So we’re well into the middle of the winter down time but getting ever closer to the start of the 2017 Championship. There will be some changes this season but thankfully our title sponsors MicksGarage.com are remaining with us.

The help and support we have received from MicksGarage has hugely helped the popularity and growth of this class in 2016. To have them on-board again for 2017 gives us great confidence that the class is going in the right direction and hopefully will continue to grow as one of the biggest grids on the Mondello Park race circuit.

Along with MicksGarage we also have the backing of Kast Automotive who last year supplied all registered drivers with KAST engine oil for the year.
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There has been quite a lot going on behind the scenes over the winter. With some drivers moving on and new drivers coming into the class.Mr Robbie Parks who is a regular front runner in Future Classics and a very well established single seat racer has made the move up to Supercars for 2017. Anyone who has raced against Robbie knows he is quick in pretty much anything!

The Supercar class should really suit Robbie and we are very excited to see how he gets on and we wish him every success. We have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of Parks in Future Classics as he was recently spotted in the company of the Byrne brothers and he is believed to have left that meeting with a loaded trailer!

There are plenty of rumours about new cars being built and with Future Classics who knows what will turn up in March. MJ Farrell is very busy developing a Toyota Levin for the class. This should really start to give the class a Jap look when it joins the trio of front running Celicas of the Byrne brothers; Aidan Ken and Tommy.

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But promising to spoil their party is another Byrne team, the duo of Dan and his father Gary Byrne. They have been busy testing their 1600cc Corolla and by all accounts it’s well on the pace.

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We’re all hoping we will see the arrival of Declan Carey and his very unique Ford Ka. This car has been developed over the past three years and showed very well at an incredibly wet demo race last year. This car and driver combination would surely be a front runner if and when it makes an appearance.
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We don’t remember ever seeing a 2.6 V6 Audi estate racing at Mondello Park but that may be about to change. Anthony Murtagh who is an ITCC veteran at this stage has started work on such a machine. If works complete on time there is no doubt it will be at the sharp end of proceedings and will also provide an awesome soundtrack while doing it.
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Mike Dermody who won most improved driver in 2016 has vowed to stay loyal to his Punto. He believes there is more time to be squeezed from the little car and how his lap times were improving race on race we certainly believe him! If he decides to change things up a bit he has a nice surprise in the shape of replica BTCC Vectra for those Jap cars are looking to dominate. So watch this space!

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Another possible new addition is Darren O’Hara, who is a big fan of all things Japanese. Darren is responsible most of the race car livery done in Future Classics along with plenty of other classes and his work is getting quite a lot of attention for all the right reasons! His MR-2 project has taken many turns but after speaking with Darren recently it looks like it’s taking a turn for the best at last. After a brief visit to the Byrne brothers to purchase an engine, the car is now in the hands of Kevin Gillespie at GRRR and will be fitted with a 2 ltr Beams Celica engine. This car should really be up to the task. I had a sneaky preview of this car’s proposed livery and it’s quite impressive, as we might expect. So here’s hoping we see it on the grid for 2017.
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We’re not too sure what top secret development is happening up at Duggan Motorsport. Rumour has it the Champion’s son Garry will be doing the full championship with Timmy doing as many Future Classic races as he can. Timmy has talked about a possible return to rally life.

Let’s hope these lads continue to make the trip down from Donegal as it’s great to have the standard of cars on the grid that they bring and their dedication to racing can only be admired for making that long journey.

William Kellett is making the move to the Fiesta ST class and we wish him every success. He will have the backing of Kellett Motorsport and we are sure they will be a force to be reckoned with in the 2017 ST Championship.

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Dave Owens has become somewhat of a retro race car collector! He learned his craft last year in the ex-Ken Byrne Austin Maestro, while he was building the beautiful Alfa 155. Although he didn’t race the 155 much himself, he sat Richard Kearney in for a few races to prove its potential and that he did in spades. Dave didn’t stop with the 155 as he has since become the owner of a very well sorted 306 GTI 6 track car that he sourced from the UK. This we believe is the car he will campaign in for 2017, but who knows what he will race. Either way it’s a nice headache to have 🙂

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Damian Dowdall of Fines Road Tyres is another newcomer that is showing a lot of interest in joining us this year. He is busy building a Nissan Sunny GTI for the class. This is yet again another car we haven’t seen a lot of recently so to have one sitting on the Future Classics grid would be pretty cool indeed. This car will be equipped with the SR20DE, which is most common in the 180sx, giving it plenty power but like the rest of us it will need to find that balance to evade that barrier time.

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We have recently seen on social media some more work going on behind the scenes with the Jimmy Kilbride’s 106 GTI. Jimmy was another newcomer to the class last year and struggled with some technical problems in the 106. But he was last seen with the engine out and he looks determined to make this car work. If he does succeed in making this car reliable we know they are a quick car and can yield some great lap times even in standard form.

It’s unconfirmed as yet but there is also talk of Rob King and/or Stephen Kershaw making an appearance for a few rounds in their Trackdays.ie EK Civic. This is the ex Marty Moore car which ran very well last year. Marty bought Brent Hughes’ ex ITCC spec car at the end of last season which has the more powerful B16 VTEC motor. College commitments prevent Marty doing a full season but he may make an appearance for a round or to we hear.

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The 106 GTI is pretty much the sister car to the Saxo VTS and I myself joined the class last year as a newcomer with my Citroen Saxo VTS. These are basically a 1600 16v hatch with very good power to weight ratio and no fancy VVTI or V-TEC. I managed to finish 2nd overall in the Championship in my first year racing with pretty much standard spec on the car, so that shows these cars can be very competitive on track without huge investment.

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At the moment, my Saxo is getting some winter TLC and some big modifications. I have planned to stretch my legs a little in 2017 and try some new things with the Saxo, but I will certainly get in the mix with some Future Classics racing during the year. I will also be doing whatever I can to help the lads with the class for 2017.
While on the subject, thanks again to social media, we see there looks to be another Saxo being built for this class. It seems John Twomey is well into a great looking build and we are pretty sure anything these guys produce will indeed be very fast. I’m sure there are some more cars out there being built for this class, as its affordability seems to be one of its biggest attractions. We are always seeing ex-Future Classics race cars being bought and sold so it’s sometimes hard to know just who will be on that grid until round one.
As always with any club or race class there’s always a few good people behind the scenes working away to make sure everything works as it should. One of these is class co-founder Ken Byrne. Ken has always worked hard from the very existence of this class while also competing at a competitive level on the race track. Ken has announced that he will take a step back from committee duties in 2017 but will still compete with us on track. We all know that family life must come first and it’s more than fair to say that Ken has certainly earned a break from his committee roll at Future Classics.There is also Aidan Byrne, Brian Griffin and John Heavey who will continue to work hard with the help from our sponsors to improve this class and in this regard we should all do our bit to make sure we can help the lads in any way.We will shortly have the 2017 copy of the technical regulations available and will provide links to our website for same. (www.futureclassics.eu) There have been some small changes but we won’t go into it now as all will be revealed soon.
Our calendar for the year is out and has been published on our Facebook page and most will have a copy from the drivers’ meeting but this will also be updated on the website.
By Adrian Dunne