Author Archives: Paul McErlean

  1. BRSCC launches CityCar Cup

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    They may be small…but it’s going to be BIG!

    In the UK club circuit racing scene we hear much talk about the importance of attracting competitors at a “grass roots” level, of keeping competitor costs low, and for clubs to offer the best value for money racing…however look around the current UK marketplace and it’s hard to find many race series that can truly lay claim to many of those aspects. Add into the mix that motorsport in general is under attack for a perceived lack of “green” credentials and it’s certainly a worrying conundrum.

    Instead of looking at this situation as an impending crisis, the BRSCC have taken these messages fully on board and along with some key partners have committed to delivering a brand new saloon car sprint racing formula that ticks all of the boxes in terms of cost of cars, running costs, attractiveness to new racers, and a series that will deliver some of the lowest emission racing.

    Welcome to the BRSCC CityCar Cup

    The CityCar Cup is a new race series featuring 1.0 litre 3 door models of the 2005-2013 Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1. Under their badges and slightly differing body styling, these cars have exactly the same underpinnings, engines and running gear…all having been manufactured on the same Czech Republic production line in a partnership between Toyota and the PSA Group.

    The specification of the race cars and the carefully designed technical regulations ensure that not only will all cars deliver equal track performance, they will also look, sound, handle and feel like ‘proper’ race cars. Although the cost to buy or build a fully compliant car will be comparatively low, driver safety and driving entertainment will both factor highly, with cars featuring a bespoke ROPS designed by series development partners SW Motorsports, along with adjustable GAZ coilover suspension, Nankang NS-2R tyres, Powerflex Suspension bushes, a remapped ECU and various other mandatory features such as a sports exhaust, 15 inch alloy wheels and a cold air intake, all for only £6,995

    The CityCar Cup race series was officially previewed at Croft Circuit on 9th June, where fully prepared versions of each model were given a full day shakedown prior to the final technical specification being signed off. This will be followed by a full race launch at Cadwell Park Circuit on Sunday 2nd August where a number of race cars will take to the circuit in BRSCC’s ClubSport endurance series.

    The BRSCC have thereafter committed to hosting the CityCar Cup series as a class in the successful Clubsport Trophy races before scheduling its own dedicated calendar for 2021

    For more information: BRSCC CityCar Cup

  2. New lease of life for restructured 2020 BRSCC Porsche championship

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    The future of the BRSCC Porsche championship is looking bright thanks to a radical rethink of the championship structure embracing an expansion  of the range of cars eligible to race, a new meeting format, lower costs and greatly simplified technical regulations.

    The rethink follows a gradual decline in grid numbers over the past few seasons which had brought into question the whole future of the championship.

    With an objective of growing 2020 grid sizes, the BRSCC and championship officials carried out a far-reaching analysis of the reasons for the downturn of this long-running championship, concluding that the limiting factors have been high costs, the structure of the meetings themselves and restrictive technical regulations.

    The biggest change in 2020 will be in the range of Porsches eligible to race. In the 27 years since the championship was established only Porsche 924s and Boxsters have been included.

    The grid will now be opened up to a far wider range of Porsche sports cars, with championship classes defined by power to weight ratio and not specific models. The current 49 pages of detailed technical regulations will be much abridged and simplified.

    The revitalised championship will be focussed on 7 meetings, 5 being single day meetings, plus two 2-day meetings. The single day meetings will feature a qualifying session and two points scoring rounds, while the 2-day events will include a qualifying session, a 15 minute sprint race and a 40 minute optional two driver race.

    The structure mirrors the format of the most successful championships within the BRSCC’s portfolio, and indications are that it will be much more popular than the previous two day meeting/triple header format.

    This popularity will be enhanced by a significant reduction in entry and registration costs to levels more in line with comparable championships.

