The Magnificent Seven  Visit Brands Hatch Grand Prix (20 June 2001)

by Peter Crook

Originally conceived as an opportunity for some 340R owners egroup  members to get together for some quality track time, the day didn't quite go as planned.

Having  booked with 'On Track' as a 'Premier Day' (maximum 35 cars entry and open lapping all day) we were then told that the day had been taken over by 'Gold Track' and would be run in 3 half hour sessions. Definitely not  what I had in mind when I made the original suggestion.

The day dawned warm and sunny, but on arrival at the paddock we were greeted by the sight of masses of cars, trailers and people totally filling the place.

Things got worse as both the briefing and start were delayed due to missing circuit breakdown truck, and when someone realised that the circuit had been coned out for bikes!

With 105 cars present I felt pretty sure that we would be in for a frustrating day.

As the first 340R's arrived we attempted to take over a pit lane garage for ourselves, in attendance were:

Peter Crook

Robert Suraurer

Alan Nagle

James Bowers

Rob Lamb

David Harvey

Jon Russel

As the first sessions got underway stoppages were frequent and traffic was heavy with myself and Robert  Suraurer being held up by several Ferrari's including a black 360 challenge race car which seemed to be making emergency stops prior to each corner and if he used his mirrors, he did nothing to let two frustrated 340R's pass.

After lunch things started to get progressively better with what seemed like less cars on the track, and better discipline from the drivers.

Fantastic warm sunny weather made the cars perform at their best with nice
sticky tyres.

For me it was a real buzz to follow several 340R's  round,  watching the cars go round corners
as if they were on rails.

Many Ferrari's and Porsches were passed by the swarm of angry buzzing 340R's and even the new 4.4 litre Morgans and the odd Caterham R500 were passed fairly easily.

I must say that what impressed me the most was the consistently high driving speeds achieved by all six cars present,  there really was nothing in it, with even those who have only just bought  the cars  keeping up a cracking pace (just don't try and replicate it in the wet !).

As usual the best sessions were the last ones of the day, which seemed to end just as we were getting the hang of it and going quicker than ever.

Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit is in my opinion the best circuit in the UK with a great mix of corners and features. Paddock corner is one of the most difficult anywhere and very  intimidating for many cars (but not so much in a 340R), Dingle Dell on the old part of the circuit is a real thrill and one to scare the wits out of an unwary passenger, Its all good. Highly recommended.

All in all the day turned out well and all credit to Gold Track for being able to handle the organisation of so many cars.

I reproduce below some comments from the other 340R owners present :

Alan Nagle :

"Well I have say that despite all of Gold Track and On Track's  problems, I had a great time at Brands yesterday. It was really good to meet everyone that turned up (6  340R's...not bad for a not-really-organised turnout).

Highlight of the day was definitely when the marshals black flagged 4 of us into the pit lane because "one of the cars had something hanging off the back and there were four of you, in a line, going so fast we couldn't tell which car it was".

Mind you one of the four was Peter Crook ,who's car is bright yellow of course
so you would've thought they could have eliminated him!
Made me smile that did "

David Harvey :

" What a great day, What a fantastic car, I had no idea I could drive so fast.

When is the next one ? "

(click images to enlarge)

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Our home for the day - pit garage no 29

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Mr & Mrs Suraurer prepare themselves - Note the fine selection of 340R trailers in the background.

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Some of the cars assembled in front of the garage. Rob Lamb's car and Alan Nagle's car in the foreground

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My car (yellow with boostube ), Alan's Car (silver with boostube)

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Ready to go - Robert Suraurer at the front

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James Bowers leads the pack out onto the circuit, sporting the 'essential' Cullman video clamp and camera.

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John Russel returns to the pits after a bit of gravel ploughing action at the hairpin. When removing gravel from the wheels, John found a dead sparrow which was nicely cooked by the brake calipers. Ten out of ten for originality John!

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I take another passenger out for a few laps.

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Mine and John Russel's car taking a well earned rest between sessions.



Editors note : this section is  best suited for broadband users or those with plenty of time!

Click here (or right click and save to location) to download a 2.2MB video of James Bowers hogging  my tailpipes through Paddock

Click here (or right click and save to location) to download a 5MB (gulp!) video of myself and James Bowers chasing a couple of Porsche 911's through Dingle Dell and passing one of them (well the other one was a GT3-R!).

Click here (or right click and save to location) to download a 3.5MB video of James Bowers cruising behind a TVR Cerbera through Dingle Dell before being let past.

Click here (or right click and save to location) to download a 1.1MB video of the yellow peril passing the infamous ringmeister Willy Green in his modified 2.8 litre Capri.

(videos courtesy of James Bowers)



Note : 

Any other 340R owners out there interested in attending other track days in the company of like minded 340R's should mail me for further details at : 



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