Britcar Preview – Spa, June 3
Four Hours In The Evening

The Britcar 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.

A well-supported 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.

Notice anything strange about GT3 and GTC? Look mum, no Porsches!

The ProductionS1 runners in Class 1 could well be mixing it with the tail-end of the
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.
Steve Wood


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