Spring has sprung, pre-season testing is complete and it’s almost time to go racing once again in the all-action Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres – with rounds one and two of the 2023 season taking place next weekend, 15th/16th April, at Cadwell Park in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
The glorious 2.2-mile track, one of the UK’s most unique and picturesque motorsport venues, returns to the Legends Cars calendar for the first time since the beginning of the 2021 season and, with a grid of almost 30 drivers expected, absolutely sensational action is guaranteed.
Leading the entry for the championship curtain-raiser is last year’s Vice-Champion Will Gibson (Camberley), the winningest driver from 2022 with 18 race victories. With his familiar No.57 car sporting a striking new orange and black livery this season in deference to a new headline sponsor, Gibson means business as he eyes his maiden Legends Cars crown.
One of his chief challengers will be the redoubtable John Mickel (Horsham), the five-time former champion embarking on another attempt to better his own record and claim a super sixth Legends Cars title. He finished third overall last season, with six wins, and can never be discounted.
Lincolnshire locals will be able to cheer on not one but two drivers from the Boston area – the very rapid and ever-improving Marcus Pett and equally quick former champion Rob Fountain, who won the Legends Cars crown all the way back in 2000.
Fountain has been back in Legends Cars for a few seasons now, having been away from competition for 18 years prior to that, while Pett achieved a career best top four championship finish last year and the multiple race winner is targeting a push into the coveted top three.
Other series regulars who will be almost certainly be in the mix near the sharp end next weekend include Nick Bridgeman (Baldock), who claimed his first race win at Cadwell two years ago, rising star Charlie Budd (Henley-on-Thames) and the unmistakable Se-Van of Nathan Anthony (Horley)
Multiple race winner Connor Mills (Upminster) is back after a couple of years away from action and there is a warm Legends Cars welcome for championship Rookies Tyler Read (Weedon), Nick Price (March) and Andrew Rogerson (Maidenhead).
Last year’s Rookie Champion Ben Higgins (Abermule) will be another to keep a close eye on, and he will have a unique challenge next weekend – the youngster to be joined on the grid by his famous father Mark, a professional Hollywood stunt driver and three-time British Rally Champion.
Higgins Snr will be racing a third Beaty Motorsport-entered car, joining racing brothers Kieran Beaty (Hexham) and Mark Beaty (Gosforth), and more inter-family rivalry will be on display with father and son duo Mike Schlup (Cuckfield) and Oli Schlup (Cuckfield). Luke Simmons (Lingfield), a major rival to Schlup Jnr and Higgins Jnr last year in the Rookie Cup, is also a very welcome returnee.
Still the quality continues with the likes of former Rookie Champion Andy Bird (Calne), race winner Chris Needham (Altrincham), fellow winner Matt Isherwood (Nantwich) and Gareth Sheridan (Altrincham) all part of the Cadwell entry. Needham and Sheridan were 2022 Team Car Champions.
Add in too James Newbery (Burgess Hill), Daniel Pooley (March), Lenny Woodcock (Chichester), Matt Knight (Shoreham-by-Sea) and Team Car racers Florian Robin (Amersham) and Eduardo Gago (Windsor) and, in short, it is an outstanding entry.
Phil Cooper – Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres Owner:
“It seems like a very long time since the final chequered flag of 2022 fell, so next weekend can’t come soon enough. We’ve got a fantastic entry for Cadwell Park, one of the most unique circuits of any in the UK, and a tremendous mix of experienced race winners and front-runners, improving returnees and some exciting newcomers to Legends.
“As always we have six races for the spectators to enjoy and we can’t wait to see how the first two rounds of the season unfold, and who will make the early running in the championship. We’re set for a very exciting weekend in Lincolnshire and, as ever, we’ll be welcoming everyone to the Legends Cars paddock to meet the drivers and look at the cars. We’re not known as the friendliest paddock in UK motorsport for nothing!”
Qualifying for the opening event of the new Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres season is set to begin at 09.50 on Saturday, 15th April, with Heat One starting at 12.20, Heat Two commencing at 14.55 and the round one Final following at 17.25. On Sunday, 16th April, round two Heat One will start at 09.30, Heat Two at 13.35 and the Final at 16.35.