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While Club racing is restarting all over Europe and the US, those events that rely on large club and spectator participation have virtually all been cancelled for 2020. From Monterey to Goodwood, from Silverstone Classic to le Mans Classic, all have fallen victim to COVID.
These are the very events that require the most capital investment and huge amounts of forward planning, contract negotiations with all sorts of suppliers, staff recruitment, etc. etc. While the organisers have put in all the work to stage them, alas, they will see no return on their investments this year.
Those events that rely on large club and spectator participation have virtually all been cancelled for 2020
Strange days these, I trust all is well with you. Just to pick up on an article in the May HMRN about lap times, your correspondent interestingly takes my time from the last time I raced a T70 at Goodwood to make his comparison. The point is that I was asked (effectively told) not to go faster than 1’20”. I’m actually quite proud of my 1’19.955 done without a lap timer! Your correspondent should really have compared Nick Padmore’s very much faster time, also set in a T70 that so “rang the bells” at the MSA.
More interesting still are the lap times set at the TT in 1959. Stirling was on pole at 1’32 and change in the Aston, Brooks second on 1’33 and a bit in the Testa Rossa and third was Graham Hill in the works Lotus 15 in the 1’34s. Last time I looked the fastest Lotus 15s are now doing 1’25s....... and are not being driven by Graham Hill!
Thank you for producing a very enjoyable magazine at a time when there is nothing substantial to report.
John Hopwood’s article in the May issue on technical developments in historic motorsport is very well balanced and in my opinion the directions that he proposes and the questions that he asks are all the right ones.
At club level, the CSCC for instance, operates loosely Appendix K events, as well as a number of other nostalgias such as Modsports and Supersaloons that are very enjoyable, but for National and International competitions a set of clear regulations is essential.
As I perceive it the current position of the FIA is back to basics, back to the homologation papers and any other hard information from period, and I’m personally happy with that since it means that it should not be necessary to invest in lighter and shorter lifed parts not used in period.
As we all know there are always opportunities to improve performance that are invisible to the kind of cursory inspection that time allows for scrutineering at competitions. Right now the easiest things to check are most rigorously inspected, the labels on seat belts and fire systems dates, seat homologation, gloves, boots, suits.
Thanks for the link of the May issue of HMRN, very funny article about the Reykjavik GP, a good read.
About Peter Collins’ article entitled The Time and Space Continuum, if of any interest to you, I started a lap time analysis back in the days I was working for Peter Auto that I continued up to 2016. I feel the article is of interest but misses quite a few things. Goodwood is probably the only place where one can compare lap times, given the circuit has not changed since its heyday, but of course it has been resurfaced. Anyway, the interesting fact is if you look at those values:
2006, Pre-66 Whitsun Trophy and best time by Frank Sytner in a Lola T70 Spyder is 1:22:513 and which was also the last year I believe that the T70s were allowed to run the front high downforce spoiler, which is now only possible if you run a McLaren M1 like Chris Godwin. Then comes the T70 times of 2012 (Pearson 1:19.703) and 2014 (Hart at 1:19.985), but what about 2016 and Padmore, who did a 1:17.079? All competent drivers, just like Hadfield. Both Pearson and Goodwin are even faster than the reference taken in HMRN but Padmore, another very competent driver, was really a break in terms of performance. Ever since 2016 it seems that the previous level of drivers chosen for the race has changed back to a more capable but enthusiast type, maybe a way for Goodwood to hide the fact that it was getting out of control. You may also remember the crash of Michiel Smits from the Netherlands and I guess things had to be calmed down.
Faster Now Than Then?
Not Faster Than an Arrows
Peter Collins’ excellent piece in the April issue about the relative speed differential of some cars now and in period, reminded me of the well documented case of the Arrows A4 F1 car.
