2004 Britcar Preview
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The Britcar series commences on Silverstone’s National Circuit on March 20th, with a two hour race, and the new season sees the return of some old favourites, some new faces, and a few musical chairs.

dailysportscar.comLast year’s series overall winners, Andy and Julian Rouse, return with their DTM Mercedes, as does the Topcats team, with Andrew Davies and Martin Parsons sharing the silver Marcos Mantis. Some more outings for Topcats boss Warren Gilbert, in the TVR Tuscan, look likely, since his late-season return last year showed that a six-year lay-off had not impaired his form.

Calum Lockie will be sensing deja-vu, since he will be sharing a Damax Ferrari 360 with David Back, as well as defending his class crown in the GTS BMW M3 that was so impressive last year. Further Maranello interest will provided by the brand new 360 of London-domiciled Scandinavian Bo McCormack, run for him by Hargreaves Motorsport.

dailysportscar.comPorsche will be well represented, with the much-publicised 996 of Foudroyant Racing, dovetailing their British GT campaign, with the Linus Ridge / Paul Dishman pairing being supplemented by Dave Pinkney as and when necessary. Ford engineer John Clonis will be returning, after a year out, in his totally rebuilt 911 RS, and will be joined by the similar machine of Paul Major-Owen.

Jon Harrison and Andy Ray abandoned their recalcitrant Vectra midway through last season, but return this year with the ex-Steve Hirst Audi A4 SuperTourer. This car won the 2003 Formula Saloons championship, and showed well in its few Britcar outings. Hirst himself has bought a newer A4 from Sweden, plus a VLN-spec TT, both of which could potentially feature in Britcar.

As usual, there will be no shortage of BMWs on the grid, and endurance specialists GTS Motorsport will be fielding their M3 for Harry Handkammer and former BTCC star David Leslie. This E36 was very much a renta-car last year, but with a stable driver partnership is a serious contender for class honours. Vying for the podium will be the Mardi Gras E46, Richard Meins looking to consolidate last season’s development. As the season progresses, the M3 GTR of Peter Seldon should appear, as should Andy Allen’s similar car, together with his diesel 3-series as well.

Honda will again feature strongly, with brothers Tom and Will Gannon debuting their new Integra Type R, and father and son pairing Michael and Sean McInerney will return in their similar machine. John George will forsake his older Integra for a Civic Type R, and Britcar stalwarts Daniels Motorsport are planning to introduce Civics to replace their trusty Fiestas. Ben Salmon, last season’s “Young Driver of the Year”, will team up with veteran Nick Starkey in the pink Accord Type R of Jedi Motorsport. This car is fresh from the German one-make series, and has great potential.

John Hammersley brought his MG ZR160 into the series last year after the Production Saloons championship was cancelled, and ended up winning the class. He returns this season co-driving with son Mark, to perhaps more formidable opposition, such as fellow MG racer Tony Scarlett, a frontrunner in 750MC Hot Hatch, and the Mayflower Trophy last year.

So far, 94 cars have racing numbers allocated, and the above is just a taster of what’s in store. Through the year, we should see a few more examples of Marcos and Ferrari, The Lloyd / Wainwright Jaguar, Super Mini, Darrian, Skyline, Giles Groombridge’s Mazda RX7, Volvo S60, a Golf diesel, myriad BMWs and Hondas, plus the usual array of Clios, VWs and Protons that are the mainstay of the smaller classes.

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And that’s just the cars. Star drivers set to make an appearance during the year include Michael Caine, Nigel Greensall, Nick James, and Rob Collard.

Until March 20, then………….
Steve Wood

 

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