    Commenting on these changes, BRSCC Chairman Peter Daly said: “Our Porsche championship has evolved over the years on a platform of high performance, competitive racing and excellent value.
    The reduction in entries experienced over the past couple of seasons, particularly when contrasted with the expansion we have seen in similar championships, has been a great concern, and was the catalyst for an intensive review of our whole Porsche product. It was soon clear that the way forward was via a root and branch restructuring, and the resulting changes will give our Porsche championship a whole new lease of life and put it back on track as a highlight of the UK club racing scene.”

    The 2020 calendar is already under construction, the Power to Weight classes and the simplified regulations are being developed, and we will share news on the new and revitalised championship as soon as possible.

    Photo: Jon Elsey

  3. Autosport 2019 – See us on Stand 2180 in Hall 2

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    We’re all set and ready to go here at the Autosport International Racing Car Show at the NEC in Birmingham this week (January 10-13), with our standing looking bigger and better than ever! With the exhibition taking place in different halls this year, you can find us in Hall 2 on Stand 2180, with the following cars on display:

    • Hyundai i30 N TCR representing TCR UK
    • Ford Fiesta Zetec S representing the BRSCC Fiesta Championship racing with MRF Tyres
    • Ford Fiesta ST150 representing the BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship racing with MRF Tyres
    • Mazda MX-5 Mk1 representing the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship
    • Mazda MX-5 Mk3 representing the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup and Super Series
    • Honda Civic Type R representing the Civic Cup
    • BMW E36 Compact 318Ti representing the Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup
    • Volkswagen Golf GTi Mk2 representing the Teekay Couplings Production GTi Championship
    • Alfa Romeo 147 representing the BRSCC Alfa Romeo Championship
    • MCR sports prototype representing the BRSCC OSS Championship
    • Van Diemen JL13 representing the Avon Tyres Formula Ford Championships
    • Porsche Boxster representing the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship

    Be sure to visit our stand and learn all about what we’re gearing up for in 2019, as well as find out about our brand new website and also how to get involved in our race weekends as a marshal – we’ll see you there!

  4. NATIONAL FORMULA FORD INTRODUCES ROOKIE CLASS FOR 2019

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    The 2019 Avon Tyres National Formula Ford 1600 Championship will feature a Rookie class for the first time in an effort to encourage more young racing talent to compete in the series going forwards.

    Aimed at any driver who has not raced in the iconic single-seater category prior to the start of the current calendar year, it provides an opportunity to be recognised while still learning how to get the most from the cars.

    Those with aspirations of building a career in the sport will still be eligible for points in the Pro section of the National Championship where, for those under 25, there is the opportunity to earn a place in the end of season Road to Indy Shootout for the chance to win a scholarship worth US$200,000 to compete in the following season’s USF2000 Championship – a prize which went to 18 year old Australian Formula Ford 1600 Champion, Hunter McElrea, in 2018.

    Rookie drivers who race for fun, meanwhile, can also earn points towards the National Clubman Championship which has been streamlined for 2019 into a single class structure – previously there were separate categories for Post89 and Pre90 chassis.

    The BRSCC believes the Rookie Class provides a fabulous opportunity to anyone new to Formula Ford 1600 to stand-out as they build up their experience, especially those stepping up from karting. This will also allow young drivers to compete in a cost effective single seater championship fresh out of karting or while making a switch from an existing formula.

    The National Formula Ford Championship begins at Snetterton in Norfolk on the TCR UK support package on April 20/21.

  5. BRSCC GETTING SET FOR AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL 2019

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    It’s that time of year again – the beginning of January means one thing and one thing only in the motorsport world – another pilgrimage to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for the annual Autosport International Racing Car Show, this year being held between January 10-13.

    Every year, the great and the good of the motorsport industry turn out to use the show as something of an unofficial start of the season, where drivers, teams, suppliers, sponsors and more come together to catch up, strike deals, rub shoulders and generally see in the beginnings of another 12 months of motorsport.

