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Previews of upcoming events, Race & Rally Reports, News, Reviews, Letters and Regulation Information from Historic Motor Racing News.

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Bits and Pieces

Our caption competition published in the September issue did not elicit one response, not even a wild guess.  Where is your sense of adventure?  For those of you who have been trying to figure it out we apologise if it was just a little too obscure.  The correct answer is Eva Rueber Staier, Miss World.  The photo was taken by Peter Collins at the 1971 Crystal Palace F2 meeting.  Peter assures us that not much has changed at the Palace, and that if you stand in the same spot today, you will have much the same view, minus  Miss World of course.

This year’s Salon Privé attracted a record number of entries to the grounds of the elegant Blenheim Palace on 22-26 September for the prestigious Concours d’Élégance.  It was the first automotive event in the world to use the Liber app, which has been developed for major event organisers to ensure that everyone who attended was COVID-19 free before they entered and could be contacted if necessary afterwards.

The week got under way with a new VIP Media Day on 22 September with some supercar brands choosing Salon Privé to unveil their latest models.  Bentley hosted a trio of global premieres courtesy of its in-house bespoke and personal commissioning division – Bentley Mulliner, while Italian styling house Touring Superleggera exhibited its striking Aero3.  Danish hypercar manufacturer Zenvo showed its 1177bhp TSRS-1, and the eye-catching 1100kg, 1100bhp Engler Superquad was on display.  European debuts covered a wide variety of performance cars, including the TDF1 from British brand Tour-de-Force, the all-electric Aspark Owl hypercar, and the remarkable PAL-V flying car.

 

Photo Oliver Flower

The Concours d’Élégance presented by AXA dominated proceedings on Wednesday and attracted a record number of entries.  An ex-Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider by Zagato that was raced in period by Tazio Nuvolari claimed the coveted Best of Show Award, while Class Winners included a 1988 Porsche 962 and a 1974 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT12 in the new Milestones of Endurance Racing Classes.

The success of United Autosports on both sides of the Atlantic at Daytona and Sebring, in the British GT Championship, in the European and Asian Le Mans series, running drivers such as Fernando Alonso, Juan Pablo Montoya,  Lando Norris and former DTM Champion Paul Di Resta is probably well-known to our readers.  That team owners McLaren CEO Zak Brown and former racing driver Richard Dean are also dyed-in-the-wool  historic motor racing enthusiasts, is perhaps less well-known.  Indeed United Autosports also restore and maintain a range of historic Formula One and sports cars, entering races in the UK, Europe and across the world.

 

Photo Courtesy United Autosports

The company has been expanding exponentially lately and a big part of the growth has been in this historic division, which Zak and Richard want to continue to develop.  As part of the expansion, they have recently announced that Dickie Stanford has joined them as Historic Motorsport Project Manager.  The Former Williams F1 mechanic turned Team Manager will work closely alongside long-term United Autosports engineer, Paul Haigh.  

A man of vast experience, Dickie began his motorsport career running a Formula Ford team, before moving to work in Formula Three and eventually joining the Ralt Formula Two team.  In 1985, he joined Williams as race mechanic to Nigel Mansell and in 1990 he was promoted to chief mechanic, before becoming Team Manager in 1995.  Most recently Dickie was general manager of Williams Heritage and was responsible for all the team’s and customers’ historic race cars.

In his new role at United Autosports, he will manage car restoration projects for customers, while also travelling to various race events as part of the United historics race team.  His first trip was to Portugal for the Peter Auto Estoril Classic, where the team ran the 1989 Jaguar XJR10 and the 1974 Ford Cologne Capri RS3100 for Zak Brown and Dario Franchitti, sadly without a great deal of success this time.

Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR), organisers of Daytona 24 Classic and Sebring Classic 12 Hour, amongst many others, has been named the new sanctioning body of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (WRLS).  The previous sanctioning body was the Historic Motor Sports Association.

In the new multi-year partnership, HSR will provide expertise in vetting entries for authenticity, competitor and participant registration and full technical scrutineering for both the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Monterey Pre-Reunion.

Previously owned by SCRAMP, who also held the franchise for the track, and now owned by the County of Monterey, new track managers A&D Narigi will take care of the event in its entirety, retaining the marshals, rescue and medical, timing and scoring and all ancillary activities associated with the event. 

