Autocar’s 2021 summer guide to British motor sport

Share story5 mins read24 June 2021

As the UK slowly stirs back into life from the stasis of lockdown, British motor racing offers welcome summer distractions from reality and the chance once more to experience live sport in the metal. F1 may command most of the headlines, but the UK has all manner of club-based motorsport you should be checking out. Here’s Autocar’s guide to some of the highlights you won’t want to miss – all presented with the inevitable caveat that Covid will present venues and promoters with serious challenges, especially in the wake of uncertainty over when all restrictions will be lifted. Our advice?

Buy your tickets in advance and online, and check the latest information with the venue before you travel to avoid disappointment.

American SpeedFest, Brands Hatch (3-4 July)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport As the name tells you, this is a US-themed bonanza that’s much more than just a motor race meeting on the weekend of Independence Day. There’s live music, monster truck rides, muscle car displays and much more to keep families entertained.

On track, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series tops the bill in its only 2021 UK appearance, with none other than Jacques Villeneuve among the drivers – yes, we know! – with a raft of entertaining series in support, such as Legends, Formula 5000 and Bernie’s V8s, a series that caters solely for (you guessed it) cars powered by eight-cylinder engines.

BTCC, Brands Hatch (26/27 June)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport Britain’s premier motor racing series welcomes fans back for the first time since 2019, first at Snetterton on 12/13 June, before fan-favourite Brands Hatch hosts what is bound to be a special occasion. The BTCC is back to its very best in this modern era, with a packed grid boasting a variety of makes and a decent spread of talented drivers representing both the old and new guard.

Three races in a day and an always strong support bill ensures non-stop entertainment for what is still a great day out.

Britcar, Silverstone (3/4 July)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport The Britcar Endurance Championship offers multi-class racing featuring a wider range of machinery than you’ll see at a British GT round. Its visit to the full Silverstone grand prix circuit is always a season highlight.

Ferrari Challenge, Snetterton (10/11 July)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport

The Norfolk circuit is so much more accessible than it used to be in the wake of the development of the A11 and a meeting headlined by Britain’s most exotic one-make series is the perfect excuse to get back up to Snetterton – or break your duck for that matter, at an underrated track for spectating. Ferrari Classics supports the main 488 Challenge.

British GT and Formula 3, Donington Park (10/11 July)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport Pairing Britain’s premier sports car series with the traditional top rung of the UK’s junior single-seater ladder has long been a cracking idea. The British GT Championship has boomed in recent years, both in terms of competition and professionalism.

Formula 3? Let’s be honest, it’s not what it used to be and the British series doesn’t carry the cache it used to – but it’s still a treat to spot future talent before it has fully bloomed. Donington’s Craner Curves and Old Hairpin are prime spots to watch from, at a circuit now under the management of Jonathan Palmer’s well-run MotorSport Vision group.

Goodwood Festival of Speed (July 8-11)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport

After a year’s hiatus because of you-know-what, we’re champing at the bit to return to the Duke of Richmond’s Sussex estate. The theme this year is motor sport’s great all-rounders and Roger Penske will be the guest of honour, for the US motor sport mogul’s first visit to Goodwood since he raced in the Tourist Trophy – in 1963!

Silverstone Classic (30 July-1 August)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport The biggest historic race meeting in the world is a fabulous extravaganza celebrating the golden eras of motor sport, both on track in a packed schedule of races and on the infield where displays of your favourite classics are plentiful and large in scale.

BTCC, Oulton Park (31 July-1 August)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport

Britain’s most picturesque circuit is also one of the toughest on drivers. A shame it clashes with Silverstone Classic this year, but we’d advise a day at each to complete a perfect motor sport weekend.

Vintage Sports-Car Club, Prescott (7-8 August)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport No membership is more committed or compete with such enthusiasm as those who celebrate motor sport’s pioneering decades.

The Prescott hillclimb is the annual VSCC highlight for many and the Gloucestershire venue is simply a delight. The event runs on the original 880-yard ‘short course’, but also returns on September 25 for a second one-day event on the full 1128-yard climb.

British Hillclimb Championship, Shelsley Walsh (14/15 August)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport A week after Prescott, head to the world’s oldest still-in-use motor sport venue to watch the modern brigade shoot up the famous 1000-yard climb that’s 1:7 at its steepest.

The fastest single-seater specials use F1-inspired technology and the spectacle of speed, up what is essentially a narrow country lane, will take your breath away. This one’s a British motor sporting gem that deserves a far higher profile (but then low-key is part of the charm).

Mini Festival, Brands Hatch (August 22)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport The little car remains a staple of UK motor sport and at MSV’s festival you’ll be treated to all the major one-make series: Se7en, Miglia, Mighty and Super Mini.

There’s also a race carrying the intriguing title of ‘Fastest Mini in the world’, created for all kinds of weird and wonderful specials. The F2 Cup and the Elise Trophy are on the support bill, just to add a change of pace and flavour.

British Rallycross Championship, Pembrey (29/30 August)

Autocar's 2021 summer guide to British motor sport Dubbed the ‘5 Nations’ thanks to rounds in England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium and this one in Wales, the British Rallycross Championship offers quick-fire, non-stop action from morning to dusk in a form of motor sport that carries the allure of rallying mixed with all too physical door-to-door racing.

For a sport that was originally invented for TV, it’s a fantastic day out and an entertaining alternative to standard circuit motor sport. Down at the far end of the M4, a few miles west of Llanelli, Pembrey is flat and a little featureless – but it’s on the edge of one of Britain’s most beautiful regions. One to tick off if you’ve never been.

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