    As per usual, the BRSCC will be out in force with our very own stand and thanks to the decision by the organisers to switch halls for this year onwards, the Club will be benefitting from an even bigger stand compared to last year. We will be located in Hall 2 on stand number 2180. The championships set to be represented across all four days are:

    – TCR UK Touring Car Championship
    – BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship
    – BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup
    – BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Super Series
    – Avon Tyres National & Northern Formula Ford Championships
    – Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup
    – Civic Cup
    – BRSCC OSS Championship
    – BRSCC Alfa Romeo Championship
    – BRSCC Fiesta Championship racing with MRF Tyres
    – BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship racing with MRF Tyres
    – Toyo Tires Porsche Championship
    – Teekay Couplings Production GTi Championship

    You’ll also be able to find cars and stands for the likes of the Fun Cup, Ferrari Challenge UK, British GT and the new W Series located on the show floor, meaning that overall our roster of championships is well represented!

    As usual, anyone who is a BRSCC club member, be it a regular or racing membership, can claim a free ticket to the show on any one of the four days they wish. All members have been e-mailed details on how to claim their free ticket. If you are having trouble claiming yours, then be sure to contact us where we will be able to assist you further. Please note that you must be a valid and paid-up member of the BRSCC at the time of the show in order to be eligible for a free ticket.

    We look forward to seeing everyone in Birmingham as we play our part in giving birth to what’s set to be yet another incredible year of racing!

  6. 2018 SEASON REVIEW: BRSCC FIESTA CHAMPIONSHIP RACING WITH MRF TYRES

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    The ever-competitive BRSCC Fiesta Championship rolled into the 2018 season ready for another year of door-to-door tin-top action, with reigning champion Jamie White ready to defend his crown against all comers across four classes. An added element for the new season was the switch to Indian tyre supplier MRF Tyres after a long standing relationship with Dunlop. With that in mind, the opening rounds at Brands Hatch were certainly going to be interesting.

    Class D
    White aimed to pick up where he’d left off at Brands Hatch in March and while he didn’t take a clean sweep of class wins, two out of three was satisfactory enough with rival John Cooper taking the other. Also featuring on the podium that weekend was newcomer Zachary Lucas, a name that would end up being a key figure in the battle for the title. This was further emphasised when White’s absence from Cadwell Park allowed Lucas to claim his first two Class D wins, but his own absence next time out, coupled with the return of the #1 at Rockingham (a place where a year before he’d ended up on his roof), gave White all the advantage he needed to make up points with another three wins. He did it again at the next rounds at Snetterton, but not without an awkward incident with fellow Daniels Motorsport driver Cooper in Race 2 that saw him retire from it and also Race 3. This allowed Lucas to bag more points as a result in his title bid.

    Not even the substantial rain at Castle Combe could stop White’s winning streak with three more flawless victories, nor did a new venue in Thruxton where collected two more, but he was made to work for the latter two by Lucas as the pair enjoyed a fantastic back and forth battle all weekend that eventually saw White come out on top both times. More wet weather followed them to Silverstone for the penultimate rounds, but this time White only clinched two of the three wins on offer, as the other fittingly went to the returning Cooper who ran as #42 in tribute to friend and fellow driver John Bateman, who sadly passed away the previous weekend – a fitting result.

    On the return leg to Brands Hatch at the Formula Ford Festival, White did what he needed to do and nothing more. Once again taking two class wins with Cooper claiming the other, it was enough to claim another Class D crown as well as securing back to back overall Fiesta titles. That weekend also saw the return of 2016 champion Alastair Kellett, who did well on his comeback to claim three podiums, but scored no points due to his guest status.

    Class C
    At the head of the overall field, the fastest cars were again the Mk6 Ford Fiesta ST150s as expected. Danny Harrison went three times as better as he had at Brands Hatch 12 months ago by taking a clean sweep of wins ahead of 2016 Fiesta Junior champion Harry Gooding. On the championship’s visit to Cadwell Park up next, defending Class C champ David Nye got back to winning ways with the former BTCC ace claiming a brace for himself, while at Rockingham a couple of weeks later it was Jam-Sport’s turn to steal the limelight. Ryan Faulconbridge took a long awaited first win ahead of teammate Myles Baker and Richard Ashmole, followed by Gooding’s first two senior circuit victories to enhance his title chances further.

