Published: 06:00, 08 December 2020
| Updated: 07:10, 08 December 2020
Lydden Hill bosses say they will hold night racing again after hailing their first floodlit event a great success.
Twenty-five lighting towers were put up around the one-mile circuit on Saturday to allow round two of the British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy to run under the cover of darkness.
Held behind closed doors due to the Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions in Kent, multiple European Rallycross event winner Liam Doran, son of circuit owner Pat, stormed to victory and repeated the feat in round three on Sunday.
Doran senior – who finally gained planning permission for multi-million pound improvements in January – says he was "overwhelmed" by the success of the night racing, describing Saturday's event as "outrageously fantastic".
"I think there was a bit of a problem we didn't see coming where people had super brake lights," he said.
"So when we do it next time we will have to cover them up with socks or something so they're not so bright.
"But I thought it worked fantastically – we pulled it off and it was a great success; I would absolutely do it again.
"We're not going to do it every time obviously, but for the odd occasion it will be nice to have it now and again."
Using the Audi S1 driven by Swede Robin Larsson in the World Rallycross Championship this season, Doran junior finally enjoyed some luck at his family's circuit, beating Belgian team-mate Enzo Ide to top-spot on both days.
Andreas Bakkerud was set to drive in Sunday's daylight event, but coronavirus quarantine rules meant he stayed at home in Bergen, Norway, leaving Doran to handle the JC Raceteknik-prepared Audi in each round.
"The aim of the event was to familiarise myself with the car and see how I got on," Doran said.
"For me, it was a marketing stunt to give my sponsors some promotion for the events we missed with the world championship.
"It was crucial to win and it's gone really well as an overall event.
"I put on a good show I think and got a good result both days – the boxes are ticked for me."
Doran endured a tough world championship campaign, facing numerous technical issues in a GC Kompetition-run Renault Megane.
"The biggest highlight for me this weekend is the car has worked every time I've got in it – I've finished every single race," he added.
"We might not even have a world championship next year"
"That has become a bit of a luxury for me, which it shouldn't be, so that's been nice.
"I'm really happy to have had the opportunity to drive a factory-spec car around this track – it's been a pleasure.
"I've had a lot of bad luck this year and I figured Lydden would be the worst of it because it normally is.
"But it is nice that it's worked out for me and it's great for the team as well."
Doran had driven the EKS-built Audi before, running under the Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel banner alongside Bakkerud in 2019.
"I had to familiarise myself with that sort of car again because I am pretty sure I won't be in a Renault again," he said.
"That's not official at the moment, but I don't really want to put myself through that again.
"The Renault is a very one-off type of car – all of the others, the Peugeot, Hyundai, Audi, are very similar – and it does take a unique style of driving.
"So for me, if I drive next year, then I will probably drive a car that's more similar to an Audi.
"Whether it is the Audi, I don't know, because the team has had a great year this year and might want to continue as they are, so there might not even be a door open there, but it will be a car like that.
"And to be completely honest, I would happily drive the Audi again – I don't think anyone needs me to say that looking at the results."
Last month, it was revealed IMG – the world championship's commercial rights holder – is stepping away from the sport, casting uncertainty over the 2021 season.
Doran said: "At the moment, there are so many questions about the championship and whether it will even go ahead – no one knows anything at the moment.
"We might not even have a world championship next year, sponsors might all put out and there might not be a promoter, so at least I know that I did what I could to make a great end to a terrible year."
Successful GT racer Ide – who said he learnt the Lydden circuit on Dirt Rally 2.0 – showed strong pace at the weekend, shadowing Doran in both Supercar finals.
Round one winner Mark Donnelly joined the Audi pair on the round two podium, but the Northern Irishman's weekend unravelled on Sunday when his meeting ended in the Devil's Elbow gravel trap.
Bristol's Oliver Bennett put technical issues behind him to finish third on Sunday, beating 2007 champion Ollie O’Donovan to the flag.
In the support categories, Adisham's Tom Ovenden was disappointed not to convert pole position to victory in the Junior Rallycross Championship, losing out to rival Luke Constantine on both days.
His dad, Tristan, enjoyed a solid run on Saturday in the Supercar final but was hit by turbo failure on Sunday – the same issue which struck his ex-Jake Harris Citroen DS3 in August.
Off track, work has started on a new access road at Lydden, which will be built off Geddinge Lane close to the traffic lights on the A2.
An archaeological dig is now complete but construction will begin in the spring when the weather improves.
In late 2021, circuit bosses plan to start work on a new pavilion building in the paddock.
The British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy finale will be held at Lydden in January but a date is yet to be revealed.