BARC concludes 2023 season with thrilling Brands Hatch title-decider

The British Automobile Racing Club closed out its 2023 season at Brands Hatch last weekend (November 4/5) with an extravaganza of title-deciding entertainment as a number of champions were crowned in front of a capacity trackside crowd.

Concluding what has been a year to remember for the Club’s championships, series, centres and venues; two days of blockbuster racing – in contrasting weather conditions – provided the backdrop to a fitting finale around the Indy layout of the Kent venue. 

Headlining the action was the British Truck Racing Championship, which saw Ryan Smith continue to re-write the history books as he claimed an unprecedented eighth consecutive Division 1 title.

Going into the weekend holding a commanding lead at the top of the standings, Smith mastered both the wet and dry conditions in his Daimler Freightliner to clinch a hat-trick of race wins and with it, the coveted crown for an eighth time.

Unfortunately, incidents on-track meant that the super-sized series only really contested three of its five scheduled bouts. The first race was declared without a result following two red flag stoppages while the finale lasted just a couple of corners before an accident caused barrier damage on the run up to Druids.

Huge credit must be given to all of the volunteer marshals, BARC officials and circuit staff for their tireless and swift efforts over the course of the weekend.

While Smith comfortably cruised to championship glory, there was unbelievably nothing to separate Paul Rivett and Adam Bint in the battle for overall Division 2 honours – with the pair ending the season tied on points. 

Across both days, the pendulum between the title protagonists swung back-and-forth, with each of them scoring wins. Come the final race, both drivers were locked on the same amount of points and due to the race not taking place, the champion was crowned on a count back of wins.

Having been somewhat of a winning juggernaut, especially in recent rounds, NAPA Racing UK’s Rivett was declared the new Division 2 champion ahead of Bint – who had pieced together an incredible campaign from start-to-finish. 

Things were somewhat more straight forward in the ultra-competitive Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE Trophy as former rallycross champion Tom Ovenden reigned supreme to wrap up the title.

Entering the weekend as one of six drivers that held a mathematical chance of lifting the one-make series crown, the EXCELR8 Motorsport driver shadowed his title rivals in the opening encounter before then securing the title with a fifth place finish in race two. 

As Ovenden rightly soaked up the spoils of championship glory, the final three race wins of the season fell the way of Alex Keens, Jack Byrne and Nathan Edwards; whilst Maximus Hall punched in an impressive showing by clinching hat-trick of second place finishes. 

Daire Flock turned his dreams of being crowned champion of the Junior Saloon Car Championship into a reality as he came out on top in the final two races of a thrilling 2023 campaign.

The Westbourne Motorsport driver entered the weekend with a healthy advantage in the standings however with double points on offer, he couldn’t afford to make any mistakes – especially as rookie ace Cameron Pratt-Thompson was waiting in the wings. 

Victory in race one put the sophomore racer on the cusp of glory before he wrapped things up with second place in race two, just behind eventual winner Oskar Dix. Pratt-Thompson would settle for the runners-up spot overall, although he did manage to clinch the Rookie Cup.

Third and sixth place finishes proved to be enough for Reece Jones to successfully retain his Pickup Truck Racing Championship title as he became a two-time champion in the popular one-make series. 

Arriving at Brands Hatch in the pound seat, Jones produced a flurry of measured performances to ensure he did enough to hold off Dale Gent and Paul Tompkins – who were his main rivals heading into the weekend. 

Gent would sign off the season with victory in the final race, although he could do nothing to stop former British Touring Car Championship race winner Matt Simpson from triumphing in the weekend’s earlier two contests.

Rounding out the list of newly crowned champions at Brands Hatch was Will Gibson, who – after coming oh-so close last year – was able to secure the Legends Cars National Championship for 2023.

As expected, the 5/8 scale pocket rockets delivered frenetic racing and while he didn’t win any of the heats, Gibson wracked up the points finishes to guarantee himself an unassailable lead in the standings. Jack Parker and Chris Needham would share the spoils in terms of race wins. 

To view the full classification of results from all sessions at Brands Hatch, CLICK HERE.

Legends Cars to return to BTCC support bill for 30th Anniversary season

The Legends Cars Elite Cup will again form part of the support package to the British Touring Car Championship in 2024 after organisers confirmed a top-draw calendar for what will be a momentous 30th Anniversary season.

Having starred alongside the UK’s premier motorsport series at three events this year, the 5/8 scale chargers will appear alongside the touring cars at three more race meetings next year for the sophomore season of the Elite Cup.

Kicking off its landmark season at the BTCC season-opener at Donington Park on April 27/28, the category will move on to Brands Hatch on May 11/12 before concluding north of the border at Knockhill on August 10/11.

While a Champion will again be crowned at the culmination of the Scottish event, in a change to the past year’s action the Elite Cup won’t be a standalone series – points scored throughout the Elite Cup will also go towards determining the overall 2024 Legends Cars Champion.

