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MSV's greatest moments of 2018

Sunday, December 23 2018

The 2018 motorsport season at MSV venues has been filled with incredible moments, stories that spread around the world and some of the best racing we've seen all decade. 

We've filtered through the hundreds of highlights to pick our favourite selection of epic milestones, shown below in chronological order.

Do you agree with our choices? Let us know on our social media accounts!

Donington's Garage 39 opens ahead of Easter Bennetts BSB (31 March)
A massively busy winter of reworks at Donington Park courtesy of huge investment from MSV saw the circuit take on a fresh new look for 2018, with the centrepiece being the fabulous new Garage 39 restaurant café and bar. In the heart of the paddock, the new facility has received widespread acclaim from the motorsport community, offering a vastly improved catering experience at the venue, and the best facility of its kind at any race circuit in the UK. Garage 39 was opened at the start of the Bennetts British Superbike weekend at the circuit by MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer, and Donington-local Leon Haslam.

Billy Monger's incredible comeback in BRDC British F3 (31 March)
The Billy Monger story continued to astound in 2018, but it was at Oulton Park where it really notched up a gear. Billy announced that he was to make his racing comeback in BRDC British F3 at the circuit just before the round took place, and went on to claim a podium in his very first race after his life changing accident in 2017. Starting fifth on the grid, he moved up two places on the opening lap and held his position until the end of the race, sparking scenes not seen at a race track in years. A huge and emotional crowd gathered around the podium to cheer him onto the rostrum, with news of his result going round the world. Monger went on to take three further podiums throughout the season and a double pole position, and claimed the Helen Rollason Award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.

Jonathan Palmer and MSV receive string of accolades
MotorSport Vision Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer received a string of awards this year, as his contribution to the motorsport industry was recognised by several leading publications. In May he was named as Autocar magazine's 2018 'Motorsport Hero', and was inducted into the Motor Sport Magazine Hall of Fame in June. Two further accolades followed in November, as he was named the Most Important Person in British Motorsport by Motorsport News, while picking up the Outstanding Contribution prize at the Professional Motorsport World Expo in Germany. At the same ceremony, MSV's investment at Donington Park was also recognised, with the circuit named as the Motorsport Facility of the Year. A truly record breaking year for MSV!

Michael van der Mark halts Kawasaki's WorldSBK Donington dominance (26-27 May)
The Motul FIM Superbike World Championship returned to Donington Park in 2018, with the majority of onlookers expecting Kawasaki to reign supreme once more. 'Team Green' were unbeaten at Donington Park since 2013, a run of 10 wins (nine coming from Donington master Tom Sykes), so it was a huge surprise when that run came to an end, courtesy of a magnificent double from Yamaha's Michael van der Mark. The Dutchman was embroiled in a race long battle in the opening contest with Kawasaki duo Jonathan Rea and Sykes throughout, before extending a small lead in the latter stages. He doubled up in race two, making moves past Rea and early leader Alex Lowes before taking the chequered flag for the second time.

'Donald Trump' opens American Speedfest VI (10 June)
Brands Hatch's all-American extravaganza was formally opened by a Donald Trump impersonator this year, who was flown to the event personally by MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer. After landing on the Indy circuit infield, he was escorted to the front of the starting grid by a number of armoured vehicles and revealed in front of thousands of excited race fans. 'Trump's' opening speech was the high point of a glistening summer weekend of NASCAR racing, American muscle cars, and plenty of family entertainment. The racing line-up even included bona fide Texan NASCAR champion Bobby Labonte!

Matt Neal wins BTCC's 'Diamond Double' at Snetterton (29 July)
The British Touring Car Championship celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018, and held a special 'Diamond Double' contest at Snetterton in July; a race run to double the standard length of a usual affair, and awarding double points too. Fittingly, the winner of the one-off contest was series legend Matt Neal, no stranger to historic moments in the series. He was made to work for it though, fending off a late charge from Jack Goff and Tom Ingram, with the trio separated by just over half a second. The race summed up the BTCC perfectly, with intense on track racing, overtaking aplenty interspersed with incidents, a bit of rough and rumble, and a tad of controversy too!

