2004 Britcar Preview
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.