Britain’s very best big grid racing is back to thrill at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit once again little over a week from now, when the Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres resumes for rounds three and four of the campaign as part of the 10th anniversary American Speedfest event.
Always one of the true highlight meetings on the calendar, with thousands of fans in attendance, this year’s instalment of the celebration of all things Americana will be no different. With an entry close to 30 cars set to do battle in the six Legends Cars races too, superb action is guaranteed.
Following a lengthy two month break in the championship since the dramatic season-opener at Cadwell Park, albeit with the sister Legends Cars Elite Cup with JLM having got underway last month in the meantime, drivers and teams are itching to be back on track as summer well and truly arrives.
Leading the way at the top of the points table is last year’s Vice-Champion Will Gibson (Camberley), a very consistent weekend in Lincolnshire back in April, including victory in the season opening race, means he is 140 points clear of closest challenger Chris Needham (Altrincham).
Needham, who won the ‘Team Car’ title last year with Gareth Sheridan (Altrincham), bagged four second places at Cadwell on a very impressive weekend and he is 55 points ahead of Marcus Pett (Boston) who was also very strong, taking two excellent race wins along the way.
Matt Isherwood (Nantwich) is fourth in the championship and another of the Cadwell winners, but won’t be in action at Brands, while 2022 Rookie Champion Ben Higgins (Abermule), who made a terrific start to his sophomore year, is a whisker behind in fifth.
The other Cadwell winner was Andy Bird (Calne), he took a pair of tremendous victories and is sixth in the driver standings just 15 points shy of Higgins. Completing the top 10 in the points table are Luke Simmons (Lingfield), Oli Schlup (Cuckfield), former Legends Cars Champion Rob Fountain (Boston) and Charlie Budd (Henley-on-Thames).
This year’s Rookie battle already looks very finely poised, with only 10 points currently separating Tyler Read (Weedon) and Andrew Rogerson (Maidenhead). Rogerson took four of the class wins at Cadwell, Read two, but the latter’s overall consistency just gives him the edge in the points battle.
American Speedfest will mark the first championship outing of the year for Jack Parker (Wolverhampton), who stood in for the injured John Mickel (Horsham) in the recent Elite Cup season-opener and claimed two wins. Even though Mickel has recovered from his Cadwell Park accident, the No.4 entry is now a ‘Team Car’ with Parker racing next weekend and for the remainder of the Elite Cup.
Others to watch out for include Nick Bridgeman (Baldock), Mark Beaty (Gosforth), Mike Schlup (Cuckfield) and Matt Knight (Shoreham by Sea) who will all be looking to make progress up the championship table too.
For those who aren’t able to make it trackside for American Speedfest, live timing will be available as usual via TSL Timing online and all six of the races will be filmed by Digitex TV and featured at a later date on the Legends Cars YouTube channel – sponsored by allgrowth Ltd.
Don’t forget too, grids in Legends Cars racing are drawn by ballot rather than being based on the result of qualifying. The starting order of Heat One each day is then reversed for Heat Two, with the highest points scorers over the course of the two races then starting each round’s Final at the back. That’s right, amazing wheel-to-wheel and bumper-to-bumper action is a certainty in every race!
Phil Cooper – Legends Cars Championship with MRF Tyres Owner:
“It really does feel like an age since we got the season underway at Cadwell Park, so everyone is very excited the championship is resuming only a week from now. American Speedfest is always one of the highlight events of our year as well, and we’re looking forward to being back at Brands Hatch for this incredibly unique festival which always has an amazing atmosphere.
“Will Gibson made the early running with a typically consistent weekend at Cadwell, but there are some very quick and capable drivers queuing up behind including Chris Needham, Marcus Pett, young Ben Higgins and Andy Bird. It’ll be good to see Jack Parker making his first championship appearance of the year as well in the No.4 car. He was very quick in the Elite Cup.”
Qualifying will take place at 10.45 on Saturday, 17th June, with Heat One following at 12.35, Heat Two at 15.05 and the round three Final at 18.05. On Sunday, 18th June, Heat One will start at 10.50, Heat Two at 14.55 and the round four Final at 18.00.
The Legends Cars Championship is supported by MRF Tyres, allgrowth Ltd, Carless, Vital Equipment and JLM Lubricants.
2023 Legends Cars Championship Points (after Rd2):
1st Will Gibson, 970pts; 2nd Chris Needham, 830pts; 3rd Marcus Pett, 775pts;
4th Matt Isherwood, 695pts; 5th Ben Higgins, 690pts; 6th Andy Bird, 675pts