The Magazine

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

These stories are all from the pages of Historic Motor Racing News.  Some have been abbreviated for this web site.  If you'd like to receive the full version, go to Subscribe where you will find postal subscriptions available.  A full subscription also entitles you to access the current issue online (available soon), so you can take it with you and read it anywhere, and we are working on providing full access to our archives of back issues exclusively for our subscribers.  Those who subscribe online are automatically given access to our bulletin board area.

September 2019

Content from the September 2019 Issue....

  • This meeting has now become so big that it commences on Wednesday 25 September with track sessions for pre-war cars (this in collaboration with the Belgium Classic Cars Federation) and the activities of Aston Martin Heritage, who is sponsoring the track time for their customers with recent racing cars.  This is in addition to the two Masters Endurance Legends races, also sponsored by Aston Martin that were already shoe-horned into the event last year. 

     

    As in previous years, Thursday is given over to free practice and testing for all competitors before the full race programme begins on Friday with qualifying for all grids and racing for a few.  All of the usual grids will be there, including HGPCA,  all the Masters grids, all the Motor Racing Legends grids, including pre-war sports cars, and the HSCC has its usual two-30-minute race slots, this year for closed wheel cars from any of their championships, from Touring cars, to Thundersports.  The HSCC also brings back its Jaguar Challenge.

    The schedule for this year’s Spa Six Hour meeting is more packed than ever

  • After a successful run this year for historic IMSA cars at the Long Beach Grand Prix, next April Historic Formula Atlantic cars will run two 20-minute support races at the annual  IndyCar street racing event.

    Races will run Saturday, April 18 along with the IMSA WeatherTech Championship race and Sunday, April 19 - the same day as the NTT IndyCar Series race -- with practice and qualifying on Friday.

    The Formula Atlantic series ran at Long Beach from 1978-‘82 and 1989-2008 as one of the premier “feeder” series to top-level open-wheel racing.  “Hosting the historic Formula Atlantic cars are a natural at Long Beach,” said Cris Vandagriff, president of the HMSA, the body that will be organising the race.  “It will be so exciting to see these cars on the Streets of Long Beach again and have many of the former drivers attend the Formula Atlantic autograph session.  All the cars will be authentic in every detail including the livery they ran in-period.”

    Contact HMSA at www.hmsausa.com for details and entries.

  • Historic Sportscar Racing is making some alterations to the groupings at this year’s Daytona Classic with the division of Group E into two distinct classes, each featuring modern but retired prototypes and GT cars from this century.  Group E remains the place for Audi R8, Pescarolo Judd, Peugeot 908 and Lola B07 LMP race cars that compete in the group with Daytona Prototype International (DPi), LMP2 race cars and others just past their prime, but the split paves the way for Oreca FLM09 Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) “PC” cars and Gen 2 and Gen 3 Daytona Prototypes to compete for overall honours in a move to completely restructure Group F.  Still current in their appeal but no longer eligible in contemporary racing series, the “DP” and “PC” cars will compete in Group F against retired LMP2 cars of the same era.

     

    Daytona Prototypes and LMPC cars have become quite popular with HSR competitors in recent years

    “Daytona Prototypes and LMPC cars have become quite popular with HSR competitors in recent years,” said HSR President David Hinton, “Both have been competitive but are a little outmatched against the LMP machines that have set the standard in Group E since the inaugural HSR Classic Daytona in 2014.  Moving ‘DP’ and ‘PC’ to Group F, where they will be able to contend for the overall victory, has been a popular decision with our competitors and brings back a familiar scene for race fans that watched both classes compete at Daytona just a few years ago.”

    November 13-16 will see the fifth running of the event organised along similar lines to Le Mans Classic, with cars racing in groups covering six decades over a 24-hour period, but at this event the 24-hour race is supported by a full schedule of HSR races that start on Wednesday.  Fittingly, Lola is to be the featured marque this year, 50 years after Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons co-drove the Chevrolet-powered Sunoco Team Penske Lola T70 to overall victory in the 1969 Rolex 24 At Daytona.  See www.classic24hour.com for details and entries.

  • The Circuit des Remparts will this year celebrate 50 years since the first ‘Circuit Automobile des Remparts’ at Angoulême with a re-evocation of that original grid.  Run in 1939 as two qualifying heats of 40-laps each, followed by a final of 70 laps, it was hardly surprising there were a number of DNFs behind eventual winner Raymond Sommer in an Alfa Romeo 308, the only truly modern GP car to have competed. 

    This year’s event will feature many favourites, such as the Bugatti races, this year split into two categories, for four and eight and cylinder cars.  Other pre-war grids will include pre-war GP racers and there will also be a grid for Edwardian cars. 

    Post-war cars will run in two grids, for cars up to 1965 and for cars up to 1976.  In addition, numerous demos and themed runs are planned.

