Newcomers Boosted Brands Grid

Brands Hatch GP, Sunday April the 9th, 2021
Jonathan Evans finished P1 in both SP1 and overall

A full field of twenty one Porsches shared the grid with a similar number of Bernie V8s on the magnificent and rarely-used Brands Hatch full Grand Prix circuit. There were plenty of familiar faces supporting the series again, but very encouraging that around 25% of the entries were new to CAP: James Fordham and Patrick Young in the #72 944; Colin Tester and Brett Carpenter in their Boxster, with novice Brett making his racing debut; Long time PDA 924 racer Hugh Peart making his first appearance in CAP and his Brands GP debut; Daniel Read in his 944 S2, who has come from the BMW 116 trophy; Paul Simpson who had made a brief appearance in his Boxster at the previous Donington round, but didn’t get out due to car issues returned with a healthy Boxster at Brands.

Rob Hardy was out in his black 944 rather than the Boxster originally registered, which had pre-meeting issues.

Even after a successful test at Goodwood, a last minute problem for Dan Gick’s 924 meant that it couldn’t make it to Brands, but Darren House stepped forward on Friday and generously offered his 924 to a very grateful Dan. The car hadn’t raced for at least 3 years, rebuilt by Fudge and was being finally prepared in the paddock on Saturday morning.

After feedback from drivers, it was decided that this meeting would run with no handicap system, and the Porsche racers would share the same 90 second pit stop structure as the V8s, which would allow Porsches more chance of finishing in higher overall race positions.

Qualifying

The first 2 rows of the grid were locked out by V8 TVRs and a Lotus Sunbeam, with Jonathan Evans in his Cayman carrying on where he left off at Donington as the quickest Porsche in 5th overall and first in SP1. Adam Southgate in the first of the SPDA Boxsters was just 0.3 sec behind Jonathan with James Coleman next up in his SP1 Cayman. Garry Goodwin was second SPDA runner in an excellent 12th overall, with Matt Kyle-Henney leading SP2 in his Boxster ahead of Paul Simpson and the Walker family Boxster in P3.

Brands Hatch GP, Sunday April the 9th, 2021SP4 was dominated by Dan Gick in his borrowed 924, a mighty 10 seconds ahead of Hugh Peart who was using the session to learn the track, and the unfortunate Andy Pritchard/Gary Campbell who only managed 3 laps before their car lost its exhaust – this was kindly returned by a track marshal and once reattached, Campbell was able to complete his qualification laps over the lunch break behind the safety car.

After qualifying, the organisers moved a few cars to more appropriate classes, most notably adding Rob Hardy’s 944 to SP4 as it had qualified in a similar time to class leader Dan Gick and should make for a competitive race for the class win.

Race

Forty one cars took the rolling start making for an amazing spectacle as they peeled off into Paddock Bend, all making it through successfully for an incident-packed 40-minute race.

Initially the race was led by a phalanx of TVRs accompanied by the Sunbeam Lotus with Jonathan Evans in his Cayman the leading Porsche in 5th overall and the squabbling duo of Adam Southgate and James Coleman a few seconds behind bracketing an Ascar Mustang. The pattern was maintained until Lap 10, when a trip into the Paddock gravel for Jack Egar’s 968 led to a Safety Car period. This coincided with the opening of the Pit Window, and practically every car headed for the pit lane to make their mandatory 90 second stop, and a train of cars soon formed behind the SC.

After the track was cleared to race again and all Pit Stops had been completed, the order had changed dramatically with Jonathan Evans leading from Adam Southgate followed by the bunched TVRs and James Coleman’s Cayman. This only lasted a couple of minutes though as three of the battling TVRs came together out on the GP loop (narrowly missing the closely following Coleman), causing a second Safety Car. At this stage we had the remarkable sight of 3 Porsches leading the overall race, a formation that was maintained to the chequered flag, mostly under SC rules, with the track cleared for racing at the end.

Jonathan Evans finished P1 in both SP1 and overall, Adam Southgate less than 2 seconds behind and SPDA winner, with the traffic-delayed James Coleman in P3 overall and second in SP1. Coleman landed a post-race 30-second penalty for an under-timed pitstop, but it wasn’t enough to have robbed him of second.

Brands Hatch GP, Sunday April the 9th, 2021Having been on the pace all afternoon and keeping out of trouble Andy Baker, ably assisted by Patrick Kenneally, posted his best-ever result by finishing second in SPDA and an excellent 9th overall. The duo were the deserved winners of the Charles Ivey Specialist Cars Driver of the Day award.

Matt Kyle Henney was comfortable winner of SP2 finishing among a gaggle of V8s in 12th overall a few seconds ahead of the closely matched Paul Simpson and Garry Goodwin Boxsters. Series debutant Dan Read won Class SP3, closely followed by Geoff Hanson, who enjoyed his return to the Series and some close racing.

SP4 was comfortably won by the revitalised Rob Hardy who was some 3 seconds a lap quicker than qualifying in the race despite heavy traffic, his victory somewhat eased by race-long runner up Dan Gick thinking he’d run out of fuel and pitting – for it to turn out to be an electrical fault – leaving Hugh Peart in SP4 P2 from the Pritchard and Campbell 924. Both Campbell and Peart later reported having seen two chequered flags; Garry thought to himself “Why are the marshals waving – why is there a yellow flag in my mirror?” On realising the error, Campbell piles on the beans in an effort to catch Peart, “Hugh went left, I’ll cut down the outside – I was in front going down Clearways. And another chequered flag!” But he’d lost second in class to Hugh who realised quicker that the first flag was in error.

Winner of the "Best Turned Out" entry at Brands Hatch GP, Sunday April the 9th, 2021The Fordham/Young pairing finished 5th in SP3, 8 seconds per lap quicker than qualifying, and with the satisfaction of winning the coveted Best Turned Out Car prize with their immaculate 944. Darren House won the “Ryan’s Best Mate” award for lending his own 924 to Dan Gick at the last minute.

Next races are at Snetterton, but not until 18th July by which time the COVID restrictions that have kept the crowds out should have been lifted. On top of our own prizes, also up for grabs there will be the historical Barn Ruche trophy, awarded by the marshals to the Porsche driver they consider most worthy.

Text from notes by John Broadley; photos from Sean Mulcahy. Full results are available from TSL (PDF document).