Hamish Brandon will move on to pastures new for the forthcoming 2015 POWER MAXED MINI Challenge season, having formed a fresh and new partnership with the title-winning IN:MINI team.
Brandon first entered the world of motorsport in the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup, where he established himself as a frontrunner, before venturing south of the border to compete in the Cooper Class of the 2013 MINI Challenge UK with the ultra-successful Excelr8 Motorsport outfit.
Needing a team with a wealth of experience and knowledge, Excelr8 Motorsport was the perfect fit for Brandon, who quickly showed his skill to finish runner-up in his debut season, before graduating to the higher powered John Cooper Works (JCW) class for 2014.
Proving that the experience gained in the entry-level category provided an excellent foundation, the Scottish driver held his own while fighting hard throughout the season to finish fifth overall – just 23 points off the runner-up position – and earn a place on the ‘Best of British Shootout’.
However, while Brandon will no longer be based in the Excelr8 Motorsport garages on race weekends, he will continue to work with the team on other projects, including helping to develop new drivers. The close relationship is set to grow, which is pleasing for Brandon as he has truly enjoyed his time with the team and the friendships made.
Excelr8 Motorsport Team Manager, Daniel Bishop, who worked closely with Brandon, said, “We wish Hamish the very best in his new venture in the MINI Challenge and, although he will be a direct competitor to us on race weekends, it is great we can continue to work together in other capacities. So, in that respect, very little will change.”
With the introduction of the new-for-2015 Gen 3 F56 machines, which will ultimately make up the MINI Challenge UK’s headlining class, Brandon remains focused on the JCW campaign and has joined forces with IN:MINI to form ‘Panda Racing IN:MINI’.
IN:MINI has successfully built race-winning MINI Challenge cars since 2006 and has translated its passion for the series into countless race victories, most notably winning the Drivers’ Championship in 2013.
“Joining Excelr8 Motorsport was a great move, we needed the help and guidance from a team brimming with knowledge and experience and it has been vital to my career. However, with the development of the championship we need to now work to ensure full emphasis is on ourselves and our championship attack,” said Brandon. “For us the JCW was always a two-year programme and with the growth of the MINI Challenge Series we feel this move provides the platform to meet this years objectives while preparing for our longer term goals”.
“I’m very excited to be working with IN:MINI, I know most of the guys already, they are a highly successful team and have demonstrated this in recent years. I’m looking forward to our new partnership and building a strong team which can expand on last years successful maiden JCW season”.
MINI Challenge Championship Co-ordinator, Antony Williams, said: “Hamish has always been very supportive of my vision to develop and expand the championship. As part of that growth, we definitely want to attract more teams to the grid rather than simply see existing teams continue to grow in size and accommodate the rising driver entries. With that in mind, Hamish’s move helps secure another team in the paddock, which is good news for the series and with Hamish’s professional approach, I’m sure will work well.”