    Snetterton turned out to be another JamSport racing demonstration, however it was the turn of team boss Jamie Going to put his best foot forward as he bested his young charge Gooding twice out of three races to claim two wins, with Gooding taking the other. Nye got back to winning ways in the first of three incredibly wet races at Castle Combe before Gooding took two more for himself again with Going in tow, before making it three in a row in the first race at Thruxton a few weeks later. That weekend would also see the returns of Specialized Motorsport boss Simon Horrobin, who was forced to start at the back of Race 1 due to a technical irregularity, but drove through to 4th before an epic duel with old sparring partner Jamie Going in the second race that eventually saw him victorious.

    Silverstone’s contrasting weather conditions saw Welshman Samuel Watkins claim a win in the wet on Saturday, followed up on Sunday by two more Harry Gooding victories on a substantially drier track on Sunday, to further move him into line for a potential overall title shot. Alas, it wasn’t to be at the Brands Hatch finale, as S. Watkins and Faulconbridge shared the final Class C honours between them, while Gooding couldn’t best a 7th place all weekend. No matter, as it was enough to see him crowned Class C champion, followed by Going taking runner up spot and and Nye in 3rd place.

    Class A
    With no Class B cars featuring all season, maximum attention further down the field was on the season long duel between Class A drivers Mark Court and Colin Newbold. Court struck first at Brands Hatch in March with three wins, before his absence from the following three race weekends allowed Newbold to maximise his points hauls at Cadwell Park and Rockingham. Neither driver made the trip to Snetterton, meaning battle lines were drawn again at Castle Combe where Court picked up three more class honours.

    Another came his way at Thruxton where he and Newbold shared a win and a DNF each, before Court did another hat-trick at Silverstone to set the title fight up nicely for the Brands Hatch return. Court’s win in Race 1 help him hold the advantage, however his exclusion from the second race coupled with Newbold’s retirement meant it all came down to the final race. In the end, Court won again to incredibly clinch the Class A championship by just one single point – proof that even just two cars can make a very close title battle!

  7. 2018 SEASON REVIEW: ALACO MOTORSPORT LOGISTICS CATERHAM SEVEN 270R CHAMPIONSHIP

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    The second stage of evolution from the Academy car, the progressing Academy drivers are joined by more experienced racers coming into Caterhams at this level, making it a fiercely fought championship. Unlike the lower categories, there is no restriction on professional team support or driver experience.

    Pete Walters had been the dominant force in Roadsport on his way to the 2017 championship and this was expected to continue in 2018 when he progressed to Seven 270R.  If anyone could stop him, it would be Roadsport runner-up, Jay McCormack.  The pair put on an impressive display of how Caterham racing works in the opening round at Snetterton, by letting Caterham newcomer, Jamie Falvey lead the first 25 minutes, only to swamp him at the five minute board, demoting him to third; McCormack taking first blood.  And so the scene looked set for the year.  Well, for one day anyway, until Falvey, lesson learned, stunned everyone by taking the following day’s win.  It was the first of five during the course of the year that ultimately secured the Seven 270R crown for him in his first year of Caterham racing, the first time a new-to Caterham driver has achieved this in ten years.

    Whilst the three would settle the championship podium places amongst themselves, they were not the only winners during the year, although it took until just beyond the halfway point of the year before anyone else got a look in when former single-seater ace, Jamie Wingfield snatched one of the two wins at Zandvoort.

    Come the following race weekend and there would be drama for all three top drivers, plus Wingfield too.  First to fall was Walters in Friday’s test session; one of Camp Corner’s many victims that weekend.  Walters now banana-shaped, three-wheel car looked set to sit out the weekend, but with Caterham’s chassis manufacturing plant nearby the Wiltshire circuit, the Caterham trackside support team were able to perform a minor miracle and conducted a major chassis repair at the circuit, enabling Walters to be back on track in time for Saturday’s qualifying.  Falvey fell-off next, at Quarry, less dramatically in the opening laps of the first race, resulting in his first DNF and, indeed, first non-podium finish of the year.  But it was the final lap of Sunday’s race that had the most impact (literally), when McCormack and Wingfield tangled coming into Camp and crashed heavily out of the lead two positions, promoting Chris Bates to the top of the podium.