In addition to the Elite Cup, four other race meetings will complete the full Legends Cars Championship – Brands Hatch on June 8/9, Donington Park on June 29/30, Snetterton on September 7/8 and Oulton Park on September 28.

Phil Cooper, Legends Cars Championship Owner, said: “After such an incredible time with the BTCC this year with the Elite Cup, we are absolutely delighted to be able to confirm the Legends Cars have again been invited to be part of the TOCA package for three events in 2024 – and especially with it being our 30th anniversary season. 

“The opportunity to be alongside the BTCC, with all the exposure that brings with huge crowds and live coverage on ITV4, was one we wanted to grab with both hands. 

“After such a successful first year for the Elite Cup we are elated to again have that opportunity for next season. It’s incredibly exciting to be starting our 30th year of racing with two back-to-back BTCC events, we simply cannot wait.”

“We are pleased to be welcoming the Legends Cars Elite Cup back to the BTCC bill in 2024,” added Alan Gow, BTCC Chief Executive. “The short, sharp and action-packed racing that the Legends Cars provide is in keeping with the BTCC itself, so it was little surprise that our loyal fanbase loved the addition of the Legends last season. 

“Those in attendance at Donington, Brands and Knockhill will undoubtedly enjoy the closely fought racing again next year, as will the many more watching live on ITV Sport.”

Connor Mills crowned inaugural Legends Cars Elite Cup champion in dramatic fashion

Connor Mills wrote himself into the history books at Knockhill this past weekend (August 12/13) as he was crowned the inaugural Champion of the Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM. 

On what proved to be a breathtaking finale north of the border, Mills overturned an 80-point deficit in the final race of the series to clinch the coveted crown ahead of Robert Barrable and Jack Parker. 

Mills had begun the 5/8 scale series – which was supporting the British Touring Car Championship across three events this year – having barrel rolled into the Paddock Hill Bend gravel trap at Brands Hatch back in May but he bounced back in supreme style.

Notable performances at Croft brought him back into contention arriving at Knockhill, where just about everything happened amidst atrocious weather conditions at times. 

The Team HARD supported driver blasted his way to victory in Saturday’s final by a mere 0.005 seconds; which set him up for a Sunday that will undoubtedly live long in the memory. 

Picking up pivotal points in the opening contest, Mills went on to withstand a barrage of attacks in heat two to triumph and crucially keep him within striking distance of then category leader Barrable. 

With both drivers starting the near the back of the 31-car field, the race to be champion was on. Slicing their way up the order, Barrable unfortunately found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as he was caught up in a multi-car accident at the hairpin.

Mills meanwhile managed to make his way through the melee untroubled, moving into the top ten in the process, and from there he climbed up to seventh to take the title by just 20 points.

“I didn’t know where I’d finished [in the final race],” said Mills. “I tried to take two cars at the last corner, I’ve never gone so hard on the brakes in my life! The car is bits and bones, I’ve never ragged a car like that in my life. 

“There is a lot of hard work that goes into this, it’s a real team effort. At the start of the year we barrel rolled into Paddock Hill Bend [at Brands Hatch] and now we’ve won the title! 

“Big thanks to everyone, Team HARD and especially my Mum and Dad. It’s good to get another title as a Dad and lad operation!”

Following the conclusion of the Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM, next on the schedule for the drivers and teams will be the resumption of the Legends Cars Championship with allgrowth Ltd – which takes place at Snetterton on October 7/8.

TOCA support championships make an entertaining splash at Knockhill

Blockbuster entertainment ran throughout the TOCA support package this past weekend (August 12/13) as four championships put on an unmissable on-track show at Knockhill.

Making the annual trip north of the border along with the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, a capacity crowd were treated to an abundance of thrills and spills in remarkable and ever-changing weather conditions.

Connor Mills wrote his name into the history books at Knockhill last weekend as he became the first-ever champion of the Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM. 

On what – as always – was an entertaining showing from the 5/8 scale series during its last appearance of the season on the BTCC support bill, Mills held his nerve to clinch the coveted crown ahead of Robert Barrable and Jack Parker.

Arriving at the Scottish venue holding a slender advantage in the standings, the former Formula Ford driver blasted his way to victory in the Round 5 Final and second heat of Round 6 to secure an unassailable lead in the fan-favourite category. 

Barrable had bolstered his own title chances with victory in the opening encounter but it wasn’t ultimately to be enough as Mills got the job done. Home hero Ryan McLeish chalked up an impressive brace of wins whilst Marcus Pett also triumphed in the remaining races.

Will Macintyre increased his lead in the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA after claiming his second win of the year. Macintyre had originally been demoted to second in race one following a track limits penalty however the decision was ultimately reversed.

The single-seater series – which has served as a launchpad for a number of drivers including current Formula 1 stars Lando Norris and Oscar Pastry – also saw Deagen Fairclough and Dion Gowda walk away enjoying a share of the remaining spoils that were on offer.

