A week after the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE Trophy enjoyed three action-packed races at Snetterton, the headline JCW class heads for the longest circuit on the calendar for the third round of the campaign.

Heading into the new season, all eyes were on former champion Dan Zelos to see if he could secure a second title, but it’s rookie racer Will Orton who has emerged as the man to beat with two meetings in the can.

Racing for local outfit Hybrid Tune, Ginetta graduate Orton has been in fine form through the first six races of the campaign, picking up a victory in the final race of the weekend at Donington and then grabbing a double win at Brands Hatch.

Before taking dropped scores into account, Orton has established a lead of almost 60 points in the standings over Zelos, who has also scored three wins from the opening six races.

Zelos has scored pole at both meetings so far and will hope that local knowledge will aid his challenge this weekend, although Orton has shown already that he is more than up for the challenge of taking the fight to the former champion.

Oliver Meadows is best of the rest in terms of points scored after two rounds having picked up his first podium finishes last time out, moving ahead of leading Directors Cup runner Joe Tanner after he logged his first DNF of the campaign – although Tanner is ahead on dropped scores.

Meadows has wasted little time in getting up to speed in the JCW car after moving up from the Cooper class, whilst Tanner is undoubtedly one of the quickest drivers in the field but will hope to have a little more luck on his side as he continues his quest to make it onto the top step of the podium.

Graves Motorsport duo Nelson King and Dominic Wheatley meanwhile have a podium apiece to round out the top six in the early standings and both will be keen to add more silverware to their trophy cabinets during the weekend ahead.

The same is true for EXCELR8’s Bradley Gravett, who scored his first career podium at Brands Hatch. The pressure is very much on for Gravett however, who needs a strong haul of points to make up for the fact that he has failed to score twice already this year – meaning every point will count from this point on

Jamie Osborne, Thomas Jack Lee and Lewis Selby round out the top ten, with all three having shown flashes of pace thus far.

Osborne continues to play catch up after technical issues ahead of race one at Donington Park, and would have scored a maiden podium at Brands Hatch had it not been for a penalty for being out of position at the start.

One of those to benefit was teenager Lee, who grabbed second spot in the final race at Brands Hatch for his first silverware in the series, whilst Osborne’s NAPA Racing team-mate Selby picked up a first Directors Cup win last time out and will hope to move closer to an overall top three finish.

Snetterton promises to be a big weekend for a number of drivers who will be racing on home soil, not least Lydia Walmsley who will be eager to avoid a repeat of the turn one incident that ended her challenge early last year.

Brothers Daniel and Jamie Petters will also hope that local knowledge proves to be beneficial as they compete at Snetterton for the first time since joining the JCW grid this year – with the two siblings bidding to build on their respective results so far.

Having been forced to miss Brands Hatch following his accident at round one, Sam Smith had hoped to make his return to action but instead remains on the sidelines, with defending champion Sam Weller instead appearing on track for the first time this year.

Weller will run as a guest entrant with his Hybrid Tune team and won’t be eligible to score points.