Brooklands is ready to rumble

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Entries have been finalised for The Brooklands Double Twelve Motorsport Festival on 18-19 June, with more than 200 cars signing up for the Festival’s Sprint and Driving Concours competitions. The size of the entry makes it the biggest motoring competition held at Brooklands since 1939.

Organised by the Museum in association with the Vintage Sports-Car Club, the Festival is based on the Museum site and uses parts of the original race track built in 1907 and the modern Mercedes-Benz World circuits.

The Brooklands Double Twelve Motorsport Festival takes its name from the great 24-hour races held at Brooklands  80 years ago and has three main elements: a speed sprint held on the MBWorld circuit on Saturday 18th; a driving concours competition testing both driving ability and car beauty, held over both days; and the Test Hill Challenge, held on Sunday 19th.

Star of the Driving Concours this year will be Corrado Lopresto’s 1942 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Bertone Coupé, which has won both the Villa d’Este Concours in Italy and its class at  the Pebble Beach Concours in California. This unique car has never been seen in the UK before.

Another Concours-winning car appearing at the Festival is the 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux which won last year’s Salon Privé event in London.

The Driving Concours will see twelve classes of pre-war and post-war cars competing on six different Test layouts over the two days. They range from the earliest cars of the Veteran era including one of the smallest cars ever to complete the London to Brighton Run - an 1896 Henriod belonging to Roy Fisher of Eastbourne. This fascinating car was considered old even before the Brooklands Circuit had been built in 1907. The Swiss-built Henriod has another claim to fame in that it was a FIVA Preservation Trophy winner at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2007.

Other classes include a 12-car entry of E-types  while a French car class has a mixed entry of  pre-war and post-war cars including the Brooklands Museum Salmson Gran Sport and a Deutsch-Bonnet DBR5.

The Grand Touring classes include some spectacular coach-built Delahayes, sporty Lagondas, dashing Ferraris and glorious Aston Martins. In the Historic Brooklands classes it will be a treat to see many original pre-war Double Twelve cars competing again on the Brooklands Banking – one of the best-preserved parts of the original race track – with Talbots and Lagondas head-to-head with Bentleys and Frazer Nashes.

A standout  will be the 1930 Mercedes-Benz 710SS Rennsport known as GP10. This supercharged Mercedes was raced by Malcolm Campbell at Brooklands in the hey-day of the circuit, and will join a dozen other Mercedes-Benzes celebrating the 125th birthday of this great German marque.

A class of three-wheeled Morgans should be one of the most hotly-contested along with a dozen small cars being piutted against eacxh other including Mini Coopers and Fiat 500s as well as a Subaru and a Fiat 600 Multipla.

The Sprint will be held on a section of the MBWorld Handling Circuits on the Saturday, with a combination of fast straights and tight corners designed to challenge car and driver equally as they try to beat their handicap target times for the 880m course.

In engine size they range from the 750cc of several Austin Sevens up to the 8 litres of Stanley Mann’s mighty Bentley special. Mirroring the three-wheeled action of the Morgan class in the Driving Concours, at least five more Morgans will be taking part in the sprint, with the fastest of them predicted to be the trio driven by Alistair Rew, Gary Caroline and Charlie Martin.

Of the many entries which raced at Brooklands before World War II, the most famous must be supercharged ERA single-seaters of Donald Day and Terry Crabb, and James Cheyne’s Halford Special, a re-engined Aston Martin which took part in the very first RAC British Grand Prix when it was held at Brooklands in 1926.  Prime examples of the “specials” which are such an established feature of VSCC competition must be the 3.3 litre Ford-engined chain-drive cars of Dougal Cawley and Mark Roper, and increasingly fast car of Formula One engineer Robin Tuluie, who has inserted a 6 litre Menasco aero engine into a Riley chassis.

Last year’s outright winner, Pete Candy, returns with his ultra-quick Riley special, but the leading contender who will be challenging him for the honour this year will be James Baxter with his very powerful Alvis-engined Frazer Nash: this car/driver combination now holds the outright records at several of the VSCC’s other sprint and hillclimb venues.

Sunday afternoon’s Test Hill Challenge on the Museum’s famous concrete strip should finish the weekend in style. Balancing the more usual demonstration runs by a powerful and varied field of cars and motorcycles will be some most unusual downhill runs by suitable-braked vintage cars.

Attention will undoubtedly be grabbed by the attempt by 12 strong men to pull a classic car up the Hill (which has an incline of 1 in 4 at its steepest) on a tow-rope.

Further details of The Brooklands Double Twelve Motorsport Festival 2011 are on the Museum’s website.

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