    As usual there will be the Concours d’Élégance and the Concours d’État and the International rally, all culminating on Sunday when the streets are closed and the racing takes place in front of packed grandstands.  Dates this year are 13-15 September.  For once it doesn’t clash with Spa Six Hours, which has moved to 27-29 September this year, but it does clash with the Goodwood Revival.

  • Entry demand is strong for the 2019 Tour de Corse, which will kick off on October 7 with a shakedown stage in Porto-Vecchio before setting off on a new five-day route that will take in some 840kms and 17 special closed road timed stages, with night stops this year in Porto-Vecchio, Saint-Florent, Calvi and Ajaccio before returning to Porto-Vecchio.  Regularly attracting a who’s who of historic rallying, providing fierce competition at the top of the leaderboard, the event also attracts a multitude of drivers with more modest ambitions and abilities in a wide variety of cars, old and not so old, who just want to drive on the classic Corsican stages in what is some of the most stunning scenery in Europe.  With competition and regularity classes, the entry is limited to 250 cars and is usually over-subscribed.  For cars up to 1990 with HTPs or technical passports divided into age categories, there is a discounted entry fee for cars under 1300cc (Mini drivers take note).  There is also a legend class for early post-war cars from 1947.  Entries can be made through www.tourdecorse-historique.com or an email to Tourdecorsehistorique2a@gmail.com will get you an entry form.

     

  • Rådström Reigns on the Road....

    Fastest from the off,  Arne Rådström dominated Sweden’s most important historic rally, the KAK Midnight Sun Rally, in his Volvo 262 at the head of a highly competitive 130-car field, finishing each of the three days, from July 10 to 13, in the lead.  But, after 900kms and over 150 stage kilometres, the Volvo driver was disqualified for a technical infringement, which was upheld after appeal.

    This gave second on the road Patrik Dybeck and Jonny Norling the victory in their Opel Kadett GSI over the Volvo 242 of class-winning Harry Joki and Tony Sundkvist by a margin of 23 seconds.   An expected podium place for Ola Axelsson evaporated on the final day when he was sidelined with clutch problems in his Volvo 244, gifting the place to Mikael Wisti’s Volvo 240.  A worthy fifth were reigning European rally champions Mats Myrsell and Esko Juntilla in their Porsche 911 RS, who also won their class.  

    Fastest from the start, Arne and Dennis Rådström were disqualified for a technical infringement in their
    Volvo 262 SE

    This year’s KAK Midnight Sun Rally incorporated a tribute to the rally headquarters’ local Örebro hero Stig Blomqvist, who demonstrated a Saab V4 to the waiting crowds before starting the rally in a Porsche 911.  Sadly, the Porsche broke on the first stage, but the World Rally Champion was allowed to continue in a borrowed Ford Escort, outside the competition, to the delight of the many spectators that lined the stages. 

    The Regularity category provided a double win for the Norwegians, with last year’s winners Anders and Jörn Gröttum finishing ahead of Asmund Kleve and Oddvar Moland.  Swedish honour was upheld by Peter Settergren and Martin Stuart in third.

    “Our 14th running of the event was the best ever,”  said Wilhelm Douglas, from the organising club KAK, “both in terms of the competition itself and the wide starting field with many international participants.  In addition, our assessment is that we have had a total audience record and we notice that the audience has been both knowledgeable and engaged.”

     

  • Organised by Malcolm McKay’s ClassicRallyPress organisation, this year’s Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally for Triumph TRs in July saw 26 TRs from 1953 to 1976 take part.  The rally closely followed its original 1958 route but was split over 10 days instead of the original continuous 60hrs with just one 8hr break.  Still formulated as a navigational endurance challenge, with three circuit tests, drivers were offered the possibility to drive the rally as a tour, but none of the TR owners were interested in that option, all battling to find the route controls and win at least a class award, if not win overall. 

    The route headed over the Belgian Ardennes into Germany and the Dolomites, crossing Austria to Italy then headed east into Slovenia and over the challenging Vrsic pass before dropping down to Ljubljana, where a day’s break allowed competitors to service their cars and visit the city.

    The weather was superb throughout – making the scenery all the more stunning and the roads more enjoyable. 

    By this stage, some were battling on after repairs, while two had retired.  Vincent Paccellieri, running with his 20-year old son in the oldest car, the first Triumph TR in Europe, which was shown at the 1953 Paris Motor Show, had a catastrophic front hub failure on the first day.  Undaunted, he persuaded a friend to drive from the south of France to Germany with a spare hub, replaced it at the side of the road and caught up with the rally at midnight. The camaraderie on the event was terrific, competitors all helping each other and enjoying the company of fellow TR enthusiasts. 