In 1982 this basically sound but heavier Grand Prix design would get smoked every time by the likes of Williams, McLaren and Brabham. Despite having the same DFV engine and some highly competent drivers, it was, for example, over three seconds a lap slower than the leading FW08 at Brand Hatch that year, a huge gap by F1 standards. Fast forward to Historic F1 in 2014-2017 and talented amateur driver Steve Hartley was using an A4 to beat many of the pros in their period-superior machines. How was this possible? Much credit must go to Nigel Rees at GSD race dynamics. A very clever man who recently revealed he was once part of the support crew of the ‘good old boys’ Terry Sanger Camaro team at the Spa 24 Hours way back in 1973. His company has since developed increasingly sophisticated engineering and computer analysis capabilities for all manner of race cars. By recording detailed measurements and data, plus the use of potentiometers and software programming largely unavailable back then, they are able to make up for many of the advantages in dynamic road-holding, handling and aero efficiency that the bigger budget teams had at the time - and for much lower cost. The need for the ‘black art engineering’ role of a test driver is also thereby reduced to a minimum by science.
Historic motor racing, even if it could be described as a leisure activity, is a branch of motor sport that has to comply with regulations ensuring the safety of all those involved. In particular, the regs impose the deployment of a safety car in the case of an accident or breakdown to ensure that a low speed is maintained to make the circuit safe during activity by marshals or rescue vehicles. On long circuits like Le Mans, the arrival of the safety car can signal the end of a race for the drivers. This is why slow zones were introduced in 2016 at Peter Auto events enabling circuits to be divided up into several sectors thus isolating the zone at risk where an intervention is taking place.
The promoters of the Silver Fern Rally in New Zealand have confirmed more details of the November 2020 marathon rally. The rally will be based in Rotorua and will start on Sunday November 22 before finishing back there on Saturday 28. Overnight halts will be in Gisborne, Napier, Palmerston North and Ohakune. Peter Martin of the Ultimate Rally Group confirmed that the seven-day gravel rally, will cover 650 stage miles amongst the breathtaking scenery of the North Island. “We’re aiming at a field of 70 cars and we need to get at least half of them from overseas,” said Martin. “This year we will be supplying stage route notes and a DVD eight weeks before the rally.” The move to notes is aimed at encouraging European crews to enter. See https://silverfernrally.co.nz for entries.
Offering R&D Tax Relief for Preparers and Other Small Businesses
U2TC has found a new sponsor in the form of Prospect Brigstock Services, a firm specialising in corporate tax relief. While this may sound esoteric, it is, on the contrary, very pertinent to many of the small businesses and workshops that supply the technology to run the cars. Ria Goff of Prospect Brigstock explains, “Most of our clients will say they are NOT eligible for tax credits and cash and absorb R&D costs because they see the expenditure as day to day running costs. Because of this only a small number of companies are making the most of the R&D tax reliefs available to them. We’ve listed three questions to ask yourself below, if you answer yes to any of them you could be eligible:
Did you encounter problems that required unique solutions?
Have you worked on a project that was a challenge to resolve, and could you explain the challenges you faced and how you attempted to overcome them?
Have your designs involved innovative or creative ideas, perhaps around more sustainable, more efficient or durable products?”
This includes the scientific or technological uncertainty of turning something that has already been established into a cost-effective, reliable and reproducible process, material, device, product or service, or an advance in science or technology. Simply put there must be an improvement. Whether that’s in the form of a service or manufacturing of a product.
The Motor Racing Legends’ season was celebrated at London’s Royal Automobile Club in front of many significant personalities from the world of motor sport such as Chief Executive of Motor Sport UK David Richards and Chief Executive Hugh Chambers, RAC Chairman Ben Cussons, Silverstone Classic promoter Nick Wigley and, guest of honour, Touring Car and Le Mans racer, Tony Dron. Awards were presented for all seven Motor Racing Legends’ series during the evening.
Photo Oliver Flower
On 24 June, 2020, Alfa Romeo will hit a new milestone - 110 years of the well-loved marque. A number of events will take place to celebrate Alfa’s founding on 24 June 1910 in Milan, Italy and its subsequent achievements, both sporting and non-sporting.
Alfa’s official team, the Scuderia del Portello, is inviting all Alfa drivers to Monza on April 4 for a mega Alfa festival, for historic and modern road cars, racing cars, touring cars, grand touring cars, prototypes and single-seaters. All are welcome and many will get a chance to drive on the circuit. There will also be a parade on the old Monza banking, as well as displays, demonstrations and more. See http://www.scuderiadelportello.org for entries, but be quick if you want to drive on the circuit, as driving places are necessarily limited.
