Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Number 5 - Brands Hatch

After the hectic Bank Holiday weekend when 3 tracks were visited I had a weekend off before heading down to Brands Hatch for the return of International Sports Car Racing to the circuit - the Blancpain Sprint Series races on the full GP layout.The last International Sports Car races had been there in 1996 when the Global GT Championship race was won by Hans Stuck and Thierry Boutsen in a Porsche 911 GT1 followed by 3 McLaren F1s. Photos from that race below:

The winners - Stuck and Boutsen

Second Place - Wallace and Grouillard

Third place - Raphanel and Owen-Jones

 Fourth place - Nielsen and Bscher

You will maybe recognise that three of those photographs were taken from the inside of Surtees with not a fence in sight but of course that is not possible these days but there are still a few places where you can get fence-free photos at Brands and I got a few of this year's entries from there. Once again McLaren's were involved, though perhaps not as prominently as in 1996 and this year the top three were from Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz and BMW. There were two one hour races and the results were the same in each one:

The winners -  Proczyk and Bleekemolen

Second place - Gotz and Buhk

Third place - Jimenez and Bueno

I cannot remember too much about the race in 1996 and so whether or not it was thriller escapes me but I must admit to being underwhelmed by the races this year - there were very few place changes and the high speed train did start to get a bit boring after a while. Although the Brands GP layout is a great one to drive it does not have too many overtaking opportunities and so stalemate sets in quite quickly.

The support races were for Formula 4 - a typical boring one make single seater formula, Radicals and the GT Cup - great variety in this field even if the results were a bit predictable. Some of the more unusual cars in the GT Cup field are illustrated below:

An Aquila:

A Noble

and this one is called a SIN (yes really)

and the new Radical coupe

I have recently treated myslef to my first digital camera - yes I know I am a bit behind the times - and am still getting used to the best settings etc. but was pleased with this shot of a Porsche sliding off at Sheene Curve - in particular the high definition of the gravel!!!

I first went to Brands in 1987 - on the 1st March which I can remember as being a bit chilly. Top of the bill that meeting was FF2000 and it must have been a bit cold as I only managed to take a few photos, the best of which is below - of Pat Mannion's Stiletto from the Special GT race. Other races were for MGs, Triumphs, Formula Ford, pre-65 Saloons and Formula Vee.

The following my family and I moved to Chelmsford and Brands became our 'home' track and my two boys grew up with many Sunday trips across the river to see the great variety of motor racing that was staged there - Trucks, karts, Rallycross and a multitude of motor racing classes including one of my favourites - the Interserie races of the mid 1990s which showcased a wide variety of wacky conversions from single seaters to 'sports cars' - judge for yourself with apologies for the poor quality of some of them (the pictures that is not the cars!!):

Brands Hatch is still a great circuit to visit and spectate at - it also has an on-site bookshop which is usually bad news for my wallet and since MSV took over it is really looking very smart and tidy - and I will talk more on this in my next blog when I visit Snetterton, another MSV circuit.

Those of you who are interested in Sports Car Racing and its history might like to visit the Racing Sports Car website -  here you will find masses of information about Sports Car Races over the past 50 plus years - it is a contributory site and maybe if you have photos or old programmes you could send them in and add to what is a fascinating database from around the world.

Next stop on my tour was Snetterton for the Autosport 3 hour race and a full weekend of HSCC races - watch this space.

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