HSR will play a critical role in the selection process and ensure the cars are appropriately grouped.  It will take responsibility for technical inspection, competitor relations and conduct driver meetings, etc.  When it comes to on-track racing, HSR will be the primary point of contact.

Established in the mid-1970s, HSR is currently operated by David Hinton, who acquired majority ownership of the organisation in 2012 in partnership with the late George Tuma.  A racer himself, who often participates at Monterey, Hinton has served as HSR President ever since.  When asked about his plans for the event, Hinton said, “I think what they’ve got going on has been phenomenal with the best cars in the world racing out there and I don’t think we need to change that.  It’s simply the best vintage race in the country.  Some of the people on the East Coast have never been comfortable going out there, so I think they might be a little more inclined to send an entry in now.”

“Our intent is to continue evolving the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion to new levels of excitement by continuing to attract and present the very finest historic and authentic race cars that owners want to drive and fans want to see,” explained John Narigi, president and general manager of WeatherTech Raceway. “In partnership with HSR, we will continue this journey.”

The Blower Continuation Series is a run of 12 newly-built recreations of one of the most famous Bentleys of all time – the supercharged 4½-Litre ‘Blower’ Bentley raced by Sir Tim Birkin in the late 1920s.  Forming the world’s first pre-war continuation series, Bentley Motors is creating 12 cars amid protests from owners of real Bentleys and the disapproval of many historians and lovers of the original cars.  All 12 new cars have been pre-sold.

 

From our Editor..

We have a pretty active Facebook group, the members of which are historic motor sport enthusiasts from all the corners of the world, and I always look forward to reading their posts.  I saw a post by Ian McAlpine that I loved and decided to share it here.  However I then started looking into the personality of its subject and had to add some of what I found in my researches to what Ian originally posted.

The driver Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Angel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca Y Leighton, better known as the Marquis de Portago, would have made James Hunt’s exploits seem run of the mill.  He was born in London and, aged 17 flew a light aircraft under Tower Bridge to win a $500 bet, losing his pilot’s licence in the process.  He played a ferocious game of Jai-Alai (Pelota), swam competitively, won a tennis title and took up top-level polo, yachting and shooting.  He was a fearless horseman, winning three successive French amateur titles, rode in the Grand National twice and, in 1956, represented Spain at the winter Olympics in their bobsleigh team coming a creditable fourth.  He also won bronze medals in the two-man event at Cortina d’Ampezzo  and the 1957 FIBT World Championships in St. Moritz.  He competed in many other sports, including the Cresta run, but unlike Hunt, de Portago wasn’t a drinker.  Wealthy, young, tall, dark and handsome, he was an international celebrity, plastered as much across the social columns and tabloid front pages as he was in the sports sections.  He was fluent in four languages.  His Godfather was King Alfonso XIII of Spain.

He won six major races, including the Tour de France, giving the 250 Ferrari its “Tour de France” nickname, the Grand Prix of Oporto, and the Nassau Governor’s Cup (twice).  He participated in five World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 1 July 1956.  Enzo Ferrari offered him a works F1 drive  in a Lancia-Ferrari D50A for the French GP at Reims.  His best result was a second place at the 1956 British Grand Prix (in a shared drive with Peter Collins).  In the British GP he was called in to hand over to Peter Collins. In Germany he was again called in, but didn’t object.  “One day someone will be asked to hand over to me”.  Ferrari valued the gentlemanly side of ‘Fon’, “that always managed to emerge from the crude appearance he cultivated”.

Founder of Autosport magazine, Gregor Grant, said of him, “The fellow does everything fabulously well.  Never mind the driving, the steeplechasing, the bobsledding, the athletic side of things, he could be the best bridge player in the world if he cared to try, he could certainly be a great soldier, and I suspect he could be a fine writer.”

Unsurprisingly, he was precocious when it came to women as well.  At just 20 he married Carroll McDaniel, a former model he barely knew who was several years older than him.  Though they had two children together, he soon divorced her so he could legitimise a Mexican marriage certificate to Dorian Leigh, a fashion model eleven years his senior, with whom he fathered a son. There was also a third lover, the last woman he’d ever kiss. The story goes that Mexican actress Linda Christian, ex-wife of actor Tyrone Power, was waiting for him at the Rome checkpoint of the ill-fated 1957 Mille Miglia.  De Portago stood on the brakes, ran to her, kissed her and carried on.

