TOCA unveils state-of-the-art Safety Truck

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Series Organisers, TOCA, have revealed its all-new ‘TOCA Safety Truck’ that will be used during the 2018 season.

Imported from the USA solely for TOCA events, the state-of-the-art Ford F250 is the only one of its type in Europe and is equipped with the very latest and best in rescue and cutting equipment.

Undergoing a host of tests in recent weeks, the vehicle made its operational debut at the BTCC Season Launch at Donington Park on March 27 and will be a permanent fixture of the paddock and pit lane across all ten race weekends this year.

The truck will be deployed to any incident where needed, not only in the BTCC but also across all support championships that feature on the TOCA package.

Manning the truck will be a dedicated and fully trained TOCA safety team and paramedic, with Safety Team Crew Chief Martin Hunt and TOCA Medical Director Dr Paul Trafford overseeing all operations.

In a ground-breaking deal with TOCA, Holmatro is supplying their latest state-of-the-art rescue set, including the Inclined Cutter, which is a unique design to Holmatro. The set will be continually updated as further new tool innovations and technologies are developed.

Holmatro is the world leader in producing advanced rescue equipment, including the hydraulic Cutters and other tools in widespread use across top-level motorsport including the INDYCAR Series in the United States.

Elsewhere, MacTools and its sister company DeWalt, global leaders in their own fields, are also providing a full range of battery-powered equipment and other essential tools.

BTCC Series Director, Alan Gow, said: “I’m incredibly proud of the new ‘TOCA Safety Team’ truck. It represents an investment of nearly £200,000 by TOCA and its partners, underlining our real and ongoing commitment to the very highest level of safety, rescue and recovery.in UK motorsport.

“This state-of-the-art rescue vehicle carries the very latest in cutting and rescue equipment and, most importantly, will be manned by the same dedicated crew at all events. Our team have worked with the BTCC for many years and I consider them to be the ‘best of the best’.

“This introduction provides the BTCC and its supporting series’ with the very latest equipment and expertise available anywhere in the world for when dealing with serious incidents.”

TOCA Medical Director, Dr Paul Trafford, added: “TOCA has always supported the safety initiatives we have made over the years and the ‘TOCA Safety Team’ rescue truck is going to make a huge difference to our ability to respond to any serious incidents in the British Touring Car Championship and its support series’.

“It really is state-of-the-art equipment from Holmatro, MacTools and DeWalt. This will be complimented by the latest medical monitoring equipment supplied by Remote Diagnostic Technologies (RDT), operated by a dedicated crew, making the vehicle very special indeed.”

BTCC launches for 60th anniversary season

Following months of anticipation and pre-season testing, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has officially launched for 2018.

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of one of the most much-loved and prolific touring car categories in the world, the forthcoming campaign is set to be another blockbuster affair.

Four manufacturer-backed teams are joined by a host of Independent-run squads, further cementing the strength in depth of the series.

Ashley Sutton enters the year as the man to beat, donning the mantel of defending champion after producing a stunning campaign in 2017 to lift the title in just his second season. Running the famed number one on the side of his Subaru Levorg, Sutton will seek to become a double champion, but will have a whole host of competitors to take on.

Former champions Jason Plato, Matt Neal, Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan will all be keen to add to their impressive CV’s. Elsehwere, the likes of Tom Ingram, Jack Goff, Sam Tordoff, Tom Chilton and Rob Austin lead the long list of former race winners (17 in total) that will all be looking to be amongst the championship fight.

In addition to the 30 races that will take place across ten weekend’s at some of the countries top circuits, a special 60-mile race will take place in the third encounter at Snetterton in late July.

Titled the ‘Diamond Double’ race, all cars will run on a base weight and double points will be on offer, further adding to the drama of the 2018 championship battle.

Alan Gow, BTCC Series Director, said: “Our capacity line-up for the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, with a remarkable record 17 race-winners, yet again underlines the championship’s strength and depth.

