Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

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.

Mcgarrity (l) and Leinders bat­tled in ’90s

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