EERC Preview – Silverstone, 25 March
It was damned cold when the EERC finished its season
at Brands Hatch last November, and it will be damned cold when the
club resumes racing activities at Silverstone on Saturday –
so much for the “closed season” !
And there will be no gradual ramp-up of competitors
this year, it’s straight in with full grids for each of the
club’s three series, with some interesting new cars and drivers.
has dominated the Porsche Open championship for the last couple
of years, and now brings the stunning 935 to Britcar,
partnered by fellow Porsche protagonist John Allen.
from the German marque in Class 1 include the international pairing
of Peter Cook / Franck Pelle, Ferrari regular Rod Carman, and Sunniva-backed
Paul Phillips. Steve Hirst has replaced his stolen DTM Opel Astra
with a similar, ex-Manuel Reuter 2001 example, sharing as usual
with V8 engine specialist Ric Wood.
Talking of V8s,
Nigel Musthill will be sharing his Opel V8Star, bound for the separate
V8 Supercar series, with former Britcar series champ Julian Rouse.
Class 2 sees four Ferrari 360s (Craig and Elliott
Cole, Nick and Oliver Morley, David Back / David Foster, and Bo
McCormick / Calum Lockie), against five Porsches. Team Parker will
be running Bill Cameron’s 996 this season, and Bill is joined
once more by ragged genius Barry Horne. Michael and Sean McInerney
step up from the Production series in their 996, and Adrian Slater
resumes his career after several years off, sharing the Eurotech
GT3 with Mark Sumpter. Porsche-sourcer Henry Firman once again turns
out with burly midlands construction magnate Pete Morris in the
911virgin.com 911. Add to this two BMW GTRs, in the hands of Peter
Seldon / Eugene O’Brien, and the similar car of historic expert
Peter Hardman and his young accomplice Nick Leventis, and you probably
have the closest-fought of the three classes.
Or maybe not
– for Class 3 contains some old Britcar campaigners, who will
be using their guile and experience not just to go for the class
honours, but the overall podium. The GTS Motorsport BMW M3 of Harry
Handkammer and David Leslie always runs strongly, as do the Marcos
Mantis pair of Topcats Racing. Mick Mercer and Hyperion boss Richard
Fores join forces again, and the ever-improving Jon Harrison teams
up for Silverstone with the ubiquitous Jeff Wyatt, in the first
of several diverse Britcar drives of his season. East Anglian businessmen
Kevin Hancock and Leigh Smart are back in their Marcos, and myriad
BMWs complete the field. Look out too, for the ex-Andy Rouse DTM
Mercedes, now in the hands of Martin Johnston.
series has received a push over the winter, and series co-ordinator
John Veness has assembled a stunning range of cars. Tony and Simon
Freeman, last year’s series winners, will defend their title
in the Pit Bull Racing Radical Prosport, and will be up against
the works-backed effort from Chiron (Alex Buncombe / Peter Hobday),
and a quintet of Junos, including two from RSR Motorsport (Rob Croydon
/ Adrian Marlin, and Sam Alpass) - below.
of finish in the Britsports field is reaching new levels, and the
stunning Radical SR8 of larger-than-life Austin Reynolds and works
driver Nick Padmore is joined in the eye-candy stakes by the Pedrazza-BMW
of father and son duo Steve and Will Hodges, their car being clothed
in a vinyl wrap.
Jade, Gunn, Bicknell, Norma, and the motorcycle-engined Speads joining
the fray, and the longer race format now featuring refuelling stops,
it could be anybody’s race. With more cars yet to come, the
future for small prototype endurance racing looks bright.
There's even a Formula X car in Britsports..
often gave us the most competitive races of the weekend last season,
and the top two classes will see Honda against BMW as the main protagonists,
but Class 3 is a real melting-pot of talent and machinery. Don Norchi’s
2005 season lasted just a few minutes, his Volvo S60 wrecked early
in the March test day, but he’s back this weekend, sharing
with British Empire Trophy winner Piers Johnson. BTCC first lady
Fiona Leggate returns to her roots in the Boston Bowl MG ZR, and
it’s girls versus boys at Mickel Racing, where Kelly-Anne
Smith (nee Mercer) goes head-to –head with husband Gary, in
a pair of MG ZRs, Sarah Bennett-Baggs and Stuart Plotnek assisting
to upset the marital bliss. Boulevard Racing, for many years front
runners in the Clio Cup, will try endurance racing as a precursor
to the Silverstone 24 hours, with regulars Martin Johnston and Paul
races, with no clear-cut winners, and a lot of new faces. Action
from early-morning qualifying, right up to dusk at 6pm. Get along
there tomorrow if you can, but wrap up warm.
dsc will have an EERC-dedicated area, as for other series. We're
still working on it... And it's the EERC test day at Silverstone
today, Friday, so for a few hours, we are a little short on 2006
images. Ed. (four
now added from the test day)