The Final Countdown As Lydden Gears Up For World Championship Debut

May 19, 2014 By Mike Lee
Last updated on August 6, 2015
  • Feast of Bank Holiday motor sport action as World RX blasts into Britain
  • Rallycross enters the big time with record numbers of SuperCar entries
  • Kent venue upgraded and prepared for ‘momentous’ event

An exciting new chapter in the history of Lydden Hill will be written this Spring Bank Holiday weekend (24-25 May) when the action-packed FIA World Rallycross Championship roars into the famous Kent motor sport venue.

It will be the first time that Lydden has ever hosted a premier league World Championship event, elevating the ‘friendly circuit’ onto a par with Silverstone, home to the annual Formula One British Grand Prix.

The milestone event has attracted a record entry in the headline SuperCar class for enormously fast 600bhp turbocharged versions of familiar street machines. No fewer than 38 drivers from right around the globe will all be gunning for the honour of winning the inaugural AUTOSPORT World RX of Great Britain.

Former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg leads the World RX standings after triumphing in the opening round earlier this month in Portugal, and tops a star-studded line-up which includes factory-supported teams representing Ford, Peugeot and VW.

Other likely front-runners include Solberg’s fellow Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud, reigning GRC champion Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen from Finland and American ace Tanner Foust – he’s not only a multiple winner at Lydden Hill but also a co-presenter on the US version of the Top Gear television series.

Hopes of a famous home win rest with multiple X Games Gold Medallist Liam Doran, Julian Godfrey current leader of the British Rallycross Championship, Scotland’s Andy Scott and reigning British Touring Car Champion Andrew Jordan who is one of a number of high-profile ‘wild-card’ entries.

A full supporting programme of TouringCars, Super1600s and RX Lites all add to the high-octane excitement, while dramatic demo runs by legendary Group B rallycross cars and tyre burning Drifters provide even more eye-catching on-track entertainment. Autograph sessions, an open paddock plus a special Fan’s Zone are among a long list of other attractions.

“To be hosting a World Championship event is probably the biggest and most significant moment in Lydden’s history,” admitted circuit owner Pat Doran. “Rallycross was born here at Lydden back in the sixties, and the fact that the sport is now returning to its birthplace as a fully-blown global World Championship makes this weekend even more special. To celebrate what’s going to be an absolutely brilliant occasion, we have made some major upgrades to the facilities. We’ve built a new Race Control centre on the start/finish line and more entrance points to provide better public access. Along with the amazing SuperCar entry, advance ticket sales are also at record levels, so we are expecting a bumper crowd to watch what’s going to be a truly momentous race meeting.”

To cater for the huge numbers expected, gates open at 05:30 on both Saturday and Sunday. The on-track action commences with practice at 09.00 on Saturday with competitive Heats running from 11:15 to 18:00. Sunday’s busy schedule starts with a morning Warm-Up at 10:30. A further round of Heats follows at 11:30 with the weekend’s top performers then qualifying for the Semi Finals and Finals.

Tickets are priced from just £25 on the gate but discounts of up to 20 per cent are still available for those booking before the midnight deadline on Tuesday 20 May. These can be purchased via either the official website or the Ticket Hotline on 0844 858 8518 (calls cost 6p per minute plus network extras). Tickets purchased in advance must now be collected on arrival at the venue. Accompanied children aged 12 and under are admitted free.