In our first visit to the North West in 2024, the British Racing & Sports Car Club heads to a real driver’s favourite in Oulton Park in Cheshire for the initial one-day meeting of the season in mid-April.

The hope is for some bright spring weather to go with the equally brilliant racing set to be on show, with both sprint and endurance formulae once again on the bill. With the first endurance action of the year from Fun Cup headlining the bill, there also’s plenty of entertainment in store from BMWs, Fords and Formula Fords too.

As mentioned, the bulk of the day’s racing will be provided courtesy of the Fun Cup Endurance Championship, who kick off their 2024 campaign at one of their regular and favourite circuits amongst teams and drivers. Oulton Park typically both kicks off and end the season for Fun Cup, and it’s no exception this time.

Some hard work over the past 18 months or so has really paid off, as a real surge in interest int the championship has led to a great influx of new drivers, new teams and new line-ups in general. In particular, defending champions Team Olympian will aim to defend their title with Simon Rudd now joining Chris Dovell and Riley Phillips in place of Kristian Rose.

Plenty of the regular teams that have been front runners over the past few seasons are expected to turn out once more, with the likes of UVio/ Hofmann’s Lotus, Team Viking/ Ursus Capital, PLR Racing, Axiametrics, Signature RV, Greenheath and others all set to be on the grid to challenge for supremacy again. As the name suggests, it’s sure to be four hours of pure intense endurance action!

Another championship making its first outing of 2024 here at Oulton Park is the Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup, which looks set to once again create a brand new champion. Last year saw Gareth Claydon follow in the wheel tracks of both Mikey Doble and Steven Dailly before him, as he clinched the title at the finale at Snetterton last year. He is back to defend his crown and the #1 on his window, but he knows the competition will once again be as fierce as ever.

Initial favourites to pick out to challenge him from this year’s entry list include Matt Flowers, Matt Kendall and both Mike and Joe Doble. All four of them are no strangers to being front runners and have had their share of good results over the past couple of seasons. It’s likely that the champion challenge could come from one of this quartet, but there are others such as Gordon Macmillan, Ross Stoner and former Ginetta and Fiesta Junior racer Connor Grady who could also steal big points for themselves from the outset.

The Super Classic Pre ‘99 Formula Ford Championship is back at Oulton Park for their second event of 2024, and at a circuit in which this championship has a lot of history from its days in previous seasons known as the Northern Formula Ford Championship. Silverstone proved to be a resounding success for this year’s opener and we anticipate many of the Northern and North Western regulars to turn out on the grid.

Names such as Richard Freye, Tom Hawkins, Oliver Buckton and Paul Mason are back from Silverstone, Richard in particular hoping to get the defence of his Champion of Oulton crown off to the best possible start. That contest will see drivers racing to win the Ian “Diz” Smith Trophy for their efforts at the end of the season, so his rivals will have to try and catch him on the hop to get an early head start.

Also back again from Silverstone, it’s the second weekend of competition for the Modified Ford Series, which for this event is sponsored and supported by MotorV8 Media. The entry is set to be another strong one with over thirty cars across six classes and featuring the usual excellent variety of Ford models on display.

Cars back again from Silverstone that are sure to be front runners from the outset include Dave Cockell’s Escort Cosworth, James Allen’s Focus, Malcolm Harding’s Mk2 Escort Zakspeed, Piers Grange’s Mk2 Escort and the Sierra RS500s of Mike Manning and David Hinde. Alongside them, the rest of the entry list is a familiar sight with plenty more Fiestas, Focuses, Escorts, Sierras, Capris and Puma all due to turn out.

Written by Scott Woodwiss


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