Brands Hatch, Kent, UK – Wednesday 9th August 2017: Coming off the back of a successful weekend last time out around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit during one of the championship’s two weekends off the British GT support bill, Barr was hoping this would set him up for a continued run of success around the much longer and popular Grand Prix configuration circuit as the Mini Challenge returned to the GT support package.
Qualifying turned out to be a baptism of fire for the Donegal man’s first laps around the 2.43 mile circuit. The heavens opened upon the Kent venue just before qualifying, leaving grip at a premium throughout the session. With cars sliding off around the track, the session even included a Safety car period before ending after just four competitive laps. Nevertheless, Reece’s talent shone through once more, securing sixth on the grid for race one in the Sili Sunglasses Mini JCW.
Greeted by glorious sunshine for Sunday’s pair of races, Barr got a super start for the delayed first race of the day, moving rapidly up the order. However his good work was about to be undone when the red flags came out. With the re-start grid order back to the original formation, Reece charged off for a second time keen to make good progress in the now shortened race. Pushed to seventh at the end of the opening tour, his chances of improving were dealt another blow when the Safety Car was deployed on lap three. With the event time schedule running behind following an incident in an earlier session, the race was ended under the Safety Car, with Barr remaining in a disappointing eighth place.
Starting the day’s second and final race of the weekend from the outside of row four, the ExcelR8 Motorsport driver was keen to end his weekend on a high. This time running to it’s full distance, Barr in the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity Mini JCW was on a charge. Running in fifth, he brought the gap down to the top four to just eight tenths of a second at the chequered flag. Crucially however, he was awarded the top rookie of the race award.
Reece Barr – #88 ExcelR8 Motorsport Mini JCW:
“The weekend was certainly full of challenges with no pre-event practice on the GP loop; then a very wet qualifying on a new track with a string of incidents. Race one was not really a race with only two full laps of action but it was enough to get to terms with the track for race two. The second race went full distance and I was happy to finish P5 after clearing the Rob Smith and David Grady offs on lap one. I picked up a broken window which unsettled the car for the entire race. So all good no damage and solid points.”
Oulton Park Mini Festival, Saturday 19th August 2017