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bmw compact cup

BMW Compact Cup Series

If you’re looking to get in on some racing action with a limited budget and have a decent shot on a level playing field, look no further than this tightly controlled one-make series...

The GAZ Shocks BMW Compact Cup is a one make series based on the E36 Compact (’94 – ’01 M44 1.9 16v engine).

It is aimed at drivers who want their racing to be both fun and superb value. 

Suspension is GAZ Compact Cup spec coilovers. Engine is standard with a series supplied Superchips remapped ECU.

Transmission is standard 5 speed gearbox; final drive ratio is standard 3.38.

Tyres are Toyo 195/50/VR15 and there is a minimum weight, including driver of 1125kgs.

The first GAZ Shocks Compact Cup Championship meeting of the year

Event: Championship Rounds 1 & 2
Circuit: Donington Park National
Date: March 29th 2015

Hunter takes emotional win but Roberts claims double

Words: Joshua Barrett

BMW racereportThe opening rounds of the 2015 GAZ Shocks Compact Cup Championship took place at Donington Park this weekend and continuing on from last year’s form an over-capacity field came into the new season. This meant a group system was needed so each driver raced twice in the three-race format across the day. Former champion Steve Roberts claimed both of his races but it was former SaxMax champion Owen Hunter whole stole the headlines with his maiden victory in the championship.

It was a busy Donington National circuit when all 43 BMWs circulated during the 15-minute qualifying session, with all cars running on the Cup’s new Nankang NS-2R control tyres. Ex-British GT champion James Gornall clinched the fastest lap in the wet conditions with a time of 1:43.80 but five others (Roberts, Hunter, Paul Hinson, Mike Tovey and Ian Jones) lapped within a second of Gornall, instantly proving that 2015 is going to be the most competitive season to date.

Groups B and C took to the sodden track first where Roberts exhibited a lights-to-flag victory. After an initial break away Roberts had to hold Tovey off to the flag, with Compact newcomer Jones making a good start to run third but falling to sixth by the end. Josh Harvey took Jones’ podium place away on lap three around the outside at Redgate, despite nursing home a seriously deformed wheel. Michael Gray and an ever-improving Richard Miles soon followed to get ahead of Jones.

Steve Bailey won one of the many other battles further down the field. He held on to 19th after keeping Mark Skeats at bay throughout the distance, with Mark Armstrong and Dean Blackburn joining the battle at half distance.

Gornall dropped to the back of the field in a damp race two for groups C and A, where his mistake through the Craner Curves on the opening lap left him relinquishing a challenge to fight back up to eighth place at the flag. Meanwhile, former bike racer Mark Morton made a stunning start to run third on lap one but dropped to tenth by the end.

Ex-MR2 champion Hinson led the early stages but David Drinkwater, who only started sixth, took the lead on the third lap. Hinson retook first place briefly on the sixth tour but dropped to fourth behind Hunter and Alex Dew shortly afterwards.

Drinkwater, Hunter and Dew then battled for the lead throughout the last few laps and Hunter was able to get ahead of Drinkwater on the penultimate lap and went on to take an emotional and well deserved race victory. Simon Roche claimed fifth with Gray and Kevin Denwood behind.

The third and final race saw groups A and B take to a dry circuit, where Roberts beat Gornall off of the line and proved once again that nobody can pass the former Formula Ford racer and 2013 Compact Cup champion when he’s out in front. Gornall remained on his bumper all the way to the flag, and Hunter passed Drinkwater on lap nine to take third. Tovey beat Harvey for fifth after a race long battle, with Alex Dew and Jono Davis finishing behind in respective order, just 0.1secs apart.

Owen Hunter’s star drive in race two earned him the Driver Of The Day award. Over the previous two seasons, Hunter along with his Dad, Dave and their team have worked hard at getting their Compact up to pace and all their hard, dedicated work has been rewarded.

Simon Wood gained the most positions over the weekend. He didn’t set a lap in qualifying which meant he started at the back of the grid on both occasions but took a 12th and a 16th; a net gain of 30 places over the two races. Dan Kirby was another driver climbing through the field, gaining 26 places in total after failing to set a competitive lap in qualifying.

The 2015 GAZ Shocks Compact Cup Championship has not only started with another over-capacity field but also an extremely competitive one, and this season looks set to be very frantic and changeable at the sharp end. Steve Roberts is looking to reclaim his 2013 title but Owen Hunter, James Gornall and a huge chasing field are all trying their best to stop him.


Don’t forget to catch the coverage of all three Donington Park races on Motors TV and the BMW Racedays website on Thursday 16th April at 5:20pm. We look forward to welcoming you all at Brands Hatch on the 26th of April.

Motors TV Broadcast: The first 45min showing will be on Thursday 16th April at 5:20pm.
Web TV: The show will be hosted online here http://www.bmwracedays.co.uk/web-tv/tv/tv-schedule/ on Thursday 16th April at 6:20pm
Championship Positions: The current standings can be found here http://www.bmwracedays.co.uk/english-results/2015-race-results/results-by-grid-view/
Race Results & Qualifying: A breakdown of qualifying times and individual race results can be found here http://www.bmwracedays.co.uk/english-results/2015-race-results/results-by-circuit/donington-park-gp-2903/

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