BTCC racer Paul O’Neill returns to defend his 2010 victory
The second running of the Lotus 1000km takes place this Saturday (5 November) at Brands Hatch and the event is sure to provide plenty of fireworks on Guy Fawkes’ night!
The race recalls the great sportscar encounters of the past, when the BOAC 500 6-hour classic was renamed to reflect the faster speeds of the late 1960s. From Pedro Rodriguez’s legendary win in the rain at the first 1000km to victory for Andy Wallace, Martin Brundle and John Nielsen that set up Jaguar’s World Sportscar Championship in 1988, the race was a highlight of the sporting calendar along with the British Grand Prix. The roll of honour includes circuit owner Jonathan Palmer, a winner in 1984 with Jan Lammers.
The reborn event is run to the rules of MSVR’s Elise Trophy and Lotus Cup series, which saw BBC Formula 1 anchorman Jake Humphrey make his racing debut in 2009. Other famous names that have raced in the Elise Trophy include Wing Commander Andy Green, the World Land Speed Record holder, and former Lotus F1 driver Martin Donnelly.
The 1000km race also features prominent names from the world of motorsport and in addition to Donnelly, British Touring Car race winner Paul O’Neill will be defending his win from 2010 in the car he shares with regulars BJ Chong and Paul McNeily. Adding his name to the illustrious list of winners, a highlight of his drive was an intense 90-minute duel with the GWS Motorsport Exige.
“It was a spectacular event that I had to leave early for the Touring Car awards”, explained Paul. “So it’s nice to be back at the track and to do it again this year. At last year’s race I had the opportunity to do as well as I could, but at the same time it was good to give the other guys a chance to drive in their own car. It ended up really well for us and was a good battle in tricky conditions – I enjoyed it.”
It will be a tall order for O’Neill, however, as he faces stiff competition from the Lotus Motorsport-entered Evora GT, which will be piloted by Lotus’ Gavan Kershaw and GT racer Stuart Hall. Meanwhile former European GT Champion Sean Edwards will be piloting a Europa in the top class. Other entries include Ramon Pineiro, who arrives fresh from claiming third place in the FIA Formula Two Championship, plus former BTCC drivers Phill Bennett and Eugene O’Brien, both aiming to win the Production class.
With qualifying taking place on Friday 4 November in the dark, the race starts at 9:05 the following day and will be completed at dusk.
Tickets for the Lotus 1000km at Brands Hatch on Saturday 5 November are available in advance for £10 online, with free entry for children aged under 13. For more information, call 0843 453 9000 or click here
Discussion: Events – Lotus 1000 KM @ Brands Hatch 5th Nov