New Summer Meeting at Thruxton
Thruxton circuit in the UK celebrated its 50th anniversary this year with a big historic motorsport event, much of the racing content of which was supplied by Motor Racing Legends. Such was the success of the meeting that Motor Racing Legends, through their Historic Promotions associated company, will partner with Thruxton circuit to make it an annual event. Circuit Managing Director Bill
Coombs said that the Thruxton Motorsport Celebration will be more than a race meeting. It will include plenty of activities for children, supercar displays, skidpan demonstrations, and other attractions. “Whether you’re a petrolhead or not, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. We’re certain the event will become a huge regional summer highlight for years to come” he commented. Dates for the first Thruxton Motorsport Celebration are 1-2 June, and the Motor Racing Legends grids are expected to make up the bulk of the content.
Nick Padmore; Greg Thornton; Julian Thomas paired with Calum Lockie; and
Keith Ahlers with Billy Bellinger are the 2018 champions of the two FIA Historic Championships operated by Masters Racing.
Thornton and Padmore scooped their respective pre-and post 1978 titles in the FIA
Masters Historic Formula One Championship, while duos Thomas/Lockie and Ahlers/
Bellinger triumphed in the two divisions of the Historic Sports Car Championship.
Padmore took nine outright race wins and 10 fastest laps on his way to the title
aboard Max Smith-Hilliard’s Williams FW07C. His runner-up was the experienced
Christophe D’Ansembourg. Mike Cantillon, a relative newcomer to historic racing, took third place in the post-‘78 category.
The ever-consistent Greg Thornton split his season between his Lotus 77 (that suffered damage mid-season) and the March 761 on loan from Katsu Kubota for the remainder of the year. He took seven wins on his way to pre-‘78 honours. His main opposition came from Jason Wright who ended the season second aboard his Shadow DN8, while the enthusiastic Max Smith-Hilliard secured third place with an impressive four class wins in his Fittipaldi F5A.
The FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship crowned separate champions for the pre and post-1966 sections, the latter going down to the wire in favour Julian Thomas and
Calum Lockie, a modern GT champion two decades earlier, when they scored two wins at the season finale at Dijon in their Chevron B8. Jamie Boot, also Chevron-mounted, was second in the title race with his B16, while tying on points for third were Jason Wright, Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield.
Reigning pre-‘66 Hulme Class champions Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger did it again with a second successive title in Ahlers’ Cooper-Monaco. New for 2018 was a ‘Grand Masters’
Championship for drivers over-60 in the FIA series, in which Jason Wright took the prize in the
Historic Formula One contest, while the equivalent award in the Sports Car Championship fell to Keith Ahlers.
Often sharing with AC Cobra owner Michael Gans, who did not do all the races, Andy Wolfe took six outright wins in a superb season in the ever-popular Gentlemen Drivers Pre-66 GT Series to take the title.
Paul Ricard Spring Meeting
The long standing end of season meeting at Dijon has traditionally hosted the final rounds of the FIA Historic Championships and other International Series and has seen a number of different promoters over the years. Now known as the Dijon Motors Cup, and promoted by the ever-expanding HVM organisation that also promotes the Historic Tour series of French Championship race meetings, a new season opening Motors Cup will be added to the calendar. The late March/early April race meeting at Paul Ricard, which has opened the Historic Tour since it began in 2015, will be re-branded as the Paul Ricard Motors Cup and be for invited international grids, while the Historic Tour will start at Lédenon in mid-April in a season that will see the number of events
reduced from seven in 2018 to five in 2019.
The October Dijon Motors Cup content was provided predominately by Masters Historic Racing this year, and the Paul Ricard Motors Cup season opener on 29-31 March will see all the Masters’ grids
making up the bulk of the timetable in this first edition of what is set to become a new annual fixture on an already crowded international calendar. See HVM.fr for details.
Championnat de France
After the last round of the FFSA Historic Tour at Nevers Magny-Cours circuit, the French Championships have been decided. After seven race meetings organised on the best circuits in France, the champions are, exceptionally, three in number, as there was no deciding point in the regulations between Benoît Romac (Porsche 993 GT2 GT Classic Trophy) and Franck Quagliozzi (Honda Civic Youngtimers GTI Cup) in the GT / Tourism category. Both share with Frédéric Rouvier (Martini MK31 in the F3 Classic Trophy), to which the title of Monoplaces / Protos champion returns, the merit of posting a perfect score of 12 victories out of 12, from the 14 races (two races are discounted) organised within each of their respective series. Some 331 drivers in all participated. Congratulations to the new Champions of France.
Grand Prix de France Historique
on the Start Line
Next summer the circuit of Nevers Magny-Cours will host the second edition of the Grand Prix de France Historique from 28 to 30 June. The initiative of France’s governing body the FFSA and promoters HVM, this new biennial event, which takes place in alternate years to the GP de Monaco Historique and Le Mans Classic, favours single seaters and features the Masters Formula One cars, Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula Renault and Formula Ford 1600 and 2000. As usual the Masters will come as a package, so there will also be races for their Sports and GT cars, as well as a round of their Masters Endurance Legends for cars of a much later era.
Amongst other activities planned is a celebration of the anniversary of Team Lotus and tributes to the circuit’s own contribution to the history of the sport. The Magny-Cours circuit was the scene of the French GP between the years of 1991 and 2008. See gpfh.fr for tickets and details.
77th Members’ Meeting
Moved to a slightly later 6-7 April date next year, perhaps in a effort to avoid needing snow ploughs to keep the track clear, plans for the Goodwood Members’ Meeting are slowly being revealed. First to be confirmed was the return of the Edwardian aero-engined behemoths that make up the S.F. Edge Trophy, a firm favourite with the fans at previous events. The 2017 running saw a grid on which the average capacity of the cars was 8.6 litres, and included the monstrous ‘Beast of Turin’ Fiat S76, with its 28.3-litre engine.
“With skinny tyres, solid rear axles, and enormous steering wheels, it is possibly one of the most unfamiliar-but-exciting spectacles of the weekend,” said Matt Hearn, Motorsport Event Content Manager at Goodwood.
An all-new race for pre-1930 racing cars honouring the name of John Duff, one of the first ‘Bentley Boys’, has also been announced. Duff was not only the first Canadian to compete at Le Mans, but he was also the only Canadian to take overall victory there, winning the 1924 race for Bentley alongside Frank Clement. Bentleys will be out in force, with challengers from Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Mercedes-Benz to compete for the John Duff Trophy.
In another communiqué, Goodwood has announced a one-make race, the Betty Richmond Trophy, named after the Duke’s grandmother, for pre-1966 Mini saloons and variants, celebrating 60 years since the diminutive little car endeared itself to world.
“Thinking back, Betty was really the one responsible for my love of motorsport,” said the Duke of Richmond. “She used to buy books on cars, which she then got my grandfather to give me. She also encouraged my grandfather to spend time with me at the circuit, taking me round to see the cars and meet the drivers. It was an eight year-old’s dream. It is, therefore, entirely fitting to name this new race after my grandmother who is really the person, more than anyone, who got me hooked on cars, bikes and racing.”