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Season Preview - Donington Park 19/20 March

Fri 18 Mar 2016

Following a winter break that thankfully seems shorter every year, the 750 Motor Club’s home circuit season opener looks set to be a sign of the busy 2016 to come, where 13 of our 20 formulae will make their first outing. Included within that line-up are all three of the Club’s new series; the Tegiwa M3 Cup, Cartek Club Enduro and Royal Purple Hot Hatch. All eyes are likely to be on former champions Adam Shepherd (750MC Civic Cup) and Brian Chandler (BRSCC MX-5) in the inaugural M3 race, but opposition will also include two-time Birkett Relay Champion Doug Carter in the Tim Gray Motorsport car, not to mention a host of previous 750 Motor Club formulae frontrunners.
The new Royal Purple Hot Hatch grids comprise three power to weight classes, where it’s likely that a trio of TBR-prepared Fiesta STs in Class A will be a force to be reckoned with upfront, with the Duratec-engined Fords being piloted by Tom Bell, Alistair Camp and former Mighty Minis racer Alice Hughes.
At the sharp end of the first Cartek Club Enduro outing, Matt Cherrington and Martin Gambling will be looking to capitalise on two seasons of Roadsports experience and development of their BMW Z3. The Neville Anderson/Allan Gibson pairing may well offer the pair a significant Class A rivalry, with the former swapping his Vectra for an E36 BMW M3 and the latter in a Series 2 Lotus Exige. In Class B, experienced endurance racer Nick Starkey and VW stalwart Ken Lark look set to be a competitive duo.
Both Saturday and Sunday will see outings for the Demon Tweeks | Yokohama Locost formula, where 37 cars are lined up for the timeless and ultra-competitive championship. Current title holder Danny Andrew is aiming for another successful season in an attempt to claim back-to-back championship wins, but competition will be fierce from 2015 podium regulars Ian Allee and Tim Neat, as well as a host of newcomers and ever-improving top-ten hopefuls.
In the equally large K-Tec Racing Clio 182 Championship, both James Bark and Patrick Fletcher have returned looking to continue the closest of all 2015 club motorsport battles; one that saw the pair finishing equal on points and the former taking the championship title on race wins alone. With a field of carefully regulated Renaults nipping away behind including 2016 sixth place man George Williams and former Stock Hatch frontrunner Scott Sharp, the 2015 Bark/Fletcher pairing won’t be in for an easy ride.
The Locost entry numbers are only surpassed by the Toyota MR2 Championship, which exceeds the already generous Donington track limit with a staggering 48 entries, making for three groups racing against each other in a trio of outings throughout Sunday. 2015 champion Shaun Traynor will be joined not only by last season’s runner-up Kristian White, but also third-placed man Stuart Nichols.
With new title sponsor Ravenol on board for 2016, Formula Vee shows no sign of being surpassed as the leader in affordable single-seater racing. Three time champion Paul Smith will return once again in an AHS Dominator, most likely to the front of a grid where Craig Pollard, David Hughes and Paul Taylor will be hoping to place their Hoosier-shod Bears GACs, as will BRDC Formula 4 hopeful Alex Jones. That said, although the forecast is set to be bright, some rain will surely bring former karting star and wet weather master James Harridge into the podium mix.
You can follow live timing for all the weekend's action here.