“Last year saw the incredible rise-and-rise of eventual champion Ash Sutton, and he is just one of an ever-growing number of emerging talents in the BTCC. The mix of young guns taking on the established stars has been one of the fascinating stories in recent years, and that looks set to continue in 2018.

“Once again, we expect to see battles throughout the field with the Manufacturers’, Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy providing as much entertainment as the fight for the overall Drivers’ title.

“Whilst firmly focussing on the future we are also immensely proud of the BTCC’s illustrious 60-year history, which we will be celebrating throughout 2018. We are delighted to have confirmed the ‘Diamond Double’ race at Snetterton as part of these diamond jubilee celebrations, and look forward to a number of other 60th anniversary activities during the year.

“This is a truly phenomenal period for the BTCC. The continued and unrivalled support from Dunlop, ITV, IHG and our host of loyal partners remains the envy of comparable motor sport series’ around the world.

“Add to this our incredible fanbase, the media interest that you see here today and of course the unparalleled excitement provided on-track… the BTCC remains the greatest show in British motorsport.”

The opening rounds of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship take place on April 7/8 at Brands Hatch

Seven championships kickstart campaigns in Silverstone thriller

Seven championships from the British Automobile Racing Club kicked off their 2018 seasons this past weekend (March 24/25) at Silverstone.

Tackling the National layout of the popular venue, high sped edge-of-the-seat thrills were on order in contrasting conditions of rain and sun.

Battling the wet weather on Saturday, the Hyundai Coupe Cup roared into life with a record 24-car entry list. Now entering what is it’s third full season as a standalone series, the one-make tin top category produced a memorable two encounters around Northamptonshire venue.

Like he did on countless occasions last year, Steve Kite proved to be the man to beat as he stormed to a brace of victories, both by more than three seconds. Kite fended off Alex Cursley and Wayne Rockett in the opener before then leading Rockett and Neil Hurren in race two.

The theme of dominant doubles continued in the Michelin Clio Cup Series as Ben Palmer kickstarted his title defence in fine style. With the number one adorning his car for this year, Palmer underlined why he is the benchmark by romping to victory by more than 19 seconds in race one ahead of Simon Freeman and John Hamilton.

Both Hamilton and Freeman locked out the podium in race two but both could only watch on again as Palmer took the chequered flag, this time by just two seconds. In the Road class, Nic Harrison also enjoyed a strong start to the defence of his crown by picking up a pair of wins.

In the Renault UK Clio Cup Junior Championship, Nick Reeve had a dream debut as he took a clean sweep, claiming a pair of pole positions and then converting them into wins.

A five-car entry produced plenty of thrills ’n’ spills with Gus Burton winning on the road in race one after making a robust move on Reeve on the penultimate lap. Following a review, the positions were swapped by officials, giving Reeve the win.

The Specialized Motorsport driver proved to be in a league of his own in race two as he led Lorcan Hanafin and Burton to vault himself to the top of the championship standings.

Ben Kasperczak was in similar form in the Junior Saloon Car Championship, another one-make series that caters for drivers 14 to 17-years-old. At the wheel of his brightly coloured Citroen Saxo, Kasperczak stormed to a brace of victories to establish himself at the helm of the points.

Jemma Moore, Steven Chandler, Tony Rodriguez and Lewis Saunders all also picked up silverware across the two races too.

In the Mighty Minis Championship, Scott Kendall kicked off the defence of his title in style with an impressive victory in race one, taking the chequered flag ahead of Neven Kirkpatrick by four tenths of a second – a sizeable gap in Mini terms.

Race two proved to be a much tighter affair with a host of cars all dicing for top spot. In the end, Jo Polley made it a debut to remember as she took the win ahead of Greg Jenkins, Kendall and Kirkpatrick – a mere tenth of a second covering the four of them.

A diverse range of tin top thrills were also provided by the Classic Touring Car Racing club, which boasted more than 80 cars competing in a range of classes.

