NASCAR blasts back into Brands Hatch
NASCAR blasts back into Brands Hatch

Kent’s Brands Hatch gets the full stars and stripes treatment when American SpeedFest 7 returns with headline action from the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES), featuring 1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, plus a huge, themed off-track show next weekend.

Villeneuve will be the biggest name on the NWES grid when the championship returns for four barnstorming races on 1-2 June, featuring all of the colour, excitement, and controversy that comes with American-style motor racing. Villeneuve should be a front-runner at the Fawkham circuit as he achieved two podium finishes last time out in Italy.

Other major names on the grid include Ellen Lohr, a pioneering female racer who was a race-winner in Germany’s DTM series in the ‘90s, whilst Britain is represented by locally-based Shaun Hollamby, best known as a former driver and now team boss in the British Touring Car Championship.

SpeedFest brings the racing closer to the fans with a rousing pre-race opening ceremony which features plenty of US-themed pageantry, whilst podium celebrations will take place amongst the fans in Victory Lane.

The NWES races headline the biggest ever American SpeedFest racing line-up which also finds time for pickup trucks, miniature hot rods, historic muscle cars, and powerful Chevrolet-propelled single-seaters. There will be demo appearances from NASCAR machinery raced in the USA – it’s going to be non-stop!

There is much more to SpeedFest than just the on-track spectacle though as the entire venue is transformed into a scene from Daytona Beach for the weekend. Huge car displays are always a big part of the event, and this year is no different with 1000s of machines gearing up for an appearance. This year’s special theme is the 55th anniversary of the Ford Mustang, and this will be celebrated by a timeline display featuring cars from 1964 to the present day and commemorative parades.

A wealth of replica movie vehicles will appear in a ‘Hollywood torque of fame’ including the robots in disguise themselves; Bumblebee and Optimus Prime from the Transformers movies. Other icons of the silver screen set to dazzle include Ecto-1 from the Ghostbusters movies, and a Back to the Future DeLorean, fully prepped and ready to travel in time – maybe…

SpeedFest’s Live Action Arena will be a key hub of activity throughout the weekend, with stunt shows including a destructive display of raw power from the Swamp Thing monster truck. The Red Dragon monster truck will be in action too, and that carries passengers, so visitors can experience a spot of car crushing first-hand. Additional daredevil action can be seen on the Wall of Death vertical raceway, whilst attendees can get behind the wheel in a range of rides and experiences too.

Every detail has been taken care of for American SpeedFest 7, from the food which has been tailored to the occasion, to the Saturday evening entertainment which will feature a rodeo competition, whilst ‘Young Elvis’ will headline the weekend’s music line-up.

Jacques Villeneuve said: “I’m excited to go to Brands, I’ve never raced there but I did a few laps with a Williams for filming and I remember it was always the centre for the Formula Ford Festival and I have friends who participated in it. It looks fun and it looks like a very busy race track. It will be very exciting. And also the fact that there’s always a ton of fans for the weekend that makes it amazing. And I love the English fans.”

Shaun Hollamby said: I used to work at the racing school at Brands Hatch, so I know my way around it but obviously I don’t know the car as well as some of my competitors. It’s going to be great anyway, I’m really looking forward to it! I live 20 minutes up the road from Brands so I can sleep in my own bed and that’s always a bonus.”

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