Brands Hatch’s annual American SpeedFest extravaganza began in fine style on the Indy circuit today, with a busy day’s racing in the summer sun. The afternoon was headlined by the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) which featured a win in the Elite 1 class for reigning double champion Anthony Kumpen as he fought to get his championship challenge back on track.
Kumpen coolly led the Elite 1 NWES race throughout, fending off pressure from championship leader Borja Garcia to take top honours, despite a late safety car interruption. NASCAR Next’s Israeli star Alon Day completed the podium, just ahead of ’91 Formula Ford Festival winner marc Goossens who made his return to the series this weekend.
Former IndyCar star Bruno Junqueira finished in 11th place on his NASCAR debut, whilst 2000 NASCAR Champion Bobby Labonte stormed to 14th with a super late charge up the field on his European racing debut.
Thomas Ferrando won the later Elite 2 NASCAR race from Guillaume Dumarey.
Away from the NASCAR action, there were race wins for Malcolm Blackman (SpeedFest Silhouttes), Keith Wood (Champion of Brands), and Tim Davis (Bernie’s V8).
Away from the racing, the weekend’s other attractions kicked off in earnest too, with waves of sumptuous American cars descending upon the venue to form off-track car displays for the fans to enjoy. Other highlights included a first Brands Hatch appearance for Mickey Mouse’s Hot Doggin Roadster, the star car from Disney Junior’s Mickey and the Roadster Racers.
There were stunt shows aplenty too, including the Demon Drome Wall of Death and world-famous stunt driver Terry Grant, whilst Fast & Furious stuntwoman Zarene Dallas took to the track as well. This year’s event includes a special Fast & Furious Celebration, complete with replica cars from the movies, which will remain at the venue tomorrow.
The circuit hosted a number of special demonstrations too, with a range of stock cars appearing, including a fantastic selection of NASCAR machines from the USA. There was also a single-seater demonstration comprising a host of historic Formula 5000 cars, alongside a stunning Penske PC22 IndyCar – an on-track SpeedFest first!
Tomorrow’s bumper programme will include two more NASCAR races, with the Elite 1 race at 13:35 taking centre stage as the highlight contest of the weekend. Plus, there will be further track demos, stunt shows, and the car displays will step up a gear as the whole venue is filled with stars and stripes-fuelled machinery.
Tickets for American SpeedFest V at Brands Hatch on Sunday 11 June are £29 on the gate but under-13s go free.