The amalgamated Classic, Historic Thunder Saloons & Blue Oval Saloon Series races brought outright victories the way of Dale Gent and Dave Cockell. The Pre 66 Classic Saloon & Historic Touring Cars saw Jonathan Lewis emerge victorious in both races at the wheel of his Mini Cooper S.

Rounding out the action at Silverstone was two races from the Luna Logistics Classic Formula Ford 1600 Championship. Catering for fans of single seater machines from yesteryear, Mike Gardner and Benn Tilley were the drivers to beat as they shared the spoils, taking a win apiece.

For the full classification of results from all championships, click here.

BARC descends on Silverstone for bumper weekend of racing

The British Automobile Racing Club returns to Silverstone this weekend (March 24/25) for the first bumper two-day club meeting of 2018 with no less than seven championships competing.

Taking to the National layout of the Northamptonshire-based venue, the curtain is set to be lifted on a host of categories as the battle for the coveted titles begins.

More than 75 cars from the Classic Touring Car Racing Club are set to provide unmissable action over both days with their eight classes hitting the track.

With a diverse range of machines, ranging from Pre-66 all the way up to Pre-05, there is set to be something for everyone. Notable drivers to keep an eye on include Stephen Primett in his Ford Escort Mk1, Richard Askham in his Jaguar XJR and Dale Gent in his Subaru Impreza, to name just a few.

A record grid is expected for the Hyundai Coupe Cup, which is once again set to go from strength-to-strength. Boasting an entry list of 24 cars, the popular one-make series is set to put on quite the show with two races set to be run.

Alongside a host of new faces that are joining the fray, series stalwarts such as Alex Cursley and Steve Kite are back in their own bids to rule the roost once again.

The Michelin Clio Cup Series will begin over the course of the weekend too with defending champion Ben Palmer lining up and looking to make it back-to-back triumphs. Palmer broke all sorts of records in 2017 and enters this weekend as a favourite amongst many, although the likes of Ben Colburn, Tyler Lidsey and Finlay Robinson will have something to say about it.

There will be additional action from the French manufacturer too virtue of the Renault UK Clio Cup Junior Championship. Coming off the back of its inaugural season last year, the latest crop of youngsters are set to do battle for a standout prize – free entry into the senior Clio Cup.

On-track thrills ’n’ spills for drivers aged between 14 to 17 are also set to come from the Junior Saloon Car Championship. With champion Will Dyrdal moving on to new pastures, a new name is set to be etched into the history books of the Citroen Saxo category – and there are no shortage of contenders with likes of Jemma Moore, Ben Kaseperczak and Ethan Rogers.

A tin top masterclass is set to be given by the Mighty Mini Championship too as they also roar into life for what will be their third full campaign with the BARC. Last year saw a blockbuster season in which Alice Hughes and Scott Kendall won their respective classes, and with Kendall returning this year, the same levels of excitement can be expected.

Rounding out what is gearing up to be a blockbuster weekend is the Luna Logistics Classic Formula Ford 1600 Championship. Catering for fans of single seaters from yesteryear, the Classic Formula Ford series has continued to grow and a packed-out entry list are ready to duke it out at Silverstone.

Entries open for 2018 Race of Remembrance

Preparations for the 2018 Race of Remembrance event are already underway with forces charity Mission Motorsport confirming that entries are now open for teams and drivers.

Once again taking place at Anglesey on November 9/10/11, the momentous meeting will once again commemorate the sacrifices made by all service personnel and their families.

This year’s event will have further meaning too with it being the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day; marking the cessation of hostilities between the Allies of World War 1 and Germany.

A permanent fixture on the UK motorsport calendar, the 2018 edition of Race of Remembrance is set to be bigger and better than ever with a total of 50 teams set to battle it out in a 12-hour endurance race.

Alongside the racing, which will take place both during the and into the night, there will also be a Heroes Dinner and a special remembrance service, where the track will fall silent at 10:45 on the Sunday.

