The History Of Croft Circuit (And Some Fun Facts) - The Next BTCC Race Track

The History Of Croft Circuit (And Some Fun Facts) - The Next BTCC Race Track

On the 15th and 16th of June, the fourth BTCC event of the year will take place at Croft Circuit, North Yorkshire. We can’t believe it’s already been 2 months since the first race at Brandshatch!

We thought we’d look at some interesting facts about Croft and some of the great events that have been held there over the years as we build up to the next BTCC weekend.

Did you know?

In the early 2000s, an official complaint was upheld by local residents over the loud noises from the racing car engines. But, as compensation, Croft gave out a number of free tickets to the residents and they still hand them out to this day.

Croft has been staging major races since 1996. Events such as BTCC, Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain and Renault Clio Cup have been held there for many years, just to name a few. The circuit itself stretches just over 2 miles (3.4km) and is based on the lands of an ex-airfield.

Crofts circuit history dates all the way back to the 1940s. In 1948, our friends over at Darlington & District Motor Club began organising events for cars and motorcycles. By 1950, the circuit was approved by the Royal Automobile Club and a full calendar of events was organised for the course.

We can’t wait to see what BTCC has in store for us at Croft in the next couple of weeks. Will you be there? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.


A Rundown From The Second BTCC Event At Donington Park

A Rundown From The Second BTCC Event At Donington Park

At the last BTCC event at Brands Hatch, we saw victories from Josh Cook, Andrew Jordan and Rory Butcher. But, who managed to keep their position at Donington Park in last weekends race?

We sadly saw Andrew Jordan crash his BMW 330i M Sport after being hit in the rear by Rob Collard’s Vauxhall. Andrew was later taken to hospital where it was revealed that he had bruised his cartilage to his side. Jordan was not able to take part in the race after the accident and lost quite a few vital points in the title race. He wasn’t very happy about the crash stating,

“I had a cracking start, but when you’re in the midfield you can find yourself in amongst the idiots,” he said. “I gave Rob racing room, more than a car width, but he harpooned me in the rear and turned me around at the Old Hairpin. I was parked across the track and received a second really big hit in the door from Adam Morgan, although that wasn’t his fault.

The safety cage has done everything it’s been designed to do, and full credit to WSR and BMW for building such a very strong car. It’s just a very unfortunate and frustrating incident, because we should have had a very strong day today. It’s cost us a lot of points and I’m pretty sore and feel beaten up. There is nothing broken, just bruising of the cartilage on my side, which they’ve said is sometimes more painful than a break.

It’s a bit uncomfortable, but I plan to be back at Donington racing historics next week and we’ll restart our BTCC campaign at Thruxton.” – Source: Touring Car Times

The rest of the events that followed were fairly dramatic, to say the least. Five separate penalties were handed out by officials at the circuit with a further two set to be discussed further when the series heads to Thruxton next month for the third meeting of the year.

Winners:

Colin Turkington snatched 2 wins in his BMW after coming third at last weekends race at Brands Hatch. He was the first to reach the finish line in both race 1 and 2.

Tom Ingram, who was driving for Toyota, took first place in the last race, leaving Turkington in 9th place.

What did you think about all of the drama that unfolded in last weeks race? And who do you think will be on their best behaviour in the next race at Thruxton? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.


A Rundown From The BTCC Opening Weekend

A Rundown From The BTCC Opening Weekend

BTCC is back and bigger than ever for 2019. The first race took place on April 6th and quite a lot happened. We’ve collected some of the highlights from last weeks event, just in case you may have missed out on anything.

Josh Cook, driving in a Honda Civic Type R, smashed it in race 1, leading the race with a 50.808 best finish. Jake Hill followed behind him in an Audi S3 Saloon. In race 2, Andrew Jordan, driving the BMW 330i M Sport, came on top finishing with a 48.559 best. Ashley Sutton came second in his Subaru Levorg GT. The Honda Civic Type R took victory again in race 3, driven by Rory Butcher. He came first with a 48.491 best finish. Tom Chilton came second in his Ford Focus RS, just a few seconds short of taking first place.

