As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Australia’s Best New Car News, Reviews and Buying Advice

The Perfect Equation: Super Touring Cars and Brands Hatch

Photo taken from:

Photo taken from:

On any normal occasion the end of the month is a time of relief, happiness and impending financial gain. But this is no average month. On May 24th, the HSCC Super Touring Car Trophy returns to Brands Hatch for the Masters Historic Festival. With an expected bumper grid of over 25 cars, the glory of the 90s will once again flood back to Brands Hatch. After a strong opening race for the field at Donington Park, the excitement builds for Brands. And did I mention that there are two legends of the BTCC competing as well?

The 2015 BTCC season has already proven that it is fast returning to its status as one of the best race series anywhere in the world. The NGTC regulations have left other championships reeling in jealousy; cost-effective and ultra competitive make for some of the most entertaining races you will see. The combination of the modern championship with the returning HSCC Super Touring Car Trophy creates a beautifully poetic message about the timeless strength of touring cars as the best race category on the planet.

If the current BTCC represents everything forward thinking and fan-orientated about the modern era, then the glitz, glamour and excess that characterized the 1990s is perfectly epitomized in the Super Touring era of the championship. Big names, big budgets and titanic battles dominated proceedings throughout that time. The circuits may have changed and teams may have come and gone, but it was the iconic machinery that truly represented the golden age of touring car racing. When the HSCC announced it would run the Super Touring Cars, I was returned to my excitable years of innocence when as a child I would be glued to the television every time the BTCC was on. In an instant I was a child again, filled with wondrous joy and reveling in the beauty of Super Touring noise.

And Muller takes Cleland! Oh wait, its not 1998.. Photo taken from:

And Muller takes Cleland! Oh wait, its not 1998.. Photo taken from:

Last year, the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch produced some beastly action from the F1 cars of days gone by, including a tear-jerking tribute to Jack Brabham. However, the Super Tourers were somewhat of a disappointment for those who had come to celebrate the height of the BTCC. After promises of large fields and intense action of a rumoured 30 cars, 7 turned up to the Brands Hatch meeting. In the case of one of the races, one car did not make the finish which did therefore mean there were only 6 cars that crossed the line. I have not seen a touring car race so embarrassing since the opening round of the 2001 season.

The event fell close however to the prestigious Silverstone Classic, which did present a considerable conundrum to the teams. The touring cars of the 1990s were so highly engineered and so specialist that one cannot wander into a mechanic and pick up some spare parts on a whim. There will likely come a time when the tyres that were made for the Super Touring cars will simply run out altogether. So in some ways, the increased television coverage and bigger crowds explains why many drivers chose to not enter the Brands rounds. Not only that, any touring car race at Brands Hatch is never without incident (ask John Cleland about 1995, I dare you), and the bill for repairing one of these BTCC icons will take more than your pocket money that’s for sure.

This year however, the time difference between the two is great enough that the full grid is expected to take to the tarmac. Just to add to the excitement, touring car legends John Cleland and Patrick Watts return once more with their ex-BTCC Vauxhall and Peugeot. They may be in their later years but lost their determination and skill they most definitely have not. On top of this, highly experienced historic racers James Dodd in his Nissan Primera and Stewart Whyte in his Honda Accord have been showing they have what it takes to fight it out at the top. The field itself consists of cars from across the full spectrum of BTCC history, including a Ford Sierra RS500, a Ford Escort Mk 2, BMWs from across the 1990s, the fearsome Renault Laguna, Ford Mondeos, Nissan Primeras (including the ex-Team Dynamics car of Matt Neal) and new for this year Audi A4s.

Multi-generations of Nissans: The beast is back! Photo taken from:

Multi-generations of Nissans: The beast is back! Photo taken from:

The first round at Donington Park saw a massive grid of 27 cars take on the track, with honours shared between Patrick Watts and Stewart Whyte. Moving forward, the rounds at Brands Hatch are expected to be something truly memorable. The sweet combination of BTCC and Brands Hatch has always created an electric atmosphere both on and off track. The elevation changes, overtaking opportunities, daunting corners and high speed straights make for one of the best circuits you will find anywhere in the world.

To name some of the historic touring car moments from Brands Hatch would take a lifetime. But who can forget the Reid – Rydell battle that ended in a post-race scuffle, or Simoni in 1994 who managed to barely keep his Alfa Romeo in a straight line while his team mate Tarquini powered to victory or perhaps more recently when Andy Jordan proved exactly why he deserved to be 2013 champion in the rain soaked final race of the year?

So many wonderful memories.. Photo taken from:

So many wonderful memories.. Photo taken from:

With such a packed grid, expect action from lights to flag as some of the most iconic racing machinery in the world come together to transport you back in time to reignite a fire long extinguished. Who needs Doctor Who and his Tardis when you have the Super Touring championship? The championship itself is fast gaining more support and recognition; it would not surprise me if in a few years time it becomes a regular support to the BTCC package itself. To describe me as excited would be a colossal understatement; my life is touring cars and those of the 1990s truly epitomize everything I love about tin top racing. If I could change anything, all I would want is the addition of some Volvo’s on the grid, lining up alongside some Rouse-prepared cars such as the ’92 Toyota or the Kaliber Sierra. And at that moment, my life may well just be complete.

I hope to see you there on May 24th. 

They’re back, and better than ever. 

You won’t want to miss this.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @lewisglynn69 

Keep Driving People!

Peace and Love!