EERC Preview, Brands Hatch – June 17-18
Big Grids

It’s a weekend of double-headers for the three EERC endurance race series on the glorious Brands Hatch GP circuit, and despite there being other major endurance events in Europe (or maybe because of it), there is a bumper entry for all of the races, supported by a quartet of Dutch Supercar Challenge rounds.

The early running in Britcar races this season has been made by two orange machines – the Porsche 935 Replica of Richard Chamberlain / John Allen, and the V8 Ford Falcon of Adam Sharpe and George Haynes, though the thirst of the Porsche, plus a spate of punctures, has ensured that the Porsche GT3 RS of Peter Cook and Franck Pelle can be around the front of the field in the later stages. The Falcon will be absent this weekend, since Adam is racing at Le Mans, but variety is added by the very welcome Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin DBR9, taking time out from the FIA GT3 and British GT campaigns, in the hands of novice Paul Drayson and historic racer Martin Stretton, and the Emotional Engineering V8 Vauxhall Monaro of Steve Hyde and Matt Griffin. Stefano Sebastiani and Anthony Mott are now getting to grips with the Simpson Motorsport Ferrari F40, and Nigel Mustill’s Opel V8 Star is coming along nicely too, ex-oval racer Steve Hall being particularly impressive at Snetterton last month.

The GT3 class is a Porsche / Ferrari battle; Michael and Sean McInerney’s Porsche GT3 is joined by pair of similar machines from the Eurotech stable, for Adrian Slater / Mark Sumpter, and the as yet unaccompanied Pete Chambers. The RPM Porsche will be in the hands of Alex Mortimer and Chris Panayiotu, with yet another example being driven by Motors TV commentator Simon Hill (making a welcome return to driving) and the rapid Mark Cole, whilst Maranello honours are upheld by the Ferrari 360s of Bo McCormick / Calum Lockie – already overall race winners this year, and the Damax cars of Craig and Elliott Cole, and David Back / David Foster. The Torquespeed BMW M3 of Dave Benett and Marcus Fothergill, now with V8 power, will be in the mix too.

With David Leslie away commentating at Le Mans, Harry Handkammer’s Spa-winning BMW M3 will be absent, so Henry Firman and Pete Morris, winners of the extreme-weather Oulton Park race, head-up the GTC class in the 911virgin.com Porsche 911, though the Topcats team, with their pair of Marcos Mantis, will be looking to improve on their fine performance at Spa earlier in the month. We should also be seeing the debut of the Topcats TVR Sagaris this weekend, with maybe a surprise in the driver line-up. With further Marcos examples from Jemco and ISL, and the BMW M3 of Tony Rodriguez / Jeff Wyatt, this will be a hotly contested class.

The full grids of the ProductionS1 series have provided some dramatic races so far this season. Watch out for the blue Geoff Steel Motorsport BMW M3 of Michael Symons and local young hotshoe Andre D’Cruze, who gave Snetterton winners Paul White and Calum Lockie, in a similar car, a run for their money at the Norfolk track last month. It will be a welcome return for the VW Golf of erstwhile Britcar competitors Steve Wood and Stuart Scott, last seen as a controversial entrant in the British GT championship a few years back. Mark Smith and David Cuff transfer from Britcar in their BMW STW.

Class 2 could well provide the overall winner, though, with four cars capable of taking their class squabble to the front of the field, so keep an eye on the Barwell Honda Integra of Mark Lemmer and Andy Demetriou, so successful first time out at Spa, the Kevin Clarke / Ian Donaldson BMW 320i, John George and Phil Bennett’s Honda Civic, and the BMW E30 of Nigel Stephens and Fergus Campbell. Paul Horton and Mark Cunningham add variety with their Seat Leon Cupra, and have put in some solid showings this year.

Class 3 has been the preserve so far of the Mickel Racing MG ZR duo, the “boys” car of Gary Smith and Stuart Plotnek often upsetting the order at the front, with solid performances from the “girls” squad of Kelly-Anne Mercer and Sarah Bennett-Baggs.

The Britsports races have been a shop-window for the Juno marque, and seven examples, in Classes 1and 2, will have the likes of Dave Mountain, Robert Oldershaw, Sam Alpass, Mike Roberts and Rob Croydon amongst the drivers. The unique Pedrazza PRC-BMW of Steve and Will Hodges has been fast, but dogged with clutch problems, and Simon Heaps’ Pilbeam has been impressive, as has the Bicknell of Mark Pashley and Chris Ward. The CN class will feature a raft of Radicals, chief amongst which will be last season’s series winners Tony and Simon Freeman, in the Pit Bull Racing Prosport.
Steve Wood

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