Brands Hatch will offer fans a rare chance to bask in grand prix action this weekend [17-18 July] as cars from motorsport's golden age turn their wheels in anger on the legendary 2.7mile GP circuit as part of the Historic Sports Car Club's annual Classic Superprix.

Among the many attractions at the Kent circuit this weekend will be the Derek Bell Trophy race, which is expected to feature no fewer than a dozen ex-Formula One and F5000 cars, including the March 76A of Tim Barry and the March 761 of Peter Williams, as well as representatives from the Lotus, Lola and Brabham marques. However, while the big single-seaters would be an attraction in their own right, the race format ensures that they will be sharing centre stage with a host of similarly brutish F2, F3 and Formula Atlantic machinery on Saturday and Sunday.

The Derek Bell Series covers a wide variety of competition cars - ranging from F1 and F5000 right down to Formula Ford 2000 and Super Vee. Understanding that a 'catch-all' title was required to encompass that variety, the HSCC decided to honour sportscar legend Derek Bell who, prior to his ultra-successful prototype career, had dabbled equally successfully in many of those single-seater categories in the series' defining period between 1972-78..

The mid-Seventies 'era' was witness to many rule changes within motorsport and, consequently, also saw designers coming up with new and innovative ideas. As a result, all of the cars included under the Derek Bell Series umbrella race to their own specific regulations from the period. They also get to perform on the circuits where they raced in their pomp and, although not mandatory, many return to the track in their original liveries.

The Derek Bell Series is ranked among the fastest club championships in the UK - particularly at the front of the field where the F1 and F5000 cars provide a stirring spectacle - and is contested over the entire season. Its quirky nature, however, is completed by the fact that the eventual trophy winner is chosen by committee rather than on any point system. This allows members keen to race in other arenas the option to dip in and out of the series, as well as giving those in lesser powered machinery a chance to achieve something for their relative performances.

According to HSCC archives, cars in the series have previously been driven by grand prix greats such as F1 champions Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet, as well as contemporaries including Eddie Cheever, Jaques Lafitte, Gilles Villeneuve and, of course, Derek Bell. Marques on show include such evocative names as March, Chevron, Surtees, Lola, Brabham, Ensign, Reynard, Ralt, Lotus and McLaren.

The Derek Bell Series is just one of the attractions on show at Brands this weekend, however, and is complemented by, amongst others, the awesome cars of the 1970s Can-Am era, which will race in the Orwell Supersports Cup, and the iconic sportscars of the 1980s, competing in the Group C/GTP series. One of the stars of the show will be the McLaren M8F of Richard Eyre, who will be hoping to go one better than McLaren's modern-day star Kimi Raikkonen, who came second in last Sunday's GP at Silverstone.

The event will also feature a host of off-track attractions such as 'hot rides' in a rally car, an aerobatics display and a funfair, as well as a special reunion for Brands Hatch managing director Jonathan Palmer, who will be reunited with the Porsche 956 in which he romped to victory in the 1984 Brands Hatch 1000km race.

Palmer won the race, a round of the World Endurance Championship, by three clear laps in what was, at the time, the fastest international sportscar race ever run at Brands. He will complete several demonstration laps in the car during the Superprix.

Classic Superprix tickets cost ?10 per adult per day, while children aged 15 and under go free. However, circuit owners Motorsport Vision and Crash.Net have teamed up to offer lucky readers the chance to attend for free.....

Enter Now!