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Brands Hatch to host festival of Formula 1 this month

Tuesday, May 01 2012

The annual Masters Historic Festival on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on 26-27 May is set to be a glorious celebration of Formula 1, with races and demonstrations covering the sport's illustrious past. Fans of every era of motorsport's pinnacle will find something on track during two days of non-stop action.

New for 2012 is the Historic Race of Champions, which recalls the classic non-championship races that were held at circuit regularly from the 1960s to early 80s. It is being run as a new Historic F1 series, called 'The Return to Power', and feature cars that will have raced at this year's Monaco Historic Grand Prix. The title is in honour of the early days of the 3-litre era that began in 1966 and was most famous for producing the hugely successful Cosworth DFV engine that dominated the sport until the 1980s. The race is open to cars from 1966, when legendary Director John Frankenheimer filmed the movie 'Grand Prix' at the circuit, until 1971, when Jackie Stewart was dominating the sport. Entries for this race include a March and Tyrrell once raced by Stewart, as well as a De Tomaso and Lotus once driven by Piers Courage and two glorious-sounding Matras.

Also present will be the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association, which will be bringing a superb collection of cars dating back to the 1930s when Italian teams were central to Grand Prix racing, through to the 50s and early 60s. With many cars running engines in front of the driver, it was an era of heroic deeds and gentlemen drivers.

The Grand Prix Masters series will return with the late 70s and early 80s era very much to the fore, a time when aerodynamics started to display their influence. As engines became louder and more powerful, the cars cornered like they were on rails, making them a spectacular sight around the twists and undulations of Brands Hatch.

In between races there will be demonstrations of more contemporary Formula 1 cars too. A clutch of newer machinery includes cars from the Benetton and Lotus factories, plus Ayrton Senna's 1984 Toleman-Hart. In addition to these, there will be appearances from former Grand Prix drivers, with Derek Bell taking to the wheel of a March, plus Jackie Oliver and Howden Ganley piloting BRMs that both once raced in the World Championship. Clive Chapman, son of Lotus founder Colin, will also be on track with the iconic 49, a car that ushered in the DFV and wings era, guiding Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt to World Championship glory.

With demonstrations and a race from each era on both days, plus the regular Masters racing action from Le Mans sportscars, Can-Am classics, GTs and Saloons and off-track entertainment for all the family, the event will be an unforgettable festival of nostalgia.

Tickets for the Masters Festival at Brands Hatch on 26-27 May are available in advance from £17, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.