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The 2 hours of Magione “20° Trofeo Anchise Bartoli” closed another season of the Italian Historic Championship, one of the most long-lived Italian series, sanctioned by ACI for over 30 years and promoted by Gruppo Peroni. Since the FIA introduced the classes for cars up to 1990 (4th grouping), the Italian championship has seen the arrival of the “youngtimers” including Alfa Romeo 75 Turbo, Ford Sierra Cosworth, BMW M3 and 325i, Alpine GTA, Porsche 944 Turbo, Maserati Biturbo and Peugeot 205 GTI.
The Ronconi Porsche 930 lines up at Magione next to the Ambroso-Jarach- Zardo BMW 323i, with the Rondinelli Porsche, whish was the eventual winner, laying in wait Photo Claudia Cavalleri
The 2019 championship, divided into six one-hour races plus two endurance races, has seen some fierce competition in the four groups amongst both solo pilots and two-driver crews. The range of cars chosen by new recruits has confirmed that there is interest in racing cars of all ages. Many of these drivers alternate in other championships with contemporary cars (such as Claudio Giudice in the Italian prototype Championship or Marco Guerra in rallies), and to aim for the title you don’t need the overall podium car. Thanks to the scoring system the Mini, the Ritmo, the Alfa 2000 GT Veloce or the small Peugeot 205 can win.
On Sunday 24 November two competitions were held, divided according to periods and displacement to decide the winners. In the first group (now extended to cars up to 1969) the result was still open between the powerful TVR Griffith of Vito Truglia and Gilles Giovannini and the nimble Ginetta G12 of Matteo Panini and Andrea Pergreffi, representing two British schools of thought in a David and Goliath contest that finally went to the little Ginetta.
The results of the second grouping were already almost final. Alessandro Morteo had only to pass his Alfa Romeo GTAm under the starting light to win the title to the detriment of Andrea Castronovo and Massimiliano Del Nibbio, always faster during the season but with a BMW 2002 Group 2 haunted by mechanical problems. The third group had already been decided due to a lack of opponents at Imola when Marco Zorzi, Massimo Ronconi and Giovanni Gulinelli crossed the finish line first in the two-hour race on board a Porsche 930 Group 5. In the fourth grouping, with the Sierra Cosworth of Gianni Giudici delayed by a bit of bad luck, it all looked set for Giovanni Ambroso and Bruno Jarach, who had the very fast professional Danny Zardo to help out with the BMW 323i IMSA and who were leading the championship by just one point over the Porsche 911 Carrera 2 of father and son Cesare and Enrico Rondinelli. But it all went wrong when the BMW broke its differential 12 minutes from the end, handing victory to the Porsche crew.
In 2020, to favour the return of the pre-‘66 cars, so popular in series in other parts of Europe, the Gruppo Peroni will organise a trophy divided into six sprint races reserved for the older cars, certainly not less fun to admire and to drive.
Italian Championship Dates for 2020
28-29 March Misano
25-26 April Vallelunga
9-10 May Adria
20-21 June Misano
11-12 July Imola
5-6 September Cervesina (to be confirmed)
24-25 October Imola
NK HTGT, the Dutch pre-‘66 championship for Touring, GT and GTP cars has been running for more than 20 years. Though registered as a National Championship, it runs many of its races at circuits in other European countries each year and attracts an international entry.
Erwin van Lieshout is Dutch Champion
While the car to beat in the GPS Classic-organised Alfa Revival Cup is the GTaM if it’s an overall race win you’re after, to win the championship you have only to beat other cars of the same age and cubic capacity as your own. In an effective Index of Performance ranking, this year’s Alfa Revival Cup champions are Alessandro and Emanuele Morteo, who drove their 1961 Giulietta Ti to victory in a season that comprised six one-hour mini endurance races at some of Italy’s greatest race tracks. Accompanying them on the championship podium are Massimo Guerra and Franco Mischis, driving a 1600 GTA and Luigi Mercatali, who took third in his GT Veloce 2000. The Alfa Revival Cup, for rear wheel drive Alfa Romeos built from 1947 to 1981, enjoyed its best season yet since Tommaso Gelmini and his team began organising it in 2012, with some 25% of drivers coming from outside of Italy.