He was killed when a tyre burst on his Ferrari 335S and the car crashed into the crowd killing 10 spectators, himself, his co-driver and the Mille Miglia.  That was the last time the race was run.  He was 28 years of age.

As one contemporary said of him, “He packed more into his 28 years than most people pack into a much longer lifetime.” 

I was always aware of his fame as an international playboy, much of his story as a racing driver and his reputation for bravado, but when I started reading about all his other accomplishments I must admit I became fascinated by his character.  I’ve now discovered that Ed McDonough published a book about him in 2006, now out of print, about which one reviewer said, “It reveals many of the “exaggerated” claims that have been spread since Portago’s death, without doing damage to the reality of his life.”  So do take all of the above with a grain of salt.

Now that’s what I call Sprezzatura.  Steve McQueen eat your heart out.  Thank you, Ian, for your post.  CS

MAGAZINE  > LATEST NEWS > King of Cool

It’s a race meeting.  Who is it and where is she?

Bonus question:  What Year?

Hint:  If you stood in the same spot today you’d find that not much has changed since this photo was

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > Competition

In order to support the organisations and the involvement of men and women volunteers in the field, the FFSA Steering Committee on July 29, 2020 decided on the following measure:

“Volunteers holding a license in 2020 will be offered the same license in 2021, subject to meeting the delivery conditions defined in the FFSA regulations.”

The Committee also sent out a reminder of the previous decisions designed to aid clubs and organisers with the challenges of the COVID situation.

- Reimbursement of calendar fees for organisers for events cancelled during the COVID-19 crisis.

- Freezing of technical regulations until the end of the 2021 season (apart from those related to security).

- Amount of the contribution for all Auto Sport Associations and Karting reduced to a symbolic €1

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > FFSA Announcement on Measures to Help French Motorsport

After the resignation of Frank Lyons, following his conviction by the UK’s governing body for cyberbullying, the Historic Sports Car Club members have elected Roger Bevan as their new Chairman.  Bevan, who is finally stepping down from racing his ex-Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus 69 F2 car, is already the man behind the runaway success of the Club’s Historic Formula 2 International Series.  Though Lyons reconsidered, “due to the tremendous support I have received from members and friends,” and put himself up for re-election, the membership decided a new face in the position was required.  Bevan’s commitment to Historic F2 has made it one of the best historic single-seater categories in Europe and his passion for the class goes back half a century to watching Fittipaldi race the Lotus at Crystal Palace. “It was a surprise result considering the strengths of my fellow contestants,” said Bevan, “Now the hard work starts!  So many unknowns, so many questions in this strange new world.”

Roger Bevan is stepping down from racing his ex-Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus 69 F2 car and stepping up to the role of HSCC Chairman

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > New Chairman for the HSCC

Since he joined the NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series in 2017, dynamic young Christchurch driver Michael Collins (Leda LT27) has been tipped as a likely overall series’ title winner.  And that is exactly what the 24-year-old now is, as the New Zealand Formula 5000 Association decided to call the result of the COVID-19-interrupted series after the fourth round and officially cancel the series’ final, which was to have been run at Hampton Downs in March.  Collins, with the most points to his credit in the season so far, has therefore been named champion.

“At the time we were quite bullish about getting in our final round, “ says committee member Glenn Richards. “But as the days turned into months I think we all started to realise that a better idea would be to put a line under the 2019-20 season and start planning for ‘20-21.”

The long-running NZ-based series could hardly have a better champion either.  A former karter and 2016/17 South Island (of NZ) Formula Ford champion, Collins has been impressing everyone with the maturity and racecraft he first displayed behind the wheel of the Alastair Hey-owned, Collins family-run, Leda LT27 at the opening round of the 2017/18 series at Pukekohe Park Raceway.  Then just 21 years of age, the mild-mannered young man, who works as an electrician, won his first F5000 race at the second round that season.  He enjoyed similar success over the 2018/19 season but like the year before, prior commitments meant he had to miss the final and key points-scoring round.  Congratulations to the new Champion.

Michael Collins won the 2019/2020 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series in the family-run Leda LT27 after the  nal round was cancelled

 

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > Final Call on 2019/2020 Tasman Series - Michael Collins is Champion

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