Dan Zelos extended his lead in the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE JCW as he charged to an impressive brace of wins. On the weekend that saw him become experienced driver on the grid in terms of race starts, the EXCELR8 Motorsport was at times wheel-perfect on his march to glory.

Hybrid Tune’s Will Orton denied Joe Tanner a famous home win in the opening encounter before Zelos came to the fore in races two and three, producing a pair of commanding performances to strengthen his chances of clinching a second title. 

Rounding out the weekend’s breathtaking kerb-hopping were two races from the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain. JTR’s Gus Burton served up an imperious lights-to-flag victory in the opener before James Kellett chalked up his third win of the season in race two. 

To view the full classification of results from all TOCA support sessions at Knockhill, CLICK HERE.

The British Touring Car Championship and TOCA support categories continue their campaigns in less than two weeks’ time, returning to Donington Park to tackle the Grand Prix layout on August 26/27.

Legends Cars Elite Cup ready to crown inaugural champion at Knockhill

History will be made north of the border this weekend (August 12/13) as the Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM gets set to crown its inaugural champion at Knockhill.

Debuting this year on the support bill of the British Touring Car Championship, the six-round series has proven to be a smash-hit and it concludes this weekend at what promises to be a captivating six-race finale.

Connor Mills heads to the undulating Fife venue in the pound seat after moving to the standings summit at Croft, where he claimed a maiden victory of the campaign in commanding style.

Ireland’s Robert Barrable has paired consistency and pace together to position himself second in the points, and with two wins to his name already he’ll be one to watch as the fight for title honours gets set to go down to the wire.

Jack Parker and Will Gibson have been in the mix since the opening rounds however misfortune last time out at Croft has seen them to drop to third and fourth respectively. Boasting a wealth of experience, both drivers are not to be discounted just yet.

Completing the top six in the standings is last year’s Legends Cars Rookie champion Ben Higgins and Marcus Pett. Just 40 points separate Gibson, Higgins and Pett and, with 200 points available for a victory, it’s clear just how tight the points battle is.

The top ten in the title race also features Andy Bird, Chris Needham, Oli Schlup and Nathan Anthony. Over in the battle for Rookie honours, Tyler Read holders a slender 30-point advantage over Andrew Rogerson.

Phil Cooper, Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM owner, said: “What a weekend we’re in for at Knockhill. It’s a rare visit to Scotland for us, so we’re looking forward to being there and especially as part of the BTCC event. 

“We’ve won a lot of new fans, and generated a lot of interest from new drivers as well, through the first two Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM events. I’m sure this weekend’s action at Knockhill will prove no different!

“Obviously the title battle took a turn at Croft, with both Jack Parker and Will Gibson encountering some misfortune and Connor Mills and Robert Barrable in a position to take advantage. 

“Plus, there are still 1,200 points to be won over the six Knockhill races so a lot can still change. It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens before we crown our first Elite Cup Champion on Sunday.”

To view the full event timetable for the Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM event at Knockhill, CLICK HERE.

Blockbuster entertainment runs throughout TOCA support bill at Croft

Croft Circuit provided the backdrop to a thrilling two days of action this past weekend (July 29/30) as the TOCA support package blasted back into life.

Making the annual trip to North Yorkshire following the traditional mid-season summer break, a quartet of categories served up an unmissable show alongside the British Touring Car Championship for a capacity trackside crowd.

Hot on heels of confirming that they will remain on the TOCA bill until at least the end of 2026, the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA underlined its status as being the first step on the road to Formula 1 by providing three frenetic races.

After setting the pace early on in the season, Louis Sharp made a welcome return to the top step of the podium by claiming a commanding lights-to-flag victory in the weekend’s opener before Sonny Smith reigned supreme in an action-packed reverse grid contest. 

Sharp then doubled his account for the weekend with a clinical display in race three as he cruised to victory ahead of Will Macintyre and Deagen Fairclough.

Having dazzled crowds with scintillating overtakes and close-quarter racing at Brands Hatch back in May, the Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM made a triumphant return to the TOCA support bill and as expected, they didn’t disappoint. 

Round three on Saturday saw the trio of Marcus Pett, Jack Parker and Will Gibson claim a win apiece before Connor Mills and Robert triumphed across round four’s double-header on Sunday.

Blockbuster entertainment was around nearly every corner when it came to the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE Trophy, as they too returned to the BTCC billing, having not featured since Thruxton. 

Tom Ovenden strengthened his championship challenge with an assertive performance in the weekend’s opening bout however he could do nothing to stop Jack Byrne from triumphing in a pulsating finale. 

Concluding the weekend’s action around the British Automobile Racing Club-operated venue were two contests from the Porsche Sprint Challenge Great Britain. 

Team Parker Racing’s Joseph Warhurst edged out Matthew Armstrong and Max Coates in the opening encounter before  Armstrong and Toby Trice reigned supreme in Sunday’s second and third bouts.

To view the full classifications of results from all competing championships over the course of the weekend at Croft, CLICK HERE.