A man who drove his VW polo onto a circuit during the middle of a race could face a civil case costing thousands as competitors consider taking legal action against him.
Jack Cottle, 21, of Tunbridge Wells, has been condemned as 'reckless' and an 'idiot' after he evaded security staff and race officials at Brands Hatch in Kent to drive through the competitors' paddock, into the pitlane and onto the track whilst a race was going on. He completed a full lap of the circuit before returning to the pitlane.
The incident was caught on mobile footage by one of his passengers. A woman in the front passenger seat, believed to be Cottle's girlfriend, is heard pleading with him to stop.
A second video has since emerged from one of the competitors in the Fun Cup, a series for VW beetles, and which was staging a four-hour race on Sunday. The video shows how Cottle's car passed by in the pitlane, just before the car of Chris Earp, Paul Turner and Jon Tomlinson was released by their team.
Kent Police have confirmed that a 21-year-old man had been charged with false imprisonment and bailed until 24 July. However, it seems that some of the race competitors may also seek recompense from the invader.
One driver, Rod Barrett, said he was looking into a class action in order to recoup race fees, saying he had reached third position when the race was red flagged with 23 minutes to go, and winning had been a possibility.
Talking to Kent Online, he said: "This idiot caused us and other teams to accept our positions prematurely so cost us and others championship points. Fun Cup competitors pay a lot of money for our track time and in race fees."
He added that with an average cost of around £4,000 for each of the 26 teams, there was potential for £104,000 plus legal fees in compensation.
"That will wipe the smile of his stupid face for many years to come!"
However, instead of regretting his actions, Cottle looks to be revelling in his notoriety with a Facebook page set up to celebrate his actions on which he is believe to have posted:
"i just wanna say a massive massive massive thank you to all the suppoirt from everyone i know what i done was naughtyt not gonna lie it was dangerous but only in the wrong hands i know how to drive a car an wouldnt be stupid enough to smash it into the side of a pack of beetles plus i stayed to the right hand side letting faster cars go past my left, all you haters are literally comical your all textbook nerds!" [sic]
Brand Hatch circuit owner and ex-Formula 1 driver, Jonathan Palmer, was outraged at the incident. In a statement he said: "I am extremely angry that this idiot acted in such a reckless way. Most seriously he endangered the lives of the drivers racing, the marshals and his own passengers by entering a live race track. Furthermore he totally disrupted an important long distance motor race that competitors had paid their hard earned money to participate in.
It is imperative that the full force of the law is used to deter such dangerous and anti-social behaviour and we are pleased to be providing maximum co-operation to Kent Police."
MSV added that they expect legal action to be forthcoming.
"We are providing every assistance to the police in the full expectation that the driver will be prosecuted, a spokesman told The Huffington Post UK.
"We also expect to pursue civil claims against, at least, the driver in relation to the losses suffered and costs incurred as a result of their actions."