BRANDS HATCH SET TO BRING THE NOISE
Caterhams will define the term 'pack racing' this weekend in their season openers – Photo: SnappyRacers
Brands Hatch is always a circuit that manages to produce fantastic racing at any given opportunity, be it the GP layout or the Indy circuit. This weekend sees several more of our championships get underway with the majority in the form of our friends at Caterham Motorsport, who always ensure a close and exciting race, with support from championships in all shapes, sizes and generations.
We should talk about some of Caterham’s newest racing drivers first as their latest batch of Caterham Academy graduates make the natural progression into the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship. Last year’s Green Group champion Rui Ferreira will want to capitalise on his title winning run, although his opposite from the White Group, champion Andy Perry, is also due to compete this season but unable to make the opening round. Other drivers who ran strongly last season including Russ Olivant, Daniel Quintero, Rob Watts and more as their battles from 2015 are set continue.
Moving into the Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport Championship, the majority of last season’s main contenders have all moved up a step, leaving the opportunity for new stars to be made. Alastair Calvert appears to be the early favourite, although you can bet that former Roadsport race winner Steve McCulley will want to get in and amongst the frontrunners once more now he’s tasted victory. Daniel Bremnre should also be one to watch, as he makes the bold leap from Academy straight into Tracksport! Last season, Tracksport provided one of our most sensational championship spectacles of the year with any one of a dozen drivers capable of at least scoring a podium, so here’s hoping there’s more of the same on the way.
Speaking of last year, those Tracksport hotshots from 2015 now move into the ITC Compliance Caterham Supersport Championship. Tim Dickens will want to prove that his title win last season was definitely no fluke, although his closest rivals (and friends) will certainly have something to say about that – in particular the likes of Henry Heaton, Chris Hutchinson, Dan Gore, Jack Brown and more. This is shaping up to be the 2015 Tracksport battle all over again with an outstanding title favourite way too close to call!
Aside from Caterhams, endurance racing fans may get a kick of a brilliant championship that epitomises the category perfectly at a fraction of the price of the major series – the FunCup. A 4 hour race is scheduled for this weekend on the Saturday for the Beetle-esque silhouette racers and with 20+ cars expected, you can be assured that pitstops, driver changes, refuelling and team strategy will all come into play here. Team Racelogic are the outfit to beat having been champions in the last few seasons on the bounce, so the rest of the pack will need to work hard in order to put one over on them. Teams to expect to challenge them at the front include Eco Racing, Track Torque and JPR, while PW Racing also features BTCC and Le Mans star Anthony Reid in his second FunCup campaign. Other drivers to watch out for are former British GT driver Zoe Wenham and Julian Thomas, fresh from his run in the recent Hankook 24 Hours at Silverstone.
For the first time this season we welcome a brand new addition to our championship roster as we introduce the BMW Race Days Compact Cup. Having competed with us one a couple of occasions last season, the championship took the decision to make the transition to the Club and looking at their registrations, they’re certainly keen to get out there! There’s a capacity grid with over 40 cars expected to turn out across 3 races, proving that the E46 3 Series Compact is one of the best budget racers around. As there’s so many of them, the grid will be split into 3 groups that will compete against each other across 3 races. With a field this size, door-to-door action is nigh on guaranteed.
Alongside the more contemporary machinery, there’s action of a more historic nature to entertain as well. Our good friends at HRDC turn out for their first race meeting of the year with us with two races, both of which feature rather different machinery in each. The HRDC Academy pairs up with the new A-Series Challenge after the latter had a successful trial run at with us Donington at the end of last season, which sees a mix of Austin A30 & A35 models in and amongst other A Series machinery including the Mini. In the Touring Greats, machines that once graced the grids of British saloon car racing in the 50s share the tarmac with Lotus Cortinas, Alfa Romeos and more in the TC63 category. These races always put on a great show and allow fans and enthusiasts a chance to relive the good old days.
Finally, we once again invite the 500 Owners Association to race with us once again, who bring a very unique style of racing. The cars on display showcase some of the earlier forms of single seater racing and in some cases, the early roots of what we now call Formula 3. Many of the manufacturers that feature here are some you may not have heard of before, including Cooper, Monaco, Comet, Mackson and Trenberth, but after this weekend you certainly will!
So with sportscars, tin-tops, historic racing AND, if that wasn’t enough, an endurance race thrown in for good measure, one thing’s for certain – this meeting definitely won’t be short on either action or indeed variety!
The weather looks bright, but quite cold so the combination of sunglasses and a coat would be recommended. Temperatures aren't set to exceed 10 degrees all weekend and with rain on Saturday night expected and the chill factor dropping as low as 3 degrees early on Sunday morning, it will still feel like winter hasn't completely disappeared! A full breakdown of the forecast can be seen here – BRANDS HATCH WEATHER.
Also, the final instructions, timetable and entry list for this weekend can be found here – BRANDS HATCH RACE WEEKEND.
Remember, if you're looking to attend then make sure you pick up a race programme while you're there to help you keep track of all the action – they're only £3 too!