Series front-runners and title contenders Steve Whitelegg (Bury), Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) and Sean Smith (High Wycombe) are among the first 12 drivers confirmed for the eagerly-awaited 2018 MRF Legends Cars National Championship.
Following on from a successful season launch at the Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham last week, where brand new team 24 Hour Solutions was unveiled on the Legends Cars stand alongside a bold new livery for the Se-Van of championship regular Nathan Anthony (Horley), series organisers are delighted to name the initial dozen drivers for the new campaign.
Motorsport newcomer Phil Turner (Hertfordshire), owner of building maintenance and mechanical engineering business 24 Hour Solutions, will pilot his team’s striking black car for his maiden season of racing – making him eligible for the Rookie Cup battle.
Excitedly looking forward to his debut, Turner is also delighted to be using the platform to raise funds for leading national charity Help 4 Heroes. Notably too, the car will run with triple digit number ‘247’ which is the first time in the championship’s history anything other than single or double digits have been permitted.
“We looked at a few championships and were down at Brands Hatch at the start of last season, watched the Legends and had a good look around – it’s a fun championship”, said Turner, “That’s a key part of doing something like this, you’ve got to get maximum enjoyment from what you’re doing and Phil [Cooper – championship owner] is a lovely guy and does a great job.
“I set up 24 Hour Solutions in 2012 and the business is growing all the time, we look after 260 commercial sites in the UK now. Racing in Legends is about getting the brand out there, having fun and we’re also supporting Help 4 Heroes. My family are from a military background, some of the guys who work with us are in the reserves too, so this is a nice way to do something good as well.”
Steve Whitelegg is the highest placed returning driver from last season so-far confirmed and the ultra-quick top three championship finisher is back to spearhead the WTBS Motorsport squad’s four car entry. He will be joined by Bill Read (Oldham), who is back for his second year in the series, and new WTBS signings Nick Bridgman (Baldock) and Nic Grout (Devon).
Fourth placed 2017 championship finisher Jack Parker is another very welcome returnee and the multiple race winner will arguably be a genuine contender for the 2018 title, the West Midlander consistently one of the fastest drivers in the series.
Sean Smith, who ended 2017 with a top 10 placing in the MRF Legends Cars National Championship standings, goes into the new season eyeing more silverware after achieving his first race victories last year at Snetterton and Rockingham.
Championship mainstay Nathan Anthony, who was eighth in the standings in 2017, is determined to secure his first ever race win this year in his trusty Se-Van which is now resplendent in bright yellow, to complement a growing portfolio of sponsors.
“We didn’t start off too well last year, but we bounced back from that and at the final round at Brands I was on the podium – I need a bit more of that this year”, said Anthony, “The aim has to be top six, consistently in the top six, and just be stronger overall in such a tough championship.
“We need to get a race win under our belt, I’m really determined to do that, and especially for the great partners we have onboard this season. That’s part of the reason for reversing the colours, yellow is the main colour now, it’s bright and bold and works well with the sponsor branding.”
Mickel Motorsport’s Mike Schlup (Cuckfield) is another welcome returnee and the director of Kalimex will be aiming to build on the top 12 series finish from last season. Also back for more in 2018 are Mike Bourner (Bishop Middleham) and Rickie Leggatt (Horsham).
Last but not least from the initial dozen entries is Oval racer Sy Harraway (Weston-super-Mare) who makes his debut on full circuits in MRF Legends Cars in 2018 and will therefore, of course, be eligible for the Rookie Cup honours in his maiden season.
Speaking on the first confirmed batch of entries, MRF Legends Cars National Championship owner Phil Cooper said: “We’ve had a fantastic start to the New Year with the Autosport International show, the confirmation of the prize BTCC test with HMS Racing’s wonderful new Alfa Romeo and now our first 12 drivers including race winners like Steve Whitelegg, Jack Parker and Sean Smith.
“We’re thrilled to welcome 24 Hour Solutions to the championship, we pride ourselves on having the friendliest paddock in UK motorsport and I’m sure Phil [Turner] and the team will enjoy every minute of their Legends Cars experience – it’s great they’re supporting Help 4 Heroes too. It’s also fantastic to welcome Sy Harraway from Ovals, I’m sure he’ll adjust to the full circuits in no time at all.”
The first event of the 2018 MRF Legends Cars National Championship will get underway on Saturday, 17th March, at Oulton Park in Cheshire. The championship, which will feature an incredible 51 races in total, will conclude on 3rd/4th November at Brands Hatch in Kent.