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Festival Italia was held at Brands Hatch on Sunday 19 August 2019


Brands Hatch, 18 August, 2019

The third running of Festival Italia, in association with Auto Italia magazine, was held at Brands Hatch on Sunday 19 August 2019, on what started out as a rather cool and wet day. However, the forecast was that the rain would cease by midday, and for once the forecast was correct, as virtually on the chimes it ceased and a hazy sun appeared, leading into a pleasant sunny and warm afternoon. Fortunately the early inclement weather did not detract the owners of a broad variety of Italian cars and motorcycles from turning out, and equally so it attracted a large number of spectators to the Kent circuit.

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Apart from the marque and club displays, including an expansive Ferrari Owners’ Club one which had a larger than anticipated turnout, there was plenty of activity on the track, with races in the BRSCC Alfa Romeo Championship, an Italy versus the Rest of the World race, Ferrari Club Racing Series and rounds of the Pirelli Ferrari Formula Classic series. There were also historic F1 demonstration runs, featuring the likes of Benetton, Dallara and Footwork Arrows, together with Italian Supercar , motorcycle and Abarth demonstration runs, the latter encompassing a wide and colourful variety of models wearing the “Scorpione” badge. These ranged from the popular Fiat 500 based examples, through a selection of 600 and 850 based examples, their petite but fast GT cars, to an evocation of the one-off Abarth 1000otr Bertone Prototipo, which appeared at the 1965 Turin Motor Show, since when it has disappeared without trace.

It was a treat to enjoy the aural delights of “real” normally aspirated F1 cars, whilst the pair of Pirelli Ferrari Formula Classic races had 24 car entries and provided really close racing between the main protagonists for the overall victory, as well as for the class placings. At the head of the field it was the 355 Challenge cars of Tris Simpson, Tim Mogridge and Wayne Mars that had splendid clean and hard fought battles in both races, with Tris Simpson winning Race 1 from Wayne Mars and Tim Mogridge, with less than 0.8sec covering them at the chequered flag. In Race 2 the win was taken by Tim Mogridge, with Tris Simpson runner-up and Wayne Mars taking the final podium place, although this time the spread between them was a full 3.5secs! In the pair of Ferrari Club Racing Series races, victory in Race 1 went to the 458 Challenge of Gary Culver ahead of the 488 GTE of Witt Gamski and the 430 Challenge of Wayne Mars, whilst in Race 2 Witt Gamski reversed the positions with Gary Culver to take the win, with Vance Kearney’s 430 Challenge completing the podium.


Keith Bluemel