Tom Wrigley has been crowned the 2016 Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup champion, sealing the title with a hard-fought sixteenth podium finish of the campaign during a dramatic season finale weekend at Brands Hatch GP (1/2 October).
The championship success completes an incredible campaign with the Rob Boston Racing team; Wrigley’s podium haul including no less than nine race victories across the season including sensational hat-tricks at Donington Park and Knockhill, as well as four pole positions.
Wrigley got the Brands finale off to a hugely positive start in Friday practice as he finished both sessions second fastest overall in the Kent sunshine, however a change of weather overnight meant that qualifying and the first two races would take place in wet conditions.
A mistake with the strategy would ultimately result in his worst qualifying performance of the season with tenth overall, meaning the focus for the first two encounters became damage limitation as his championship rival led away from pole.
Two battling performances would earn the 24 year old some crucial championship points with seventh and eighth place finishes, though there was some frustration in the second race after contact from a rival under yellow flags led to performance-hampering damage on his G55.
The results meant that Wrigley headed into the final race of the season on Sunday with a seven point advantage over chief rival Will Burns, meaning he knew he needed to beat his rival or follow him to the flag to be crowned champion.
In front of a bumper crowd in Kent and the live ITV4 television cameras, a sensational season finale would play out between the title contenders, with Wrigley kicking it off by immediately gaining a position off the line in his Bundlestars and Rednal Karting-backed G55.
A couple of slick overtaking moves over the first couple of laps would move Wrigley into fourth and crucially onto the tail of Burns – though their duel would be delayed for a few laps by the introduction of the safety car. At the restart Wrigley would immediately place his adversary under immense pressure, briefly holding the fastest lap of the race as he mounted his challenge, with their battle eventually going down to the final lap of the season.
As Burns slipped past Jack Mitchell into second place at Paddock Hill Bend, Wrigley knew that if he didn’t follow him through then the title would slip from his grasp, so he produced a stunning dive down the inside to follow Burns through and crucially stay on his rivals rear bumper.
Their battle would continue over the remainder of the last tour, with some determined defending ensuring Wrigley took the chequered flag in third position to secure the championship – leading to emotional celebrations in parc ferme with his family, friends and the team.
Tom Wrigley: “I’m absolutely elated. I can’t believe it. To come down to the final lap of the last race of the season, and to pull off that move, it’s incredible and there was nothing left in the tank after that, we gave it everything we could.
“We made it through and I’m over the moon. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Rob Boston is the best engineer in the championship and he and all the team have done an incredible job through thick and thin all season. My family have been unbelievable with their support throughout as well, while I also have to say a massive thank you to Bundlestars and all my sponsors, as without them we wouldn’t have been in the position to go racing and win the title.
The season has been filled with so many incredible moments, with the hat-tricks at Donington Park and Knockhill, the run of thirteen consecutive podium finishes and now winning the title. It’s absolutely amazing.”
Article text courtesy of www.ginetta.com
Full article image courtesy of Jakob Ebrey