With the bank holiday weekend ahead of us, it is that time when we all think of what we are going to do to fill the weekend. Thankfully for Motorsport fans and Petrolheads alike, this weekend has a lot to offer. Not only is there British Touring Car action at Thruxton and British GT at Rockingham as well as other club events around the country but on Saturday, there is something a little different you may be interested in checking out.
The Inaugural Warren Classic and Concours will be taking place on the 4th of May at The Warren Golf and Country club in Woodham Walther, near Chelmsford in Essex. On display at the 350 acre estate will be a unique collection of historic and supercars giving visitors the opportunity to get a closer look at some of the most beautiful cars in the world. If that wasn’t enough, the complete Le Mans Jaguar XJR works team will be present along with entertainment such as live music, games, an air display from the ex Red Arrows display team ‘The Blades’ sponsored by HastingsDirect and the chance to win a Mercedes Benz worth £30,000.
The Warren Classic & Supercar Family Experience will also be hosting the 2013 Warren Concours. Showing off a stunning array of Classic cars spanning ten decades of impressive automotive history for all the family young and old to drool over.
But if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, also in attendance will be British Formula One Star Max Chilton and a Marussia Racing Car. “I’m really looking forward to meeting visitors to The Warren Classic and Supercar Family Experience.” Says Max, “The event provides an excellent opportunity for families and car enthusiasts to see a wide selection of the worlds most magnificent automobiles. Both Classic and Supercars will be well represented and, given the Warrens setting, it should be a fantastic day!”
The Warren Golf & Country Club Managing Director, Tony Stanton, said: “It is a fantastic coup for The Warren to get both Max and Marussia along to the event along with the Le Mans XJR works team. These additions, alongside the selection of world-class cars and entertainment, only make for a more spectacular day!”
So if you fancy taking the opportunity to see this fantastic event in its debut year then here’s the details: Parking is free and public entry on the day is from 10.30am, with tickets priced at £10 for adults and £5 for children aged 5-16 and £25 for a family of four. Entry for classic car owners is from 7.30am and priced at £20.00 per car with parking in a dedicated area on a first come basis, plus an invitation to enter a novel ‘Car Park Concours’.
With the 12 hours of Sebring having taken place, the first two rounds of the Formula One world championship and round one of the World Touring Car Championship having passed, the motorsport season is well underway. That means my winter break is also over and this Easter weekend I’ll be back trackside and behind the camera.
Usually I’ve normally got my first round of the year under my belt by now but the wait will no doubt be worth it. I’ll be heading up to Oulton Park for round one of the British GT championship and I cannot wait. I’ve never been to Oulton Park before so I am looking forward to experiencing a new circuit. I missed last year’s round due to other commitments but the heavy rain the experienced there meant I wasn’t too disappointed. Bizarrely it seems to be snow that might cause trouble at the weekend and thermals will be going in the bag with me.
A huge field of gorgeous cars are set to take to the grid this Easter weekend for two 1 hour races at the Cheshire circuit and I’m really looking forward to seeing and photographing them in action. I just hope I haven’t forgotten how to do it, although it’s questionable if I did in the first place! With the track action taking place on the Saturday and the Monday rather than the usual Saturday and Sunday, it will be a long weekend, but it will definitely be a fun and exciting one. I’ll hopefully posting photos on my twitter account – @ChrisGurton and my facebook page over the weekend as well as providing images for The Checkered Flag, so feel free to give me a ‘follow’ or a ‘like’ to keep up to date.
Whilst some head to Cheshire for their racing fix, many will be heading to Kent this weekend as the first round of the British Touring Car Championship takes place at Brands Hatch. Like the British GT, a large field is expected for the BTCC even though a couple of teams have opted out of the first round. 2009 Champion Colin Turkington makes his return to the series in a rather nice looking BMW 1 Series with West Surrey Racing, the team with whom he won his title. I was surprised at how nice the new 1 series looks, although I’m still unsure on the livery. The BTCC media day stirred up a lot of excitement last week and I know the faithful army of fans are chomping at the bit to see them back in action. Let’s hope there are no controversies to kick off the new season and hopefully driving standards will be improved.