James Cameron, CEO of Mission Motorsport, said: “Race of Remembrance is always a special event and one that is eagerly anticipated by a growing number of people from across the charity, racing industry and further afield.

“This year will be especially poignant, falling as it does on the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, and we will be commemorating the sacrifices made by service men and women in a very special way.”

Goodwood roll back the years at memorable 76th Members Meeting

Goodwood wound back the clock this past weekend (March 17/18) to produce a mesmerising two days of historic racing at the 76th Members Meeting.

Bringing together some of the biggest names in motorsport and pairing them with a host of iconic machines, the Sussex venue battled the elements as a huge crowd flocked trackside.

One of the marque events of the weekend was the popular Gerry Marshall Trophy two-part race. Open to some of the most illustrious touring cars from yesteryear, the opening encounter saw the pairing of Kerry Michael and Mark Blundell take victory at the wheel of the mighty Ford Escort RS2000.

Pipping the Capri of Mike Whittaker and Mike Jordan by just over a second, the duo were perfection personified. The shorter 15-minute race, which took place on Sunday, was won by Pantelis Christoforou, also in a Ford Escort RS2000. Blasting from pole position, Christoforou was unchallenged as he battled a lengthy safety car period and then charge to the line.

Elsewhere, former BTCC champion Andrew Jordan piloted his Ford Lotus Cortina to a memorable victory in the Sears Trophy. Jordan led home fellow Cortina drivers Andrew Wolfe and Mark Sumpter to make it an all-Ford podium.

Martin Shetton was the winner of the Salvadori Cup in a Lister-Jaguar whilst Tim Llewellyn emerged as the victor in the Bolster Cup race.

The pairing of Minshaw and Keen proved too much for their rivals in the Moss Trophy as they stormed to top the rostrum in their Jaguar E-Type.

Tony Wood drove his Cooper-Bristol Mk1 to victory in the Hawthorn Trophy with the Derek Bell Cup going the way of John Milicevic.

Rounding out the List of race winners were Patrick Blakeney-Edwards, David Hart and James Cottingham who won the Caracciola Sportwagenrennen, Gurney Cup and Ronnie Hoare Trophy respectively.

In addition to the racing, a tribute was also paid to long-time Goodwood stalwart Henry Hope-Frost, who tragically passed away earlier this month.

BARC championships battle mixed conditions at Oulton Park

The British Automobile Racing Club officially kicked off the 2018 season on track this past Saturday (March 17) with four championships doing battle around Oulton Park.

Marking the start of a new campaign, competitors and spectators were met with all manner of weather conditions as sun and snow battered the Cheshire venue.

Edge-of-the-seat thrills were delivered in droves from the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres as a 33-car entry list duked it out across three encounters.

Will Gibson snatched the early advantage as he stormed to victory in the opening race of the day, pipping reigning champion John Mickel and the ever-impressive Jack Parker. Gibson was unable to repeat his performance in the second race however as Steve Whitelegg surged to victory, with Parker and Miles Rudman in tow.

Come the final at the end of the day, Connor Mills proved to be the man to beat as he led home Parker, who made it a trio of podium finishes, and race one winner Gibson to take top spot.

Like Legends, the CNC Heads Sports/Saloon Car Championship also boasted a bumper grid of more than 30 cars of all makes and models. Just one race instead of the timetabled two was run though and following a restart, Paul Rose emerged as the victor.

At the wheel of his Saker RAPX S1-400, Rose was in a league of his own as he took the chequered flag by more than 20 seconds. The battle for the remaining podium positions proved to be a lot closer though with just three tenths of a second separating David Harvey and Danny Bird.

The APL Health Caterham Graduates Championship also roared into life at Oulton Park with a host of new and old faces going wheel-to-wheel.

