Monday 30 January 2012

Matt Cotton all set for return to British Rally Championship

Matt Cotton is set to fly again in the British Rally Championship

After a break of over 3 years from international rallying, Cornish rally driver Matt Cotton will return to the British Rally Championship (BRC) in 2012. The purchase of an ex Elfyn Evans Ford Fiesta ST has enabled Matt to end his sabbatical from driving by entering both the BRC and the Fiesta Sporting Trophy.

Britain’s premier series starts on the Rallye Sunseeker in February and the Two Wheel Drive format has been designed to attract the best rising talents in British and European Rallying.

Matt said; “There’ll be some fierce competition in the BRC and Fiesta Trophy this year, but I think my past experience will enable me to set some consistent times. It’s a massive challenge, but I really can’t wait to get back behind the wheel”.

Adding to the challenge will be the fact that Matt’s new car is left hand drive and he has never driven one of those in anger before. “I don’t think holiday hire cars count, but I’ve been loaned a left hand drive recce car that I’ll be able to use in between events, so I don’t think it’ll be a major problem.”

Matt`s last outing in the BRC was in 2008 with a Citroen C2R2 in which he placed 3rd overall in the Cup. As with many privateers, Matt has had to struggle to find the required finances to complete the entire season. He says; “It’s always been tough to find a budget to compete, let alone in the British Rally Championship, but it’s what I love so it’s just a case of working hard with our sponsors and making sacrifices in other areas of my life.

For 2012, Matt will be co-driven by long time friend Glyn Thomas from North Somerset. Although they have only competed together once before; Glyn has been no stranger to the BRC structure over the last 4 years. He also brings additional support from his Rally Collection UK business, a technical partner of the team.

The Fiesta will be prepared and run by AVS Motorsport and Colin Ridgeway Motorsport in Wrexham who plan to also enter the BRC in the Teams Cup.

To keep up to date with Matt`s progress throughout the year, to read his blog which will be updated both on and off events and to see what technical and corporate partner opportunities are available with the team, simply visit

You can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for up to the minute news and information on Matt`s progress through the year.

Watch out for more from Matt right here on Overdrive!

Sunday 29 January 2012

Skoda supports Rallye Sunseeker

Splosh! The yeti proves it can go anywhere a rally car can

After a highly successful joint venture last year, ŠKODA UK will continue as Official Vehicle Partner to Rallye Sunseeker (February 24-25), the opening round of the 2012 MSA British Rally Championship.
The highly popular Southern Car Club-organised event, which was voted BRC 2011 ‘Rally of the Year’, takes place in the forests near Bournemouth and Poole. Over the last 26 years it has grown into one of the best-loved and keenly contested events in the rally calendar.
Over the course of the event, rally officials will drive a fleet of award-winning four-wheel ŠKODA Yetis, which are ideally equipped for the slippery gravel forest roads.
ŠKODA UK will also loan the Dorset Police’s Traffic Division a Superb 3.6 V6 Elegance Estate 4x4 in police livery. This will be used before and during the event by Inspector Matt Butler (Dorset Police Rally Commander) and Neil Roden (Safety Manager, Rallye Sunseeker).
I wonder if we can borrow one for our rally coverage...?
Rick Smith, Rallye Sunseeker Event Director: “The feedback from our senior officials last year about the Yeti was phenomenal, they loved the car, so much so that I know one has recently brought a ŠKODA. We are therefore very pleased to retain ŠKODA as the official car.”
This year’s Rallye Sunseeker will feature a 10% increase in stage mileage, with 11 gravel speed tests for FIA homologated R1, R2 and R3 cars as well as Group A and N. The event will once again begin with a ceremonial start on Poole Quay on the Friday night (February 24), which last year attracted an 8,000 strong crowd, with the action taking place in forests near Ringwood, Ferndown and Wareham the following day. The event includes a stage and Motor Fair at Somerley Park and further information is available

Saturday 28 January 2012

Jay Kay re-unites Waldergard with rally Porsche

Jay Kay at the wheel of the rare Porsche

 Jamiroquai front man and self-confessed petrolhead Jay Kay is bringing his Porsche 914-6 to this year’s Race Retro for a reunion with one of its original drivers, rally legend Bjorn Waldegard. Bjorn will be seeing if the car stands the test of time on the high octane Live Rally Stage on Saturday 25th and Sunday 25th February, before Jay Kay himself gets behind the wheel.

Bjorn drove the 914-6 in the Monte Carlo Rally, an event in which the Porsche was expected to excel. Three works-prepared cars were entered, driven by Bjorn, Ake Andersson and Gerard Larrousse, all highly skilled drivers who knew the Monte course like the backs of their hands. But the weather was to deal the Porsche team a cruel blow.

