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2024 Brands Hatch Masters Festival report
Double winners


Related articles


Matthew Wrigley


Tyrrell-Cosworth 011


Brands Hatch


2024 Masters Historic Festival (May 24, 2023)

Matt Wrigley, Tyrrell 011, 2024 Brands Hatch Masters Festival

At Brands Hatch, Matt Wrigley made amends for his misfortune in Paul Ricard’s opening round of the Masters Racing Legends for 1966-’85 F1 cars, as he won both races in his Tyrrell 011 to move himself back in contention for the championship. Two other double race winners surfaced at this year’s Masters Historic Festival: Keith Frieser won twice in Masters Endurance Legends while Paul Cope took a double treat of spoils in Masters Sports Car Legends.

Now in its 18th year, the Masters Historic Festival – one of two championship rounds organised by Masters Historic Racing themselves – upheld its tradition of fine spring weather as it returned to its equally traditional late-May bank holiday weekend that always coincides with the Monaco GP and the Indy 500. It would be the opening weekend for four of the six Masters grids, but the F1 cars and the more recent Le Mans prototypes had already completed their first round of the championship at Paul Ricard.

Yutaka Toriba, Williams FW07C, 2024 Brands Hatch Masters Festival

Yutaka Toriba did exceptionally well to claim a close second place to Matt Wrigley in the Williams FW07C he had debuted at Monaco. It would be the Japanese driver's first-ever Masters podium. (photo 8W)

There, Matt Wrigley had twice failed to score in the Tyrrell 011 he recently bought from James Hagan, but he was a much happier fellow at Brands Hatch. Following an uneventful free practice session, Wrigley took pole position on Saturday afternoon, which he made good use of in the first race on Sunday morning. However, he faced unexpectedly strong competition from Yutaka Toriba, the Japanese driver who last year competed in a Wolf-Williams FW05 but has now bought a Williams FW07C. The FW05 failed to leave Monaco unscathed, so the FW07C was pushed into making its Masters debut at Brands. Toriba held on to Wrigley throughout the race to secure the first podium of his Masters career.

In the second race later in the day, Toriba ended up in the headlines for the wrong reasons when he connected with Steve Hartley’s leading McLaren MP4/1 in the early stages of the race. Both cars retired to make way for Wrigley and Simon Fish in the Arrows A4, who had been third in the morning and now added a second place to that. Third place to Mark Harrison following a strong run in the Shadow DN9 to hand Harrison his first ever Masters podium. The two wins in the pre-78 class were split between the two Lec CRP1s – outgoing Masters boss Ron Maydon won the morning race, beating Peter Williams, but Williams took the afternoon win, partly because Maydon did not start. Ewen Sergison, who struggled to get his Shadow DN9A going all weekend, followed in the Lecs’ tracks on both occasions.

Steve Brooks, Lola B98/10, 2024 Brands Hatch Masters Festival

Sadly, Steve Brooks was out after a practice crash in his gorgeous ex-Tinseau/Montagny/Terrien DAMS Lola B98/10 with screaming Judd GV4 V10 propulsion. (photo 8W)

In a rather thin MEL field, Keith Frieser had the upper hand in his Zytek 09S, helped by the fact that Steve Brooks crashed his beautiful, newly acquired DAMS Lola B98/10 into the barriers during practice. Nevertheless, Frieser had a tough time in the first race, at the hands of an LMP3 car no less – the Duqueine D08 of rapid youngsters Jack Fabby and Alfie Briggs. However, aided by a abundance of power, the experienced Frieser was not to be outdone. Another ageing driver beating a younger pairing in a younger car was Le Mans veteran Mike Newton who shone in the MG Lola EX264 as he finished on the podium twice and held off rivals Andy Cummings and Matt Graham in their Morgan LMP2 on Sunday afternoon.

Masters Sports Car Legends produced another poorly supported grid, but on the other hand provided the crowd with a set of fresh 2-litre open-top sports cars that hadn’t been seen at Masters before. After a 20-year absence, Guy Jeynes Ellis returned with a gorgeous GRD 74S in which Matt Manderson initially led the field in Saturday’s race before its owner guided the car to third place. Both wins went to Paul Cope’s March 75S, with James Claridge’s Lola T296 in its wake on Saturday. Manderson’s stop-and-go on Sunday denied the GRD second place on Sunday but this was immediately taken by the McLaren M1B of John Spiers and Nigel Greensall. This car had been unlucky on the previous day, but after an overnight repair it finished second to win the pre-66 class. Saturday’s class win went to the Cooper Monaco ‘King Cobra’ of veterans Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger.

Dan Eagling, Ginetta G4R, 2024 Brands Hatch Masters Festival

Dan Eagling performed some serious giant-killing with his nimble Ginetta G4R. (photo 8W)

Ending the first day of competition, the Masters Gentlemen Drivers race for pre-66 GT cars proved to be a barnstormer right until the end, as four TVR Griffiths led by John Davison set the pace early on, but Dan Eagling’s quick little Ginetta G4R went on to beat all the big cars following a strong second stint. Davison finished second but the TVRs of Mike Whitaker and Harry Barton, who had battled throughout the race, had to admit defeat to the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé of Roy Alderslade and Andrew Jordan, thanks to a fine comeback drive by multiple BTCC champion Jordan.

Another big name with a BTCC past dominated proceedings in Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars. As the series’ defending champion, Sam Tordoff opened his 2024 account in style, guiding his Ford Falcon from pole to victory. Michael Whitaker Jnr proved to be Tordoff’s closest challenger in the first of the Ford Mustangs, but the young Whitaker was more worried about what appeared in his mirrors when the similar Mustang of John Spiers and Nigel Greensall came on strong towards the end. John Davison once again featured well in this race, finishing fourth in another Mustang, while Victor Cullen and Nick Swift shone in their respective classes, as young Cullen stormed to fifth overall in his Cortina, while Mini specialist Swift dominated his class to finish sixth overall.

James Claridge, Lola T296, 2024 Brands Hatch Masters Festival

On Saturday, James Claridge took a strong second in Masters Sports Car Legends, as the nearest challenger to Paul Cope's low-line March 75S, but the Lola T296 dropped out on Sunday. (photo 8W)

The Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo continued to reign supreme in the two races of the Masters GT Trophy, even though it is now open to older GT3 cars. Reigning champion Craig Wilkins won the first race, but his Super Trofeo suffered a problem at the start of the second race, leaving Wilkins to watch from the sidelines. This left Neil Glover and Aaron Scott to take another unchallenged win for the Huracán. However, the GT3 cars did give the fastest one-make GT car of all time some stronger competition than the Porsche Cup and Ferrari Challenge cars managed to last year. Especially George Haynes and Adam Sharpe were right in the mix with their Mosler MT900, while Richard Meins also snatched a podium spot in his BMW Z4 GT3.

As was the case last year, the six Masters grids were completed by the 1970s touring cars in the HRDC’s Gerry Marshall Trophy. Michael Whitaker Jnr’s Rover SD1 proved to be strongest of the bunch, even though John Spiers/Nigel Greensall’s Ford Capri and father Mike Whitaker’s Rover offered stiff opposition. Greensall closed to within three tenths, with Whitaker Snr and Charles Rainford in another Capri crossing the line right in his wake.

The full Brands Hatch Masters Festival event gallery