Pyro’s achievement means it has re-captured the Entrants’ crown that it had previously won in straight years from 2008 to 2013. In 15 out of 16 races to date it has been star performers Sutton and Ash Hand who have done the scoring for the Leicestershire squad (an entrant’s points per round are the combined total of its highest placed two drivers). When Hand hit trouble at Silverstone, new signing Josh Price was able to provide reinforcements with fifth place to Sutton’s second.
Only twice in 2015 has another team achieved a better score than Pyro, but although its points advantage might be considerable team boss Mark Hunt insists there has still been plenty of looking over shoulders.
“Staying ahead has been a lot harder than it might look – the competition has come very close to knocking us off our perch,” commented Hunt. “Up to Croft it was SV Racing and in the second half of the season WDE Motorsport have come on very strongly.
“Cooksport and JamSport have also shown big improvements in their first seasons of the championship and Maximum Motorsport are really getting into their stride now. We’re having to push to the limit to stay ahead every time now and we are lucky we’ve had two top drivers all the way through the season.”
Sutton’s romp to the Graduates class title – for drivers aged 23 and under at the start of the season – has been relatively straight forward in his debut Clio Cup campaign. In 13 of the 16 races so far he has been the first Graduate over the line – only at Donington, Oulton Park and Rockingham has he been beaten, by Jack Mitchell (SVR), Charlie Ladell and George Jackson (both in Cooksport cars) respectively.
He joins the likes of current British Touring Car aces Sam Tordoff, Aron Smith and Josh Cook as well as Josh Files and Jordan Stilp to clinch the Graduates Cup since its inception in 2010.
It has been Howard’s greater consistency – aided by four maximum scores from the 16 races to date – that has enabled him to put the Graduates Cup title to bed early. His closest challenger, 20Ten Racing’s Graham Field, has also had a win (at Oulton) and is assured of second place overall.
There have also been wins for every other eligible Masters Cup driver in 2015: Paul Knapp (Cooksport) and Ben Seyfried (SVR) grabbed a victory apiece at Brands Hatch and Donington; Peter Felix (20Ten) took a double maximum at Croft and also triumphed at Rockingham; Lee Pattison (Cooksport) was unbeatable at Knockhill and Michele Puccetti (Rangoni Corse) was twice on top at Silverstone.