The 1971 Monte Carlo Rally was the snowiest on record. Andersson and Larrousse were forced to retire with gearbox problems, but Bjorn soldiered on to finish a worthy third overall. Sadly this marked the end of Porsche's support for the 914-6 in competition despite the fact that a 914-6 GT had won its class at Le Mans in 1970.
Porsche 914-6 are rare at the best of times, a rally prepped example more so!
The 914-6 is just one of the amazing vehicles in singer Jay Kay’s collection of over 37 rare classics and luxurious supercars. Jay is a keen competitor when it comes to cars, having topped the leaderboard on Top Gear’s Star in a Reasonably Priced Car challenge so he’s bound to push the car to the limits on the specially designed course at Stoneleigh Park.
Adult tickets for Race Retro, sponsored by Peter James Insurance, start at £20 in advance with children’s tickets at £5 for Friday and Saturday and free on Sunday. Car parking is free and has been moved to a hard surface area nearer to the halls. The show is open from 9.30am each day and closes at 5.30pm on Friday and Saturday and 4.30pm on Sunday. To book tickets and for the latest updates, visit

Friday 27 January 2012

Riall and Tordoff take on Porsches

Sam Rordoff will be a force to be reckoned with in Carrera Cup
Racing newcomer Guy Riall is among the growing number of drivers aiming to race in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge this season, having acquired a 2007 model 911GT3 Cup from Team Parker Racing.

The Yorkshire-based property developer has never raced before and has linked up with experienced GT racer Tim Sugden for support and tutoring. “I just want to go racing,” said Riall. “The car is immaculate and I want to do some races in 2012 before a full programme in 2013.”

“Guy is just the type of driver we are keen to see in the GT3 Cup Challenge,” said Marion Barnaby, motorsport manager, Porsche Cars GB. “Getting started in racing can be daunting, even for drivers with track day experience, but the GT3 Cup Challenge is the ideal environment for newcomers.”

In total, up to 2000 911 GT3 Cup race cars have been built by Porsche since the introduction of the 996-model car over a decade ago and the GT3 Cup Challenge will have classes to cater for both the 996-model cars and the later 997-model cars.

Meanwhile, in the Carrera Cup GB, Leeds racing driver, Sam Tordoff is joining forces once more with Team Parker Racing. Sam (22) made his debut in the series in 2011 with the team, winning plaudits as he took an impressive 7th in the overall Championship standings.

After making such a strong entrance to the series, Sam will be a strong contender in the upcoming season and has his sights firmly set on challenging for the Championship.

BRDC Rising Star Sam commented “It was my dream to return to the Porsche Carrera Cup for 2012 and I strongly feel I can do so as a title contender. To return with Team Parker Racing, who showed in 2011 that their professionalism and ability is second to none, is a great pleasure and privilege. I am really looking forward to working with Stuart and all the Parker team once again”.

The twenty race Carrera Cup series starts on 31 March/1 April at Brands Hatch.

Sam’s progress can be followed on his website at

Thursday 26 January 2012

MG enters BTCC with Plato and Neate

an artist's impression of how the new MG6 BTCC car will look
MG Motor UK has announced it will enter the 2012 BTCC Series with a ‘dream team’ of cars, drivers, constructors and sponsors.

Two MG6 GT cars will run in the all-new MG KX Momentum Racing team piloted by double BTCC champion Jason Plato and BTCC rising star Andy Neate.

The cars will be prepared by Triple Eight Race Engineering, one of the most successful constructors in touring car racing. And completing the ‘dream team’ are principal sponsors Tesco Fuels with their Momentum 99 brand and KX energy drink completing an all-British line-up.
MG KX Momentum Racing will debut at Brands Hatch on April 1 when the 2012 Dunlop MSA BTCC championship season gets under way.

The MG6 GT five-door fastback is the first all-new MG in 16 years. It is designed and engineered at MG Motor UK’s plant in Birmingham where final assembly also takes place.

Jason Plato is the most successful driver in BTCC racing history with 68 career wins, with more fastest laps, pole and podium positions than any other driver in the history of the Series. He is undoubtedly the face of British Touring Cars as well as being a well-known and respected TV presenter and newly appointed Director of the British Racing Drivers Club.
Plato said: “It’s really exciting to be involved in a brand-new all-British team and it’s just brilliant that the iconic name of MG will be back on the track.”

Guy Jones, MG Motor’s Sales & Marketing Director, said: “We are delighted that the new MG6 will be seen by millions of fans in Britain and beyond and this continues the famous sporting lineage of the brand.”

Triple Eight, headed by Ian Harrison, is based at Greatworth, just a few miles from the famous Silverstone race circuit. The company has more than 100 BTCC race wins to its credit. 

