Legends Cars racing in the UK rockets into an exciting new era this coming weekend, 6th/7th May, when the hotly anticipated first event of the brand new Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM takes place as part of the British Touring Car Championship’s visit to Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.
More than five months since the creation of the Elite Cup was first announced, a category which will run across three of the BTCC’s race meetings in 2023, organisers of the Legends Cars are thrilled to be able to confirm a grid of well over 30 entries – by far the biggest on the BTCC package.
As well as competing in front of tens of thousands of spectators at Brands’ 1.2-mile Indy Circuit, three races on Saturday and three more on Sunday, the Elite Cup contenders will also benefit from amazing exposure on ITV4 with some of the day two action set to be broadcast on live television.
Heading the entry, which currently sits at 33 registrations, is the current leader of the sister Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres, Will Gibson (Camberley). Getting the year off to a terrific start at Cadwell Park just over a couple of weeks ago, Gibson – last year’s Legends Cars Vice-Champion – won the opening race in Lincolnshire and delivered typical front-running consistency.
Reigning and triple Legends Cars Champion Miles Rudman (Sutton Coldfield) will also be making his second appearance of the year, having made a late entry into the opening day of the Cadwell event to sample his new Se-Van in race conditions. Rudman is this year focusing solely on challenging for the inaugural Elite Cup, but his one-off at Cadwell unsurprisingly produced a podium finish.
Former Superkart star Chris Needham (Altrincham) was lightning quick at Cadwell and only just missed out on taking a race win. Four second places from six races there, and second in the driver standings of the Championship, prove he will be a major contender for Elite Cup honours as well.
John Mickel (Horsham) will unfortunately have to sit out the weekend’s action following his immense accident at Cadwell. Although recovering well, Motorsport UK rules mean he must stay on the sidelines for the time being. So, Mickel Motorsport has drafted in Legends Cars race winner Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) to pilot the No.4 car for the entire Elite Cup – a very welcome return.
Other names who will certainly be in the mix at the sharp end include Marcus Pett (Boston), a double race winner at Cadwell and currently third in the sister Championship, fellow race winner Matt Isherwood (Nantwich) and last year’s Rookie Champion Ben Higgins (Abermule) – son of three-time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins.
Andy Bird (Calne) also claimed two victories at Cadwell Park and was rapid throughout the event, so is certain to be challenging hard again this weekend. Sophomore racers Luke Simmons (Lingfield) and Oli Schlup (Cuckfield) will be ones to watch as will 2000 Legends Cars Champion Rob Fountain (Boston), Charlie Budd (Henley-on-Thames), Nick Bridgeman (Baldock) and Nathan Anthony (Horley).
The start of the Elite Cup brings with it a terrific three-car entry from Ireland too, with POB Racing entering brothers Robert Barrable (Dublin) and Peter Barrable (Swords) as well as Declan Burke (Cashel). Robert is known for his participation in rallying at the highest level, while Peter is a two-time Irish Supercar Champion and Declan is an experienced Short Oval racer.
Mike Schlup (Cuckfield), father of fellow Legends racer Oli, is a mainstay of the category and also arranged the deal for JLM Lubricants to be the headline sponsor of the Elite Cup through his business Kalimex. He will be looking to build on a career best result of fourth from Cadwell.
Notably, former two-time Legends Cars Champion Chris Grieve (Hexham) will be making a very welcome return to Legends action after some 15 years away in the world of motorcycle racing. He will be part of a Beaty Motorsport trio which includes siblings Kieran (Hexham) and Mark (Gosforth).
Phil Cooper – Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM Owner:
“After months of preparing and planning here we are, the start of the all-new Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM. It’s a landmark moment in the long history of Legends Cars here in the UK, to be part of the BTCC package is absolutely incredible and I know I speak for the drivers and teams as well when I say we’re all looking forward to putting on a first class show for the fans at home and trackside.
“We believe our style of racing is tailor-made for the fans of the BTCC, and so a perfect fit for the touring car weekends, and we’re delighted to have this opportunity as part of the biggest motor racing package in the country. I’m very confident we’ll have a good number of new Legends Cars fans by the end of the weekend at Brands!”
Qualifying in Legends Cars racing is more of a free practice, with grids for Heats drawn by ballot and not based on qualifying times. The first Elite Cup session will get underway at 09.10 on Saturday with Heat One beginning at 11.40, Heat Two at 14.15 and the round one Final at 17.00.
On Sunday, Heat One will commence at 10.00, Heat Two – which is set to be live on ITV4 – will start at 13.50 and the round two Final will close the day’s action at 17.55.
Live timing with full circuit commentary will be available through TSL HERE