Despite the wet weather, these drivers still managed to put their pedal to the medal. The Subaru Levorg’s new-for-2019 wet tyres were built for these kinds of conditions. The Ford Focus RS didn’t do as well in the half-hour session as it was guided into the gravel, resulting in the first of three red flags.

We’re looking forward to the next BTCC event at Donnington Park on the 27th of April. Will you be there? And what are your predictions? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.


Ferrari of Spirit of Race wins Pro-Am class

Ferrari of Spirit of Race wins Pro-Am class

The Ferrari 488 GT3 of Spirit of Race, crewed by Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy won the Pro-Am class in the 2019 edition of the Bathurst 12 Hours, the first round of the SRO International GT Challenge championship.

Extreme race. The value of Ferrari’s victory in the hard-fought professional and gentlemen drivers’ class is all the greater given the extreme weather conditions. Starting at dawn in Australia, the race quickly turned into a marathon for men and vehicles, with very few neutralisations (over 100 laps and seven hours with no Safety Car) and very high temperatures of up 43 degrees centigrade. Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy put in a flawless performance, making up 24 positions on the qualifying session to finish in ninth place. The advantage of almost two laps over their nearest pursuers, Hazelwood-Lago-Russell in the Audi of Matt Stone Racing’s, also says a lot about the quality of the performance of the Spirit of Race team.

HubAuto Corsa. On the other side, the HubAuto Corsa crew of Nick Foster, Tim Slade and Nick Percat in the other Ferrari, had a trickier race right from the off. The 488 GT3 no. 27 was in fact involved in an accident with a slower car before the two-hour mark. The time taken to recover and repair the car knocked the HubAuto Corsa crew out of the running. After restarting they eventually they crossed the line in 18th. The overall victory went to the Porsche of Earl Bamber Motorsport with Werner-Olsen-Campbell.


Media team wins class and finishes 33rd overall In Wales

F1 pundit Tony Jardine has set a new record by finishing his 24th ever UK round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)*, winning his class and placing 33rd overall.

Making a successful one-off return to rallying over the weekend (4–7 October), Tom Cary — sports correspondent for The Telegraph — was co-driving for Jardine at Wales Rally GB after eight years since last participating in a WRC round, with limited refresher training ahead of the event due to arriving in Wales straight from the Ryder Cup.

Jardine and Cary won national class 4 of the Wales Rally GB WRC event following a challenging few days which included motion sickness in the car for Cary on Friday’s treacherous stages in wet conditions, namely Slate Mountain, and two punctured tyres during the longest and most gruelling day of the rally on Saturday.

The GT Sport Telegraph Team navigated the Welsh forests in a Group N Mitsubishi Evo 9 GT which was previously driven by Matt Edwards, the newly crowned champion of the 2018 MSA British Rally Championship.

Cary said, “We had such a good start to the last leg of the rally, keeping our pace up and thoroughly enjoying the stages. We were really pumped and looking forward to the final stage when it was cancelled, which was a real shame and a bit of an anti-climax. It has, however, been an incredible four days for us in Wales competing on a world-class event, I’m so glad we were able to really give it everything we had during the final morning on the stages in and around Llandudno.”
Jardine commented, “Considering all the trials and tribulations we have had, it’s fantastic to finish first in class. From being very sick in the car on Friday, Tom came back to full form and his note calling on the final day was immaculate. I really can’t praise him enough especially as he was thrown back in at the deep end on a WRC event with such little time to prepare.”

M-Sport Ford’s Sebastien Ogier took victory at Wales Rally GB, 10.6 seconds ahead of Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala, making it now an even fiercer championship battle at the top of the WRC driver standings.


Abbie Eaton confident of Super2 seat

Brit Abbie Eaton says her chances of securing a seat on the 2019 Dunlop Super2 Series grid are ‘looking pretty good’, having tested two Supercars in eight days. Eaton drove a Matt Stone Racing Ford at Queensland Raceway today, following her maiden Supercars laps in a Walkinshaw Holden at Winton last Tuesday. The 26-year-old, who starred as the test driver on the second season of British program The Grand Tour, has set her sights on a Supercars career. MSR and WAU have both expressed a desire to run Eaton next season, provided that funding can be found.