    After the break in Ljubljana, competitors enjoyed the Passo di Pordoi, Passo Stelvio and Passo di Gavia.  In 1958 most of the 15 mountain passes would have been gravel, but now all are tarmac, so a 10km gravel road section in Slovenia was added to give competitors a feel for the extra challenges those 1958 crews faced.  Just as then, the rally entered Brescia to a reception in a central Piazza, now accompanied by police motorcycle outriders and, after a glorious return drive through sweeping country roads in Germany and Belgium, it finished at the evocative Abbaye de Stavelot that houses the Spa Circuit Museum. 

    The event is divided into two categories, Authentic for cars of a type that were around when the original rally was run, and Spirit for later types.  Authentic winners this year were Andy English and John Smallwood, who had battled mechanical issues throughout the event in their TR3A.  They were closely followed by US father-and-son team Jeff and Jeff Givens in a TR3A that Jeff senior has owned for 50 years and driven 390,000 miles, and Iain Paul and James Butler in a gorgeous Apple Green TR3A that was a factory team rally car in the 1950s.

    Spirit winners were Liz Wakefield and Mike Jones in their super-reliable TR4A, just one second ahead of Paul and Jan Gerring in a superb replica of the 1960 TRS Le Mans cars – with TR Register Vice Chair and Editor Dave Burgess and Wayne Scott in Dave’s stunning TR6 not far behind.

  • 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.”

     

    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.”

    Willy T. finally won the Pro-Am race at Indianapolis Photo Courtesy SVRA

  • 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.  

    Patrick Blakeney-Edwards returned the ex-Fane 1929 Frazer Nash Shelsley to the hill where it appeared at the inaugural VSCC meeting in 1938 when it set a time of 48.59secs compared to the FTD of 47’62” from the Freikaiserwagen.  This year it did 45’40”.  With 15 different classes each with a 1st and 2nd and many with additional ‘Vintage’ awards it is almost a case of ‘everyone gets a prize’ but the coveted ‘Overall FTD’ went to James Baxter’s well driven and developed 1934/5 ERA engined Riley Special entered by D.G. Hawkins with a time of 40’36” on the first of his two runs. 

    This year the Alvis marque was celebrated with a special display of
    road cars as well as compe  on cars such as this, the 1923 Alvis
    Racing Car No.1 and the Speed 20 on the hill. Photo John Retter

    TD for James Baxter in the ERA-engined Riley Special Photo John Retter

    The famous ex-Raymond Mays ERA R4D driven by Nick Topliss was second on 41’73” and another ERA, R12C, driven by James Crabb won the award  for ‘Fastest Young Driver’ with a time of 42’57”.  Fastest ‘Vintage’ was another well known hill car the AC/GN Cognac of Tony Lees at 43’01”.  A wonderful traditional event set in the glorious Gloucester countryside and this year blessed with appropriate weather.

    Edwardian cars are always a strong presence at Presco such
    as the Curtiss aircra - engined Le Zebre Special and Star 16 HP Raceabout.
    Photo Eric Sawyer
  • 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.

    Photo Kitty Chisholm 

    Two other invitation cars, Patrick Jamin in the (now) 600cc Boyer and Fred Marquet in his early DB-Panhard, now in 850 Monomil spec, were to lead in both practice and the races, but of the 500 F3s it was Mike Fowler ahead from Xavier Kingsland and octogenarian Roy Hunt in his faithful Martin, one of the specials built by Ray Martin after he had designed  the prototype swing-axle Kieft for Stirling Moss.

    Race 1 saw Fowler finally content leading the F3s home in third overall after a good battle with Marquet and Kingsland a little back in third.  A great drive from the back of the grid by Nigel Challis netted the 500 OA Chairman fifth spot ahead of John Chisholm in the Arnott, while a good battle at the back saw Richard Bishop-Miller in the evocative Revis just pip Rabagliati’s Comet on the line.

    After two long practices and a race, some of the 500s were a little tired by race 2 but Fowler drove another superb race to lead the F3s, and there was terrific joy from everybody to see Simon Dedman take a podium place for the first time in the Australian built Waye 500.

    Other races included a small field of Formula Fords, enlivened by the presence of Croix Circuit owner Patrick d’Aubreby having a run in his Lotus 22 Formula Junior.

    It was a really fun clubby weekend, much enjoyed by all the British visitors.

  • FIA Historic Rally Championship

    ‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons have continued their winning streak in the European Historic Rally Championship in their Lancia Delta Integrale 16V with a storming drive on the Rally Weiz Historic, winning all but two of the 14 special stages in the Austrian round of the Championship on the weekend of 18-20 July.  

    Second overall and  rst in Category 3 ‘Zippo’ and Denis Piceno took maximum championship points

    The first day already saw the Italian pair with a lead of 1m25.2s ahead of their nearest rivals and well ahead of the second placed Category 4 competitor after the Porsche 911 SC of championship leaders Mats Mysell and Esko Juntilla suffered a technical problem on the fourth stage of the day.

  • HSCC Club racers in action at Croft

     The Historic Sports Car Club’s season continued at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire over the weekend of 3-4 August as nine of the Club’s categories provided some entertaining racing during the annual Retro and Classic Weekend.