Jamie Chadwick becomes first female winner in British F3 history (5 August)
British F3 had plenty of historic moments in 2018, but another that made the news pages across the world was  Jamie Chadwick's victory on the Brands Hatch circuit in August - the first ever win for a female in the seven-decade history of British F3. Chadwick was already a podium finisher in her two seasons in the series, and finally clinched her first win on one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar. She started from fourth on the grid, made a good start to climb to third, passed the third placed driver at Westfield and then claimed the lead when the leading driver was penalised for a jump-start. As she crossed the line, she created history, and once more, British F3 went worldwide!

DTM returns to Brands Hatch (11-12 August)
Germany's DTM high performance touring car championship returned to the UK in anger in August with a double-header on the legendary full Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. The DTM enjoyed its best ever Brands Hatch action across the weekend, with highlights including Mike Rockenfeller's three-wide pass on Jamie Green and Timo Glock on the approach to Hawthorns, and Paul Di Resta leading home Gary Paffett in a British one-two following a side-by-side duel. Daniel Juncadella was the other winner, as the world's fastest touring cars thrilled on their Kent return. A number of big names from the world of motorsport were also in attendance, including Gerhard Berger and 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill. 

Bennetts BSB thrills at Cadwell Park (19 August)
A monster crowd descended on Lincolnshire in August for the annual visit from the world's top domestic Superbike category. Hoardes of fans were present to witness Leon Haslam storm to an impressive double win on his way to a maiden Bennetts British Superbike crown, while young chargers Jake Dixon and Bradley Ray took podium finishes as both propelled themselves to stardom in 2018. Lincolnshire's biggest and most dramatic sporting event of the year took place at the height of the British heatwave, with tens of thousands of superbike fans enjoying one of the hottest rounds of the season.

Porsche Festival at Brands Hatch (September)
The legendary Porsche marque was celebrated at Brands Hatch in September, with an epic day of racing and displays. One of the main highlights was the appearance of the Le Mans-winning Porsche 919, which blasted round the Brands Hatch Indy in a stunning lap time of 38.16 seconds. Racing action came from a number of Porsche categories including the Porsche Club Championship, while there were additional demonstrations from special vehicles from the German manufacturer and apperances from Porsche legends Derek Bell and Nick Tandy. 

All-time great BTCC races at Brands Hatch (April & September)
Brands Hatch hosted two of the greatest races in recent British Touring Car Championship history this year. The second race of the season was an absolute corker with Senna Proctor taking his maiden win for Vauxhall, prevailing with an epic charge through the pack from 27th on the grid in changeable weather conditions. If that wasn't enough, his fellow podium finishers Jake Hill and Ollie Jackson had started 25th and 12th! The final race of the year was an absolute belter too, as Josh Cook (Vauxhall) and Ashley Sutton (Subaru) swapped position time and time again on the Grand Prix circuit before the latter prevailed in a drag to the line. Once more the season came to a conclusion at Brands Hatch, with Colin Turkington claiming his third title. 

Haslam finally wins BSB title at Brands Hatch (13 October)
Leon Haslam had been the nearly man in his first two seasons back in Bennetts British Superbikes - narrowly missing out on the title in 2016 and then losing it in unbelievable fashion in 2017 when a technical failure forced him to ditch his bike at near full speed in the season finale. It was third time lucky in 2018 though, as a dominant Haslam secured the title at the final round of the year in front of a massive crowd at Brands Hatch. In all, the East Midlander claimed 15 wins across the season, and the son of the legendary 'Rocket' Ron Haslam finally won his first major title, after a near perfect season.

You can enjoy many more great moments with MSV's range of 2019 Season Passes, available from £89. Click here for more information or to purchase a pass.


Monger _0013

JP Awards1



Neal -07 (2)

Chadwick -09



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Sutton & Cook -4

2018 Haslam Bennetts BSB Champion1

Additional photos provided by Jakob Ebrey, Harry Marshall, Az Edwards, Hoch Zwei, Nantwich Photography, Double Red & Peter May