SUPERSTARS AT DONINGTON PARK


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The Superstas Series will have a wide range of marques in action at Donington Park. Photo: Actualphoto

The SUPERSTARS SERIES arrives at Donington Park this weekend for an action packed meeting, run by the BRSCC. The fascinating and powerful 500-horsepower V8 Touring Cars of SUPERSTARS return to Donington after their successful appearance at the circuit last year, which saw former F1 star Johnny Herbert reacquaint himself with the podium, taking second in the first race.

The SUPERSTARS SERIES offers a unique variety of car brands represented on-track, with more than 30 high profile drivers, all eager to do battle with each other. The series was created by Maurizio Flammini and has enjoyed a successful run since its launch, which is partly due to the simple but clever regulations, developed by the Oral Engineering staff led by Mauro Forghieri.

The regulations are aimed at establishing the best performance balance amongst competitors. This creates outstanding Race Day action and an equally exciting sporting challenge. Consequently, the series has grown stronger and stronger over the years both in terms of driver and car counts. In 2012, nine prestigious car brands will race in the SUPERSTARS SERIES: Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Jaguar, Lexus, Maserati, Mercedes and Porsche.

The return of Italian icon Gianni Morbidelli, who won four SUPERSTARS championships (including three Italian titles and an International crown) and Thomas Biagi, who cruised to a sensational double SUPERSTARS title in 2010, after having won two World FIA GT titles, has encouraged more top drivers to join the ranks, including Vitantonio Liuzzi. The former F1 racer is eager to battle his way to victory.

After his podium success last season, Johnny Herbertis back again and will race with the Swiss Team, behind the wheel of a Maserati Quattroporte. The Ferlito Motors camp will rely again on Monza's Race 1 winner Max Pigoli and on their British green-coloured Jaguar XFR racecars. The Como-based driver will be partnered by Indonesian racer Ananda Mikola, who made his debut at Imola.

Audi will be lining-up fully staffed too with the Novara-based Audi Sport Italia squad. Gianni Morbidelli is already in combat mode after his tough battle at Imola with teammate Johan Kristoffersson. The young Swedish racer is eager to defend his championship lead after having cruised to a spectacular double win at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit. Among his toughest rivals is the aforementioned former champion Thomas Biagi, who returns behind the wheel of a BMW M3 for Team BMW Dinamic. He is currently standing in second, just two points off the lead.

The SUPERSTARS SERIES will consist of two 25-minute races, one on Sunday morning and the other in the afternoon.

Supporting the SUPERSTARS SERIES is a plethora of BRSCC championships including the Caterham Motorsport circus, which rolls into Donington this weekend with four out of its six championships taking part.

First out are the Tracksports; the middle rung of Caterham’s ladder. Championships simply don’t get any closer than this. A single point separates the top three with Leicester based former kart star Terry Langley having the slightest advantage over David Robinson and Jon Mortimer. Mike Hart won the opening two rounds of the year, but has dropped down the table due to missing Oulton Park. Expect his black #11 car to be at the sharp end of the field.

The Roadsport championship is the follow-on series from Caterham’s hugely successful Academy with all bar one driver on the grid having competed in last year’s championship. Heading the field is the distinctive black and bronze car of 2011 Academy champion, Elliott Norris. Meanwhile Alex Macindoe has found his feet in the Roadsport specification and has proven he can beat the man from Suffolk. Confusingly, the two (unrelated) Smiths, Brad and Rob, also have the pace of champions and provide the commentator with a nightmare by being a reliable part of the top four.

Visually almost identical to the Tracksport, the Supersport cars are the ultimate evolution of the Academy car with the engine uprated from 125bhp to 140bhp and a limited slip differential. Essex student Aaron Head looks like the man to beat this year, but behind him Lee Wiggins and Jeremy Webb still have their sights set on victory.

Making up the quartet of championships are the fearsome Superlight R300s, which represent the current pinnacle of Caterham motorsport. Despite three wins, 2011 championship runner-up Paul Wilson has only managed to pull a single point clear of teammate Mark Shaw, the Scotsman benefiting from the extra point available to Caterham drivers for setting the fastest lap of the race. Behind them, Ian Payne, Peter Ratcliff, Magd Mohaffel and James Sharrock are frantically trying to establish a pecking order.

Both the BRSCC’s Fiesta championships are on duty at Donington for a double header apiece. David Elsom, Nik Barton & Jason Cooper are the respective class leaders in the Dunlop Ford Fiesta Championship. In the Motorsport News Ford Fiesta Junior Championship, Charles Ladell leads the way after four rounds, but second placed Freddie Lee and third placed Jack Mitchell will be out to reel in the Brightlingsea teenager.

Completing the line-up of BRSCC championships are the Teekay Couplings backed Production GTis, 22 of which will roll out onto the Donington Park start/finish line. In just their first year of full championship status, they have only had two rounds so far, with Simon Hill winning both. John Mawdsley, who was second in each, will be determined not to let Hill get too far ahead in the points table.

Finally, completing the Donington Park line-up are the Fuchs Titan MR2 Racing Series and the Nippon Challenge, which will field an impressive 60 plus cars between them.

You can find the support race entry lists, the timetable, paddock plan and Final Instructions for the SUPERSTARS meeting here: http://www.brscc.co.uk/DONINGTON-PARK—INTERNATIONAL-SUPERSTARS-13-05-16