When you reach a certain age it is traditional to carry two pairs of spectacles, one for reading and the other with a powerful, roseate tint. Trouble is, the view through the latter isn’t always the way we think we remember it. For while it would be lovely to have a modern equivalent of the British F1 Championship, if you contemplate the modern domestic landscape there is much to relish – and 2021 underlined the point.
The British GT Championship might not have the numeric strength of some European counterparts, but the grids are decent and the machinery is fast and loud. Few things have the presence of a well-driven GT3 at Oulton Park.
Often seen as a posher version of banger racing, the British Touring Car Championship has been consistently strong since Alan Gow returned to the ringmaster’s seat almost 20 years ago. Contact is now less a result of GBH and more a by-product of competitive proximity. At Brands Hatch in October, less than 1sec covered the fastest 23 drivers in qualifying…
The only downside with British GT and BTCC is the homogeneity of the support packages. There was a time when one-make racing felt like a novelty. Now that almost everything has gone down that route, I crave variety.
Happily, there are several options.
Historic racing remains healthy, for the most part. It’s not just the headline meetings (Silverstone Classic, anything at Goodwood), either. Not every Historic Sports Car Club class has strong support, but most do – and the same applies to Masters Historic Racing and the sometimes overlooked Classic Sports Car Club.
One of the highlights of 2021 was the bizarre juxtaposition, at Brands Hatch in August, of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe with a CSCC clubbie. Poor driving by some of the so-called professionals impacted upon the CSCC section of the meeting, causing one of the special saloon/modsports races to be cancelled; a pity, that, for the 40-car field was one of the most engaging things I’ve seen at a UK venue for some time.
Blend the above with the resurgence of the British Rallycross Championship, inset left, the perennial effervescence of the Vintage Sports-Car Club, the strength of support for speed events and the sensory overload of drag racing and it seems the present isn’t too bad a place, leastways in terms of motor sport.