    2019 champion Andrew Park (Reynard SF81) won the first Formula Ford 2000 race from a bumper grid, though the race was shortened due to a red flag when Graham Ridgway’s Reynard tangled with Andrew Smith’s Royale.  Benn Simms snatched the lead on the restart in his Reynard SF77 but was quickly reeled in by Park and second-placed Ian Pearson in his Royale RP30.

    Park won again on Sunday, although his car was trailing smoke.  However, both Pearson and Simms dropped out from second place, leaving Paul Allen’s Reynard SF79 to try and catch the ailing Park. 

    Jonathan Hughes was the winner of the first Historic Formula 3 race, running in conjunction with an invitation class for Classic Racing Cars.  Hughes qualified quickest in his orange Merlyn Mk14A and was only seriously challenged when a mysterious loss of power dropped him to second just after half-distance.  Championship leader Simon Armer briefly led in his March 703 but had to settle for second ahead of Leif Bosson’s immaculate Brabham BT28. 

    Hughes dominated the second race too but Armer was not so lucky.  He had passed Bosson for second after dicing for several laps, but had to retire a while later with mechanical problems.  Bosson held on to second in front of Steve Seaman’s Brabham. 

    ‘70s Roadsports Photos Charlie Wooding

    Mark Charteris pulled the same trick as Andrew Park in the Classic Clubmans race.  His Mallock MK20/21 was emitting ominous smoke for a lot of the race, but he still kept the Mallocks of Alan Cook and Adrian Holey at bay.  

    Cameron Jackson moved closer to the 2019 title when he won both Historic Formula Ford races in his Winkelmann, but not without some drama.  The first race was split in half by a red flag, triggered by Pierre Livingston and Ted Pearson coming together between Sunny and the Complex. 

    Jonathan Hughes won the  first HF3 race in his Merlyn M14A

    Livingston led briefly off the line, shrugging off polesitter Callum Grant (Merlyn Mk20A) and Jackson.  He was soon reeled in, however, and the fight was between Jackson and Grant, with Jackson prevailing once more.  They were followed by Ben Tusting and Ed Thurston from Classic Team Merlyn, with Over 50s points’ leader Rob Smith leading the division in sixth place.

    The second race should have been a showdown between Jackson and the Classic Team Merlyn drivers, as Grant stood down and gave his car to Pearson.  However, Livingston and Thurston spent too much time chasing each other and Jackson got away.

    The 70s Road Sports races provided plenty of action and an array of different cars. The two races were won by last year’s champion Jeremy Clark in his Lotus Elan and Will Leverett in his Lotus Europa, joined in the main battle at the front by Kevin Kivlochan’s Morgan Plus 8.  

    Kivlochan was second in both ‘70s Road Sports races but he maintained his 100% record in the Historic Road Sports Championship with two wins in his AC Cobra.  Jonathan Rose’s Lotus Elan was second in race one, ahead of Roger Lee’s Lotus Seven, but this was reversed in race two.  Lee pushed Kivlochan hard in the corners, where his lightweight Seven had the advantage over the Cobra, but Kivlochan’s superior straight-line speed kept him ahead.  

    Photo Kitty Chisholme

    No-one could dispute that Ben Tilley deserved his Guards Trophy win in the Lotus 23B but equally no-one could deny that Peter Needham and Jon Waggitt threw the lead away in their Lenham P69, losing 24 seconds during a messy pit-stop.  Both the Lenham and Peter de la Roche’s 23B were lapping strongly behind Tilley by the end, but they could not catch him.  Mike Gardiner and Dan Cox were the leading GT crew in their TVR Griffith, finishing behind Nick Thompson and Sean McClurg in their Chevron B6.

    Both Classic Touring Cars races were contested by a leading group consisting of Richard Belcher’s Lotus Cortina, Jonathan Evans’ Mustang, the Lotus Cortina of Roger Stanford and Bob Bullen in his rejuvenated Ford Anglia.  Belcher won both times but there was some shuffling of the pack in the first race, with Bullen briefly leading and Evans leading for a while longer, but it was finally settled as it had started.  The second race featured a midfield tussle instigated by Peter Smith in his Lotus Cortina, as the experienced Tom Bradshaw drove Evans’ car.

