Will Jenkins has taken his maiden win in the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB after converting pole position into a sensational lights-to-flag victory as the second half of the 2023 season got underway at Donington Park this past weekend (26/27 August).
Returning to the scene of his Porsche debut back in April, Jenkins highlighted the fantastic progression he and the Century Motorsport team have made across the season so far as he topped the timesheets in qualifying for the first time before notching a pair of podium finishes across the three races.
With fond memories of winning two races on the full Donington Park Grand Prix circuit in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge last October, Jenkins was straight on the front-running pace during free practice on Thursday behind the wheel of his Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Jenkins, who is competing this season as part of BTCC team Motorbase Performance’s Young Driver Programme with support from Wera Tools, went on to produce a star performance in tricky changing conditions during qualifying on Saturday, setting the pace by a quarter of a second.
The 18-year-old talent crucially fended off the challenge of his rivals on the charge to the first corner at the beginning of race one, giving him the opportunity to control the race from the front. Posting the fastest lap of the race early on, he built up a lead of over 1.2 seconds within three laps.
While his closest challenger Joe Warhurst edged closer to his tail as the race developed, Jenkins put in a faultless performance to keep him at arms’ length throughout the 13-lap contest and take the chequered flag first for a richly-deserved maiden win in the championship.
Both of Sunday’s races were televised live on ITV4, with Jenkins facing a rollercoaster day. In the first of those, a smart move into the Old Hairpin for the first time moved him up to fourth overall and third of the Pro class contenders.
In tricky wet conditions, the Stone-based racer benefitted from an off-track moment from another driver to gain an extra place. From there, a defensive masterclass saw him soak up a lot of pressure and hold his position to the chequered flag for a brilliant second in the Pro ranks.
Jenkins, who races with the support of loyal personal partners Hopkins Motorsport, Asset Alliance Group, The Reefer Trailer Centre and Culina Group, made a great start to the final race as a bold move into the Melbourne Hairpin netted him second overall and the Pro class lead.
Unfortunately his hold on the position would be relatively short-lived, as after a damaged car dropped coolant around a large portion of track, he was powerless to prevent himself sliding off into the gravel. While he managed to get back onto the tarmac, the time lost resulted in a P12 finish.
Will Jenkins: “We’ve been working incredibly hard over recent months to improve our package and become a true force to be reckoned with at the front of the Sprint Challenge GB grid, and it’s great to start seeing the rewards of those efforts.
“Donington Park GP is one of my favourite circuits on the calendar and our pace was strong from the off in the Cayman. To come away with our first pole position in qualifying was amazing and a perfect way to kick off the weekend.
“The first race was an absolutely perfect way to take my maiden Porsche win. The car was perfect and I could control the race from the front. Our wet pace wasn’t our strong point earlier in the season, so to see the progress made in race two and finish second of the Pros was great.
“It’s naturally a huge shame to lose the chance of another Pro win in the final race through something outside of our control, but that’s motorsport. I’m incredibly proud of the big steps forward we’ve made this weekend and a huge thank you to the team all their work. Bring on Silverstone next!”
Two rounds remain of the 2023 Porsche Sprint Challenge GB season, with the penultimate event at Silverstone on the National layout (24/25 September) before the finale on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit (07/08 October).