“It’s looking pretty good at the moment in terms of getting a budget and getting things in place for 2019,” she said at Ipswich.

“Obviously I had the test with Walkinshaw last week and then today with Matt Stone Racing.

“They’re the two that we’ve got in mind, so we’ll see what happens… fingers crossed that it goes my way.”

Although Eaton’s racing experience is primarily in GT cars, she described driving the WAU VF at Winton as like putting on “an old slipper”.

“The thing that draws me into Supercars the most is how close and competitive it is,” she added at her Queensland test.

“The cars are so raw, they’ve not got traction control, ABS and stuff like that.

“If a driver makes a mistake it’s going to keep him or her honest, and they’re going to pay for it.

“That’s why the drivers are so good, because they’ve got to minimise the amount of mistakes they make in the car.

“I just think they’re the best drivers, the best cars in the world, hence I’m in Australia.”

Brit Abbie Eaton says her chances of securing a seat on the 2019 Dunlop Super2 Series grid are ‘looking pretty good’, having tested two Supercars in eight days.

Eaton drove a Matt Stone Racing Ford at Queensland Raceway today, following her maiden Supercars laps in a Walkinshaw Holden at Winton last Tuesday.

The 26-year-old, who starred as the test driver on the second season of British program The Grand Tour, has set her sights on a Supercars career.

MSR and WAU have both expressed a desire to run Eaton next season, provided that funding can be found.

“It’s looking pretty good at the moment in terms of getting a budget and getting things in place for 2019,” she said at Ipswich.

“Obviously I had the test with Walkinshaw last week and then today with Matt Stone Racing.

“They’re the two that we’ve got in mind, so we’ll see what happens… fingers crossed that it goes my way.”

Although Eaton’s racing experience is primarily in GT cars, she described driving the WAU VF at Winton as like putting on “an old slipper”.

“The thing that draws me into Supercars the most is how close and competitive it is,” she added at her Queensland test.

“The cars are so raw, they’ve not got traction control, ABS and stuff like that.

“If a driver makes a mistake it’s going to keep him or her honest, and they’re going to pay for it.

“That’s why the drivers are so good, because they’ve got to minimise the amount of mistakes they make in the car.

“I just think they’re the best drivers, the best cars in the world, hence I’m in Australia.”

While Eaton is hoping to race in the Supercars’ main game, she stressed the need to learn the craft in Super2 first.

“The plan that I’ve got is to spend two or three years in Super2, get the rookie errors out of the way and fine-tune the skills,” she said.

“The amount of competition in Super2 is super, super high.

“Do a couple of years in Super2 and then hopefully move into the main game and see how I get on in the main game.”


Northern Lights Shine Brightest As Beta Tools Motorsport Ireland Awards Announced

Two drivers claim €100,000 in prize money

Winners of Sexton Trophy, Billy Coleman Award and International Driver of the Year named in Dublin

Northern lights shone brightest at the Beta Tools Motorsport Ireland Awards today when young drivers from Belfast and Co Armagh landed two of the sport’s most prestigious honours.

James Wilson (24) was named Young Rally Driver of the Year, while 23-year-old Charlie Eastwood, a runner-up in 2017, went one better this year by winning the Young Racing Driver of the Year award, at a ceremony in the Mansion House in Dublin. Both drivers will receive €50,000 in funding and support for the development of their careers during the 2019 season.

The International Driver of the Year award went to Jordan Dempsey, from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

The event, to celebrate the success of the most talented drivers in Irish Motorsport in 2018, was attended by Mr Ronnie McBrien, Sport Ireland, Mr John Naylor, President of Motorsport Ireland, members of the media, award recipients and their guests.

More than 30 trophies were presented at the Beta Tools Motorsport Ireland Awards to Irish drivers competing both domestically and internationally. The highlight of the event was the presentation of the prestigious Billy Coleman Award, the Sexton Trophy and the International Driver of the Year award.

