Organisers of the MRF Legends Cars Championship are delighted to reveal the first leaderboard in the battle for the category’s mouthwatering British Touring Car Championship prize test, the early lead being held by Brands Hatch double race winner Steve Whitelegg (Bury).
Provided by top podium-finishing BTCC team Handy Motorsport, the prize test at the wheel of the squad’s rapid Toyota Avensis is an unprecedented offering in club-level racing and also includes key tuition from touring car ace Rob Austin.
Deliberately choosing to establish a standalone ‘league table’ for the prize, not based on the championship standings, points are awarded on performance, sportsmanship and presentation meaning any driver has the chance to win, not just the quickest or most successful on track.
Responsibility for the points allocation falls to an esteemed panel of judges, each of whom has both touring car and Legends Cars experience – namely, aforementioned Handy racer Rob Austin, fellow BTCC racer Dave Newsham and ex-BTCC driver, team principal of Handy Motorsport, Simon Belcher.
Whitelegg, who competes with the WTBS Motorsport squad, holds a single point lead in the prize league table following the opening event of the season ahead of Ben Power (Guilsfield, Powys) and Nathan Anthony (Horley, Surrey) who are currently tied for second. Sean Smith (High Wycombe) is another point shy in fourth.
“When the touring car prize test was announced I thought it was fantastic and I’d love to have the opportunity to test a BTCC car”, said 57-year-old Whitelegg, “It’s a long season and I know from previous years a lot can happen, but if we’re in this position with a round to go I’ll be very happy.
“Obviously, a lot of it is down to the hard work the team put in back at base and the preparation of the cars, it’s relentless really. All of the cars have a good look, they’re competitive and the work is obviously paying off so far. I’ve never been in a position financially to consider touring cars, plus I’m a bit long in the tooth now. You’re only as old as you feel, though, and I feel 21 at the minute!”
Phil Cooper, owner of the MRF Legends Cars Championship, added: “We’re absolutely elated to be able to offer this fantastic prize thanks to the support of Simon [Belcher] and everyone at Handy Motorsport, and equally delighted to have such a fantastic judging panel with Rob, Dave and Simon.
“Steve Whitelegg is an extremely deserving early leader in the prize league table and, as the top 10 clearly shows, this isn’t just about race wins and success on track. There are a whole range of factors taken into consideration to ensure every competitor has a realistic chance of potentially winning the incredible prize at the end of the season.”
Anglesey in North Wales will be the venue for the second event of the 2017 MRF Legends Cars Championship over the weekend 22nd/23rd April.
BTCC Prize League Table
1st Steve Whitelegg, 60pts; =2nd Ben Power & Nathan Anthony, 59pts; 4th Sean Smith, 58pts;
5th Jack Parker, 55pts; 6th Jean-Michel Poncelet, 52pts; =7th John Mickel/Tom Grainger/Gary Whitelegg, 50pts; =10th Paul Simmons/Miles Rudman, 49pts