On the subject of controversy, I can’t help but mention the Malaysian Grand Prix. Formula One is the biggest motorsport series on the planet which grabs the attention of millions worldwide. Round one in Australia proved to be a good one with seven different leading drivers during the race. Then, the dreaded team orders come into play in Malaysia. Surely round two is a bit early for team orders? Fans want to see racing not a parade of cars that aren’t allowed to overtake because there might be a risk of crashing. All motorsport has risk and that’s probably why so many enjoy it and take part in it. Surely team orders spoils it for the fans, without whom, the sport would be nothing.
I like Mark Webber a lot, he comes across as the complete professional and he’s one of my favourite drivers. He defended his lead superbly and fairly, but it was clear to see Sebastian Vettel was quicker. So why were the team against him overtaking for the lead? Why did they want him to just sit behind him for the remainder of the race? That isn’t what the fans want to see. The Mercedes team proved this point by making Nico Rosberg stay behind Lewis Hamilton despite being faster. Even Lewis himself admitted it wasn’t the way he wanted to achieve his podium finish. I don’t care if there is a chance that contact might be made between two team mates. I want to see racing. These guys are at the pinnacle of the sport through skill and talent. Or maybe some huge financial backing. They should be able to battle it out for honour and pride regardless of what car the other guy is in.
Team orders can ruin motorsport. I can understand towards the end of the season you want to protect your lead drivers chance of championship glory, but with 17 rounds still to go? Let drivers do battle and give the paying fans what they want. If this is going to become a regular occurrence in Formula one, I won’t be giving it much attention in the future. Match fixing is illegal in sport, surely what Red Bull were trying to do was to fix the race result. I can’t blame Vettel for wanting to race. That’s what he’s paid to do after all. Personally, I’d like to see the FIA step in and put a stop to such blatant team orders, again, for the good of the sport and the fans.
It seems that recently some local residents to Mallory Park race circuit have become annoyed and are taking action against the circuit. The reason for their annoyance? Noise.
Yes, that’s right. These morons bought a house near a motor racing circuit and are complaining it is noisy. They now want the circuit to cut the amount of times it is used and impose further noise restrictions. The owner has stated that any further cuts in usage of the circuit will deem the circuit unprofitable and not worth running. An option to sell the circuit for housing is tabled as an alternative if the circuit was to be sold.
The most annoying thing is, what kind of moron buys a house by a race track and then complains it is noisy? Do people buy houses next to Airports, Motorways & Railway lines and then demand the council put a restriction on their usage because they don’t like the noise? I’m sorry, but if you by a house in a noisy area, it is your own fault. Don’t go complaining and ruining other peoples enjoyment of something they love. Just move somewhere else. After all, there are many race fans who’d love a house next to a circuit.
Most of you will know that all race circuits in the UK have to adhere to strict rules and regulations imposed by local authorities regarding usage and noise levels. Curfews are put in place, some race cars have to have silencers fitted to bring them within the noise level set for a race meeting and the likes of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix loop can only be used a certain number of times per year. All this is usually because a load of moaning residents don’t like race tracks to be noisy. Ironically, even Donington Park has curfews and noise limits and that is right next to the East Midlands Airport.
Most of the circuits in this country have been in place for many years. Long before these residents even moved to the areas. Racing on the whole, in past decades was a lot noisier than it is these days too. Some circuits like Silverstone, Goodwood and Snetterton were built on the site of old airfields, which, when in use, would have been noisy too. I really don’t understand the mentality of some people. Do people buy houses next to football stadiums and then phone up the council when the home team scores a goal because the crowd are being too loud? If you ask me, the noise restrictions in place at many circuits already spoil motor racing. I want the cars to be loud. I want to hear engines rumble or scream. In fact, I would love to live in one of the houses that back on to the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Loop and I would be more than happy for it to be used every weekend so I find it unlikely that these factors would de-value a property as there are many other petrol heads like me who would love that.
