Rounds 5,6 & 7 – PREVIEW
Brands Hatch Indy – 18th & 19th June 2022
This weekend’s meeting at Brands Hatch hosts rounds five, six and seven of this year’s TCR UK Championship and, with summer temperatures on the rise, it’s not just the weather that’s going to be hot!
Welcoming more competitors than ever this year, 24 cars will line up on the grid for the first of the three races on Saturday and, with the 1.208-mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit having a reputation for inducing close racing, the spectacle of these equally matched touring cars is definitely going to warm things up.
After four races so far this season – two at Oulton Park in April and two at Donington Park in May – the scene is well and truly set for this weekend.
Chris Smiley got his 2022 TCR UK campaign off to a perfect start at Oulton Park, by taking his Restart Racing Honda Civic Type R FK7 from pole position to victory in round one, the former BTCC front-runner making a seamless transition to the TCR UK grid. Later that day, round two witnessed history in the making, when Jessica Hawkins became the first British woman to claim overall victory in a touring car race, the Area Motorsport by FastR driver taking her CUPRA from second on the grid to an emphatic win ahead of the 24-car field.
The racing continued to be exceptionally close at Donington, where Max Hart delivered a perfect performance. Driving his JamSport Racing Hyundai i30N he took a commanding victory in rounds three and four, set the fastest lap in both races and in doing so, increased his lead in the championship standings.
Currently enjoying a 44-points advantage, Hart will head to Brands Hatch as the man to beat and if the form shown by so many drivers in the opening four rounds is anything to go by, he’s going to come under a great deal of pressure.
With Hart and Smiley first and second in the standings, it could be third-placed Isaac Smith in his Race Car Consultants VW Golf GTi or fourth-placed Lewis Kent who rises to the challenge. The TCR UK winner over the previous two seasons is getting to grips with his new-for 2022 Essex & Kent Motorsport prepared Hyundai Veloster N and having taken a race win at Brands last year, will be a man on a mission this weekend.
Next up are the two Area Motorsport with FastR CUPRA drivers Jamie Tonks and Jessica Hawkins – both showing they are capable of podiums and wins. They are followed in the standings by another Area Motorsport CUPRA driver, last year’s runner-up Bruce Winfield. Behind him in eighth, driving his Bond-It with MPHR Audi RS3 LMS, Bradley Hutchinson showed impressive pace at Donington and is another to watch this weekend.
For Essex & Kent Hyundai i30N driver Bradley Kent, his luck can only get better after a frustrating start to his season. Being another winner when the championship visited Brands Hatch last year, he’ll be looking to put his title hopes back on track by scoring well in all three races.
In addition to the battle for overall honours, 2022 has seen the introduction of the Tom Walker Memorial Trophy for drivers who have yet to set foot on the podium or are new to the championship this season. Having not competed in the championship previously, race winners Smiley and Hawkins collected the spoils for rounds one and two respectively, with Smith and Smiley the winners in rounds three and four at Donington.
Adding to the line-up of silverware, the Goodyear Diamond Trophy for drivers aged 40 and over has also been introduced this season, with Power Maxed Racing CUPRA TCR driver Russell Joyce securing the awards on both occasions at Oulton Park. Joyce did it again in round three, whereas Andy Wilmot took the spoils in round four.
The TCR action gets underway at Brands Hatch with a 30-minute Qualifying session starting at 13.50 on Saturday, followed by the first 25-minute race of the weekend at 12.50. Sunday’s two rounds get the green light at 11.05 and 14.35 respectively.
Sunday’s action can be watched live on the following platforms:
TCR UK is supported by Goodyear, Maximum Networks, Liqui Moly, Corbeau, MaxiCloud Hosted Telephony, Co-ordSport, Berkshire Turbo, Joyce Design, Shepherd Compello Motorsport Insurance, Sunoco UK and Woya Digital. The Championship is administered by Club Time Attack.