The British drivers who dubbed themselves the ‘Rat pack’ in the eighties will compete against each other in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup supporting the DTM race at Brands Hatch on May 18-19th.
Damon Hill, Mark Blundell, Perry McCarthy, Julian Bailey, Martin Donnelly plus David Brabham (the latter not an original ‘Rat pack’ member) will compete in the race to raise money for a charity supported by Hill.
The Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup will welcome some extra special drivers at Brands Hatch (18 – 19 May) when Damon Hill, Mark Blundell, Perry McCarthy, Julian Bailey, Martin Donnelly and David Brabham join the regular line up for the ultra competitive one make race series.
With the exception of Brabham – who has been given honorary ‘Rat Pack’ status for this race – the other five drivers are all members of the 1980s racing gang who rose through the ranks of Formula Ford, Formula Three Formula 3000 and into Formula One giving themselves the name ‘Rat Pack’. Through all the years of competition the drivers have remained close friends and are gathering together to enjoy some healthy competition while raising money for Damon Hill’s charity – HALOW.
Perry McCarthy who instigated the reunion is convinced that they will all enjoy the experience even if some of the old rivalries return. ‘We are all really good friends,’ said Perry, ‘and we have regular reunions. This one will be a bit more serious but we are all looking forward to it. I haven’t actually sat in a racing car for eight years so I don’t expect great things but it will be a lot of fun and we will be ready for a party when the chequered flag is waved.’
The Halow project is dedicated to creating opportunities for young people with a learning disability and supporting them so that they are able to live independently. The charity is named after five young people, one of them being Oliver Hill, Damon Hill’s eldest son. The 1996 Formula One World Champion has not raced since retiring in 1999 and the opportunity of reuniting on the track with his old mates and raising money for his charity was too good an opportunity miss.
‘Perry, Julian and I are coming out of retirement for this race,’ said Damon, ‘so we are sure to be pretty rusty. But it promises to be a great weekend for all friends and family to get together and a great way to draw attention to the aims and objectives of the charity. I am looking forward to it.’
Mark Blundell, Martin Donnelly and David Brabham are all still regular competitors and some who have already raced as legends in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup will be keen to make their mark amongst their old rivals.
‘When they asked me to race with all the Rat Pack I couldn’t say no,’ said Blundell, who topped the legend’s race in 2010 and finished third overall. ‘We are all such good mates there will be a lot of banter but don’t let that fool anyone, we are all going to be really racing out there.’
I’m going for the whole weekend so I’ll be looking forward to seeing these guys there. Mark Blundell competed in the Scirocco R-Cup at Brands last year with Johnny Herbert and Tiff Needell (who was very nice to chat to!).
Of course if you can’t make it to Brands then Mika Salo, Johnny Herbert and Tonio Liuzzi will be racing in the Superstars Series at Donington Park the same weekend.