The Morteos lead a three-Giulie a Ti train to win the Alfa Revival Cup Championship
The life of the late Jim Russell will be celebrated in a new two-day Historic Sports Car Club race meeting at Snetterton next spring. The Jim Russell Trophy Meeting on 4-5 April will feature 10 Formula Ford races to honour the early heritage of Formula Ford and the racing school pioneer. Before moving to Brands Hatch in 1976, the first four Formula Ford Festivals were run at Snetterton from 1972 to 1975.
Ten Formula Ford races will feature at HSCC Snetterton in April
Amongst other HSCC Club races, the race line-up will include double headers for the HSCC Historic Formula Ford Championship, the HSCC Classic Formula Ford Championship, Heritage Formula Ford, the HSCC Historic Formula Ford 2000 Championship and a double-header for modern Formula Fords running under the Champion of Snetterton title. In addition, two races for the Classic Formula 3/URS Classic Formula Ford 2000 Championship will also feature a contingent of Formula Ford 2000s. The spread of races will form a journey through Formula Ford history, from the earliest Pre-1972 cars in the Historic category via the cars of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s to the latest Kent engined cars in the Champion of Snetterton races. The HSCC hopes to stage a display of cars relevant to Jim Russell’s life and is keen to hear from anyone with a suitable car. See hscc.org.uk.
This year’s 28-29 March Goodwood Members’ Meeting will feature three 20-minute races for the Gerry Marshall Trophy for saloons that raced between 1970 and 1982, but unlike in past years, it will be for owner-drivers. In contrast, the last race on Saturday, the new Pierpoint Cup, will be a two-driver event for V8 saloon cars of a type that raced up until 1966. That means Plymouth Barracudas and Ford Falcons will face up against Mustangs and Galaxies, in a 45-minute race.
The Edwardian cars, the Earl Howe Trophy for pre-war cars, the rear-engined Formula Juniors, the pre-‘63 GT cars, a two driver, 45-minute race for pre-‘66 prototypes, a 20-minute race for ‘50s prototypes, a pre-’66 GT race, a race for the 500cc Formula 3 cars and the Hailwood motorbike race are also on the programme, along with demonstrations including F1 cars dating from 1970 to 1975 in which the innovative Lotus 72 will be a key feature.
In a departure to what has gone before, the Masters will only be running the two FIA Championships at three venues this year. The Historic Formula 1 and Masters Sports Cars will run as championship counters at the Silverstone Classic, the Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort and the Spa Six Hours meeting. Masters boss, Ron Maydon, was surprised to be informed by the FIA that the Formula One Historic cars would only be allowed to run Championship points rounds at Grade 1 circuits. This limited his ability to form a calendar the historic racers would like. The regs for the Sportscar Championship remain unchanged and they are allowed on Grade 2 circuits, however the two championships will continue to run together, which means only three venues this year. “We have been running the Championships for seven years now,” said Maydon, “and we were trying to think of ways to freshen them up, so this came as an opportunity to do something different.”
The Masters will continue to run non-championship races for both series at the four other venues they are scheduled to attend this year (see our calendar pages). Two circuits that they have not visited for some years appear on the calendar, with races scheduled at the Autodromo do Algarve in April and, in August, instead of their usual visit to the Oldtimer Grand-Prix, they will go to Zolder on August 22-23. They will also run the one-make Mini races, as last year, at Donington in June and at the Silverstone Classic.
The title of FIA Champion is no doubt attractive and brings great prestige with it,” said Maydon, “and if it wasn’t for the fact that Zandvoort is being upgraded for this year’s Grand Prix, we wouldn’t have been able to run a championship round there either. But the drivers also enjoy running at some other great circuits and events, like Brands Hatch GP and Algarve, and we want to make sure they have the opportunity to do so.”
