One of the greatest perks of attending British motorsport events is the brilliant mix of cars and championships you get to see all at one place during one weekend of racing, so it would be totally unfair of us to bring you all the action from the Britcar event and fail to mention any of the other action that happened on the famous Donington Circuit.
Joining the majestic line-up of cars taking part in the Britcar endurance series was the Ma5da MX5 Cup and Ma5da MX5′s the latter being for the older model of the popular Japanese roadster and the cup event for the brand new developed mk3 racecar, The BOSS GP event and a totally new series running for the first time anywhere; The Smart 4two Cup. It was however, a championship that isn’t based in the UK that drew the most attention as the Britcar Festival played host to the international round of two classes of the Dutch Supercar Challenge. Their events take place throughout the year at legendary circuits such as Hockenheim, Zolder and Spa where in a brilliantly designed trade off, the Britcar teams will join them for its International round!
Split into two classes, the Dutch Supercar Challenge comprises of a group of cars that would appear on most people’s lottery win list, with Porsche 911s, Dodge Vipers, Mosler MT900Rs, Aston Martin Vantages, TVR Sagarises and Corvette CR6s to name but a small handful! With both groups having two races; the Supersport 2 and Sport classes began proceedings with a dominating qualifying seeing Peiter Van Soelen claim nearly a second advantage in his E46 BMW M3 GTR. Top qualifier in the Sport class; Richard Van Den Bos, managed to get his E36 BMW into 4th overall with a half second gap over their nearest class rivals in the Rudolph Racing Renault Clio.
In Race 1, an excellent start from 5th on the grid saw Jan Van Der Kooi’s Lotus Exige pounce up to the front and become involved in a great opening battle with the pole-sitter; Van Solen. The battle lasted well into the race, but after 13 laps an engine problem saw the Lotus out of the race. Another Lotus to run into problems was Hal Prewit’s Evora, which decided after 30 laps that it would be much better without a front windscreen! With 10mins left on the clock the second place BMW 132GTR of Koen Bogaerts & Mark Van Der Aa chased down the leading BMW of Van Soelen and with only 3 mins left on the clock, produced a brave move down the outside of the Crainer curves to take the race lead and kept that advantage through to the end! Richard Van Den Bos completed a solid drive to take the victory in the Sport Class.
The Second race also showed similar action, with Van Soelen’s charge only lasting 3 laps before retiring. It was the Bogaerts/Van De Aa combination who took a second race win of the weekend but themselves having to fight off a strong charge from the Monster Brothers in their Seat Leon Supercopa with the two cars being split at the line by just 0.21 seconds! Van Den Bos remained dominant in the sport class taking his second win, over a lap clear of closest rival Guillaume Schulz in a Lotus Exige.
The Brinkmann Motorsport Audi R8 was the early pace-setter with a pole position qualifying time of 1:16.565 ahead of Martin Short’s Mosler and Rick Abresch’s Corvette. Aside from the GT class, the Supersport1 class had FE Racing’s Porsche 997 at the top of the pile. Race 1 was full of drama; a dominating drive from Martin Short came to an end with just 4 minutes to go, with his Mosler pulling off at the end of the pit straight allowing the battle for the lead to be taken on by Diederik Sijthoff and Cor Euser. The battle went on right until the last lap where Euser pulled a last ditch move on the Viper in the last chicane but only the sheer grunt of the Dodge saw Sijthoff through for the race win with the Audi managing a 3rd place finish. Race 2 was a little more straight-forward with the Audi leading right from the start and holding on to victory with a 40 second margin over Short, who despite the gremlins that put him out of the first race returned and held on to 2nd. British driver; Ric Woodhouse had a much better race 2 after switching from the Audi A6 V8 he used in race 1 to the DTM Opel and managed to get 5th overall, an epic achievement considering he started from the back of the grid!
In the less exotic events, Sarah Franklin went down as the first ever winner of a Smart fortwo race, with Ex Ginetta Junior racer; David Moore taking the second race win. This series is highly entertaining with the quirky design of the cars lending to them tipping over fairly easily and short wheelbase making them very manoeuvrable. With a grid of 11 cars already, I can see this growing into a great stepping stone into top level competitive motorsport and one definitely to keep an eye on! Visit www.smarts4youracing.com for all the info!
The MX5s showed a huge grid that had to be cropped down into 5 separate groups with the weekend’s 5×20 minute races seeing winning drives from Sam Hill, Tom Roche, Paul Sheard and Adam Gore. As we have come to expect with the MX5s, all races had there fair share of thrills and spills and some epic battles both at the front and throughout the chasing pack. The same can be said for the MX5 Cup, showcasing the Mk3 racecar the smaller field produced 2 tight races with wins for Luke Herbert and Rob Boston.
All in all, one of the most varied mix of motorsports we have been fortunate enough to see so far, lots of action and entertainment over the 2 days and a couple of firsts, not only for us but for British Motorsport and may we be so bold in saying that we are so pleased the uncertainty and worries regarding the future of Donington Park circuit are now a distant memory, it’s an amazing facility and, as our “home” track, we’re keen to see it continue to develop long into the future!
Words – Ollie // Pictures – Rich