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MSV's ten must-see events for 2012!

Sunday, January 01 2012

Happy new year from all of us at MSV! With the race calendar fast taking shape, we've picked some essential and unusual events for the coming season. As you hang your new calendars on the wall, make sure you mark out these ten dates!

1. Brands Hatch Stage Rally  Sunday 22 January

Rallying is a rare sight at race circuits but with very few forests offering a stadium atmosphere and panoramic viewing, it's a great place to see drivers on the edge of adhesion (and frequently over it)! It's also a great way of beating the winter blues and will keep you going until the start of the race season just a few weeks later.

2. British F3 and GT at Oulton Park  Friday 6 - Monday 9 April

British GT features some of the world's finest supercars on one grid and the mini-endurance format gives you a chance to explore the picturesque parkland of this great circuit. Oulton Park is also famed for its challenging corners, and is the one track every up-and-coming driver wants to win at, making it a key round in this year's British F3 Championship. The Bank Holiday weekend always draws a huge crowd.

3. DTM at Brands Hatch  Friday 18 - Sunday 20 May

Ever since the withdrawal of Opel, DTM fans have been missing a third manufacturer but that's all about to end! Joining Mercedes and Audi in 2012 are BMW, making the series a true battle between Germany's big three. However, there's a distinct British flavour to the proceedings, with multiple World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx squaring up to the DTM's most successful driver, 2005 champion Gary Paffett from Bromley. With David Coulthard also expected to be on the grid and a circuit-full of motorsport celebrities, this is one to enjoy!

4. HSCC Superprix at Brands Hatch  Saturday 30 June - Sunday 1 July

One of the delights of motorsport is being able to see the great cars of the past in action, not just being demonstrated at slow speed, but raced hard. The HSCC Superprix is a summer tradition at the Kent circuit and features the FIA Historic Formula One Championship, plus races for Le Mans sportscars, GTs and Saloons. It's a wonderfully nostalgic weekend and on a balmy summer's day, there's no better place in the world than out in the woods on the GP loop, watching a 1970s McLaren or Lotus sideways at Westfield. Magic.

5. FIA Formula Two and International GT Open at Brands Hatch  Friday 13 - Sunday 15 July

The fastest race of the year at Brands Hatch comes courtesy of the powerful, Williams F1-designed cars of the FIA Formula Two Championship and a grid-full of hungry talents will be fighting it out for glory in the summer. If that's not enough, Europe's fast-growing GT Open Series brings a field of supercars, usually filled to bursting point by wild card entries from the best of British GT.

6. Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton 300  Saturday 11 - Sunday 12 August

The UK's biggest car racing series always provides a great day out, and plenty of action and controversy, usually in equal measure! With no let-up in the fight, it helps to have a good view of the action and Snetterton's panoramic viewing banks are perfect for this. Whether you choose to see the start from Palmer, a view of nearly everything from Agostini or the hairpin chaos and Bentley Straight drag race at Montreal, you'll capture the unique atmosphere amongst the fans gathered around the new infield section. Better still, with F3/GT making the trip the weekend before, why not combine it with a holiday in the Norfolk Broads?

7. Lotus Festival  Saturday 18 - Sunday 19 August

Summer is festival season, so capture the mood as Brands Hatch celebrates Britain's most charismatic racing and sportscar marque. The annual shindig moves from Snetterton this year and aside from the action on track, featuring F1 demonstrations between the races, there's lots to see and do off-track too.

8. MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park  Saturday 25 - Monday 27 August

The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship provides the closest and most spectacular racing you'll ever see and we'd recommend any round, but nothing matches the annual Bank Holiday party at Cadwell Park. For the uninitiated it's an incredible venue and you wonder why you hadn't visited before. Not only is it the final race for the riders to secure their place in the championship showdown but its intimate nature and sensational layout will end your summer on a high.

9. Oulton Park Gold Cup  Sunday 26 - Monday 27 August

The north's premier Historic meeting is also one of the country's oldest, celebrating a coveted prize that was originally awarded to the winner of a Formula 1 race held at the circuit. Stirling Moss's multiple victories proved the Cheshire circuit's daunting nature, relived in the various races for racing, sports and saloon cars. But that's just part of the event, as the abundant car club displays, rally demonstrations and trade stands affirm. Gold Cup on Sunday followed by Superbikes on Monday perhaps?

10. Paralympic Road Cycling at Brands Hatch  Wednesday 5 - Saturday 8 September

Fancy something different this year? With the country's Olympic and Paralympic mood reaching fever pitch by mid-summer, you'll want to be part of the action. British hopes in the Paralympic Road Cycling events are well-founded and you may even see Alex Zanardi make a popular return to Brands Hatch, 21 years after he set the fastest ever F3000 lap of the circuit. However you need to be just as quick to secure a place - tickets are only on sale until 6 February, unless they sell out beforehand.