Jason Plato (left) will bring a wealth of experience to the new team
MG’s return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has been warmly welcomed by Series Director Alan Gow.Gow, who made the BTCC a household name in the Nineties and who has led it through another boom period recently – it currently enjoys some 120 hours of coverage per season on ITV – commented: “This is fantastic news for all the fans who follow the BTCC, either in their hundreds of thousands trackside or in their vast millions watching on TV in both the UK and many other regions around the globe.“MG is one of motoring’s truly evocative names so its BTCC campaign will, I’m sure, really capture the public’s imagination. This high-profile return to the forefront of competition in the BTCC is also certain to prove highly effective in terms of marketing for MG and all of its partners, as well as delivering some great results for them on the track.”

And added Gow: “This news has again underlined the great success of our NGTC regulations, enabling teams and manufacturers such as MG to embark on a major BTCC programme in a far more cost-effective and competitive basis than before – hence the reason we have such a fabulous diversity of makes and models in our championship.”

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Autosport International 2012 : Classic Sports Car Club

Continuing our videos from Autosport International 2012, here's Geoff Edwards from the Classic Sports Car Club talking to us about their series of races

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Autosport International 2012 : 750 Motor Club

Viv Ayres from top organising club, the 750 Motor Club tells us their plans for 2012 and beyond

Ben Barker back from Australia in Porsche Carrera Cup

Ben Barker with Paul Robe
British racer Ben Barker will contest a full programme in the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB with Parr Motorsport. Barker, from Cambridge, will still only be 20 years old when the new season begins.

The 2010 Australian F3 champion and BRDC Rising Star raced in the Australian Carrera Cup in 2011 as well as competing in four rounds of the Carrera Cup GB with Parr. Prior to his success in F3, he was a race winner in the British Formula Ford Championship.

“It’s a good direction career-wise to move into the Carrera Cup GB,” said Barker. “Having worked with Parr last year I know how they work and everyone is capable and proactive. It’s good to be back racing in the UK and this will prove to be a strong stepping-stone to Supercup. I hope that, together with Parr, we can both graduate in 2013. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and being competitive,” added Barker.

Barker achieved two podium finishes from four Carrera Cup races at Snetterton and Knockhill last summer with Parr. His full Australian campaign garnered two wins, four other podium finishes, two pole positions and two fastest laps. To cap a successful season down under he was also named the Michelin Sports Person of the Year.

“I’m really excited to have Ben onboard for this coming season,” said Parr team boss Paul Robe. “He’s a great talent and a really well rounded young man. Based on his performance with us last year I’m confident that he will be a frontrunner in the championship.” 

Monday 23 January 2012

Autosport International 2012 : Radical Sportscars

We went to find out about Radical Sports Cars plans for 2012 and to see their SR3 sports car ... In the process we met Alex Brundle who spoke to us not only about the cars, but also about his season and plans for the future

A Message from Kart Force

KartForce is an organisation set up to provide karting for injured troops.  We have designed our own hand controls that allow karts to be driven with 1 or 2 hands, on a totally level playing field.  This allow troops with injuries as severe as triple amputations to compete on a totally level playing field with non-injured drivers.

We set up regular karting sessions to introduce karting to injured troops and have now created a team to enter events all over the country and about to enter races for the first time.  Teamworks Karting have been great supporters and have very generously organised the fundraising races at their tracks. 

We invite everyone to come along and create a team of 5 drivers and race against the injured troops of Team KartForce.  If you can’t make up a full team of 5 drivers just let us know – you can join other teams.

Reading               Tue 24th Jan
The Message is clear!
Letchworth           Thu 26th Jan
Peterborough     Wed 1st Feb
Birmingham        Tue 7th Feb

Arrive                   18.30hrs
Race Briefing       19.00hrs
Race Length         2 hrs
Teams                  8 teams—max 5 drivers/team
Entry Fee             £55.00/driver


Spectators also very welcome.  There’s a café/bar for refreshments and we’ll be selling KartForce t-shirts and other items – stickers, patches, etc.

Funds from these events will allow us to buy our first 2 competition karts so we can then step up and enter more competitive karting, as a team and as individual racers.  We’re getting a growing level of support from British racing drivers, which has been very welcome.  Aaron Scott and GT3 Racing contacted us to offer £1/lap in their endurance races.  Lee Mowle and his team, who won their class in Duabi 24 did the same and have generated further support for other teams.  These funds allow us to get more injured troops karting and show them they can compete on equal terms in mainstream karting events.

We’re also exploring some world record attempts for later in the year.

If you need more information please check out our website – – or email Dave on

Sunday 22 January 2012

Autosport International 2012 : Ginetta

Following up from last year, we find that Ginetta now have a body on their chassis that we saw last year. We also discover that they now have a rather quietly spoken mascot...