The Billy Coleman Award for the Young Rally Driver of the Year was won by 24-year-old James Wilson, from Co Armagh. He was nominated for his performances in January and February of this year and went on to further successes throughout the season. James was the 2018 Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Junior Rally Champion and also secured a podium finish in the Junior British Rally Championship on the Ypres Rally in Belgium.

James faced stiff competition during the selection process for the award as he fended off a number of other great young drivers to take top spot in what has been described as one of the closest decisions in recent years.

James now joins a list of illustrious winners of the Billy Coleman Award, which includes World Rally Championship driver, Craig Breen, and record breaking four-time British Rally champion Keith Cronin.

As part of the award, James will receive support to the value of €50,000 for the 2019 season.

The Sexton Trophy for Young Racing Driver of the Year was awarded to 23-year-old Charlie Eastwood, from Belfast. Charlie was a previous runner up and has shown a focus and determination that has seen him rise to the top this year.

Charlie is competing in the GTE Am class of the FIA World Endurance Championship driving an Aston Martin. He has impressively achieved three second places from three races in his debut year and is on track to add to his World Karting and Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship titles by the time the series finishes at the Le Mans 24hour in June 2019.

As part of the award, Charlie will also receive support to the value of €50,000 for the 2019 season.

The Manley Memorial Trophy for the International Driver of the Year went to Jordan Dempsey, from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

Jordan, who won the Sexton Trophy in 2017, has lived up to the expectations that the sport has of a recipient of the award. Competing at a top international level for the first time he has joined a very exclusive club, becoming one of only a small number of Irish competitors to win an FIA Championship, having secured outright honours in the FIA F4 Chinese Championship in his debut year.

Throughout the 2018 season he was rarely off the front row of the grid or the podium and despite missing out on the opening race his phenomenal talent saw him securing the championship with a race to spare.

The winner of this award is selected by the motor sport media and is presented to an Irish competitor from the 32 counties who has not only proven to be a success in competition but also has acted as a positive role model and ambassador for the sport.

Jordan joins luminaries such as Craig Breen, four-time British Rally Champion Keith Cronin, Le Mans series driver Matt Griffin, Rallying legend Austin MacHale, Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine, and multiple European Rallycross class champion Derek Tohill as a winner of the Manley Memorial Trophy.

The Neil Shanahan Memorial Trophy was awarded to the 13-year-old Karl O’Brien, from Robertstown, Co Kildare, who was crowned 2018 Motorsport Ireland National Junior Karting Champion. Karl won four races and finished second three times on his way to winning the Iame X30 Junior title.

The FIA Celtic Trophy was won overall by Josh Moffett/ Andy Hayes. Josh’s brother Sam won the trophy last year with Karl Atkinson. The competition is spread over five International rallies in the UK and Ireland. Moffett had a win and two second places to take the trophy ahead of nearest rival Matt Edwards.

The Ivan Webb Memorial Award for the Most Outstanding Contribution to Irish Motorsport went to Gerry O’Brien, of Ennis, Co Clare, who has been an integral part of the Irish motorsport community for many years and a huge supporter of rallying as an organiser, club official and committee member.

The JC Millard Memorial Award for Clubman of the Year went to Kevin Barrett, from Maynooth, Co Kildare, for his contribution to the sport both as an organiser and competitor.

Speaking at the awards, Motorsport Ireland President John Naylor said:

“Congratulations are due to all the winners at this year’s Beta Tools Motorsport Ireland Awards. The standards that they, and the other nominees, set during the course of this year show that the future of motorsport in Ireland is very bright indeed.

“The judging panel faced a particularly difficult task selecting the winners this year because of the terrific competition there was in every category.

“The depth of talent among our young drivers is continuously growing and, alongside our partners in Sport Ireland, Motorsport Ireland is committed to supporting and developing drivers and providing them with every opportunity to succeed at the highest level.”

The Beta Champions of Motorsport awards 2018 - Charlie Eastwood - Jordan Dempsey - James Wilson - photo by Michael Chester