At long last, the first race weekend of the 2021 season kicks off for the British Racing & Sports Car Club on the Donington Park National circuit, where no less than 13 championships and series begin their campaigns for the year. All of them feature a superb quality of entries, which ensures that the racing is set to be spectacular across both days.

Caterham Motorsport headlines the weekend with four of their five factory-supported championships in action, starting with the Roadsport Championship with drivers fresh from graduating out of last year’s Caterham Academy. Both of the 2020 champions, Tom Cockerill from the Green Group and Taylor O’Flanagan from the White Group, return to face off against each other in a battle for superiority, but there’s sure to be some stiff competition from the likes of Domenique Mannsperger, Gwyn Jones, Hugo Bush and Andy Lund amongst many others.

The Caterham Seven 270R Championship is the middle step on the factory Motorsport ladder with many drivers making the next move up from Roadsport. This looks like it’s going to be a continuation of a rivalry that began two years ago in the Academy, as two-time champion Tom Wyllys will go against sparring partner Blair McConachie for the third time in as many years, but don’t count out Dimitris Melas, Wes Payne, Will Rossetti, Stuart Bell or Carl Jones either.

There’s a combined grid for this opening weekend for the Caterham Seven 310R and Seven UK Championship, the two fastest specifications of Caterham you’ll see competing here. In the 310R paddock, it’s shaping up to be quite a tussle between Lars Hoffmann (2019 Roadsport and 2020 270R champion) and some of his closest rivals from last season, with Ben Lopez-Appleton, Harry Cook, Andrew Murgatroyd and Andy Lees all expected to keep him honest.

On the same grid will be the incredible new 2021-spec Caterham Seven UK race cars, with the 420Rs now sporting uprated suspension, Avon slick and wet tyres and an increased rev limit. Those who stand to potentially inherit his title include main rivals Henry Heaton, Stephen Nuttall and Gordon Sawyer, returnees William Smith and Chris Hutchinson and 310R graduates Greg Monks (2020 champion), James Murphy and Caterham’s very own racing CEO Graham Macdonald.

Outside of the Caterham ranks, the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship is back in action this weekend with talented young racers like Lucas Romanek, Alex Walker, Max Esterson, Megan Gilkes and Colin Queen all set to go up against experienced names such as Formula Ford Festival winners Joey Foster and Rory Smith, Luke Cooper and Chris Middlehurst among others. All of them should help create three fascinating and exciting races.

The FunCup Endurance Championship brings the longest race of the weekend an epic 4 hour encounter will see them racing flat out from start to finish. Defending champions Team Olympian (Riley Phillips, Chris Dovell and Kristian Rose) will be looking to make it two in a row this year, but will face stiff opposition from former champs UVio/ Hofman’s Lotus, DespatchBay Express, Team Viking and Enduro Motorsport amid a 25-car entry.

The new Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship kicks off here too with a near capacity entry for the first race of its first full season. With over half the grid featuring novice drivers and the rest of the grid housing experienced club racing names such as Nic Grindrod and Ross Makar, plus the appearance of William Burgess in the Mission Motorsport car, it’s sure to be an fantastic start to their year.

We also welcome two brilliant new additions to the paddock this year, the first one being the Modified Ford Series. This excellent contest for all things Blue Oval is bringing a stacked entry to Donington with a grid full of Escorts, Fiestas, Sierras, Pumas, Capris and even an RS200! With four classes competing on track, this should make for an entertaining spectacle on Sunday as they make their BRSCC debut this weekend.

The other new addition is the prestigious Aston Martin Owners Club, whose Racing division provides a total of five series competing across two 40 minute races. For historic and classic racing fans, there’s sure to be satisfaction with the Jack Fairman Cup and Innes Ireland Cup featuring Jaguar saloons, Lotus Elans, Alfa Romeos, MGs and an Aston Martin or two of course. On the other end of the scale, the GT Challenge, GT4 Challenge and Intermarque race will naturally see more Astons up against contemporary Ferrari, Porsche, BMW and Lotus models in their own exciting contest.

Scott Woodwiss


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