Having heard last month on the day we went to press the surprise announcement that the Chateau Impney Hillclimb event was to be discontinued, we have now had a conversation with Rod Spollon, Chairman of the Chateau Impney Hill Climb Club and Director of the Chateau Impney Hotel who said, contrary to what has been circulating on social media, that funding the event was “certainly not an issue, nor was there an environmental concern.” Reluctant to say much more, he repeated the words in the official press release, saying, “We set out to create a successful hillclimb event and we think we accomplished that, and we are moving on to other things.” The event will be missed.
FIVA has backed an initiative by German Firm Parts4you GmbH to provide what seems to be a comparison-type web site for parts for classic cars. In exchange for your personal information (you can’t use the site without registering), you can search “the independent and global service platform for the classic car community” as it is described on the home page, for suppliers of “spare parts, repair workshops, restoration or overhaul of assemblies as well as specialised experts.” According to their press release, the FIVA Parts Catalogue provides a very complete cross reference between (original) part numbers and suppliers so that car owners can select the vendor to work with, based on proximity, price or other conditions. See https://classicparts4you.com and, if you use the service please let us know how useful you find it.
24‐26 April Rechberg (AUT)
29‐31 May Ustecka 21 (CZE)
05‐07 June Ecce Homo Sternberk (CZE)
12‐14 June GHD Gorjanci (SVN)
03‐05 July Trento Bondone (IT)
10‐12 July Cesana Sestriere (IT)
28-30 August GHD Petrol Ilirska Bistrica (SVN)
18‐20 September Buzetski Dani (HRV)
25-27 September Coppa Chianti Classico (IT)
The 2019 GT & Sports Car Cup season was celebrated at The Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, London, where the year’s winners were announced. Chris Clarkson and David Smithies were overall GT & Sports Car Cup winners, as well as class GT3 winners, for their performance in their Austin Healey 3000. Amongst other class winners were Malcolm Paul and Rick Bourne, who took the GT2 Class in their TVR Grantura MkIII, GT1 Class victors Marc Gordon and Nick Finburgh in a Lotus Elite and in Class GT4 John Watson and Dan Cox (Lotus Elan 26R). The Ladies Cup went to Barbara Lambert.
In the ongoing saga over WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, home to the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the five-person Monterey County board of supervisors voted unanimously to enter into contract negotiations with A & D Narigi, LLC (A&D). Provided both sides can agree terms, the company led by former Monterey Plaza Hotel general manager John Narigi will replace the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) and SCRAMP’s 62-year tenure as Laguna Seca’s manager will come to an end ahead of the new racing season.
According to commentators, the non-profit SCRAMP organisation’s volunteer base is its greatest asset. Assembled over decades, i t is unclear whether the hundreds of volunteers who’ve provided their support, and allowed many events to operate without the vast expense of a paid staff, would shift their allegiance to A&D.
Amongst other things SCRAMP has been organising the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion since it took the Monterey Historics from Steve Earl in 2010.
Otherwise known as the Brighton Run, the Royal Automobile Club’s London to Brighton event took place on its traditional date of the first Sunday in November in unseasonably mild weather and under cloudless skies.
Photo Peter Collins
REMINGTON ARMS BECOMES SVRA’s OFFICIAL RECREATIONAL FIREARMS COMPANY
Iconic American Company Fits Nicely In SVRA Paddock Packed With Racing Icons
Southlake, TX (October 29, 2019) – Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced that the Remington Arms Company is now the “Official Recreational Firearms Company of SVRA.” Founded in New York and headquartered in Madison, North Carolina, Remington is a leader in the production of ammunition, shotguns, and rifles.
“We are tremendously honoured to have Remington, an iconic American brand for over 200 years, as a partner,” said SVRA CEO Tony Parella. “Vintage racers appreciate sportsmanship and leadership and everyone I have spoken with agrees there is a lot of synergy between the Remington and SVRA brands.”
The first edition of the Normandy Beach Race took place on Saturday, 21 September on the beach of Ouistreham Riva-Bella (France, Normandy, Calvados).
Photos Grégoire Thorel
After participating in the Race of Gentlemen on the beach in California, friends Thomas Hervé, Jean-Marc Lazzari and Marc Félix were inspired to create the first such event in France. Everyone was encouraged to dress in 1940s style and the French, who love their period dress, responded with enthusiasm. This event was a real success with nearly 15,000 spectators coming to see the 80 or so European and American participants with their 2, 3 and 4-wheel vehicles from before 1947.