Team ES Racing announces cars and drivers for 2012 BTCC Campaign

Dave Newsham is an experienced competitor in saloon cars

Team ES have signalled their intensions for pushing forward in the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with the announcement that 2010 Renault Clio Cup Champion Dave Newsham will be joining the team.

Following weeks of negotiations Newsham will join Team Principal Chris James in at least a 2 car assault on the BTCC. James also confirmed that there is still a very strong & realistic possibility of 3 or even 4 cars being presented by ES Racing.

Talking of the signing James said: “2011 was a tough year for us with one of the oldest cars on the grid, but moving forward we are pleased to confirm Dave Newsham for the team along with two turbo race winning pedigree cars.” James goes on to say “Dave & I are very much alike, we both call a spade a spade. I am delighted to bring Dave in to our team as he is a very skilful driver with a proven track record. This can only mean good things for us in 2012 & beyond.”

He added: “We’ve been in talks with Dave for some time now and we’re glad we can finally announce that he will be driving for us in 2012. It makes sense for us to double our chances of podiums and points by bringing him in to the team.”

Dave Newsham stated “Chris is a passionate guy, I saw that from last year, racing with him and talking to him in the paddock. He’s very ambitious and wants to see his cars at the front.

“I think with having a year’s BTCC experience under my belt I’ve learnt a lot last year and I feel that I can put that to good use this year. Having a quick car is going to help, and if all things go well we should get some podiums and maybe sneak a win or two.”

the team have also revealed they will be running NGTC powered Vauxhall Vectra’s in the 2012 Championship.

The Luton-based squad  have managed to keep the deal under wraps until now. James Nash took the Independent championship title in the Vectra for Triple Eight racing in 2011 and Team ES will be looking to emulate this success in 2012.

Talking of the announcement Chris James said: “They’re race winning cars and they will continue to be highly competitive in 2012. We’re delighted to get the deal concluded to run the Vectra’s and look forward to pushing hard at the start of the season. They come with a great spares package and a massive amount of data so we should be able to hit the ground running.”

“We will get podiums and maybe even sneak more than that, certainly in the first half of the season. NGTC will get stronger but I truly believe that like football it will be a game of two halves - the first half will be S2000 and the second NGTC.” added James.

While James and Newsham have been announced for the team there is still a seat available for the season.
“There is still the option for us to run a third car so if the right driver with the right budget comes along then it will happen.” said James.

Fans will be able to get their first taste of the Team ES Racing Vectra’s at the BTCC Media day on Monday 19 March at Silverstone when the circuit will be open to the public for the afternoon test session.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Autosport International 2012 : Pop Bang Colour

Continuing our series of interviews from Autosport International 2012, Rosemary meets artist Ian Cook - the man behind Pop Bang Colour - who uses some facinating car related techniques to paint his pictures.

Indian star Bolisetti to race for Lotus in British GTSa

Sailesh Bolisetti with the Lotus Evora GT3

Lotus Sport UK has signed Sailesh Bolisetti to race in the 2012 Avon Tyres British GT Championship. The 23-year-old from Visakhapatnum, on the east coast of India, will race the Lotus Evora GT4 which took three wins last year, the team’s maiden season.

Bolisetti began racing in 2007 and went on to win India’s inaugural Volkswagen Polo Cup in 2010. As part of his prize, he was promoted to the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup, a support series for Europe’s DTM championship. Now’s he’s preparing to make the step up to sportscar racing, alongside some of the toughest tin-top competitors in the business.

Commenting on his appointment Sailesh Bolisetti said: “Being associated with such a well-known name in racing is a great opportunity for me, especially one with such a rich pedigree across a uniquely wide range of disciplines. But I don’t take it as a pressure, I take it as a privilege – I’ll be driving for the same brand as some of my all time heroes and sporting legends and I’m really looking forward to it.”

British GT’s seven-race season kicks off at Oulton Park on April 7. In addition, Bolisetti will contest the Indian i1 Super Series in the Middle East andAsia, in order to get as much experience under his belt as possible.

Gary Ayles, Team Manager, Lotus Sport UK said: “Sailesh is a strong talent that hadn’t been discovered in Europe, until now. I first got to know him and his father through my contacts in India, having been involved with the A1GP India team and raced over there in F3. We kept in contact and now Sailesh has come of age and is ready to race here in Europe with our team. You need to keep an eye on this lad, he’s a star in the making.”

