A week after three action-packed races for the Cooper category at the same circuit, it’s the turn of the JCW field to hit the track at Silverstone as the Home of British Motorsport plays host to the penultimate meeting of the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE season.

With just six races left on the calendar, Dan Zelos remains the man to beat as he looks to become the first driver to score two title wins at the wheel of the current JCW machine.

The EXCELR8 driver currently sits 70 points clear at the top once dropped scores are factored into the equation, which makes it appear that he may already have one hand on the title given how late into the season it now is.

However, with a maximum of 348 points still up for grabs, the title fight is very much on for multiple drivers, with a poor result for Zelos across the next two meetings opening the door for the chasing pack to grab the glory.

Zelos moved on to eight wins for the season last time out at Knockhill and whilst that is double the win tally of his closest rival Will Orton, the Hybrid Tune rookie has benefitted from a more consistent finishing record.

Although he has two DNFs compared to one for Zelos, Orton has proved to be one of the standout stars of his debut campaign with nine podium finishes from the twelve races in which he has taken the chequered flag. In the remaining three, he has been just off it in fourth place, with those results allowing him to keep pace with Zelos at the front.

If there is one negative, the double DNF at Snetterton on a weekend where he faced a number of mechanical gremlins means Orton has no dropped scores to now fall back on – meaning every race counts as he looks to overhaul the former champion.

A win at Knockhill allowed Orton to edge clear of team-mate Joe Tanner in the standings, with the popular Scot enduring a challenging weekend at his home circuit after he was forced to retire from race two.

Tanner has picked up an impressive eight podium finishes so far in 2023 but has yet to make it onto the top step, something he will hope to put right this weekend as he chases that elusive win.

One thing that could be wrapped for Tanner at Silverstone is a second successive Directors Cup, with a handy advantage already in place over closest rival Lewis Selby.

Outside the top three, Nelson King has his eyes firmly fixed on trying to overhaul Tanner to make it onto the end-of-season podium, with the reigning Cooper champion having been one of the form drivers over the last two meetings.

Although forced to retire from race three in Scotland, King has finished in the top two in four of the last six races – including a maiden JCW win at Snetterton – to close in on Tanner ahead, although he still has plenty of work to do over the final two meetings.

King could also yet prevent Orton from winning the Rookie Cup, but may well need his rival to run into trouble if he is to secure class honours.

After King come two drivers still chasing a first win in the shape of Bradley Gravett and Oliver Meadows; team-mates in the EXCELR8 line-up.

The pair have scored two podiums apiece and are split by just seven points, with NAPA Racing’s Jamie Osborne hot on their heels having scored his maiden win at Oulton Park earlier in the season.

Osborne also grabbed a podium finish at Knockhill last time out and is the man to beat in the race for the Graduate Cup crown where he has opened up a slender lead over Graves Motorsport racer Dominic Wheatley.

Wheatley sits two places behind Osborne in the overall standings, with the pair split by rookie Thomas Jack Lee – one of the youngest drivers in the field and one who has shown his pace on multiple occasions this season. The aforementioned Selby then rounds out the top ten.

A number of drivers behind still harbour hopes of getting ahead of Selby over the final two rounds, not least Lydia Walmsley with her family-run team.

Walmsley has been a top-ten regular this season before suffering her first retirement of the season at Knockhill, but is only two points behind Selby, with Josh Porter also within striking distance despite a dramatic week at Knockhill saw him roll his car in pre-event testing – resulting in him being forced to switch into a new car for the race weekend itself.

With Jamsport driver Marlo Cordell missing this weekend, and the Petters Racing team having unfortunately called times on its programme, a 19 car field is set to do battle this weekend, including one newcomer in the shape of former Fiesta racer Spencer Stevenson – who lines up as part of an expanded Graves Motorsport line-up.

James Griffith is also back on the grid having missed the trip to Knockhill, whilst there is a welcome appearance for Sam Smith as he makes his long-awaited return to the grid having been sidelined since an accident at Donington Park during the opening meeting of the year.