Brands Hatch was completely transformed on Sunday (7 June) as NASCARs, film cars, stunt drivers and riders, and car enthusiasts of all ages came out to play at American SpeedFest III. Visitors were treated to one of the liveliest atmospheres of the year, as the venue was filled with 1000s of display cars, many of which took to the track at the close of play for a spectacular on-track parade.
The racing line-up delivered plenty of drama, with the action headlined by two incident-filled NASCAR Whelen Euro Series races. Ander Vilarino has established himself as a bit of a Brands Hatch specialist in recent years, and stormed to another feature race win on the Indy circuit, holding off the challenge from Saturday winner Romain Iannetta.
Behind the leaders there was plenty of bumping and barging, much of which was well-avoided by Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of all-time NASCAR legend Dale, who surged to an impressive eighth position in his first UK race weekend. Earnhardt's spotter Thomas Ferrando led the way in the second NASCAR race of the day, an Elite 2 contest for up-and-coming and gentleman drivers.
All NASCAR activity was overseen by the organisation's Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell, who travelled from the USA especially for the event.
SpeedFest is about much more than racing though, with fans flocking from far and wide to take in an unbelievable range of themed off-track attractions.
Foremost among the things to see was a special Hollywood car display, which featured Disney/Pixar's Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater, in addition to a selection of vehicles from the Transformers movies. Other popular additions were the Demon Drome Wall of Death stunt show, Red Dragon Monster Truck rides, and a colourful selection of funfair activities.
Many of the off-track stars made their way onto the circuit for displays and demos, including a selection of historic replica and more modern genuine NASCARs, vintage hot rods and stock cars, and a fully 'time-travel-prepared' DeLorean which starred in a special tribute to the original Back to the Future film, which was released 30 years ago.
SpeedFest will return in 2016 and details will be fleshed out in the coming weeks and months. Keep an eye on www.speedfest.co.uk for more.