Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship and Britcar Production Cup Championship 2012 season preview.

As the MSA endorsed British Endurance Championship enters its second year, there will be a noticeable difference to the 2011 offering – namely, all races on the calendar are scheduled to be standalone races, with none of the grid sharing with the Production Cup that took place at some events during 2011, and previous years. Indeed, at one event there will only be the B.E.C in attendance, namely the Brands Hatch round on 14/15th July as a support event for the Formula 2 and International GT Open weekend.

The 24 hour race is the highlight of the calendar once again, and is scheduled to take place from the 21st-23rd September. Hopefully we’ll see a repeat of the great weather, and huge crowds of last year.

In the B.E.C there will be a noticeable absence from the grid throughout the season –  last year’s Champions. The GT3 Racing squad have moved onto the Blancpain endurance series for 2012.

This will leave some Britcar regulars fighting it out for the title. One such outfit hoping to challenge will be Neil Garner, who is again running the Azteca Motorsport Mosler: “I can confirm Paul White is joining Javier Morcillo and Manuel Cintrano for the 2012 Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship.  Due to his busy work commitments Paul has decided not to run his own team this year. The plan will be to use Manuel’s Mosler for the Britcar season and Paul’s Mosler for the Britcar 24hr.

This will mean I will be running Paul’s car also.  All three drivers will race together in the longer races but Manuel and Paul will take turns to race with Javier in the two-hour races.  Javier obviously will be teaching Paul as well as Manuel to continue to improve his driving as Calum Lockie did last year.

They may well face a challenge from Team Bullrun, who have taken delivery of a new Lotus Evora over the winter. Although an Evora finished 3rd in last years Britcar 24hr race, this will be the first time that the new model will compete for an overall Championship title in the UK. Former Britcar Production Champions Richard Adams and David Green will be joined by 2011 BTCC driver Martin Byford.

Topcats Racing will also be going for the title, with their two Marcos Mantis’ – both in class two for the first time, as due to a tweak in the regulations the orange car can now compete in the same class as the green sister car.

Returning to the B.E.C after a successful first season will be MacG Racing in their Ultima GTR. Richard MacGregor: “With the help of additional Sponsors, the car has been extensively modified during the closed season and the Team have re-engineered numerous aspects of the car to improve performance and reliability, after a maiden season learning about every aspect of the car.” Jonny MacGregor, Technical Director, said “[we are] very confident that the changes will result in a very successful season for the car. We are particularly excited about the relationship we have built with Albins, who are supplying the new sequential transaxle for the car which will overcome the transmission reliability problems we had in 2011, as well as helping to improve our lap times.

A new team will be entering the B.E.C in class three – Redgate / Virgo Motorsport will be competing in a Ginetta G55. Owned by Peter Smith and driven by him and his son Matt. The Smith’s had entered various rounds of Britcar and Britsh GT over the past two seasons, but plan a full campaign this year, including the 24hr race at Silverstone. Peter: “We have shown in 2011 we can be competitive when we have a reliable car and to this end we have changed most elements of our racing over the winter in order to secure better results, we will again be looking to Matt to lead the driving effort as he steadily increases his experience”.

After winning class three, and coming third overall with their Lotus Elise in the Production Cup in 2011, Motionsport are taking on the challenge of the B.E.C – the Lotus to be run in class four, while the team’s new car (a Ferrari F458 Challenge) will compete in class one. Team boss Simon Philips said “So much to organise. Having two cars is like having two kids – it’s not twice as hard, its exponential!

We’re really looking forward to having two tactically very different cars running together this year. The Ferrari is an awesome machine and hopefully as the season goes on Pete and I will learn to extract the most from it. So far we’ve had very little track time with it so we’re not expecting much, but we’ll see

Regular 2011 teammates Philips and Pete Storey will move on to the Ferrari, and the Lotus will be piloted by Ben Gower and Gary Coulson for the bulk of the season. For the first race at Silverstone former Elise Trophy racer Ben Pitch will be standing in for Coulson.

Coming back to Britcar are Team Tiger, who were race winners in the early days of Britcar. Having done some British GT and Historic Racing, they will be back for 2012 in a Marcos Mantis.

Also returning is Harry Handkammer who was also very successful in the early days of Britcar, before it was even a Championship, and will be taking part in 2012 in a former JC Racing BMW E90.