In the amalgamated Mega/Classic/Sigma/Sigman VCT races Declan Dolan continued his fine form from 2017 to take a brace of victories. The reigning Mega champion swept his way to a dominant double as Ben Winrow shadowed him in both races. Kevin Barrett and Roger Ford each picked up a third place each too.

Lee Collins was equally as dominant in the two Sigmax/Sigmax VCT races as he topped the rostrum in both. Collins led Oliver Gibson and Jamie Winrow in the opener before Winrow led the charge to try and beat him along with Ben Gillias in the second.

Rounding out action at the weekend was the Lancaster Insurance MG Owner’s Club Championship. In two frenetic races, some of the most iconic machines from the popular brand put on a show for those in attendance.

Piloting his MG ZR, David Mellor picked up victory in race one ahead of Martin Wells and Stuart Plotnek before Simon Kendrick, driving a MG F VVC, took the win in race two ahead of Plotnek and Stuart Philps.

For the full classification of results from all championships, click here.

Sebastian Loeb wins first-ever rallycross event held at Silverstone

Following months of build up and anticipation, Silverstone staged its maiden rallycross event this past weekend (March 17) with the Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship putting on a memorable 2018 curtain-raiser, Sebastian Loeb prevailIng as the winner.

Serving as the new home for the British round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, the Northamptonshire-based venue welcomed a bumper crowd in what proved to be arctic conditions as snow continuously fell throughout the day.

Boasting an entry list of some of the biggest names from British shores, the championship also welcomed a host of FIA World RX drivers, all of whom were keen to get an early taste of the new layout.

Team Peugeot-Hansen fielded a pair of machines for Loeb and Timmy Hansen whilst Andreas Bakkerud flew the flag for EKS. It was to be those three drivers that would prove to be the benchmark throughout the day in the Supercar category.

Bakkerud made his through the trio of heats unbeaten as he hustled his Audi S1 to three wins, placing him in a commanding position. Come the semi-finals however it was to be Hansen and Loeb that came to the fore, each winning their respective races to put them in a strong position for the final.

In what proved to be a frenetic encounter in treacherous conditions, nine-time World Rally champion Loeb produced a sensational drive to fend off his team-mate Hansen and Bakkerud, writing his name into the history books as the first outright winner at the venue.

Whilst the globetrotting world stars locked out the podium, the British contingent ensured that they didn’t all have things they’re own way. Five-time British champion Julian Godfrey, driving a Mitsubishi Mirage, made solid progress throughout the day to finish fourth in the final whilst Steve Hill was fifth.

Other notable performances included Roger Thomas in his Ford Focus whilst Ollie O’Donovan, Kevin Proctor and Mark Higgins all were in the mix too.

In the MSA Junior Rallycross Championship Marius Solberg-Hansen clinched victory ahead of Luke and James Constantine. Earlier in the day Morgan Wroot became the first official driver to win a race at Silverstone virtue of clinching top spot in his opening heat.

Jack Thorne fended off Paul Coney and Tristan Ovenden in the MSA Supernational and Super 1600 Championship final to top the rostrum whilst Keifer Hudson was the BMW Mini victor.

Simon Ovenden continued his imperious form in the Swift Sport Championship to take the win ahead of Rob Shield and Tom Llewellin. James Harrold and Chrissy Palmer rounded off the list of winners as they picked up trophies in the Retro Rallycross and RX150 respectively.

For the full list of results from all classes, click here.

The next round of the Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championships takes place on Monday 2 April at Lydden Hill.

Ginetta gears up for milestone year with launch of flagship championships

In what is set to be a milestone year for the manufacturer as it celebrates its 60th anniversary, Ginetta are set to hit the track for 2018 with its flagship championships.

Descending on Brands Hatch on Wednesday 14th March, the Yorkshire-based powerhouse officially launched the Ginetta Junior Championship and Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup for the forthcoming season.

Both part of the highly-regarded TOCA support package, the two categories are set for another blockbuster year with bumper grids confirmed for both.

