Britcar Preview – Spa, June 3
Four Hours In The Evening
and ProductionS1 contenders join forces this coming
Saturday, for a four hour race on the historic Spa-Francorchamps
circuit. Starting at 6 pm, it should end just as the sun is setting
over the Ardennes (cloud permitting).
The GT3RS class
has been a revelation this season, allowing more powerful GT cars
to compete without thrashing the rest of the field, thanks to the
compulsory two-minute pit stops, as opposed to the 105 seconds for
GT3, and 90 seconds for GTC. In reality, the main protagonists in
the top class have been even more self-levelling, their raw power
being tempered by their thirst, meaning additional fuel stops over
and above the mandatory ones. Richard Chamberlain’s Porsche
935 replica will need half a dozen stops on Saturday evening, so
he will have to be off like a robber’s dog at the green light,
to build a cushion, notably over the Porsche 911 GT2 of Peter Cook
and Franck Pelle, and the Ford Falcon of Adam Sharpe / George Haynes.
All three, in fact, will be needing to place consistency and conservation
over outright pace, as the longer race at Snetterton proved.
The GT3 class
sees the Damax Ferrari 360s, rising stars Craig and Elliott Cole
in red, and David Back and David Foster in black, pitted against
the lone BMW M3 GTR of the vastly experienced Peter Hardman and
his young sidekick Nick Leventis.
GTC class could well provide the overall winner – the GTS
Motorsport BMW M3 of Harry Handkammer and David Leslie came very
close to an overall win at Snetterton, being pipped in the closing
minutes by the Cook / Pelle Porsche, proving that the variable pit
stop timings do make for equalisation, and a close finish. The other
GTS M3, in the hands of Joe Macari and fast-learning Ben Aucott,
and the GTR of Tony Rodriguez and the now apparently settled Jeff
Wyatt, complete the BMW contingent, outside of which it is, fittingly
for the region, a Marcos-fest. Marque owner Cor Euser will be turning
out in his rainbow-hued LM500, joining Britcar stalwarts Topcats,
with their pair of silver machines. The Topcats driving squad has
been fluid this season, but expect Messrs Mercer, Bullock, Harrison
and Paillard to be involved. Alun Edwards, provider of the smart
Britcar range of clothing, completes the Marcos runners in his equally
smart ISL Mantis, and the class is rounded off by the very aggressive-looking
Lotus Exige of Rupert Laslett’s Rapid Chariots team, with
Alan Wilshire and Bob Stockley in the driving squad. The sinister,
predatory-black machine is starting to get results.
strange about GT3 and GTC? Look mum, no Porsches!
runners in Class 1 could well be mixing it with the tail-end of
Britcar field. The Gary Ayles ex-BTCC Vauxhall Astras were stunningly
quick at Snetterton with their Anglo-American (but Middle-East bred)
quartet of pilots, but failed to finish in the reckoning, and the
Geoff Steel BMW M3 of middle-aged businessman Michael Symons and
outstanding young professional Andre D’Cruze will be at the
front of the group, without doubt. The seemingly disparate pair
are both blindingly quick, trading off each-other’s increasingly
faster stints, and, given the budget, D’Cruze is a star in
the making. Colin Wilmott and Barry Benham are front-runners in
the MG Championship, but this weekend will be sampling the rear-drive
of a BMW M3.
Class 3 should
see the Mardi Gras Honda Civic of Andorra-domiciled John George
and Phil “Mad dog” Bennett vying for honours with the
BMW 320i of Kevin Clarke / Ian Donaldson, and the Metcalf BMW E30
of Fergus Campbell and David Cuff, and in Class 3, the endurance-spec
Mini Cooper of Paul Harvey of Karl-Heinz Kalbfell will be taking
the fight to the boy/girl Mickel Racing MG ZR pair of Gary Smith
/ Stuart Plotnek and Kelly-Anne Smith and Sarah Bennett-Baggs. Smith
the Husband has frequently punched well above his weight this season,
and will be looking again for an overall ProductionS1 podium.