FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Mercedes mastery

Posted in Brands Hatch, England by folkestonejack on August 11, 2018

In the early 1990s the arrival of commercial satellite services to the UK opened up an exciting panoply of European motor sport series that had been largely invisible before.

Our dish was installed in 1992 and I immediately started channel hopping. My happiest discovery was the live broadcast of DTM races on 3sat. I only had a limited grasp of German but soon picked up enough new vocabulary to understand what was going on. My ad-hoc German lessons ended when live coverage of later seasons appeared on english speaking channels. The first races I saw were dramatic enough to ensure that I came back for more and I have been pretty faithful, losing touch only during the years when UK coverage largely disappeared.

Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters

The ‘exotic’ sight of cars like the Mercedes-Benz 190E Evo 2, Mercedes C-Class V6 and Alfa Romeo 155 V6 Ti made for a thrilling spectacle on TV and one that we couldn’t resist seeing up close, buying tickets for the non championship races at Donington Park. I was completely hooked and ended up travelling to see races at Brands Hatch, Hockenheim, the Norisring and Zandvoort as the series evolved, died and got re-booted.

This year the DTM returned to Brands Hatch after a five year gap and better still, racing on the grand prix circuit rather than the shorter indy circuit. I booked my tickets for the first day early on, eager to see the Mercedes C-Class one last time before the manufacturer leaves the DTM at the end of the season. It was money well spent – the sight of these machines plunging down the track from Paddock Hill Bend and up to Druids was as wonderful as ever.

I don’t know how I had ever forgotten just how brilliant Brands Hatch is for spectators but I fell in love with it all over again. On top of that, a compact schedule served up action aplenty – two free practice sessions, a series of practice starts, qualifying and a race. The drivers had alot to take in as most were unfamiliar with the grand prix circuit. A few found the limits of the track the hard way and the grid had a quite unusual look to it, with the current championship contenders scattered throughout the ranks.

A little off-track excursion

The racing was rarely dull, though the absolute highlight had to be Mike Rockenfeller’s audacious pass on Glock and Green at the same time to jump from 13th to 11th towards the end of the race. All the talk at the start had been of the difficulty of passing, so the sight of three cars abreast was quite an effective ripost! The race victory went to Daniel Juncadella, recording his first win in his 67th DTM outing.

There is much talk of 2019 being a transition year for the DTM and the possibility of aligning the series with the Japanese Super GT championship. Wherever it is headed, I hope the next evolution of the DTM is as successful as its past and that it won’t be long before we see these cars climbing Hailwoods Hill once again.

Gallery

An hour of Group C nostalgia!

Posted in Brands Hatch, England by folkestonejack on July 3, 2011

I have been a fan of sportscar racing for many years, but had the misfortune to become enthralled by Group C racing just as it was on the way out. In fact, I only managed to get to one race before it was all over – at Silverstone in May 1992. Once the curtain fell on the category I had some catching up to do, managing to cover a fair amount of the twenty year history of Group C racing between 1982 and 1992 through videos and books.

Since 1992 I have been to a few sportscar races at my nearest circuit, Brands Hatch, but had never seen Group C cars in action there so when I read that the HSCC SuperPrix at Brands Hatch this weekend would include a Group C race I couldn’t resist. I wasn’t disappointed – the hour long race was pure bliss!

The Mercedes C11 approaches Druids Bend

I watched the start from Druids Bend then took a walk out to Clearways, up to Stirlings Bend, retraced my steps back to Hailwood Hill and then ended up in the infield at Druids – all the while taking photographs. It was really great to see the Mercedes C11 out along with a variety of Nissan and Spice machines – a big regret of mine has been that I never saw those beautiful Mercedes sportscars in action.

A thing of beauty...

Meyrick in the Spice SE89C ahead of one of the Nissan R90Cs at Surtees

The race-winning NIssan R90C of Yamauchi/Kubota

The race victory went to Yamauchi/Kubota in the Nissan R90C followed by Evans/Berridge with the Mercedes C11. Meyrick/Meyrick put in a spirited drive behind these two in the Spice SE89 and took the fastest lap of the grand prix circuit with a 1:17.948. Wonderful stuff.

The Mercedes C11 climbs Hailwood Hill

You can find out more about the Group C racing Series at http://www.groupcracing.com including race reports, photos and future dates.

Gallery: Group C race at Brands Hatch Historic Super Prix 2011

Posted in Brands Hatch, England by folkestonejack on July 3, 2011