It’s great to be back in the championship and it should be a good close season.”
Next Rounds: Oulton Park, Cheshire, May 13th.
At Paragon we live and breathe Porsche. Racing is an important part of our heritage, with our success on the track an endorsement of the abilities of our technical staff. The whole team at Paragon has contributed to our success including the Paragon MD Mark Sumpter, winner of numerous races and titles.
We started racing back in 1994, competing in the UK Porsche Classic Championship with a 1978 3 Litre SC. We have subsequently raced most variants of the Porsche 911, as well as the 944 and 968. We have also been fortunate enough to compete in a 962.
41 years after Giorgio Schön and Giovanni Borri raced their Porsche 3.0 RSR in the 1974 Paul Ricard 1000 Kms Mark and Lee Maxted-Page took it back there to race in the Peter Auto – Classic Endurance Series, in its debut race return to historic events.
The famous Harpers Bazzar livery, conceived by the celebrated Italian Fashion designer Mila Schön, has been meticulously restored and now fully-prepared by Maxted-Page for Peter Auto - F.I.A. series CER 1 and Le Mans Classic - 2016.
RSR chassis 911 460 9074 has a significant period racing history in the 1974-1975 World Manufacturers Championship and is one only 54 genuine examples built by the Porsche racing department and delivered during the period.
The car was co-driven by BRDC member Mark Sumpter of Paragon Porsche and Lee Maxted-Page. Several other original cars from the 1974 1000 kms were also entered at the same meeting, together with both Jürgen Barth and Gerrard Larrousse, still doing what they do best, in a magnificent Porsche 917/10 and Porsche 908 Longtail.
The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is as well known for its much loved undulating layout as it is for changeable weather conditions. At the 2016 Spa Classic, the track certainly lived up to its reputation with lovely spring conditions on Friday, followed by the odd hail shower on Saturday and Sunday.
Headlining the Spa Classic were the pair of Group C races run on Sunday. The star cars in the field were the Jaguar XJR-14 of Christophe d'Ansembourg, the Peugeot 905 of Dominique Guenat and the Porsche 962 of Mark Sumpter. It was most likely the first time these were pitched against each other since the 1991 World Championship and it was certainly the first time a Peugeot 905 was ever run at Spa. Unfortunately an incident in the second qualifying prevent the Peugeot from starting in the races. The XJR-14 did survive qualifying with d'Ansembourg setting the fastest time ahead of Mark Sumpter in the ultimate development of the works Porsche 962Cs.
Christophe d'Ansembourg had a great start but then made a mistake coming onto the straight and crashed into the wall. The damage was sufficient to prompt a retirement. The lead was taken over by Sumpter, who was in a close fight with Erwin France in a another 962C. After the pit-stops, Pierre-Alain France had taken over from his son and could not keep up with Sumpter. Ultimately he was also passed by Robin Ward in his Spice SE90C.
The XJR-14 could not be repaired, so the results of the second race were virtually identical with Sumpter again winning from Ward and the Frances.
In 2000 we made the progression into GT Racing with a 'factory built' GT3-R and in our debut season we won the British GT Championship.
We continued successfully in GT Racing with a 996 RSR, including a full season of FIA GT and the Daytona 24hr.
We also competed in the Porsche Cup with a 996 Cup car, winning several races and ending up 3rd overall in the championship.
We acquired the ultimate Porsche 962 (962-011) for 2007 and set the pace in the Championship winning 7 of the 12 races.
We also won our class at the Silverstone 24hr finishing 3rd overall in our 996 GT3 Cup car.
More Group C success followed in 2008 including 2nd place at the Le Mans 24 Support Race.
We returned to the Silverstone 24hr with a Porsche 997 RSR in 2008. We won the race after 602 laps of hard driving on the famous GP circuit.
Competing in the 997 RSR Britcar GT, we fought hard all season and won Class 1.
We won both of the Pirelli GT Trophy races, the first at Brands Hatch and the second at Snetterton.
We won the 2011 Porsche Club Championship with our faithful old 3.2 Carrera - our first ever race car!
We built and ran two 964 racers and enjoyed some very close, and extremely competitive racing.
We also competed with a beautiful 1964 901 in the Spa 6hr Classic. The 901 was the very first 911.
We were back winning races in the hard-fought 2013 Porsche Club Championship.
We built our own 1965 911 2 Litre 'historic racer' and competed in the Silverstone Classic, Spa 6hr and Paul Ricard 3hr.
The 2014 Porsche Club Championship proved to be tough against the newer cars but we won races at Rockingham, Croft and Brands Hatch and finished 2nd in Class 1.
Our 2 Litre 911 was the fastest 911 and took a podium place at the 2014 Silverstone Classic.