Catering for drivers aged 14 to 17, the Ginetta Juniors have made a name for themselves down the years for producing plenty of edge-of-the-seat thrills in front of the ITV4 cameras and huge trackside crowds.

This year, another crop of old and new faces are set to duke it out for the coveted crown, all looking to follow in the footsteps of Tom Gamble – who walked away as champion in 2017.

Notable names to look out for as the season goes on include Adam Smalley, Matt Luff and Fin Green, all of which are back for another season and set to battle against a wealth of rookie youngsters.

Elsewhere in the GT4 Supercup, a fascinating blend of youth and experience is set to go wheel-to-wheel with all eyes fixed on replicating Callum Pointon’s achievements last year.

Carl Boardley is set to be one driver many will be keeping a keen eye on having challenged at the front of the field on countless occasions. Harry King graduates from Juniors whilst the likes of Michael Crees, Charlie Ladell and Jac Constable are all ones to watch.

Speaking at Brands Hatch, Sales Manager Ian Fletcher, said: “We are looking forward to the 2018 season, one that is a commemorative one for Ginetta as a whole.

“This year we are celebrating our 60th anniversary and the culmination of our LMP1 FIA WEC programme as well as all of our other championships.

“Once again both the Junior and Supercup championships look to be in great shape and I am sure it will be another memorable year for all involved.”

For more information on Ginetta, head to www.ginetta.com

Renault UK Clio Cup set for ‘memorable’ 2018

Following a lengthy winter break, the Renault UK Clio Cup is set for lift off following the annual Media Day at Silverstone on Thursday 15th March.

Serving as the launchpad for the 2018 season, teams and drivers from both the senior and junior categories descended on the Northamptonshire venue to kick off the forthcoming campaign.

Off the back of what proved to be an enthralling record-breaking year in the UK Clio Cup, the 2018 season is set to be just as competitive with a bumper grid confirmed.

With the likes of Max Coates, Daniel Rowbottom, Paul Rivett, Mike Epps and many more set to be in the mix for the overall title, the championship is set to hit further

Will Fewkes, Renault UK Motorsport Championship Manager, said: “Year after year the level of talent in the championship keeps rising and everyone puts on a show.

“We have always prided ourselves on our technical excellence and our heritage and I am sure that will shine through this year. Being part of the incredible TOCA package, which sees huge trackside crowds and great coverage on ITV4, is a huge benefit for everyone involved.

“For 2018 we have another exciting year ahead of us with a hugely competitive grid, a new control tyre by Michelin and a revised points structure which includes the reintroduction of the dropped score format – it is once again too close to call on who could walk away as champion.

Off the back of its inaugural season in 2017, the Junior championship is set to further flourish this year too with the opening round of the season set to take place at Silverstone on March 24/25.

Champion Jack Young returns with the coveted number one adorning his car in a bid to make it back-to-back titles; however a host of youngsters will be keen to wrestle the mantel of champion away from him.

Visiting a host of circuits throughout the year, the Junior championship’s second year is likely to be another blockbuster one.

Fewkes enthused: “When we introduced the current car in 2014 we always planned to put that into the junior market, giving them a fresh option of where to race as well as a clear stepping stone to progress their career.

“The racing last year was tremendous, the opening weekend at Snetterton was a real highlight and proved to be hugely satisfying as the work that had been put in came to fruition.

“This year we have a host of new faces set to compete and I am sure they will have a great experience and hone their craft further. We are giving away one of the biggest prizes in junior motorsport and that only adds to the brilliant spectacle I am sure it will be this year.”

To view the full entry lists for both championships, plus much more, head to the Renault UK website.

BARC kicks off new season at Oulton Park

Following months of preparation and anticipation, the 2018 motorsport season for the British Automobile Racing Club is set to get underway this weekend (March 17) at Oulton Park.

A traditional starting point in mid-March for the Club, the Cheshire-based venue will host four championships in what is set to be a blockbuster day of non-stop thrills ’n’ spills.