What’s more, is that these killjoy NIMBY types don’t think of the bigger picture. These circuits bring a vital boost to the local economy. Not only do they provide jobs, but local Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, Pubs, Restaurants, Shops and Business’ all benefit. Thousands of fans flock to race meetings each weekend, many, along with teams, drivers, mechanics and even media such as myself, will often want somewhere local to stay, eat and drink. I often book myself into a local B&B or Hotel and eaten in the Pubs or Restaurants nearby and I have seen teams and fans alike do the same. Yes, some race weekends are bigger that others, but they all help. I’ve tried to book somewhere to stay overnight for some race weekends only to find that every hotel or guesthouse in the vicinity is fully booked. Think about the impact it would have on many people if a circuit was to close down.
A fine example, albeit on a grander scale, is the Isle of Man. Just think of how many tourism business would cease to exist if it wasn’t for the TT and the Rally. The locals embrace it and let’s face it, most have to in order to make a living. And how about LeMans? How many people would even know where that town was, let alone visit if it wasn’t for the 24 hour race? I can imagine tourism, due to motorsport, is one of the biggest sources of income for both these places.
You can’t tell me local businesses in Silverstone Village and the surrounding area would be thriving if the circuit wasn’t there and I imagine takings in the local guesthouses and eating and drinking establishments during the Formula One or Moto GP weekends are sky high! Some places probably even rely on the trade the circuits bring in and if the circuit was to close down so would they. Surely no one wants to see that happening. So it is much more than just a case of a noisy circuit being forced to close and sold off for housing development.
Whilst I appreciate talks over the future of Mallory Park is in the early stages, I sincerely hope that the Circuit does not fall foul of a few moronic locals who should just move away if they don’t like it rather than spoil other people’s enjoyment of something they love. We can’t lose Mallory Park and I hope sense will prevail. Otherwise who knows what the consequences will be for other Circuits and the sport we love.
Save Mallory Park.
I was hoping my latest blog would be along very different lines than this, however, unfortunately I find myself writing down my thoughts about recent events.
You will all have heard about the accident at Duxford Airfield this week involving the Marussia Formula One team and their test driver Maria de Villota, who was taking part in her first test session for them. Unfortunately a collision between the car and a team lorry occurred and Maria was rushed to hospital to receive treatment for her injuries.
Details of the accident were and still are somewhat sketchy, as were the circumstances involved. Added to the fact a number of different views were passed around as to what may of happened or what may have caused the incident and the full details still aren’t fully clear. Despite this, sadly, a number of sexist comments were to appear soon after the event across social media sites about women drivers and their place within motorsport. All in poor taste especially as Maria’s condition was clearly still ‘Critical’.
Maria is a very capable and experienced racing driver and has proved her ability at a number of levels. The breakthrough into her role as test driver for a current Formula One team was and is a big step forward in seeing the return of a female racing driver at the highest level of the sport. This is something that all motorsport fans should be excited about, male or female. Although a number of female racing drivers compete successfully throughout motorsport at all variety of levels, it will probably only be until a female makes a return to the world stage of Formula One, that the majority will start to take notice. Desire Wilson was and is an Icon and a role model for women breaking into the sport for what she has achieved at the top levels and hopefully soon someone else will pick up that baton and perhaps go even further. Along with it, putting the un-called for sexist remarks of the mindless minority to rest.
Having been fortunate enough to have seen Maria in action and to have met her, I can say that her endearing friendliness and personality along with her ability behind the wheel is a great asset to the sport. So it is with sadness that news has emerged that she has lost her right eye. This will more than likely put an end to her Formula One aspirations. Despite this I wish her a speedy recovery and hope this will not put an end to her racing career. I’m sure her determination will spur her on despite this setback. Lord Drayson is proof that you can still race at a high level despite the loss of sight from one eye and no doubt, Maria will continue to inspire many for years to come.
Female racing drivers such as Alice Powell, Pippa Mann & Sabine Schmitz have all proven themselves against their Male counterparts and are all valuable additions to the sport despite having to overcome unnecessary pressure because of their sex. There is no place sexism in a world of equal opportunities and the addition of more females to motorsport will only improve the sport attracting more fans, support and backing to a male dominated arena.