  • Size doesn’t matter

    In our report from last year’s Oldtimer Grand Prix we touched on the fact that the event – downsized from its huge Marathon days – seems blossoming despite the fact that it attracts fewer cars every year.  The trend continued in 2019 on the weekend of 9-11 August, with entry numbers slightly down from the previous year, while spectator attendance was markedly on the up yet again.  Especially on Saturday and Sunday when the Nürburgring paddock was swarming with fans from all over Europe very much enjoying their day out.  So, the smaller the Oldtimer GP gets, the more people it attracts!  It’s the amazing shrinking event…

     The first Deutsche Rennsport-Meisterschaft race was won by Felix Haas’ Lola T294 and the second by Marco Werner in a McLaren M88  Photos Eric Sawyer

      

    Mattijs Diepraam Reports

    Despite some monsoon weather on the Friday afternoon, the event largely took place in partly sunny, partly overcast conditions.  Porsche, Alfa Romeo and Skoda were once again the brands featuring their stuff and inviting their owners’ clubs to the event, with Porsche especially pulling out all the stops – the Mercedes Arena was filled with more Porkers than ever before.  In a Stuttgart battle for attention the eye was caught by the many AMG banners surrounding the scene... In a vein similar to the Silverstone Classic, many people never wandered beyond the club area, the motor racing acting as a mere sideshow to them.

    Single-seaters

    14 historic Formula 1 cars was not quite the turnout that the organisers had hoped for but at least all the contenders were there.  The presence of Ferrer-Aza, Stretton, Cantillon, Constable, d’Ansembourg and Folch, with Fletcher again taking on Wright in the pre-78 class, meant that despite the lack of quantity, quality wasn’t lacking.  

    Matteo Ferrer was nursing an ailing engine in his Ligier JS11/15 and had planned for a conservative approach, preserving his championship lead and with a bit of good fortune clinching the title over the weekend. Martin Stretton, meanwhile, was in serious doubt of being part of the final two championship rounds, the owner of his Tyrrell 012 having allowed him more races than in previous years already, and so wanted to go out with a bang.

     Martin Stretton won both F1 races in a Tyrrell 012

    And he did.  With pole and two wins the old fox ticked all the boxes, leading from lights to flag to win the first race, he only saw Cantillon’s Williams FW07C approach towards the end.  He then did all the work from eighth on the reversed grid to hit the front on lap 7 of a frantic second race and complete the double.  Lots went on in his mirrors, culminating in Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011 tangling with Jonathan Holtzman’s Lotus 87B, the American valiantly defending a second place gained from his start on the second row.  This promoted a cautious Ferrer into second, a gift he gladly accepted, as it meant that he inched ever closer to the title.  In the pre-78 class, Henry Fletcher stormed to a pair of dominant wins, performing admirably in his March 761 to take third overall on Sunday.  That was enough to seal the pre-78 title.

    Two drama-filled HGPCA Grand Prix races had the crowd on their feet, too.  In race one, Michael Gans in the Cooper T79 fought Will Nuthall’s Cooper T53 all the way, the two often running side-by-side.  Peter Horsman (Lotus 18/21) had been the only one to come close to the pair but in the end John Chisholm’s Lotus 18 won the battle for third.  The next day, Nuthall and Gans initially made it a three-way tussle with Horsman before Gans lost touch.  When Nuthall shockingly retired on the final lap, the win was Horsman’s, 14 seconds away from Gans.  From 30th on the grid, Barry Cannell drove a barnstormer to haul his Brabham BT11 all the way up to third at the chequered flag.

     Michael Gans in the Cooper T79 and Peter Horsman in Lotus 18/21 shared HGPCA honours after two exciting races

    The Formula Junior field of 41 cars, selected from 65 applicants, delivered two FIA Lurani Trophy races in age-old slipstreaming style.  On both occasions, Richard Bradley’s Brabham BT2 led away but failed to finish, handing the initiative to the category’s ‘usual suspects’, Manfredo Rossi and Bruno Weibel in their Lotus 22s.  

    Sportscars

    Sunday’s FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race had two faces – a chaotic stop-and-start first part blighted by two safety cars but also with a fierce five-car fight at the front, and then a second part in which the race settled into a rhythm to allow Andy Wolfe (in the Lola T70 Mk3B started from pole by Jason Wright) to catch and pass Michael Gans’ Lola T290.  Gans was subsequently excluded from the results.

    In the pre-66 Hulme class Chris Jolly survived a first-lap scare of a trip through the gravel, puncturing his radiator and throwing fluid all over his visor, to repeat his and Steve Farthing’s Silverstone glory in their Cooper Monaco T61M. 

     

    Despite Sunday’s exclusion from the FIA MSCC results, Michael Gans (Lotus 15) got his fair share of glory by winning Saturday’s pre-62 sportscar race into dusk.  Initially running third behind two Chevy-powered Knobbly Listers – Martin O’Connell in Wolf Zweifler’s car and Julian Majzub in Mark Lewis’ machine – Gans took the lead on lap 21 to never look back. 

    The Formula Junior  eld of 41 cars, selected from 65 applicants, delivered two FIA Lurani Trophy races in age-old slipstreaming style. On both occasions, Richard Bradley’s Brabham BT2 led away but failed to  nish, handing the initiative to the category’s ‘usual suspects’, Manfredo Rossi and Bruno Weibel in their Lotus 22s. On Saturday, the pair soon dropped the BT6s of Piero Tonetti and Mark Shaw, the latter eventually beating Tonetti to third. Rossi again beat Weibel on Sunday, this time by just 0.144secs, but Bradley led until, with three minutes to go, he threw away the win by spinning into the gravel. Tonetti claimed third in a race that saw a huge startline pile-up when Mark Shaw’s borrowed engine,  tted over Saturday night, burst an oil seal, unwittingly causing chaos on the opening lap involving  ve cars, which meant that only nine minutes of racing remained once the track was cleared.