From humble beginnings in 2014, the Bernina Gran Turismo 2019 event proved there is an ncreasing appetite for a sociable hillclimb amongst owners of great cars. Staged on the Bernina pass just outside of the chic resort of St Moritz, this year’s event brought out an even greater variety of cars to run in the competition and regularity categories, with little distinction between the two - the road is closed and participants can run at any speed they choose. It is a chance for collectors to bring out some cars that they might not usually race.
Dates for next year’s Tour Auto have been announced as 20-25 April. Each year a marque or type of car is favoured and next year will be the turn of the roadgoing Porsche Prototypes to take priority for entries. Expect to see 550 sypders, 904 GTS, Carrera Abarth and more. The itinerary for next year’s event has not yet been announced, but entries for this oversubscribed event can be made on the Peter Auto website: peterauto.peter.fr.
Undoubtedly the major attractions at the Grand Prix Historique du Pas De Calais on 6-7 July were the two rounds of the 500 Owners Association Circuit Championship. Many of the 500 racers are also Formula Junior drivers, and they were well represented at Croix, led by likely winner Mike Fowler (Cooper Mk 5). Martin Sheppard (Effyh “Brynfan Tydfyn“), Xavier Kingsland (Staride Mk3), Duncan Rabagliati (Comet Mk1) and Andy Rayner (Cooper) were also amongst the tourists from the other side of the Manche, while Elva 200 Lurani racer Gilbert Lenoir brought along three of his cars to race, the French built Terigi for Simon Frost, and two invitation cars, the front-engined, Monopole FJ for Jean-Luc Renard and the ex-Harry Schell 1950 Monaco F1 GP Cooper-JAP v-twin for journalist Dominique Pascal, while Goodwood French commentator, Olivier Barjon was also there in his near barn find Cooper Mk II, although not yet ready to race.
Prescott is the great early August annual social occasion for VSCC members with the Orchard car park as full of desirable motor cars as is the competitors’ paddock. Rileys are always well represented and with the grandson of founder William, and son of Victor Riley, Victor Jnr in attendance, this year even more so. The hill also finds favour with Lady drivers, often sharing with their ‘other half’ which, of course, is more difficult to do when circuit racing, and there were many among the large entry.
Lyn St James crashed James Heck’s Corvette out of a star-studded Charity Pro-Am race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the weekend of 3-4 August. The seven-time Indy 500 starter and prominent sports car racer sustained minor injuries during the crash and was kept overnight in hospital as a precaution. “St. James said. “I’m really thankful that all of the safety equipment that I wore and what was on the car functioned as it was designed to. I am walking away from a pretty big hit.”
Willy T. finally won the Pro-Am race at Indianapolis Photo Courtesy SVRA
The race was won by Willy T. Ribbs and Edward Savadjian in a Duntov-prepared 1969 Corvette A Production racer, Ribbs’ first Sportscar Vintage Racing Association pro-am win after seven tries. After a close battle Geoff Brabham had taken the lead of the 50-minute race until a belt broke in his similar Corvette, shutting off his power steering and rendering the car undrivable.
“We were having a great duel with Geoff, and I honestly feel for him,” Ribbs said from the podium. “We had the deal here all but closed the last two years and then something always happened. There’s no place like the Speedway. Anytime you win here, it’s a terrific day.”
In July 1939 Jean Bugatti accepted the invitation to compete at the first Bugatti Owners’ Club International Prescott Hillclimb and brought the monoposto Type 59 fitted with 8-cylinder supercharged 4.7-litre type 50B engine for his works driver Jean-Pierre Wimille. The car came second in the event behind the ERA of Raymond Mays. Except for its single post-war outing in 1945 in the hands of Wimille at the Coupe des Prisonniers in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, the 59/50B was not to be driven again and like so many Bugattis, ended up in the Schlumpf collection, which has now become the French National motor museum - Cité de l’Automobile in Mulhouse. This summer the car will return to Prescott after 80 years as part of the Bugatti Trust’s summer exhibition, just as the Bugatti Owners Club that owns Prescott celebrates its 90th anniversary this year with a special anniversary edition of the famous hillclimb on 25-26 May