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F1 demonstrations wow Brands Hatch crowd

Saturday, May 26 2012

Superb demonstrations of Formula 1 cars representing the 70s, 80s and 90s have graced the Grand Prix circuit at Brands Hatch today (Saturday), complementing a programme of races for motorsport's most prestigious and celebrated category.

Ganley and OliverFormer F1 stars Jackie Oliver and Howden Ganley represented the earlier era, driving cars from the BRM team that they once competed for, in the twilight of the Bourne manufacturer's F1 tenure. Oliver's career was launched at Team Lotus with the legendary 49 and Classic Team Lotus mechanic Chris Dinnage took the wheel of the car that started the Cosworth DFV legend back in 1967.

Two cars from the following decade demonstrated the turbo era so revered by fans of the sport. The Toleman's four-cylinder Hart engine may not have been the most powerful of the time, however the car was more famous for its occupant - Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna, whose fabled first season included a podium finish at Brands Hatch.

Masters BeatriceJust two years later Ford and Cosworth, whose dominance of the sport was ended by the turbos, hit back with their own forced induction unit. Allied to a Lola chassis that had the influence of Ross Brawn in its design, and run by Indycar veteran Carl Haas with 1980 World Champion Alan Jones on board, the project was sponsored by Beatrice foods. Whilst the outfit never quite gelled in its two-year existence, the rarely seen car epitomised 80s excess and was warmly received by the crowd.

The final pair came from the 90s Benetton team, formed from Toleman. Nelson Piquet scored his final three wins with the outfit, two of which were claimed in the 1990 car, which took to the circuit alongside its 1993 successor. The latter car, resplendent with state of the art active suspension, helped a fledgling Michael Schumacher to establish a reputation that led to seven World Championships.

The next major event at Brands Hatch is the Mini Festival on 16-17 June. Tickets 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