In the Production Cup Championship there will be no reigning Champions either, as 2011 winners APO Sport have also decided to compete in another series, this time in British GT.  Gunning for the title will be the MMC team – headed up by Dave Cox, and once again driving along side his two sons Michael and Jason. Their BMW E46, previously run under the “Race Car Spares” banner but now moved across to the “MMC Motorsport” racing family, will compete in a full season, including the 24hr race. The team will be joined at certain events by their newly purchased Seat Leon Supercopa, which will be driven by Gavin Spencer and a pro co-driver, who will be Tom Ferrier at the opening round at Silverstone.

Synchro Motosport will be taking part less regularly this season, with their Honda Jazz; the focus instead is to take part in the 24 hour race with a Diesel Honda Civic. Alyn JamesThis new build will be a Synchro build with only the body kit from a Honda Racing BTCC. We will run the Jazz in a few rounds in the season but the Civic is our main focus. The Civic will be the first Honda diesel to be raced so we have a lot of backing from Honda UK and Honda Japan.”

The Production Cup is also seeing some previous entrants returning for the 2012 season. 2007 class two champions MGA Racing will be running three Mazda MX5s, one of which will be driven Peter Gillatt, who took part in the early days in a Vectra and who will be competing with his daughter Nicola. “The team managed by Team Owner Mike Gorton, has four drivers currently confirmed; Tony Rogers, Ryan Cefferty, Peter Gillatt and Nicola Gillatt.  The drivers have a varying amount of racing experience, from Nicola who has only recently passed her ARDS test and about to embark on her first season of racing to Tony who has a lot of experience ranging from Formula Fords to Radicals and Ginettas.  The team has a history of endurance racing and success in Britcar, notably Class 2 Champions in 2007, so will hopefully use this experience to great effective and ensure competitive performances throughout the season.

Also returning will be Mike Jordan and his Eurotech Racing squad in a Honda Accord. Lohan Racing are a new team to Britcar this year who will be racing a Mini Cooper S, having previously taken part in the Dunlop Sport Maxx Cup.

Tony Skelton is a name you may or may not be familiar with. He originally started racing back in the 50’s with Bernie Ecclstone’s Connaught Racing Team!

So, the confirmed calendars for both the MSA Britcar Endurance Series and the Britcar Production Cup are:

Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship 2012 Dates

Date/s Circuit Length
24th March Silverstone Grand Prix 180 Minutes
21st April Donington Park 180 Minutes
12th May Snetterton 300 180 Minutes
2nd June Brands Hatch Indy 120 Minutes
23rd June Oulton Park 180 Minutes
14th-15th July Brands Hatch Grand Prix 120 Minutes
18th-19th August Snetterton 300 180 Minutes
2nd – 3rd November Donington Park Night Race 240 Minutes
24th November Brands Hatch Indy (non Championship) 2 x 45 Minutes

Britcar Production Cup Championship 2012 Dates

Date/s Circuit Length
24th March Silverstone Grand Prix 90 Minutes
21st April Donington 90 Minutes
12th May Snetterton 300 90 Minutes
2nd June Brands Hatch Indy 90 Minutes
23rd June Oulton Park 90 Minutes
18th-19th August Snetterton 300 90 Minutes
3rd November Donington 90 Minutes
24th November Brands Hatch Indy Night Race 90 Minutes

For those new to Britcar this season, points are allocated in the same way for the B.E.C as well as the Production Cup. Competitors who completed more than 50% of their class winner will receive full points. Finishers who complete between 25-50% of their class winner will receive half points. Distances will be measured as complete laps relative to the completed laps of the class winner.

The fastest lap achieved in each class in the race will receive 1 point.

The overall team championship will be calculated on the accumulation of all class points throughout 2012. The class team championship will be calculated on an accumulation of their best 6 results throughout the season.

Points are allocated as follows, per round, per class:

1st – 30                         6th – 20                         11th – 10

2nd – 28                       7th – 18                         12th – 8

3rd – 26                         8th – 16                         13th – 6

4th – 24                         9th – 14                         14th – 4

5th – 22                        10th – 12                       15th – 2

With previous competitors returning to Britcar, new faces and existing entrants with new machinery it’s looking like being a very promising year for both the MSA Britcar Endurance Championship, and the Britcar Production Cup.

Words – Alex Ings.

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