FUN CUP ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP The final outing for the Fun Cup Endurance Championship in 2023 would see a superb double header of races at Oulton Park, the somewhat traditional venue for the last rounds of the championship. Going into the weekend, as many as eight teams still had a mathematical chance of winning the title, but at the head of the points it was all about Team Olympian, UVio/ Hofmann’s Motorsport, PLR Racing and Team Viking/Ursus Capital Racing. They would prove to be the main contenders of the day. Race one saw JPR Team LRS start on pole position alongside new team Jackpot Racing, while the main contenders for the championship were all over the random drawn grid. UVio and Viking shared the fourth row, while PLR Racing and Team Olympian were towards the back of the grid with Olympian mandated to start last after winning the previous race. A rapid start from Viking gave them the lead from Team 3 Motorsport midway through the opening lap while UVio first got tangled up with Signature RV’s car at Hislops, before tangling with another car on lap two gave them damage that required a length pit call, thus ending their championship chances on the spot. The first safety car of the race was called when EDF Motorsport saw one of their cars stuck in the gravel at Shell Oils, with the field bunched up again by one quarter distance. Olympian had risen to third from the back of the grid by now, and challenged Viking and JPR Team BSP for the top two positions, passing for second at Druids and then for the lead outside of Old Hall Corner. BSP, Viking and Olympian scrapped over the lead for the next few minutes while the pit window opened, and once the stops had shaken out the order, it was JPR Team BSP in the lead from MJ Tec and Olympian, with PLR Racing also having risen to fourth ahead of Team Greenheath and Viking in sixth. The order changed little in the second pit stop window, with JPR Team BSP retaining the lead going into the final minutes and driving on to clinch a fantastic win. Mikey Porter and Reza Seewooruthun were winners on their debut, but co-driver Ted Bradbury already had a Fun Cup start under his belt and thus the trio just missed out on the £10,000 prize for a team of completely new drivers winning on their first start. MJ Tec took second ahead of Olympian scoring strong points with third, while PLR placed fourth and Axiametrics just beat Viking to the line for the final top five place. The longer three hour finale later in the day produced one of the most dramatic Fun Cup final rounds the championship had ever seen. Axiametrics were drawn on pole alongside Team Ratters Racing, with Olympian and Viking placed on row two together while PLR Racing were towards the rear of the pack. Axiametrics’ lead was aided by a lap one safety car after Greenheath, Red River Sport and GT Radial all fell foul in incidents, prompting the neutralisation of the race for just over the first twenty minutes. Axiametrics continued to lead heading towards the first pit window, but behind them an off for Olympian at Druids was caused by a burnt alternator cable causing gear selector issues. A fix in pit lane put them back out on track, but now three laps off the lead and deep in the pack. The rest of the race would now see them fighting back to stay in the title race. Race one winners JPR Team BSP led after the first pit stop window with UVio on their tail, before the two teams swapped places in the next one just before another safety car was called when Team 3 Motorsport left the road at Knickerbrook. Olympian’s recovery had only taken them back to 17th by half distance, while Viking and PLR were both in the top ten and in a position to steal the title. Another safety car for Greenheath’s stranded machine at Brittens left the pack bunched up again with an hour to go and Viking scrapping for the lead with JPR BSP and UVio. Olympian’s cause was helped when the #214 car of Seed Data pulled up on the exit of Brittens, helping them again a crucial place to remain championship leaders, aided further when a fast stop in the final pit window under the subsequent safety car saw them finally leapfrog Jackpot Racing, whom they’d been chasing ever since fixing their issue early in the race. This put them in 15th, and second in the safety car queue behind UVio, before they backed out and sat back to watch an enthralling six car fight for the win inside the final ten minutes. Containing UVio, JPR BSP, Viking, Axiametrics, Signature RV and MJ Tec, all five teams behind leaders UVio practically took turns to try and take it from them, until a mistake at the Hislops chicane allowed Viking to take over in front. Marcus Clutton put the pressure on in the Signature RV car and after snatching the lead at Lodge heading onto the final lap, he drove away from the ensuing melee behind and clinched the team’s first win alongside John Whitehouse and Steve Ruston. JPR Team BSP held on to second ahead of UVio in third, followed by Viking/ Ursus Capital in fourth and MJ Tec in fifth. PLR Racing couldn’t better seventh, but fifteenth proved to be enough in the end to give Kristian Rose, Chris Dovell and Riley Philips the 2023 Fun Cup Endurance Championship crown!