Boasting an impressive 33-car grid for the forthcoming season and keen to put on a show for those in attendance is the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres.

Kicking off what is set to be a frenetic 51-race season, spanning the length and breadth of the UK, the popular category will race three times around Oulton Park on Saturday, with all eyes on reigning champion John Mickel as he bids to defend his title.

Challenges to Mickel’s crown are set to come from all angles however with the likes of Ben Power, Jack Parker, Steve Whitelegg and Marcus Pett, amongst a host of others, set to take the fight to the multiple title winner.

Big grids are also expected in the CNC Heads Sports/Saloon Car Championship, the jewel in the crown of the BARC’s North West Centre.

A mammoth 38-car grid has been confirmed for the opening two races of the season with a diverse range of cars set to duke it out for outright honours. One notable absentee however from the entry list is 2017 champion Joe Spencer, however he is hoping to compete in selected events later in the year.

With Spencer out of the picture, many eyes will be on the Saker duo of Paul Rose and Steve Harris who head the entry list. Throw into the miss the likes of former champion Paul Dobson, Dave Taylor and Garry Wardle and you will get just a taster of how competitive this year is set to be.

Close-quarter action is set to be a theme in the APL Health Caterham Graduates Championship too as they also roar into action for the first time this year.

Introducing a revised class structure and benefitting from the blend of old and new faces competing, the championship is set to go from strength-to-strength as it seeks to build on what was a stellar 20th anniversary last year.

Rounding out the on-track action for this one-day event is the Lancaster Insurance MG Owner’s Club Championship. Mixing nostalgia classics with some of the most recent models from the iconic brand, another jam-packed grid are set to battle it out for the multiple class titles that are on offer.

British Rallycross ready for blockbuster season-opener at Silverstone

History is set to be made at Silverstone this weekend (March 17) as the 2018 Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship bursts into life.

Tackling the Northamptonshire venue’s brand new rallycross circuit for the first time, the adrenaline-filled championship is set to certainly leave its mark come the end of Saturday evening.

Predicting winners in rallycross is usually difficult at the best of times and this year’s season-opener is evermore difficult due a host of different factors being thrown into the mix.

A new track brings with it a host of challenges and many will be keen to get on the pace and gain an advantage early.

Whilst reigning champion Nathan Heathcote is competing this weekend (in the RX150 class) his title is very much up for grabs and there are no shortage of contenders to choose from.

Five-time champion Julian Godfrey leads the way and he will be keen to go one better than last year. One major change for Godfrey this weekend however is that he has swapped his Ford Fiesta for the Spencer Sport-run Mitsubishi Mirage RX.

Kevin Proctor and Ollie O’Donovan know what it takes to win at the highest level and will also be ones to watch as they bid to gain an the upper hand in what is set to be a championship battle full of twists and turns.

Steve Hill, Andy Grant, Mad Mark Watson and Oliver Bennett were regular fixtures on the grid last year and all are back competing at the opening round.

Three-time MSA British Rally champion Mark Higgins will pit himself against some of British RX’s established names too as he links up with Albatec Racing

If the best of British contingent wasn’t enough for the 2018 season-opener, a handful of FIA World Rallycross Championship drivers are also on the entry list as they seek to get to grips with the new circuit ahead of the May event that is being run.

Team Peugeot Total have entered two of their Peugeot 208 machines for nine-time World Rally champion Sebastian Loeb and Timmy Hansen. Andreas Bakkerud will also get his eye in at the wheel of his EKS Audi Sport.

Guerlain Chichent rounds off the list of World RX stars as he pilots a Renault Clio R.S RX, all of which is set to further add to the spectacle.

Throw into the mix the stacked supporting cast from the MSA Junior Championship, MSA Supernational Championship, Retro Rallycross Championship, RX150 Championship, BMW Mini Rallycross Championship, Super1600 Rallycross Championship and Swift Sport Rallycross Championship and you begin to understand how this weekend is one that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.