The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

Round 1,2 & 3

Brands Hatch

18 & 19 May 2019

1st R1: Tris Simpson (355Ch) / R2: Wayne Marrs (355 Ch) / R3: Wayne Marrs (355 Ch)
2nd R1: Wayne Marrs (355Ch) / R2: Tris Simpson (355 Ch) / R3: Tris Simpson (355 Ch)
3rd R1: Tim Mogridge (355 Ch) / R2: Tim Mogridge (355 Ch) / R3 Tim Mogridge (355 Ch)
report by William Moorwood
photography by Klaus Hartleben

Brands Hatch was the venue of first race meeting of the 2019 PFfc season and our first meeting in which the series is the support race for the Ferrari Challenge UK. On arrival at the circuit it was apparent that this was a different sort of meeting and exclusively Ferrari with everything set up to promote the new Challenge races. New for the formula classics was the ‘Big Tent’ for all the cars to be located together with the FOC hospitality unit. It was good to see Darren Mills entering the series for his first ever race in the ex-Tim Walker 328. Richard Atkinson-Willes together with Nick and Ethan Whitaker in their GT4’s were welcome returnees to the Series. Wayne Marrs was a late entry in his 355 following a hectic rebuild of his engine in the week leading up to the race weekend.

Qualfying

Pole position was hard fought between the 355s of Tim Walker, Tris Simpson, Tim Mogridge and Wayne Marrs who took turns to record the best time until the end of the session when Marrs put in two laps significantly quicker than any before to take pole position by a clear margin. Chris Butler was the best of the rest in his 328 GTB and Richard Atkinson-Willes was the quickest of the four 308GT4s. The intrepid Pauline Goodwin had a fuel feed problem as she drove her 328 to the circuit and could not get her car running in time but would be allowed to start at the back of the grid. Sadly the immaculate 355 of Tim Walker had to withdraw due to a broken driveshaft.

Race 1

At the start Tris Simpson made a good start to take the lead followed by Tim Mogridge as Wayne Marrs was very slow to get away when the lights went out. Myles Paulton who was in notably good form all the weekend in his 328GTS also made a good start to take and hold 4th place for a number of laps although ultimately Chris Goddard (308 GTB) and Chris Butler would get past him.

At the back of the grid Pauline Goodwin put her hillclimb expertise to good use and made up four places before the first corner. She went on to have a race long battle with William Moorwood in his 308 GT4 and for much of the race the two of them held up Darren Mills in his first race. Mills eventually got past the pair and would go on to do well in the next two races and making an auspiciously good start to his racing career.

Richard Atkinson-Willes was going well and was up to 7th place but then had to retire with a mechanical issue while at the front Marrs got up to second place on lap 5 but it would take a further ten laps before he could get past Simpson. Simpson did not give up the chase and retook the lead on lap 21 to then be put under extreme pressure by Marrs but it was to be Simpson’s race as he used some adept driving lapping cars at the final bend to take a well deserved win by a very narrow margin.

Race 2

Another poor start from Marrs allowed Simpson and Mogridge to get ahead of him but this time it would have a different outcome as Marrs set off in pursuit and by lap 5 he was in second place and on lap 7 he took the lead and he was not challenged for the remainder of the race. Butler and Everingham were nose to tail for the full race distance of 21 laps with Butler taking Group 3 by the narrowest of margins.

Richard Atkinson-Willes was going well and heading the GT4s in the race until he went wide coming out of Paddock Hill Bend and almost avoided going into the gravel but finally succumbed well up the hill (should you wish full details check out Tristec on You Tube).

At the back Goodwin and Moorwood enjoyed another very close race until a deflating tyre slowed Goodwin at the very end of the race. At the front Simpson and Mogridge had been chasing Marrs hard but this would change when Simpson went off line coming out of Paddock Hill causing Mogridge to spin. This allowed Marrs to complete an impressive win.

Race 3

This time Wayne Marrs made a good start to go straight into the lead which he would keep for the whole race. Tris Simpson got away in second place but was unable to chase too hard as he was been harried from the start by Tim Mogridge and these two would be inseparable for the whole race with Simpson taking second place by a margin of 1/10th second.

There was an incident at the exit of Clearways as David Edge  (355/Ch) appeared to run wide and had contact with Colin Sowter (348/Ch) and the two of them ended up in the gravel with Edge facing the wrong direction; despite this the two of them were able to continue and complete the race.

Chris Goddard was unable to cure the misfire which caused him to retire in the second race and this allowed Chris Butler and Peter Everingham to continue their battle for Group 3 honours without any interruption. For the whole duration of the race Butler would have to defend again from Everingham and would again take top spot in Group 3 by the narrowest of margins. Butler was awarded the RnR Driver of the Day for his efforts but credit must also go to Everingham who yet again drove exceptionally well on the Brands Circuit to constantly keep Butler on his mettle.

Atkinson-Willes, who had found some replacement wheels following his trip to the gravel, started from the back of the grid and as he made up ground there was for a while the welcome sight of four 308 GT4s all racing each other for position. He was forced to retire on lap 17 leaving Nick Whitaker the best of the GT4s and winner of Group 2.

In all the weekend was a success. The new Ferrari Challenge is an impressive sight and the organisation with the ‘Big Tent’ and the prize-giving directly after the end of the race were all very welcome.