The Fiesta Championship kicks off another season this weekend with a capacity 34-car grid! – Photo: James Roberts

Brands Hatch is always seen as one of the best loved circuits in British motorsport. With that being said, it’s only fitting that a number of our championship kick off their season in fine fashion for their first 2-day meeting of the year. A mammoth 23-race programme is in store with action guaranteed from start to finish!

Providing the biggest entries across the paddock, the pair of Mazda MX-5 Championships are set to see over 90 cars in total do battle across 6 races. In the Mk1 Championship, reigning champ Tom Roche has vacated his grid slot, allowing space for a new name on the winner’s trophy. With many of last year’s frontrunners all returning along with a plethora of new and old faces set to give them headaches, each of their encounters will be nothing short of fascinating.

That said, they could be upstaged by a stacked entry in the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup. The popularity of this championship has positively boomed over the winter as no fewer than 11 former circuit racing champions (even including rallycross!) on the entry list for this year. One name that is present is last year’s #1, James Blake-Baldwin, although with drivers carrying experience in Lotus, BMWs, Porsches, Radicals and Clio Cup as well as other Mazda series across the UK, the level of driving talent has reached levels rarely seen in a club championship before. Expect real fireworks all weekend from this lot!

Another championship full to capacity is the newly rebranded Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship. With the Mazda Road To Indy connection continuing for another year, it means that a host of young talents will be looking to emulate Niall Murray’s phenomenal 2016 campaign. There’s also a restructure of the classes with a Pro Class for the fastest and more career minded drivers, while a Clubman class now exists for those who would consider themselves more as racing enthusiasts. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Formula Ford is definitely still in rude health!

Speaking of Ford, the much loved Fiesta Championship is back with a stellar prize for the overall champion of a test in a Motorbase Ford Focus touring car! Classes C & D dominate the entry once more with returning names such as Simon Horrobin, Sam Priest (Class C champion) and Ryan Faulconbridge set to mix it with more returning faces and a host of new names and even some new Fiesta Junior graduates. Class D also continues to grow with more drivers expected as the year goes on.

Across the way in the paddock sits the Fiesta Junior Championship, one of the much loved junior circuit racing championships in the country. While a selection of drivers from last season have successfully used FJC as a springboard for their careers this season, those choosing to remain will have a real fight on their hands against the latest crop of new competitors. A series that caters to 14-17 year old racers, it’s a fine place for those who wish to hone their crafts on UK circuits from an early age. They never fail to entertain!

Back with single seaters, another high-octane series that will take your breath away is the Formula Jedi Championship. With low weight, slick tyres, a sophisticated aero package and a high-revving motorcycle engine, these cars are some of the fastest in British motorsport and define the term “pocket rocket”. Last year’s champ Rob Sayell is back to conduct his title defence, although many of last year’s top names are back too including Paul Butcher and Bryony King. This is one of the very few single seater series left that still caters to both up and coming youngster and experienced veterans at the same time.

Another car with fine racing pedigree is the Volkswagen Golf GTi and there’s both Mk2 and Mk5 examples on display in the Teekay Couplings Production GTis. Racing together on the same grid for the first time since both cars gained their respective championship/series. The Mk2s will see Chris Webb back out to make it two titles on the bounce, but his rivals will certainly have other ideas in both the 16V and 8V classes. As for the Mk5 GTis, there’s some new names cropping up on the side of the more contemporary machines as their entry continues to grow year on year.

Finally, there’s a historic flavour to proceedings on Sunday as our friends at HRDC made their first appearance of the year with us with more of the same fantastic racing they always provide. Fresh from their involvement with the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, there’s races for both TC63 and Touring Greats, and the awesome Academy & A Series Challenge. It always provides a fabulous mixture of cars, from Austins and Alfa Romeos, to Minis, Jaguars and Rileys all poised to take to the grid. Prepare to be cast back some 50+ years with these guys!

With so much track action crammed into two days on the Indy Circuit, you won’t have time to even blink as you’ll be in for an absolute treat. There’s forms of racing to please all tastes and all ages, so find a good spot trackside sit back and enjoy a fast and frantic weekend of club motorsport on one of the UK’s best circuits!

It's looking absolutely glorious this weekend in terms of weather too. The forecast suggests blue skies, bright sunshine and a high of 18 degrees on Sunday – perfect! The full forecast can be found via the Met Office here – BRANDS HATCH WEATHER.

Plus, all the key information you need for this weekend can be located in the following post via our Facebook page – BRANDS HATCH SEASON OPENER.

Scott Woodwiss


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