    Falvey and McCormack’s misfortune played into Walters’ hands and he led the championship going into Thruxton, but would score a DNF immediately, levelling the playing field once again.  At 29 years-old, Matt Topham is surprisingly the youngest driver in the series, yet despite his youthful years, kept a mature head and was at last rewarded not just with his first podium, but with a win in the opening Thruxton race, finally capitalising on his improving speed through the season.

    Come the final round and Falvey had little to do to win the championship and forth spot nailed it for him, letting the former Royal Marine Commando sit out the final round, leaving Jay McCormack to take the final win of the year securing this second position in the championship from Pete Walters third.

    Seven 270R is designed for cars that have typically made their way up from the Academy from ’14 onwards (having adopted the latest specification engine).  They are developed into race focused machines, with stiffer suspension and removal of the windscreen and lights (though they can be quickly refitted for road use).

  8. 2018 SEASON REVIEW: BRSCC MAZDA MX-5 SUPER SERIES

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    Such was the success of the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup and the demand to race a Mazda MX-5 Mk3 with the BRSCC, that the Club elected to create a sub-series to cater to those who wished to compete in one, yet also wished to remain in the same paddock as the Mk1 Championship as the SuperCup would head off onto the TCR UK support package and away from the regular schedule. Thus, the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Super Series was conceived – exactly the same cars as the SuperCup, but racing in a more relaxed and pressure free environment. That being said, that didn’t mean the on-track action would be any less entertaining.

    The first rounds at Brands Hatch in March would see two drivers set the tone for what would become a back and forth battle for race wins all year long. Joshua Jackson, fresh from finishing 3rd in last year’s Mk1 Championship, instantly took to the Mk3 like a duck to water and picked up two victories, while former SuperCup and Mk1 racer Jake Bailey pressed him all weekend in all three races, claiming one for himself in the process. Jackson ensured at the second meeting at Snetterton that he wouldn’t be toppled from the top spot with a clean sweep of all three races, while Bailey had to play catch up all weekend. In particular, missing his braking point on the second lap of Race 2 saw him skating across the grass at Agostini hairpin and forced to charge back through the field as a result.

    Bailey’s fortunes were on the up at the next meeting at Cadwell Park, as he too picked up a pair of wins while Tom Collins, another name familiar to SuperCup, made a one-off appearance and took a victory for himself. As for Jackson, an incident in the first race of the weekend left him on the back foot and unable to better two 4th places. Silverstone in July was something of a washout for the duration with rain falling for most of the track activity. Nevertheless, it helped produce the first weekend with three different race winners. Jake Bailey got the better of super-sub and Race 1 pole sitter Ben Short to win the opening encounter, but Short got his own back in the second with Jackson tailing him all the way. On track, Bailey claimed Race 3 for himself on track, but contact with Jackson when passing him saw Jake handed a 10 second penalty for driving standards, allowing the #72 to reclaim the win he’d lost out on.

    Oulton Park got Jackson back to winning ways on track as he took another triple with Jake Bailey’s father Sam Bailey tailing him all weekend with three 2nd places; Patrick Collins and Jeremy Crook each also took impressive podium finishes in 3rd throughout. Anglesey on the coast of North Wales was the next venue where another super-sub jumped into have a go. Former Mk1 MX-5 champion and BC Cars team boss Brian Chandler was a last minute stand-in for the absent Patrick Collins and duly reminded everyone just how quick he was. Three wins from the weekend saw him dominate in tricky conditions, despite fending off advances from both Short (also super-subbing again) and Jake Bailey. Jackson, meanwhile, appeared to have another less than satisfactory weekend off the podium.

