Once again assuming its traditional late-May spot on the historic calendar, the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch found itself blessed with bright sun throughout both days, which seems to be another tradition for this race weekend. For many drivers the fair weather provoked a spontaneous variation on Roy Salvadori’s famous words about Goodwood on a summer’s day: “Brands GP on a sunny day in spring, what more could you wish for?” All six Masters grids were present in a packed timetable, with the HRDC Gerry Marshall Trophy acting as a Sunday support act that proved very popular with the crowd.
With the full breadth of Masters grids present, there wasn’t much space left in the programme anyway, as on Saturday the entire race day was filled with Masters sessions and races. Turnout for the Masters Racing Legends, Gentlemen Drivers and Pre-‘66 Touring Cars grids was excellent, but numbers were down for Masters Sports Car Legends, Masters Endurance Legends and the fledgling Masters GT Trophy series. Mattijs Diepraam reports…
With the Masters Racing Legends having their practice and qualifying sessions on the Saturday, the Sunday programme was treated to a 1966-‘85 Formula One race double – one in the morning, one later in the afternoon. Having already starred at Hockenheim, Mark Hazell was on it once again, truly clicking with his OC Racing-fettled Williams FW07B, as he followed up his two German podium finishes with a proper pole position before soaking up endless pressure from Nick Padmore’s Lotus 77 to win the first race.
Steve Hartley (McLaren MP4/1) was delighted to find himself on pole position on the reversed grid for the first five in the afternoon race. Leading away from the lights, he seemed to have the win sealed, only to go off at the same spot as in the morning! As the first of the chasers, a pleasantly surprised Nick Padmore, said thank you and added another surprise overall win for a pre-‘78 car after pulling off a similar coup at Hockenheim.
Within the small 10-car entry for the Masters Endurance Legends all eyes were on the trio of Peugeot 90Xs in which Steve Brooks had proved the best at the previous round at Hockenheim. Brooks continued the theme at Brands with a shockingly convincing pole time before duly running off with the win in the first race. His main rival Stuart Wiltshire got closer in the race than in qualifying, but Brooks was hampered by having lost fifth gear towards the end, a malady that his OC Racing team could not cure in time for the second race, leaving Wiltshire to claim a hollow victory in the second race.
In a break from their traditional single 60-minute race, the Masters Sports Car Legends ran two 40-minute races instead, one on each day. Despite the additional attraction, the series failed to pull in more cars than the 14 hat eventually started, some of which proved troublesome in qualifying already.
Of the 35 cars entered, 30 made the start for the Masters Gentlemen Drivers race for pre-‘66 GT cars that, along with its qualifying session, bookended Saturday’s action. It would prove to be a fraught race with so many incidents that three lengthy safety-car periods were needed in the 90-minute race, each time to clean up the mess.
n the new Masters GT Trophy series for out-of-homologation Trofeo, Challenge, Cup and GT4 cars, Craig Wilkins led home a pair of Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo 1-2-3s.
40 cars took to the track in the Masters Pre-‘66 Touring Car bonanza that was presented straight after Sunday lunch. Sam Tordoff had taken qualifying by storm and unsurprisingly opened up a big lead in his bright purple Ford Falcon run by fellow former BTCC star Andrew Jordan. But with his elite-driver time penalty coming into effect at the stops, teammate Mike Whitaker Jr who had run Tordoff closest in his Mustang was able to claim the lead. Tordoff clawed back the deficit in his second stint to win by 3.6 seconds.
The Sunday was opened as well as closed by the HRDC Gerry Marshall Trophy for seventies touring cars, as they proceeded to repeat their famous Goodwood Members’ Meeting trick for a crowd that stayed on to watch it to the very end.
Get the full report in our July 2023 issue….
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