    Meanwhile in the Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends race, Christophe d’Ansembourg (Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2) took two wins while facing strong opposition from Mike Cantillon’s Pescarolo-Judd 01

    The combined DRM Revival and 100 Meilen Trophy races saw the bewildering combination of ‘70s Group 4 and Group 5 machines mixed with open-top prototypes from the sixties to the eighties.  The result of this madhouse was that on Saturday, Felix Haas (Lola T294) beat Marco Werner’s Trojan-built McLaren M8, and on Sunday, Werner turned the tables on Haas to win by less than a second.

    On a repeat from their 2018 debut at the event, the German Ferrari Challenge saw Yannick Trautwein bag two more wins in his Ferrari 458 GT2, making it four out of four from the FCD Series’ two appearances at the Oldtimer Grand Prix.

    GTs and Touring Cars

    The Masters Gentlemen Drivers race was all about Julian Thomas and Andy Wolfe (replacing Calum Lockie on the occasion) fending off Nicky Pastorelli’s Ferrari 250 GTO/64 for the whole 90 minutes.  Their Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé had taken pole by seven thousandths from the similar Voyazides/Hadfield machine, but Voyazides was unable to keep pace with the leading duo, the Greek professing a dislike for the Nürburgring GP circuit.  Hadfield still finished ahead of the local TVR Griffith of Christopher Stahl/Oliver Mathai but it was a distant third.  Nicolaj Kjaergaard looked to have cornered the CLP class win in his Elan, like he did two years ago, but then the young Dane was thrown out because of a non-conforming gearbox.  In another Elan, Rob Fenn and BTCC driver Jake Hill were happy to take the win instead, Fenn having finished the race limping home using third gear only.

     It was Lotus 15 vs Lister in the 1960/61 Sports and GT race into the dusk

     

  • Ardennes Invasion

    Germans have a passion for touring cars and, with the help of its automotive industry, have been dominating in them for decades.  No wonder, therefore, that the German-based Youngtimer Trophy has become so popular in the last 20 years and can boast bumper grids that run into three digits.  But the Youngtimer Festival at Spa-Francorchamps was about so much more than that.  Some 450 different cars passed under starter’s orders during the weekend of August 3-4.  The lure of Spa brought in quite a number of French, Belgian, Swiss and Dutch drivers as well.  The Festival wasn’t strictly a historic meeting either.  The ‘Cup und Tourenwagen Trophy’, which is run by the Youngtimer Trophy organisation, and the ‘Rundstrecken Challenge Nürburgring’ were mainly made up of recent one-make Cup Clios, Cupras, Minis and VLN cars.  More than just a historic race meeting, the weekend was a celebration of continental club racing. 

    The 100-car Youngtimer  eld was split into two grids covering more than two dozen different classes.  Photos Gina-Maria/Stefan Eckhardt

    The Youngtimer Trophy itself shared top billing with the Rundstrecken Challenge, and action was non-stop from Friday evening onwards.  Historic racing kicked off with the first of four single-seater races for historic F3, Formula Opel, FF2000, S2000 and FF1600/Zetec machinery.  As on three other occasions this season, the Spa rounds counted towards both the German and French championships, thus providing a staggering grid of some 40+ cars for each race.  Differences in driver ambition as well as ability quickly became apparent in such a large and disparate field.  Not unexpectedly, this produced quite a number of yellow, and even one red, flags.  Swiss Pascal Monbaron won both Formula Ford races in his Van Diemen RF00 Zetec.

    The FHR organisation ran both a sprint race and an endurance race for historic touring cars and GTs (HTGT) from the ‘60s and early ‘70s, dovetailing nicely with the Youngtimer Trophy’s 1966-1988 age group.  Running a group 2 Escort RS 1600 Mk1, Heinz Schmersal and Mike Sturberg notched up their weekend’s first win in the one-hour, pit-stop sprint race.  They were only 13 seconds ahead of the Group 4 Porsche 914 of Michael Wittke and Markus Diederich, these cars the only two to lap below 3 minutes.  The two-hour endurance race saw the GT40 of Pedro and Luco Sanchez crush the opposition, almost putting Belgian runners-up Marc and Regis Devis a lap down in their Shelby Cobra. 