    The last ever visit to Rockingham brought the penultimate meeting of the season, where yet again it was Jake Bailey and Joshua Jackson headlining the field. Bailey beat Jackson on a win tally of 2:1, however Jackson’s victory numbers were still higher despite the Super Series not awarding any points. Therefore, bragging rights were on offer for the final rounds at Donington Park in October with the biggest grid of the season. Bailey won the first race, but mishaps through the gravel in the final two saw Jackson round off a superb year with two more wins to earn the Driver of the Year status at the awards dinner a few weeks later. Simon Mason was chosen as top Masters driver, while Liz Walton’s impressive grasp of the MX-5 in her first season of racing full stop earned her the Rookie of the Year title.

    2019 should see even more drivers take the plunge into the Super Series – we’ll see you on the grid!

  9. 2018 SEASON REVIEW: DRAPER TOOLS CATERHAM ROADSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP

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    The Draper Tools Caterham Roadsport championship is the next step on the Caterham ladder for Academy drivers & cars from 2017.  With light modifications and a change to track orientated tyres, this enables them to enjoy another year of racing with the friends they have battled against in the hugely successful Academy series. 

    Academy runner-up James Murphy started the year on a high with a brace of wins at Snetterton, setting the scene for a year-long battle-royale with pre-season favourite, reigning Academy champion Dan French, that would culminate in a spectacularly close Silverstone finale.

    Hertfordshire’s French managed ‘only’ one podium on the opening weekend but would get back to his winning ways when the championship headed north (really, really, north) to Knockhill for the first time since 2005, sharing the two available victories with Murphy. The pair did the same again at Brands Hatch.  It was not until the mid-season round at Zandvoort that Murphy went away from weekend without a winner’s trophy.  By the time the season had rolled around to the last weekend at Silverstone, the pair were separated by just a single point, Murphy having the advantage. 

    With drop scores playing their part, and a win for Murphy in the first of the weekend’s encounters, it all came down to the final race.  The only way French could bag a second successive title would be to win the race and score the additional point for fastest lap.  This would bring the two level, taking it to a tie-breaker that French would win thanks to his six wins versus Murphy’s five.  And while Murphy languished outside the top ten during the race after collision, French did exactly that; led the race wholly unchallenged and had fastest lap.  Until four laps from the end.  Benefitting from the tow(s) of a gaggle of cars fighting over the distant second place, frequently-fast Tom Allen snatched the fastest lap of the race from French and in doing so, changed the outcome of the championship.  Murphy was champion by one-point (345 vs 344), that change in fastest lap meaning French was runner-up by two-hundredths of a second.

    The two had dominated the year with some notable exceptions.  Whilst they took eleven wins, they were not the only winners this year.  James McCall stunned everyone by being the master slipstream tactician at Thurxton, winning both races in his only two visits to the podium of the year; seventh was his next best finish.  Daniel Halstead was the first driver to displace Murphy and French from the top step with his long-awaited win at Brands Hatch in the second weekend.  But perhaps the most impressive winner was the combined force of the weather and barriers at Castle Combe, which did its very best to deplete the field in all in the Caterham championships, Roadsports no exception.  In treacherous conditions on the Saturday of the fifth weekend, French led a spread-out field with Matt Sheppard and Halstead behind until Sheppard speared off the track at Club and into the barriers, followed immediately by Halstead, colliding heavily with Sheppard’s stricken car.

    More bad luck was to befall Halstead’s freshly rebuilt car just a few racing laps later at Thruxton, resulting in yet another DNF and as such, ending his challenge for the remaining championship podium position leaving the way clear for Caterham CEO to go into the last round unchallenged for the position.  Macdonald, duly finished the year third and at 54-years-old, became the oldest championship podium finisher in Caterham Motorsport this year. Halstead still picked up fourth for his troubles.

    The road-legal Roadsport race car is a simple development of the 125bhp Ford Sigma powered 2015 Academy car; its performance significantly enhanced by the addition of a rear-anti roll bar and Avon ZZS road legal track tyres.