Friday 20 January 2012

Overdrive at Autosport International 2012 : Caterham Cars

It's that time again folks. We went off to the Autosport International Show at Birmingham's glittering NEC earlier this month, and we have been as usual finding out what's been going on in British Motorsport - We'll kick off our show coverage with a catch up with someone we met at last year's show. It's Andy Noble from Caterham Cars, talking about the new "greener" SP300R, New race series, Karting and F1

We're trying out some shorter videos - and we'll have a longer highlight's programme coming out soon! Please let us know what you think!

Thursday 19 January 2012

Jack Frost Stages heads for Croft

Paul Bird is aiming for win number 4 on the jack frost rally

Croft Circuit’s mega year of motor sport begins in spectacular sideways style this Sunday (22 January) with the Jack Frost Stages Rally, organised by the Darlington & District Motor Club.

The DDMC anticipates a high calibre entry of in excess of 70 cars for its annual rally. In all competitors face eight competitive timed special stages held on a variety of configurations within the Croft Circuit boundaries. The action is scheduled to start at just after 9.00am.

Tickets for Sunday’s Jack Frost Stages Rally at Croft cost just £10 per adult (payable on the gate) with admission for children aged 15 and under FREE all day. Public will also have access to the main service area where they can catch up with drivers and watch crews working on cars in between stages. For more information visit the new-look website or call the circuit office on 01325 721815.

Aiming for a record-breaking fourth consecutive victory on the event will be Penrith’s Paul Bird in his sensational Ford Focus WRC 07, but he faces some mighty opposition. Indeed, two other previous winners are entered, namely Thirsk’s Chris Wise (2007 & 2008) in his mighty Metro 6R4 and Leek’s Dave Holland (2001) in his Ford Escort Mk2.

Bird commented: “Although I’ve won the last three Jack Frost rallies none of them have been easy and this year’s event will also be very tough as there are a number of drivers capable of winning. Croft is my local circuit and Darlington & District Motor Club runs a great rally so this is one event I always look forward to.”

Wise added: “It’s a friendly rivalry between Paul and I out of the cars, but when the event starts there’s definitely some needle. I normally get ahead of him in the early stages but then he seems to warm up and get into his stride – maybe that’s when he has his bacon sarnie! I’ve had extensive work done to the Metro and a fresh engine fitted. I won’t be hanging about.” Notably Wise is the owner of AUTOGAS 2000, the expert fuel conversion company sponsoring the event which is also supported by Cartersport.

Elsewhere rising star Chris Anderson (Ford Fiesta) of Bishop Auckland and stunt driver Paul Swift (Escort Mk2) from Darlington are both fresh from stellar performances in the recent Christmas Stages Rally at Croft (Mon 2 Jan) and also in with very real shouts of victory. Another ‘one to watch’ will be Morpeth’s Tony Thompson in his evocative Vauxhall Chevette HSR.

Darlington & District Motor Club Chairman Terry Wright said: “The Jack Frost often lives up to its name, making the initial stages very tricky as competitors try to hold onto cars on sheet ice. Cars start at 30-second intervals making this a fast and furious event.”

Meanwhile the ‘Jack Frost’ marks the start of a busy year for the DDMC at Croft with the club’s ultra-successful motor racing championship, the Northern Saloon & Sports Car Championship (NSSCC), scheduled for a number of appearances on track later in the season (see for full 2012 motor sport fixture list).

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Daniel Lloyd joins Team Parker Racing

Daniel Lloyd (Right) with Stuart Parker
Daniel Lloyd, the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Scholarship winner, will race for Team Parker Racing this season after signing to race with the Leicester-based squad.

Lloyd (19) from Huddersfield won £80,000 towards his 2012 Carrera Cup GB programme during the final of the Scholarship and has elected to join one of the most successful teams in the championship. Team Parker Racing, headed by Stuart Parker, has contested the Carrera Cup GB since the first season in 2003 and will now go into the tenth season with Lloyd as a key member of its multi-car squad.

“The team makes a big effort with everything,” said Lloyd. “One of the things that really appeals to me is that there will be other quick drivers in the team that I can learn from. I tested with Stuart Parker and the team at the end of last year and everything he does is very good.”

Lloyd will join fellow Yorkshireman Richard Plant in the squad [read more here] and raced karts against Plant in his formative years. Lloyd says he can’t wait for the start of the new season. “I’ve never looked forward to something so much. This is the most important year of my career so far.”

Parker is pleased to have signed another strong young racer. “Daniel is an exciting prospect,” said Parker. “He has shown well in testing with us and we’re looking forward to working with him. I think he’ll be competitive straight out of the box.”

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Porsche at Autosport 2012

Porsche is well known for running several important racing series in the UK... so where better to show them off than the Autosport International Show 2012.

Keep watching for our own videos, coming soon!

Cholmondeley offers discounts

Everything from Horsepower...

The Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, the UK’s most interactive day out, is set for an explosive return in 2012 with a host of new hands-on attractions and features to thrill diehard petrolheads as well as families looking for an unbeatable fun-packed day out.

Early-bird tickets are now on sale and prices have been discounted compared to 2011. Adult day tickets are available from just £18 (Friday), with a ticket to see all the best action on Saturday or Sunday now just £24 – a 25 per cent reduction on last year’s price. With under-16s tickets also currently available free of charge, the Pageant of Power promises fun for all the family at highly attractive prices.

Now in its fifth year, the 2012 Pageant will take place on the Cholmondeley Estate in Cheshire from 15 to 17 June, celebrating power and performance in its many forms. A full event schedule and list of participants will be announced over the coming weeks, with Pageant organisers set to reveal some exciting new additions and features for 2012.

... to Firepower will be on display!
James Hall, Event Director for the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, said: “The philosophy behind the Pageant is simple – to create the UK’s most thrilling day out, and to ensure admission prices are incredible value. We have entertainment for all ages and interests, with a huge number of opportunities for visitors to get involved in the action. The Pageant of Power will be bigger and better in 2012, consolidating its reputation as a must-attend event.”

To buy tickets or find further information, visit

Monday 16 January 2012

Croft announces 2012 Calendar

There's always one BTCC driver who can't negotiate a chicane properly!
Croft Circuit has issued an action-packed motor sport fixture list for 2012 with the star-studded Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (23-24 June), its own historic racing festival, Nostalgia Weekend (4-5 August), and the Roger Albert Clark Rally on 24 November featuring the hero cars of rallying’s golden era from the Seventies among the major highlights.

In all some 14 events spanning motorcycling and both car racing and rallying are scheduled for the year ahead at Croft, the North East region’s premier motor sport venue. Significantly the locally based and highly enthusiastic Darlington & District Motor, Northallerton Auto and North East Motor Cycle Racing clubs will all play significant roles, running some of their own championships at Croft as well as providing volunteer trackside marshals at many of the events. The visiting, award-winning British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) and Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC), two of the UK’s top organisers of motor sport events, will add a further touch of class in 2012.

Formula Renault BARC is sure to entertain
Croft will again also offer some of the very best value for money entertainment of any motor sport venue in the UK as it continues its policy of FREE ADMISSION for children aged under 16. The majority of its events will cost just £12 per adult with the most expensive race day ticket (BTCC) still only priced £24 if booked in advance. All admission includes access to the central race paddock which enables the public – including many children – to rub shoulders with the drivers and riders and enjoy a close-up look at their competition cars and motorbikes.

Croft Circuit Manager Tracey Morley commented: “Once again we are committed to providing the public, particularly families, with a great day’s entertainment when they visit us. We are very proud of our line-up of events for 2012, particularly considering we are limited to just 40 days per year of competitive activity here at Croft – of course the BTCC and Nostalgia weekends will attract star billing, but there are plenty of other gems in there for the public, media, officials and competitors to enjoy. We very much look forward to seeing them all during the forthcoming season.”
Roger Albert Clark Rally featured many historic rally cars.

Events begin with the DDMC’s traditional Jack Frost Rally in little more than a week’s time on Sunday 22 January – its competitive timed stages are held within the confines of the Croft venue. Notably, the DDMC’s Northern Sports & Saloon Car race championship which attracted capacity grids in 2011 will be ‘one to watch’ when it twice appears at Croft in 2012. However, the first racing action of the new season at Croft will be on two wheels with the opening rounds of the NEMCRC’s championships on the weekend of 31 March-1 April.

Northern Sports and Saloons brings a wonderfully varied Grid to Croft
All events will run on weekends with the exception of an exciting new addition for 2012 – the Tour Britannia on Thursday 7 June. Britain’s only classic race and rally tour – which draws inspiration from the old Tour of Britain held in the Seventies – includes a mixture of races and regularity tests as part of its three-day route. Predominantly for cars dated pre-1975 the entry will include many iconic makes and models, among them Porsche 911, Aston Martin DB2, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Shelby Cobra, Lotus Elan, Jaguar E-type and Ferrari 250GT and 308.

Two temporarily land based competitors at the Nostalgia Weekend
The summer months bring a real carnival atmosphere to Croft and the region with the annual visit of the UK’s premier motor racing championship, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (23-24 June), plus Croft’s own highly-acclaimed historic retro festival, Nostalgia Weekend (4-5 Aug).

