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National novelties: Fiat Panda and a very modified MX-5

There is always a huge range of machines competing in club motorsport and that has certainly been the case in recent weeks with a humble Fiat Panda and a far more modified Mazda MX-5 among those in action

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Fiat fun: Panda on the prowl

A Fiat Panda provided the most unusual sight among a wide variety of machinery taking part in last weekend’s Clubsport Trophy mini-enduro race at Silverstone.

The car was making its race debut in the hands of Fiat fanatic Dean Lomas. The long-time mechanic, who was also competing in his own first race, shared the Panda with Clubmans Sports Prototype regular Martin Walker.

Lomas let Walker take the start before bringing the car home safely, 27th of 30 finishers and sixth in class.

A very special MX-5: AK's wide-body Mk1

Henderson set some encouraging lap times in the MX-5, which features a seven-speed BMW gearbox

Henderson set some encouraging lap times in the MX-5, which features a seven-speed BMW gearbox

Photo by: Sammy Nudd

A heavily modified, turbocharged Mazda MX-5 showed pace and promise on its Club Enduro race debut on Snetterton’s 300 circuit earlier this month, having been thwarted by gearbox control issues in qualifying at Croft in July.

“It’s the second time we’ve owned the car,” said Anthony Kay, team principal of the AK Motorsport squad that ran the MX-5 for driver Alan Henderson. “A low-chassis number Mk1 from 1989, it was already turboed and used for trackdays and Northern Sports & Saloons events from 2009, but didn’t go round corners or stop. Sold in 2012, it disappeared into the wilderness but, when we were offered it back [more than a decade later], sad and run-down, we reckoned we could make it work. It’s just a fun project.”

At four inches wider than the original Japanese best-seller, there is little left of the chassis bar the front and rear bulkheads. It has a flat floor and most of the body is fibreglass.

“The engine is still a 1.8-litre Mazda, with forged pistons and oversized valves, and mounted further back, but we’ve added a bigger Precision Turbo than most will go,” added Kay. “It makes 300-310bhp and drives through a seven-speed BMW DCT gearbox.”

NASCAR demo: US AutoShow

Harvick's Chevy was among those to please the Oulton Park crowds

Harvick's Chevy was among those to please the Oulton Park crowds

Photo by: Rachel Bourne

American auto fans were treated to an unsilenced display of NASCAR power last weekend as four legendary Chevy machines, Impala and Monte Carlo cars, and Silverado Craftsman trucks, lapped Oulton Park.

As each thundered round, the biggest cheer went to the #29 2008 Impala in Kevin Harvick’s Shell/Pennzoil colours. The long-serving racer – who is nearing retirement – stands among NASCAR’s all-time greats, his 121 combined wins placing him third in national series rankings.

Pics of the week:

Graeme Foley remarkably emerged unhurt after being struck by Emil Kostadinov in Formula Vee at Silverstone

Graeme Foley remarkably emerged unhurt after being struck by Emil Kostadinov in Formula Vee at Silverstone

Photo by: Steve Jones

Mike Devlin and Matt Hogg's Fun Cup car looking a little battered at Silverstone

Mike Devlin and Matt Hogg's Fun Cup car looking a little battered at Silverstone

Photo by: Mick Walker

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