March 26, 2012

Kit Car Event Brands Hatch

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As any petrolhead knows, seeing high performance cars sat idly on static display just doesn’t compare with being able to see, hear and feel them being driven in the manner for which they were intended. Combine that with the current boom in both track days and kit cars designed for track day use and you have the ideal market conditions for an event enabling manufacturers of kit form sports and track cars to showcase the dynamic abilities of their cars on track.

Things were rather different at totalkitcar where the track is reserved purely for cars being demonstrated by kit car manufacturers, with nearly all of these being the types of cars people might buy with trackday use in mind. That basically means lots of lightweight Lotus Seven inspired cars and their full bodied derivitives, some thundering V8 powered Cobra replicas, a few bike engined Radical style cars and a smattering of other track-oriented specials, all of which can be covered using our Kit Car insurance scheme.

One notable absentee was Ultima, no doubt due to Ted Marlow’s general dislike of track day events because of all the slower cars that inevitably keep getting in his way. Still, in all, around 40 manufacturers were in attendance, including a few manufacturers of kit cars not really suitable for track day use who just put on static displays in the paddock.

Of course the weather can prove to be a make or break factor for any event like this, so the mixture of blue skies and light cloud on the day will no doubt have been welcomed by organisers, exhibitors and public alike. Speaking of the public, around 5,000 turned up on the day and between them seemed to keep most of the manufacturers pretty well booked up for passenger rides round Brands’ Indy circuit from the track opening at 9am to its closure at 6pm.

Not surprisingly all this track use didn’t pass without a few incidents, with sessions having to be stopped several times due to people spinning or parking it in the gravel. In fact track use was even in danger of being stopped altogether after an oil cooler pipe let go on the BAD Daytona, leaving marshalls struggling to deal with a 12 litre oil slick stretching from Graham Hill to the pits.

Fortunately the car’s 500bhp V8 survived unscathed, and after finding some new hose and more oil the BAD crew had it back on track sounding and running as strong as ever. And having sampled it from the passenger seat I can say that it really does run very strongly indeed.

Running rather less strongly – at least during the latter half of the day – was the Aeon GT3 spyder, whose Audi turbo engine went into a sulk after an intercooler pipe came adrift and wouldn’t produce anything like full power even with the pipe refitted. Pity, because from the passenger seat (well one of them!) it seemed impressive through the tight corners, but as I’m due to test this car for PistonHeads at least I’ll get another chance to see how it really performs.

And not running at all was the single-seater Edge Devil. Not due to problems with the car, but insurance, with the track owners refusing to let members of the public drive it on track. Mind you, in view of some of the driving out there it was probably just as well.

Making its UK debut at totalkitcar LIVE! was another no-nonsense performance car suitable for PHers requiring serious track performance, namely the Queron Animas. Designed by French hillclimb expert Georges Queron, this mid-engined missile was powered by a relatively modest 240bhp Honda V-TEC engine, but thanks to its chassis dynamics was one of the fastest cars around the track on the day.

The Queron is due to be sold in the UK by Quantum Sportscars, whose boss John Sampson already has long term plans for a V8 version to give the Ultima some serious competition.

As for the event itself, inevitably there were a few teething problems, such as a large part of the paddock area being lost to exhibitors due to the erection of some fancy pavilions for the forthcoming A1 Grand Prix. However, the general concensus seemed to be that overall it had been a really good event.

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Many thanks to Pistonheads for their kind permission to use this story – full article can be found here.