The BTCC’s high-profile will put Croft firmly in the spotlight with live national TV coverage of the event on the ITV4 channel. Notably, the event will offer enthusiasts their only chance to see the bumper-to-bumper BTCC with its spectacular new-look NGTC turbocharged cars in action in the region in 2012. Meanwhile the Nostalgia Weekend will once more provide the public with an opportunity to roll back the years thanks to its enchanting mix of races for historic saloon, single-seater and sportscars from the 50s-70s, off-track entertainment including a display of some 500 classic cars and motorbikes and a stunning line-up of WWII land and air machinery courtesy of Croft Military, plus retro lifestyle attractions featuring catering, fashion and music.
The Nostalgia Weekend has proved to be very popular.

After a successful return to Croft in 2011, the British Rallycross Championship – headlined by its mighty 500bhp supercars – is scheduled to re-appear on Sunday 28 October. Similarly after wowing the Croft crowds last month, the superb Roger Albert Clark Rally featuring many of the favourite cars that starred on the famous RAC Rallies of the Sixties and Seventies will be back on the slightly earlier date of Saturday 24 November.

Croft Circuit: 2012 Fixture List (provisional)

22 Jan - Jack Frost Rally (DDMC)  - £10

31 March-1 April - Motorcycle races (NEMCRC) - £12

28-29 April - Car races (BARC) - £12

19-20 May - Car races (DDMC) - £12

23-24 June - Dunlop BTCC (BARC) - £13/£27

21-22 July - Car races (BARC) - £12

4-5 August - Nostalgia Weekend (HSCC) - £13/£20

18-19 August - Motorcycle races (Derby Phoenix) - £12

8-9 September - Car races (DDMC) - £12

29-30 September - Car races (BARC) - £12

28 October - British Rallycross (TBA) - £15

24 Nov - Roger Albert Clark Rally - £10

TBA - Christmas Stages Rally (NAC) - £10

Prices shown above are on the day/on the gate prices – discounts are available for tickets purchased in advance for BTCC & Nostalgia only. Other ticketing options (weekend and grandstand) are also available – see for full details.

This is the 180th post on Overdrive! Woo!!

Sunday 15 January 2012

Autosport International draws to a close.

Europe’s largest motorsport trade show, Autosport International, concluded on 15 January 2012 at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) following four successful days of business for the show’s exhibitors and trade visitors.
Autosport International opened on 12 January 2012 with a two-day dedicated trade show, Autosport Engineering, while its Trade and Technical Area continued throughout the weekend to provide exhibitors with the opportunity to speak to end users.
One such exhibitor was Swedish firm Öhlins, which launched a host of new suspension products from its Road&Track range and for the historic rally market.
“Autosport International is the best place in Europe for us to meet people from both the motorsport engineering industry and the general public,” said Ola Lennström, Öhlins’ Marketing Communication Manager. “We used to just exhibit on Thursday and Friday, but this area of the show allows us to meet a vast range of new customers, from those involved in world championships to national racers. We haven’t found an equivalent show in Europe.”
Performance cam manufacturer Kent Cams also exhibited for the entirety of Autosport International, using the show as a platform for building on brand awareness.
“We exhibit across the four days to promote our brand to the end user,” said Kent Cams Sales Director, Andy Burns. “We need to be near Autosport Engineering for the serious engineers that attend on the trade-only days, which were very strong this year. A broad spectrum of people visited us and we’ve made some very important contacts. From a business point of view we’ve had a very good show, especially considering the economy.”
Supplier of competition driveline, braking and suspension components, Bremsen Technik, have also had a successful four days during which it exhibited its latest offering within the Trade and Technical Area. The firm supplies Brembo high performance braking systems and used the show to debut its HP2000 Sport Pads.
James Hall, Bremsen Technik’s Quality Engineer, said: “Our main objective for Autosport International was to drive brand and product awareness. We’ve launched new products for the performance road market this year and have had a very good reception. The visitors at the weekend are typically very different from those attending on Thursday and Friday, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised at the professional trade interest on the final two days.”
Despite the show only coming to a close today, plans are already in place for Autosport International 2013, which will take place on 17-20 January 2013 at Birmingham’s NEC.

Minshaw and Harvey take on British GT 2012

A very colourful entry - No surprises over the sponsor of course! (Jon Minshaw owns Demon Tweeks)
Jon Minshaw will mount a major programme in the 2012 British GT Championship with a Porsche 911 GT3R from the Trackspeed team. For his graduation into British GT, the experienced racer of historic machinery will be partnered by Tim Harvey. The entry will be backed by Tweeks Cycles and Demon Tweeks.

Minshaw has enjoyed extensive success in historic racing over the last decade and won the 2011 E-type Challenge, marking the 50th anniversary of the classic model. Now, he is taking on the new challenge of the British GT Championship.

“I had such a good season in historic racing last year that it was difficult to see where to go next,” said Minshaw. “I’ve decided to have a crack at some modern racing. It will be a new challenge and I don’t underestimate the task. I want to try and finish every race and then see where we are at the end of the season.” In recent times, Minshaw has contested the 24-hour races at Silverstone and Dubai.