The Historic Sports Car Club has opened up its Historic Touring Car Championship for 2020 to 1300cc Austin A30s, A35s, A40s and Morris Minors. Previously, these cars were only admitted into the championship for Pre-‘66 Touring Cars with the 1150cc or smaller engines they had in period. Andy Dee-Crowne, CEO of the HSCC said: “This is a logical step to offer a group of cars the chance to race with the HSCC.”
1300cc Austin A30s, A35s and A40s can now run in the HSCC Touring Car Championship
Motor Racing Legends has announced a new grid for the 2020 season - the Sixties Touring Car Challenge. To be run for Group 1 and Group 2 cars that were eligible for the European Touring Car Championship from 1966 to the end of 1969, the series will also encompass the current U2TC grid for pre-’66 cars, but importantly, will stick to the U2TC under 2 litre formula. The new series gives a home to Mk2 Lotus Cortinas, BMW 2002s, Alfa Romeo GTA variants, early Mk 1 Ford Escorts, Mk 2 Minis, Lancia Fulvias and a host of other small-engined cars that have hitherto been poorly served.
Photo Oliver Flower Courtesy MRL
Strong grids and an end-of-term atmosphere at the annual HSCC Silverstone Finals Meeting on the weekend of 19-20 October saw some close finishes across 21 races and 280 entries. A number of season-long contests were settled including in a bumper grid of Historic Formula Ford 2000s where Andrew Park sealed a fourth straight championship title. Chris Drake (front-engined) and Andrew Taylor (rear-engined) were the key winners in Formula Junior, while Simon Armer clinched the Historic F3 title in his March 703.
The Historic Touring Car crown was shared between Roger Stanford and Bob Bullen, while Mark Charteris and Barry Webb claimed their respective categories in Classic Clubmans, with Charteris taking his sixth title in a row. Ross Hyett (Guards Trophy) and Ben Stiles (Classic FF2000) and Rob Smith (Over 50s FF1600) were the other winners across the weekend on the Silverstone National circuit.
The 2019 FIA Masters Champions are Matteo Ferrer-Aza, Martin Stretton, Henry Fletcher, Jason Wright/Andy Wolfe and Chris Jolly/Steve Farthing. Ferrer-Aza is the new post-78 FIA Masters Historic Formula One champion, with Stretton and Fletcher lifting the post-83 and pre-78 titles respectively. Wright and Wolfe took top honours in the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship, while Jolly and Farthing prevailed in the FIA pre-66 section.
The Wright/Wolfe Lola T70 leads out the FIA Sportscar pack at Brands Hatch in July Wright
doubled up by also claiming the sportscar version of the Grand Master Trophy Photos Eric Sawyer
Don’t change a winning formula is the logic adopted by the FFSA and HVM Racing for the 2020 Historic Tour season. Thus the calendar will again see five race meetings, the main differences from this year being a return to the Nogaro circuit and date changes for the meetings at Albi and Charade. The season will start in Albi, next year in mid-April, before continuing with its traditional Dijon date of 8-10 May. Charade will next year take place in June (19-21), followed by trips to Nogaro on 11-13 September and Val de Vienne on 27-25 September.
While some tweaks within the series are inevitable, the list of eligible series to determine the French champions, for single seaters and for prototypes, will remain the same.
HVM will also be organising the GP de Pau Historique on 30-31 May, and the traditional Dijon Motors Cup on the first weekend of October. With no Paul Ricard event this year, Laurent Vallery-Masson and his team will move to the Le Mans Bugatti circuit for the Le Mans Motors Cup on 16-18 October.
A lot has changed since 1990, when the first of what was then known as the Christies International Historic Festival was staged (see our March 2013 issue for the story of that first event) at Silverstone. It was a resounding success, and despite being preceded by events such as the Oldtimer-Grand-Prix in Germany and the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or in France, it set a new benchmark for what a successful historic festival should be. It has now grown to a proportion that its founders probably never imagined, with 1000 entries and 100,000 visitors.
The First Historic Festival at Silverstone took place 30 years ago next year. PHOTO ALAN COX