    The 100-car Youngtimer field was, as usual, split into two grids covering more than two dozen different classes.  “The objective is to give everyone a chance to win,” says organiser Stefan Eckhardt.  “You get points according to the number of cars in your class that you have beaten.”  This means that winning in a class running only three cars brings you fewer points than finishing third in a class with fifteen cars.  That Schmersal and Sturberg won the first (small capacity) race in their generation 2 Escort RS 1800 group 2 was therefore fairly irrelevant, a fact lost to all but the most initiated.  More important was that third-placed Michael Noltke won class 31 for Group 2 cars of 1300cc-2000cc capacity in his Kadett GTE, propelling him into second place in the championship.  Equally confusing was that Stefan Oberdörster won the race for bigger cars in his Porsche 934/5 but this got him no higher than 18th place in the championship.  “We run a grass-roots series that is targeted at the competitors, not the spectators,” Eckhardt says, but Volkswagen Golf runner Gideon Menn has doubts about the system’s added value.  “I don’t care about the points.  If I’m careful I can do an entire season for €10,000, so for me it’s all about value-for-money.”

    That Heinz Schmersal and Mike Sturberg won the  rst (small capacity) race in their generation 2 Escort RS 1800 Group 2 was fairly irrelevant for the championship

    The sheer size of the grids seems to justify Eckhardt’s line of thinking, but he refuses to be complacent.  “Grass-roots racing is becoming more and more difficult to promote,” he says. “We try to keep the entry fees as low as possible, but some competitors throw more and more money at their cars, which scares off true amateurs.  Add to this the fact that circuit rental has been going up spectacularly due to increased safety standards and you can see that it is getting harder to cover costs.  We’re lucky we do not depend on it to earn a living.”  The fledgling GTRS series for older GT3 cars is evidence that not everything touched by Eckhardt turns to gold.  Heinz Schmersal is one of the prime movers, owning an early-model Audi R8 LMS Ultra.  “We’re disappointed by the 5-car turnout but keep hoping more will show up in the future.”

    For a fuller report and results see our September 2019 issue.

  • MAGAZINE  >  FEATURES & REPORTS  > VSCC Formula Vintage - Cadwell Park 2019

    In spite of an unfortunate clash with the massive Silverstone Classic meeting on the weekend of July 27, entries for the VSCC’s annual foray into the Lincolnshire Wolds did not seem to suffer unduly, and most of the regular protagonists were present to relish the challenges of the Cadwell Park circuit, which is always a favourite with drivers of pre-war cars.

    Richard de la Roche (Cooper MkV) and Mike Fowler (Cooper MkIV) battle in F3 500s  Photos Alan Cox

    The perverse English summer continued to challenge the forecasters and the day began with a torrential downpour, but happily eased off as the morning progressed.  However intermittent showers continued with no sign of sunshine to allow the track to dry out. 

  • Jon Bunston Reports from the fourth round of the 2019 Peter Auto Championships

     

    Just 20km from Budapest and in the sleepy countryside around Mogyoród, lies the 70,000 capacity Hungaroring, home to the first Formula One Grand Prix to take place behind the Iron Curtain.  Construction work on the circuit started on 1 October 1985 and was completed for the first race held on 24 March 1986, less time than any other Formula One track. 

    Fast forward 33 years and the biennial Hungaroring Classic event was the precursor for the Hungarian F1 GP, as the Budapest circuit pulsated to the rhythm of historic cars on the weekend of 12-14 July when the Peter Auto Series arrived in town. 

    After its first staging in 2017, this year’s event proved again to be very popular, with 45,000 spectators, 179 participants, 170 cars entered and 780 vehicles from local club members, who flocked to the track to admire the cars racing in the seven regular Peter Auto grids.  It was pleasing to note that despite the greater travel commitment required from the entrants, the entry numbers, whilst down on other Peter Auto events, were up on 2017, a point not lost on the promoter, circuit, or spectators.

    With a mostly Hungarian flavour, the car clubs included Trabants, Wartburgs and DKWs made in East Germany and of course the traditional Ladas from Russia, providing a unique display not seen at other circuits.  With music, vintage clothing and Bunny Girls, the paddock had a real carnival atmosphere.

    Photos John Bunston

    The 4.38km Hungaroring circuit is a tortuously twisty roller-coaster with 14 corners following in quick succession, making the layout slow, narrow and bumpy.  So, for many unfamiliar with the circuit, their driving skills would be tested across the nine races …and that was without the weather.  The forecasts were for heavy downpours, with sunshine and for once they were right, making qualifying a mixed bag.  However, when the sun shone, it was glorious.

    Group C Racing

    The cost of travel and clashes with other events were cited as reasons for the low turnout of Group C cars.  However, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Hungarian spectators, who rarely have the opportunity to see these cars and the viewpoints were packed during both qualifying and racing.

    With the two XJR8’s of Shaun Lynn and Richard Meins, the Nissan R90CK of Pierre-Alain France and the oh so quick Spice SE89C of Mike Wrigley, it was an exciting race.  