Harvey, meanwhile, is delighted to be returning to the British GT Championship. “It’s the perfect place for me to race in 2012,” said Harvey. “I wanted to be in a Porsche and with a driver I’d enjoy working with. Jon is a seriously committed racer and Trackspeed has done a very good job with the Porsche.”

While British GT will be the main focus of his season, Minshaw will retain an involvement in historic racing and hopes to fit in several high-profile events with his Jaguar E-type and Lister Jaguar.

Saturday 14 January 2012

Richard Plant confirms 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Plans

Richard Plant certainly does not hold back when he's racing his Porsche!
Richard Plant will be a leading contender in the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB after confirming plans for a second season in the championship with Team Parker Racing.

Twenty-one year old Plant was one of the stars of the 2011 season and finished fifth in the final points. He was best of the newcomers to the category and took his first overall podium at Snetterton in August. He was also one of the stars of the Porsche Carrera World Cup race at the Nurburgring and earned the ‘driver of the weekend’ award for a stunning drive from the back of the 98-car grid to finish eighth among the Carrera Cup field.

“I’m delighted to be driving for Team Parking Racing for a second season,” said Plant. “After the experience I gained last year and the relationship that I built with everyone at the team, it was the perfect fit for a title challenge in 2012. Everything about the Parker squad is first class and I believe we have what it takes to really have a go at winning the series.”

Last year was Plant’s first season of sports car racing after making the switch following a successful single-seater career. He won the Formula Palmer Audi Championship and an FIA Formula Two scholarship in 2009 before being forced to take a sabbatical in 2010 due to an illness in his family.

“Last year included some highs and lows but it definitely exceeded my expectations,” said Plant. “To be top rookie was a great achievement and now I know the circuits, the car and the series I am so much more prepared to go even better this time around. I am working on my fitness and preparation everyday – I can’t wait to get back in the car.”

Team principal Stuart Parker said: “I was really impressed by Richard’s talent and application last year. He is a great lad that everyone gets along with, and he has the steely determination and ability to win races. We hope to provide Richard with the environment to fight for overall honours in 2012 and I’m sure he is capable of doing the business out on track.”

Friday 13 January 2012

Day 2 at Autosport Engineering

Engines on display at Autosport Engineering.

Autosport International’s dedicated trade show, Autosport Engineering, came to a close today following two successful days of product launches and networking opportunities for both exhibitors and attendees.
Gill Sensors returned to the show for 2012 to launch its Ultrasonic Fuel Flow Sensor, which uses proven ultrasonic measurement technology to detect bidirectional fuel flow rate to 0.3% accuracy in real time. The product was initiated at Gill Sensors’ last visit to Autosport International, when a casual meeting developed into the new project. 
“Last time we were here there was interest in one of our products and how it could be adapted to fulfill different requirements,” said Neville Meech, Gill Sensors’ Lead Consultant Engineer. “Now we’re back with our new sensor and a number of governing bodies and major series are interested in using it as part of a control system.
“At Autosport International the right mix of people attend; we’re very pleased with the quality of the show’s audience. The industry awareness of the show is very high and we’ve had visitors from as far away as Japan at the stand, which you don’t get at the other shows we attend.”
Precision machining company Renishaw launched its Selective Laser Melting (SLM) process to the automotive and motorsport industry at Autosport International. The new technology allows for a range of fine metal powders to be melted in tightly controlled atmospheres to manufacture a range of parts.
Renishaw’s UK and Ireland Sales Manager, Mathew Favell, said: “Among the visitors to our stand were Managing Directors and those within the higher levels of company management. This has resulted in very positive enquiries, so we’ve had a good show.”
It’s not just the motorsport industry that is benefiting from Renishaw’s developments: the manufacturing process can also be transferred to the aerospace and medical sectors.
Connector specialist Deutsch used Autosport Engineering as a platform to announce its plans for a new 24-hour assembly area at Servo Interconnect, based in Hastings, UK. The facility will provide a more focused service for teams during the winter development period and into the start of the season.
“We’ve had everyone from those working within Formula One all the way through to Formula Student showing interest,” said Paul Webb, Autosport Sales and Marketing Manager at Deutsch. “The mix has been excellent and we’ve had discussions with people from Australia, South Africa, Eastern Europe and the USA. There’s been a great vibe and a lot of enthusiasm.”
Although Autosport Engineering closed today, trade visitors are still welcomed to Autosport International as networking and business opportunities continue through to Sunday 15 January 2012 in the Trade and Technical Area.
Vistors can apply for trade registration on the day, with tickets costing from £25. For more information visit