A SUDBURY business owner is considering a dream move into the GT Cup Championship after a fairytale first season in the MINI Challenge series saw him finish runner-up in the Club class.
Against professional drivers, 50-year-old rookie Patrick Mortimer, of Acton, overcame the odds at Snetterton on Sunday to grab second position in his debut series on a racetrack.
And now he could be flying around the world’s most iconic circuit - Spa Franchochamps, home of the Belgium F1 Grand Prix - in a supercar in the prestigious GT Championship Cup next season as he considers an offer from a Porsche team impressed with his first season behind the wheel.
Mortimer, who owns property development firm UKI (Sudbury Ltd) and clinched first place in the Anglesey round, said: “To come second in the championship was not even in contention for me at the start and even if I had got a single podium I would have been happy.
“I had already achieved much more than I expected to achieve and to finish second place behind a champion, who is outstanding (Ant Whorton Eales), I am just so chuffed.”
At the start of the weekend, Mortimer was guaranteed third place in the championship but needed to capitalise on mistakes by Dean Raymond to be able to clinch second.
After a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s race and a fifth place in Sunday’s first race, Mortimer was guaranteed the runners-up spot in the 19th round if he was able to cross the line within a place of Raymond going into the finale. And he flew off the grid into second behind championship leader Whorton Eales, but then suffered a tyre blow-out in a collision forcing him into the pits.
Raymond had to retire after a head gasket blew, but finishing was not an easy task for Mortimer following two collisions, with the second leaving his rear wheel rubbing against the arch.
“I just managed to get the car back on track and it was on the last lap as well and someone was obviously looking out for me from up above after that,” said Mortimer, who was cheered home by a crowd including a vocal contingent from the East Coast Mini Club, of which he is the chairman.
Mortimer, who may step up to the John Cooper Works turbo class from the current club class series if he opts not to join the European-wide GT Cup Championship, will be back in action this weekend in the MSVR Team Trophy at Oulton Park, near Chester, with his son Martin, 25, as his co-driver.
l Television coverage of the finale to the MINI Challenge will be shown on Sky Sports on Friday, October 28, at 6.30pm and repeated on the Saturday and following Monday.