Britain’s best big grid racing series, the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres, has begun its 25th anniversary year with a bang at the annual Autosport International Show having this morning, Friday, 11th January, announced an even bigger prize package for the 2019 season.
Through its partnership with race-winning British Touring Car Championship squad HMS Racing, whose podium finishing Alfa Romeo Giulietta takes centre-stage on the Legends Cars stand in Hall 2 at Birmingham NEC, the Legends series will award a ‘touring car experience’ to at least 10 drivers.
In a change to the qualifying format of the prize offered for the past couple of years by Legends Cars and HMS Racing, the top 10 drivers in the overall points at the end of the penultimate event of 2019 – the race meeting at Pembrey on 5th/6th October – will be invited onto the specially arranged day.
Should the lead ‘Rookie’ driver at that point of the season actually sit outside the top 10 in the championship standings, he/she will also be part of the touring car prize and so a maximum of 11 competitors will get to sample a day with HMS Racing at a yet-to-be-confirmed circuit.
Alongside high-speed passenger laps in the squad’s stunning Alfa Romeo with multiple BTCC race winner Rob Austin, the Legends Cars drivers will also get to see behind-the-scenes with HMS to understand the inner workings of a top touring car team, with hospitality also included.
“We’re delighted to begin our 25th anniversary year with this fantastic announcement here at the Autosport International Show”, said Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres owner Phil Cooper, “The partnership with HMS Racing is one we value immensely and to be able to offer 10, potentially 11, of our drivers the chance to experience a day with the team is tremendous.
“It will provide a wonderful opportunity for a much bigger number of Legends Cars competitors to see behind the scenes with HMS, and to also experience the full capability of the team’s incredible Alfa Romeo with Rob Austin at the wheel – he’s not bad in a touring car, so I hear…! Obviously, we’re incredibly grateful to Simon Belcher [HMS Racing team principal] for his continued support.”
Belcher added: “We’re very excited to be providing this touring car experience day to more drivers than ever before, particularly in Legends’ 25th anniversary year. Having the opportunity to sit alongside Rob [Austin] for some full-on hot laps, and then experiencing a full day with the team to see the inner workings of what we do, is a great opportunity and one hopefully everyone will enjoy.”
Legends Cars racers Nathan Anthony, who unveiled his newly liveried First 4 Vans ‘Se-Van’ on the championship’s stand during yesterday’s Autosport International media day, and Jack Parker have both been past prize winners and say the day with HMS is a fantastic experience.
“Seeing and experiencing what a top touring car can do is phenomenal and I’d absolutely love to do it again”, said Parker, “The day gave a great insight into the set-up of a touring car team and the huge effort involved – getting radiators and brakes up to temperature before anything happens, tyre swapping to keep the heat in them. It really is a different world to what we’re used to!”
Anthony commented: “Being in the Alfa Romeo alongside Rob [Austin] was a brilliant experience and to open it up to more drivers this year is great. When you actually arrive at the track and see the big artic there, with all of the team, it’s a good start to the day and then you get to understand all that goes into getting a touring car ready – warming the gearbox, brakes etc. It’s a great experience.”
The 2019 Autosport International Show continues at Birmingham NEC throughout the weekend with the two public days taking place on Saturday, 12th January, and Sunday, 13th January – for ticket information visit www.autosportinternational.com
Provisional 2019 Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres Calendar
21st/22nd April – Brands Hatch, Kent *
25th/26th May – Anglesey, North Wales
1st/2nd June – Brands Hatch, Kent **
10th/11th August – Donington Park, Leicestershire *
7th/8th September – Snetterton, Norfolk *
5th/6th October – Pembrey, South Wales *
2nd/3rd November – Brands Hatch, Kent *
*British Truck Racing Championship events
**American Speedfest VII