RIVALS LEINDERS AND MCGARRITY TO WHT
Two Formula Ford rivals from the 1990s will be reunited at this year’s Walter Hayes Trophy as Bas Leinders and Kevin Mcgarrity have both signed up to run with Graham Brunton Racing.
Leinders and Mcgarrity were the stars of the 1995 British Formula Ford season, with factory Swift driver Leinders winning the overall championship, but losing out on the Festival spoils to Duckhams Van Diemen man Mcgarrity.
Both drivers went on to enjoy careers in international classes, with Belgian Leinders also winning the German F3 crown before winning titles in FIA GT. Mcgarrity raced at Le Mans three times, twice with the factory MG Sport & Racing team alongside Mark Blundell and Julian Bailey.
Mcgarrity’s entry has been backed by his friend Dario Franchitti. Mcgarrity will race the Franchitti-owned titlewinning Ray GR15 chassis handled by Neil Maclennan in Scotland this year. Leinders will also have a GR15 Ray.
“I didn’t even know about it until the deal was agreed!” said Mcgarrity from Belfast. “It was cooked up in the pub by Dario and Graham the night before Dario’s daughter’s christening. I only found out about it when they told me the next morning and I still wonder if it’s a good idea! It’s really exciting. I had a few hours running at Knockhill last week to get back into the swing. The cars have changed a lot. I last raced a Kent Fford in 1990 before I went to Zetec, and haven’t raced a Fford at all since ’95!”
Mcgarrity stepped back from racing to work for Mclaren, where Leinders is currently sporting manager for the Mclaren GT operation.
“Bas wanted to do the Walter Hayes Trophy when he found out I was doing it, so it’ll be interesting,” added Mcgarrity. “Bas is a great bloke and we’ll have a laugh, but you just know it’ll get competitive when we get back into it.”
Brunton added: “It’s a bit of a dream to have two of the best rivals from Fford in the 1990s in the same awning. It started off as a random chat and then just snowballed.
“They’ll be great for the atmosphere of the WHT as they have the right outlook and they’ll both be quick. Bas will be a stickler for detail and Kevin won’t want to be trailing so they’ll push each other. Some great names have led the WHT, so I wouldn’t rule them out.”
Brunton will run a total of four cars, with Seb Melrose and Jamie Thorburn racing the other two.