I caught the first Porsche Supercup race of the Mexico Grand Prix weekend tonight. While I haven’t missed a Grand Prix in over ten years, it’s been a while since I watched a Supercup race. Unsurprisingly, not much has changed since last time.
Michael Ammermüller has been a smooth operator since coming to Supercup in 2012. A former Red Bull Racing test driver, he raced single seaters before Porsches, so, when he does not start on pole, he has a way of getting to the front without inflicting too much collateral damage en route. This is not the Supercup norm.
The first race in Mexico exemplified the contrast between the man from Passau in Bavaria and most of the rest, when the championship leader took an early lead and wasted no time building a gap. Meanwhile, the young hot shots who have vied for Weissach’s attention and championship honours all year were dropping bodywork and running miles beyond track limits to ultimately slow each other down and finish well off the pace.
Holding on to positions by cutting corners and chicanes is amateur stuff: they could all do with watching how the champion brought his third title home. It was a surprise that the race director did not pull them up a bit harder. I guess that is probably fair enough in the title decider for a one-make championship but, if drivers knew they would be penalised for running off track and gaining an advantage, then they might drive accordingly.
Ammermüller is now just two races off a new record of wins in the series and has matched René Rast for total championships won. Four would match Patrick Huismann and five would set a new benchmark. Onwards and upwards, Michael.
Porsche Supercup renews F1® contract to 2022
Porsche recently renewed its contract to run Supercup races as part of Grand Prix weekends up to and including 2022. “We’re proud to forge ahead with this close and long-established partnership,” said Fritz Enzinger. “Formula 1® offers an exclusive setting with a unique flair. This fascination and high media importance represent an ideal overall package for our racing series.”
Supercup has been part of F1’s support programme since its debut season in 1993. Famous and fashionable circuits such as Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and Monte Carlo are regular fixtures on the racing calendar of the international one-make cup. Drivers compete in 485 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars: the racing vehicles are technically identical, as are the tyres and the fuel, guaranteeing equal chances for all.
“We are pleased to extend our long-standing partnership with Porsche for a further three years,” said Ross Brawn, F1’s Motorsport Director. “This one-make series provides some of the most spectacular racing of any series and contributes significantly to the show that’s on offer over a Grand Prix weekend. Furthermore, in the thirty years during which it has run alongside Formula 1, the Porsche Supercup has provided an excellent launch pad for many drivers who have also made their mark in international races at all levels.”
Porsche works driver, Earl Bamber, is so far the only Supercup champion (2015) who has gone on to win a World Endurance Driver’s Championship title (2017), although 2014 champ, Nicki Thiim, did win a World Endurance GT Driver’s Championship title with Aston in 2016.
René Rast was one of the most thrilling Supercup champions to watch. He has gone on to win the 24 Hours of both Spa and the Nürburgring, as well as DTM titles in 2017 and 2019. Double champion, Richard Westbrook (2006/7) went on to win the 2009 FIA GT2 championship, while 2001 champion Jorg Bergmeister won the 2003 Daytona 24 Hours and the 2006 Rolex Grand-Am championship.
In recent years, the Supercup series has become a bit of a proving ground for Porsche Juniors, with Sven Muller winning the 2016 title and Dennis Olsen running Ammermüller hard in 2017. I like to see cut of the Juniors in Supercup, but it does give me a thrill to see a proper gentleman-racer-with a-day-job like Ammermüller take the title. His trademark speed and class is what Supercup is all about. What a great job.
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