Whilst the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is set to be the main attraction at Brands Hatch this weekend (April 1/2), the bumper TOCA support package is out to steal the headlines.
A permanent fixture on the BTCC programme; the Renault UK Clio Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Simpson Race Products Ginetta Juniors, Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup and British F4 Championships will all also kick start their 2017 campaigns at the popular Kent venue.
Just like the BTCC, the one-make categories have been a hive of activity during the off-season with driving announcements coming on an almost daily basis as well as lots of pre-season testing taking place at various circuits around the UK.
In the Renault UK Clio Cup, the quest for a new champion will be eagerly watched following Ant Whorton-Eales’ graduation to the BTCC. Leading the list of early contenders are former title winners Mike Bushell and Paul Rivett, with Ciceley’s Max Coates looking to continue on from his impressive maiden season.
James Colburn is back for a full season and chasing the title that has thus far eluded him. Other notable names to keep an eye on include Jade Edwards, 2016 race-winners Paul Streather and Lee Pattison as well as Michelin Clio Cup Series hotshot James Dorlin.
Daniel Cammish remains the man to beat in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, and the Yorkshireman is back to win a third successive title. Competing on both UK soil and in the Porsche Supercup, Cammish has a staggering record in the series with 23 wins and 30 podiums in 32 races
Dino Zamaprelli pushed Cammish hard last year and will look to do the same this year as well. Ginetta champions Tom Wrigley and Tom Oliphant will also been threats to the summit whilst Lewis Plato and Charlie Eastwood can’t be discounted either.
Wrigley’s departure from the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup opens it up for a new champion to be crowned too. With several front runners swapping championships, the GT4 Supercup is wide-open once again with a high calibre of talent littering the entry list.
Reece Summerfield, Declan Jones, Ben Green and Callum Pointon have all been at the sharp end of the series in the past and one would not bet against them doing the same this year. One name that will be familiar is Jack Mitchell, former Ginetta Junior alumni who has gone on to enjoy great success. Mitchell returns to the fold with the backing of Laser Tools Racing and could well be a surprise package.
High-octane thrills are likely to be provided by the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship. Providing a platform for the 14 to 17-year-olds the opportunity to transition from karts into cars, the one-make series has been a revelation and continues to go from strength-to-strength.
Boasting an entry list of 20 cars for the Brands Hatch curtain-raiser, the perfect blend of second-season racers and rookies make up the entry list and they’re set to come together to produce a stellar season.
Early championship protagonists being touted at the moment include Harry King, Sebastian Priaulx, Daniel Harper and Tom Wood.
Rounding out the support package is the British F4, the single-seater category seemingly moulding Formula 1 champions of the future. Running under the British F4 banner for its first full season, the championship looks stronger than ever with an international feel to its entry list.
Jamie Caroline, famed for his wet weather antics last year, switches to Carlin for this season and will hope to add yet more silverware to his collection. Others to keep an eye around the Indy configuration include Alex Quinn, Ayrton Simmons, Linus Lundquist and Daniel Cao.
To view the event timetable for the season-opener, click here.