Brands Hatch

Season’s start at Brands Hatch, 7th March 1976

The 1970s were a time when my Dad and I shared an interest (nay, more a  passion for me!), in watching motor racing at Brands Hatch and Thruxton almost every week, in spite of it being my finals year. I needed a break on Sundays from all that revision,  cough, cough! It is hard to give a summary of so many terrific race meetings  which included Group 8 (the old F5000), Atlantics, F3, FFord 1600 & 2000, Saloons, Clubmans and more.

Motor racing really came out of hibernation in the spring and so it was that on March 7th we arrived at Brands Hatch for the season opening BBC Radio One Championship Race Meeting, phew what a mouthful.

The Headline race was for Production Saloons with a new 3-litre capacity limit, designed to keep out the all-dominant Chev. Camaros, although the price based classes were retained.

Immediately the rule change appeared to have worked as a huge variety of makes and models meant the racing was close with battles throughout big fields in both the expensive and cheaper classes.

The race for the expensive classes, which featured a real who’s who of British Saloon racing, went to Phil Dowsett in a Capri 3.0 GT from Derrick Brunt in the IMP Manitou BMW 3.0Si, Bob Saunders (Dolomite Sprint) and Rod Birley’s Capri. Win Percy was next in a Toyota Corolla 1600GT who fended off challenges from the Magnums driven by Jeff Allam, Nick Whiting and Gerry Marshall.

The result of the cheaper class race looked similar to 1975 and went as usual to the fleet of Mazda RX-2s and RX-3s except that Ray Tunney and Danny Alderton in Escort Mexico and Honda Civic (yes really) got among them in 4th and 6th respectively.

Among the Ford formulae it was interesting to see Tiff Needell graduate to the 2000 class having been a winner in the 1600s in ’75, and win this day’s non-championship race from Ian Taylor, one of the perennial top drivers and benchmarks in UK National racing in the ’70s and ’80s for newer drivers to try and beat.

An interesting driver in this race was British Olympic Show Jumper Anne Moore who had been brought into motor racing by the promoters to broaden its appeal to more generalist sports fans. I recall she did reasonably well, for a novice with little training in the lower classes, although she was 9th on the grid and finished in the same position in a field of nine, i.e last! At least she was out there giving it a go, as we say these days.

Yours in motorsport


Rare Porsche 906 being auctioned at Brands Hatch

Porsche 906 auction

Potential buyers of rare classic metal are now looking towards the Brands Hatch racing circuit in the UK for an upcoming Coys auction. The highlight of the day’s bidding is without doubt an ultra rare 1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6, a car that took part in the Targa Florio and won its class in the Le Man 24-hour race.

The auction is taking place on May 23 and the special Porsche is expected to reach prices of close to £400,000 when it goes under the hammer. The auction will be a part of the annual three-day-long Masters Historic Festival held at the Brands hatch circuit, and will see over 50 cars, 100 items of automobilia and 42 sporting guns all auctioned off.

Of the 50-car stable being auctioned off, other vehicles of note include a 1966 Lola T70 Spyder MkII, a 1957 AC Aceca, a 1988 Porsche Kremer 962, and a 1992 Jaguar XJ220. In its prime, the Jaguar XJ220 was the world’s fastest production car until in 1994 when the McLaren F1 came in to steal the title. A correctly maintained XJ220 Jag should still be able to pull around 350km/h – pretty good for a car thats pushing towards being 20 years old.

Art created by cars

Tim Knowles Jaguar art car - boot

Art appreciation is something we sometimes struggle with, but it makes it all-the-more palatable when it’s car-related. Tim Knowles, a UK artist, has rigged up this Jaguar with a system of sliding rails and elastic. It holds a pen to paper, and while a vehicle is being driven around, records the forces. Much like a ball on the back seat of a car, as you brake the pen moves forward, you turn left the pen moves right, etc. This has created some interesting sketches such as the ones in the gallery below of Brands Hatch and Monaco.

Now, we’d like to see him actually try to draw something realistic by using a huge open space and driving freely.