    Raymond Narac qualifying in extreme conditions in Michel Lecourt’s Porsche 962

    Pierre-Alain France in the Nissan got the jump on poleman Michel Lecourt’s Porsche 962 and kept the lead until he was overtaken by the Spice SE89C of Mike Wrigley on lap five.  Despite setting fasted lap Allard Kalff retired the Spice SE92 he shared with Michiel Campagne and mechanical difficulties also saw France’s Nissan drop down to seventh.  Raymond Narac, having taken over the Lecourt Porsche at the pitstop, continued to hunt down Wrigley to finish a remarkable 0.686secs behind at the end. 

    The Lecourt Porsche was not on the grid for the second race and it was Allard Kalff in the Denon liveried Spice that set the pace, with France’s repaired Nissan and Wrigley in tow.  With the gap down to 0.4secs France took the lead on Lap nine but after the pit stop and driver changes it was Campagne back in lead.  By lap 21 Erwin France, who had taken over from Pierre-Alain was back in front and it looked like the top positions were finally settled.  However, Wrigley was on a charge, overtaking Campagne on the penultimate lap before getting right up behind the Nissan in the final corners, the race ending with a 0.292sec gap at finish……  Who said Group C isn’t exciting racing?

    CER 1

    For the one-hour Classic Endurance 1 race, the 33-strong grid contained a great selection of cars including 12 Porsches, eight Chevrons and 11 Lolas.  Missing were some of the GT40s, probably not the best choice for this circuit.  The immaculately turned out Porsche 917 of Claudio Roddaro and the Porsche 908 of Peter Vögele were favourites with the paddock crowds, the former finding the track to its liking and coming through the field from tenth place to take the Victory.

    CER 2

    A smaller than usual grid assembled for the dry CER 2 qualifying session, with Swiss driver Maxime Guenat taking pole in his Lola 286 by 2.86secs over countrymen Yves Scemama  in a Lola T600 and Philippe Scemama in the TOJ SC304.  Beat Eggimann in the very quick Cheetah G601 was up next, followed by Christophe Van Riet (TOJ SC204) and the BMW M1s of Peter Muelder and Guenther Schindler.  The fantastically turned out Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo of Franco Meiners was back in 10th.

    Except for a missed gear at the start Guenat built a solid lead over the one-hour race and finished 40secs ahead of nearest rival Yves Scemama.  As Philippe Scemama became more familiar with his car, the T600 started to show how quick it could be, pulling out a 10sec lead over the very fast Eggimann, who was never a threat and retained  fourth spot.

    2.0 litre Cup

    A pleasing 25 entries in the Porsche 2L Cup 90-minute race reflected desire for drivers to experience the Hungaroring at its best.  Despite the very wet conditions during free practice on Friday, Saturday’s qualifying was dry and sunny, and this was reflected in the top three positions being taken by the ‘elite’ category drivers. 

    Simon Evans on pole had a healthy 3sec lead over Andrew Smith by lap six, building to 8.6 secs by the time the pit stop window opened.  Co-driver James Littlejohn could only hold the lead until lap 21 of 38, when he was passed by Oliver Bryant, in for Smith, and Harvey Stanley in Richard Cook’s car.  Then Stanley pulled past Bryant too, but after several laps at the front was re-passed, and at the very end, he lost third to Mark Sumpter, who had fallen back to fourth and was on a comeback charge to finish 7.5secs behind Bryant.

    With more penalties than an England match, 7 cars were affected as a result of pit stop infringements and track limits.

    Heritage Touring Cup

    This series produces some wonderfully prepared cars  and once again it was going to be a battle between the BMW 3.0 CSLs of Michael Erlich and Christian Traber and the Capris of Yves Vögele, Guillaume and Yvan Mahé, and Guenther Schindler.  The twisty, undulating track would be a bit of a leveller and after qualifying everyone in the top 10 fancied their chances.

    The  fierce battle for second place in the Heritage Touring Cup race ended in favour of Christian Traber in the BMW when both Capris struck trouble

    The Mahé Capri 3100RS led out of the first corner, followed by the Capris of Yves Scemama  and Schindler, with Erlich’s BMW on its bumpers.  It took only another two laps before the Swiss driver hit the front and dominated the rest of the race. 

    Sixties’ Endurance

    An extremely wet qualifying evened out the lap times in the qualifying session for the Sixties’ Endurance two-hour race, but the front was always going to be dominated by the Shelby Cobras, with the top five grid positions taken up with them.

    It was great to see good variety in the Sixities’ Endurance 90-minute race

    It was great to see good variety on the Index of Performance podium, topped by Rory and Roderick Jack, driving an Alfa Romeo Sprint GTA, with Sébastien Berchon in second in his Austin Healey 100/4 and Régis Masson/Simon Nobili in third in a Sunbeam Alpine.

    Results were affected by 7 cars receiving 10 penalties mainly around track limits.  

    For a fuller report and results see our September 2019 issue.

    MAGAZINE  >  FEATURES & REPORTS  > Hungaroring Classic 2019