TCR UK GOES DOWN TO THE WIRE AT DONINGTON PARK
After six race weekend, 12 races and plenty of action, drama, highs and lows along the way, the final TCR UK race meeting of the season is finally upon us. After bursting into life at the beginning of April at Silverstone, the British chapter of the ever expanding TCR story has laid down the foundations for its second season with a thrilling title battle coming down to the wire this weekend. Plenty of fantastic racing will also come from the many support championships on the timetable, but the main focus will be on just two men.
Those two are Dan Lloyd and Ollie Taylor, separated by 31 points going into the last two races of what has been a thrilling inaugural season for TCR UK. Lloyd set the tone early on by winning the first six races on the bounce to mark himself out as championship favourite. However, Brands Hatch marked a turning point for Taylor as his then-new Pyro Motorsport Honda Civic Type R allowed him to take the fight to the WestCoast Racing VW Golf at the front. In recent rounds, Lloyd hasn’t won a race since Castle Combe thanks to penalties, the balance of performance changes and a retirement at Croft, while Taylor has managed to grab two at Castle Combe and Croft. All this means it’s between the pair of them to decide the fate of the title. Expect them to mix it up with all the usual suspects, including the Bäckman siblings Andreas and Jessica, Lewis Kent, Finlay Crocker, Stewart Lines and the return of Carl Swift after his Oulton Park accident. It should be a fascinating end to the first year of a brave new venture in British motorsport that’s only set to get better.
Another championship fight that should really thrill the spectators will be the duel for the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup crown between defending champion Luke Herbert and Jack Harding. Incredibly the pair head to Donington Park tied on points with three races left to decide the fate of the 2018 title. Both have also won five races each, meaning it will have to go on countbacks if they end the weekend still tied together in the standings. Herbert will go for his second consecutive championship, while Jack will be hoping that four seasons’ worth of hard work will finally come good. That said, they’ll also have outside bet Aidan Hills to deal with, along with multiple race winner James Blake-Baldwin, Steve Roberts, Jonathan Greensmith and a cameo appearance from 2017 race winner Rob Boston. This final trio of races to end another hard-fought season should be nothing less than epic!
One championship that has already been settled is the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship, as Irishman Niall Murray made it two titles in three seasons after sealing the deal at Croft. Niall has elected to skip this round in preparation for what looks set to be one last hurrah in Formula Fords at the Festival at Brands Hatch next weekend, so that leaves the fight for race victory wide open. Michael Eastwell would dearly love to end the season with his first National win having already won at Northern level, while Luke Cooper, Joey Foster and Matt Round-Garrido will all be hungry to achieve the same result amongst the regulars. Plus, also look out for Jake Craig and Colin Mullan, two drivers from America who are competing as preparation for their Festival assault as the winners of the Team USA Scholarship.
Elsewhere in the paddock, the fate of another crown has also been decided with the Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup being retained by now two-time champion Steven Dailly. He scored enough points in the previous rounds at Thruxton to put it out of reach, meaning he heads to Donington this weekend aiming to enjoy himself and race for fun. There should be some great battles up and down the field, with Thruxton race winner Tom Griffiths, Ian Jones, Matthew Parkes and Ben Huntley set to be amongst the front-runners. Every race always ends up being an absolute thriller and Saturday’s two encounters should be no different.
There’s more tin-top support action across both days with the Cox Motor Parts Civic Cup also looking to find out who will walk away with top honours for 2018. Looking at the points standings, realistically it’s between four drivers – Area Motorsport team boss Rob Baker leads the way, 22 points ahead of Mark Grice and Daniel Reason only a further point behind in 3rd place. Jason Ballantyne is the outside bet and will need the top 3 to hit strife in both races to steal it from under their noses. Whatever happens, the Civic Cup are set to end their first season on the BRSCC roster with a nail-biting four-way shootout for the championship and it will be nothing short of intense.
The last championship finale of the weekend comes in the form of the Speed Group OSS Championship, the perfect series for all those who love sports prototypes and open top race cars. Overall and Class C points leader Josh Smith is bidding for his third title, but to secure it he’ll have to overcome missing Saturday’s race due to best man commitments at a wedding (that’s dedication!), plus starting the first of two Sunday’s races from the back of the grid. While this happens, Patrick Sherrington will be hoping to take Class A whilst also putting the pressure on for overall honours. Class B should also be entertaining as Martin Heath and Norman Lackford duke it out for top spot. These will be amongst the fastest cars you’ll see all weekend, so enjoy the sights and sounds they’ll provide!
Rounding off the timetable will be three fantastic races from our friends at HRDC, taking us back to how racing used to be back in the 1950s and early 1960s. The regular Allstars/ A-Series Challenge sprint race and the longer HRDC Touring Greats pitstop race will both see a fantastic diverse mix of Minis, Austins, Lotus Ford Cortinas, Ford Mustangs, Volvos and Jaguars, plus some unique inclusions to the entry lists such as a Studebaker Silver Hawk, a Tatty Turner and an Ogle SX1000! Plus, a packed entry is in store for the inaugural Classic Alfa Challenge, pitting a fabulous variety of historic Alfa Romeo racing saloons against each other. All in all, the three races should be spectacular.