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Round 3 Report: Brands GP 2023

For what has now become an annual trip to the rarely-used Brands Hatch GP circuit, we once again joined Bernie’s V8s for a packed shared-grid race on the Kent circuit.

New to the series this round were Andrew Richardson – sharing Neal Blake’s Boxster – Richard Neall in a Boxster (sadly a DNF in the race) and Lucas Hutchings in another SP2 Boxster.

A total of 24 Porsches lined up with Bernie’s V8 for qualifying under mostly dry conditions, 15 of them Boxsters. Kenn an Hauen’s Supercharged 911SC was forced to retire due to oil smoke – he and his team were sadly unable to fix the car for the afternoon race. The quickest CALM car was Lucas Hutchings who took fourth overall while still sporting a novice cross – he’s surely a guy to watch out for in future rounds!

In contrast to qualifying, the heavens opened while we assembled 44 cars for the race – skipping the LeMans style start this time due to a significant shortage of marshals, apparently due to some important race elsewhere in the UK on the same weekend. Two green flag laps and a rolling start and it was a miracle that all of the cars made it through Turn 1 – and indeed the entire circuit – for the first lap as the rain continued.

The SP1 Cayman span at Surtees on the second lap. By lap 3, Christian Walker was up to 5th overall, leading a mass of Boxsters.

The Yilmaz Boxster had a big moment at Surtees shortly followed by the 924 of Hugh Peart.

Karl Rossin lead class SP4 from the start, although Peart was within a second of him at one point before dropping back. Rossin also encountered a slippery Surtees and span but recovered quickly enough to not lose his lead.

In the closing 10 minutes, with the track slowly drying out, Hutchings chased down Jon Walker for the CALM lead, while there was close racing between Graham Heard, Sam and Christian Walker for next few places until Sam got ahead of this group.

By the final lap, Hutchings had made it past Jon Walker to take the SP2 win, with an ecstatic Sam Callahan 2nd.

Jon Walker received a post-race 30 second penalty for an under-timed pitstop, relegating him to 5th in class – although he did also land overall fastest lap. Jamie McHugh piloted his 968 to win SP3.

The “Best Turned Out” award, sponsored by Rowe Oils, went to Mark Callahan as his car was turned out beautifully after a winter’s build from a road car – great job. And “Driver of the Day” was Lucas Hutchings who finished P3 as well as winning, with his final laps over 3 seconds faster than the winner in the closing stages.

From the 44-car grid, Porsches finished in p1, 3, 4, 5 & 6: Invitation class entrant Kenn in his 911 supercharged, Class top threes were:

  • SP1 Paul Hicks and Trevor Bale in their Cayman

  • SP2 P1 Lucas P2, Sam Callahan. P3 Christian Walker

  • SP3 P1 Jamie McHugh. P2 Dan Crego. P3 Tom McHugh. Jamie and Dan both also competed in the 750 Roadsports 45 minute race straight after ours – true heavyweights!

  • SP4 P1 Karlio, going great in the wet against far superior machinery, P2 924 stalwart Hugh Peart on Fudge’s blue rocket.

Some quotes from after the race:

Clayton Sampson (SP4 968): In a ridiculous stunt, Ed and I entered Bernie’s AND Calm. Ed started in our Mustang and I started in the 968. We then swapped cars in the pit stop! It meant that the Mustang was stopped for 1:48mins because we were completely out of sync. Changing from a nimble car with strong brakes to a one with a ridiculous engine and no brakes, was challenging to say the least. But it wasn’t half fun!

Sam Callahan (SP2 968 Boxster): I’d like to mention how special this weekend was & was always going to be to me. This Brands Hatch GP round marked the first ever event where I’ve been fortunate enough to share a motorsport grid with Dad (Mark Callahan). What made the ending so much better was that I crossed the line almost side by side with Dad, which was a special experience all of it’s own! A great day, a perfect weekend & I can’t wait to do it all again.

Garry Goodwin (SP2 968 Boxster): If qualifying was a great success (P2 in class), our race was the opposite. We finished down in 25th place, 2 laps down on the leaders. The silver lining was a final novice driver race signature for (brother) Mike which will allow him upgrade his licence to ‘Race National’ level & is now eligible to race at Spa later in the year.

Words: Chris Valentine with contributions from John Broadley and Philip Waters; photos: Sean Mulcahy. Below is a selection of Sean’s photos – the entire collection is displayed on Flickr.

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