So to the mindless few I refer, rather than criticise and abuse unnecessarily, step out of the dark ages and welcome new additions to the motorsport family and offer the encouragement and support they deserve. After all, it’s for the good of the sport we all love so dear.
I’ve been really busy over the last two or three weeks so unfortunately my blog has been a little bit neglected. I’m sorry if you have been waiting with baited breath for my latest instalment and ramblings but fear not, here it is.
The one topic of conversation recently in the world of motorsport is of course the recent Formula One TV rights. I know I’m a little bit late on this but it has been annoying me greatly. Sky TV now have the rights to show all the races next season live whilst the BBC are allowed to show half of the races live whist the other half will be shown in the evening. Whether these evening shows will be extended highlights or full re-run remains to be seen.
There are a number of issues that really annoy me regarding this deal. Firstly, I don’t have Sky TV. I am not going to pay £45 a month to get it with the sports channels either. Money is tight as it is for a number of people and I am no doubt not the only one who doesn’t have sky and will not be getting it either, so will be missing out. Secondly, It is extremely hard to avoid hearing race results so having to wait, for an evening showing of the race without hearing the race result will be difficult. Particularly if you use facebook and twitter like myself. Thirdly, the BBC coverage is very good and provides the fans with everything. I have read a number of articles from Sky about F1 and they show how little people within the company know about the sport. Lewis Hamilton 2007 champion? I don’t think so. Then they begin to make comparisons between F1 drivers and Footballers. We know Sky are very good with their Football coverage but that is a totally different sport. I don’t want to hear talk about football when watching motorsport. Fourthly, I hate advert breaks and I hate them in the middle of a race. I want to see all the action and not risk missing any whilst some Idiots dance around a bank telling me how great they are with people’s money. Finally, and most importantly, it is taking the sport away from the masses. The real fans who will be missing out.
We all know how expensive it is to see a Formula One race at the circuit so it is only fair that people who genuinely have a passion for it to have easy access to it. Once again Bernie Ecclestone has shown how greedy he is by striking up a deal to make himself even more money. Perhaps he wouldn’t need to if he didn’t splash out on multi-million pound mansions for his two work shy daughters. The sport is becoming very elitist and we see this by the people who walk the grids before each race and are invited into the garages. Hundreds of celebrities adorn VIP access lanyards and flounce about despite not having the faintest idea about KERS, Downforce, Option and Prime or Oversteer. Genuine fans would love a chance to be able to get the experience these celebrities get and now the likes of you and me are being robbed of the chance of even seeing the races live on TV.
Colin Kolles, the boss at Hispania Racing Team told the media what a great deal it was and how Bernie has once again shown how great he is at providing the best for everyone. He even said that it will be better for fans as they would rather watch the race in the evening than get up in the early hours to watch. Don’t tell me what I want you idiot. I do want to get up early and watch the race live. I don’t want to wait until Sunday evening and argue with my other half because she wants to watch Strictly X-Factor or Antiques File on the other Channel. It is not better for the fans at all. What you mean to say Mr Kolles is that it’s better for you because the deal will mean an extra £1m for your cowboy outfit. Think of the rolls of gaffer tape that will buy to hold your crappy cars together. Bernie has been very crafty. The shared TV rights gets around the Concorde Agreement with the teams whilst still lining the deep pockets of his very short tousers. He has thought of what is best for him and not the fans.
Clearly the long term future has not been given much thought to. Viewer numbers will drop, advertisers won’t pay as much, fan support will be lost and it will only have a detrimental effect on the sport. Not just at the top in F1, but right the way through to grass roots level. Yes there are many motorsport fans who love other racing series too and will continue to support them. But to encourage new fans you need exposure. Show them what motorsport is about, draw them in, excite them. How are you going to encourage people into motorsport when the coverage of it is taken away?
I know the deal won’t be torn up and it pains me to think it will be in place until at least 2018. It is a sorry state of affairs and no doubt many World Rally Fans will agree as they have experienced a TV coverage shambles. We have all seen the disgraceful scenes of Rioting throughout Cities in England in the past few days as people destroy communities in greed fuelled frenzies. Take a long hard look at that Mr Ecclestone because this is what you are doing. Destroying Formula One because of your own greed.