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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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Latest News in Brief

Lights Go Green for German FHR Season

FHR held their first event of the season on 7-8 May at Hockenheim, bringing grids that included the Can-Am & Sportscars and the recently-announced Group C Classics, as well as the Gentle Drivers Trophy, GT Classics and Tourenwagen Classics. For this first outing, the Group C cars ran with the Can-Ams and sportscars with only two takers. Michael Lyons (Gebhardt C88) and Felix Haas (PRC 97), who twice stood on the Group C podium in that order. Georg Hallau went home with the most silverware, winning the sportscar category in the first of two races in his Lola T310, and taking both Gentle Drivers races in his Lotus 23. Runner-up in race one, Harry Schmidt turned the tables on Hallau in the second sportscar race in his McLaren M8C.

Georg Hallau - Lola T310 and Peter and Stefan Mücke in their Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri.  Photos Peter Heil

Previously, the two-minute mark for Group A cars on the 4.574km track was more or less the limit, but this was pulverised, as low and medium 1:50 times were almost the rule on the monitors during qualifying for the Tourenwagen Classics. Sub 2-minute times up to and including 19th place were noted. With a long safety car period at the start of the 40-minute race that lasted all the way to the pit stop window, overall victory went to the father-and-son team of Peter and Stefan Mücke with their Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri. The leading pair had a bad stop, but Michael was able to recover from seventh place to beat Yannik Trautwein’s BMW E36 and Hans-Ulrich Kainzinger’s Porsche 993 GT2 to the line. Marc Seesing (BMW M3) and Michael Hahn BMW 325i, won the 88 and 86 Group A classes respectively.

With travel restrictions lifted within Continental Europe, and hopefully for the UK as well, this major international event is scheduled to go ahead on 16-18 July with a slightly pared down programme of races from previous years.   

Most of the racing content will be supplied by the Masters, who will bring their Historic F1 and Sportscars, as well as the Gentlemen Drivers endurance series, their Endurance Legends for cars of the 2000s and the pre-’66 touring cars.  The HSCC’s International F2 series is scheduled for two 25-minute races, but as we go to press, the Club is still waiting for confirmation that travel restrictions will be lifted between the Netherlands and the UK.  The Historic Grand Prix Cars Association, who have many continental members, remain on the timetable and the home series on the schedule are the NK GTTC, and NK82-90 for Youngtimers.  The rest of the track time will be taken up with demos and track runs, mostly for local organisations.  Amongst grids missing from previous years will be NKHTGT and Formula Junior.

The only FIA Championship race on the programme will be the FIA Historic F3 European Trophy.  This has attracted a good continental entry, but in a changing situation, organisers have extended the entry deadline to 30 June in the hopes of attracting more British drivers.  Entries can be made online on the difficult-to-navigate FIA website or call +41 22 544 44 49 and ask for the link.

Although their race scheduled for the cancelled Hockenheimring meeting in April turned out to be a false start, NKHTGT organisers are confident that they will be able to begin their 25th anniversary season at Zandvoort on 4-5 June with a pair of old fashioned 1-hour races.  After that they intend to stick to their original schedule of five more races, including the novel night race at Barcelona on 3-4 September when they will be supporting the Hankook 24H Series.  It will be “A unique occasion, with the first evening race in the history of the NKHTGT,” said series spokesman Jan-Bart Broertjes.  “We will see the late summer sun set on Friday evening during a 50-minute race.  On Saturday, we will have another 30-minute race.  The 25 year success of the NKHTGT is thanks to our trusted competitors.  They will all receive a special anniversary present: the Barcelona event is free for all participants with an NKHTGT package deal 2021!”

The 2021 NKHTGT season will feature no fewer than 31 regular participants.  With restrictions being relaxed, they are expecting more entries from regular foreign guests.  At the moment, individual entries are still available for all races.  “If you have a pre-’66 FIA-compliant touring car, GT or GTP, you are very welcome to come and race with us,” continued Broertjes.  For the NKHTGT series calendar, see www.nkhtgt.nl or the Historic Motor Racing News web site to see it in the context of other events.

The Historic Sports Car Club cancelled the round of its F2 Championship at the Historic Grand Prix de France at Paul Ricard, scheduled for 10-13 June, when it became likely that anyone travelling back from France to the UK would still be subject to quarantine, if not to outright ban, on that date.   A replacement pair of races was found for the F2 cars at the HSCC’s Silverstone International Meeting on 22-23 May.

However, a few days later, after a change of heart, and no doubt protests from GP de France organisers HVM at the late cancellation, the Club announced that there would be two non-championship races for the thriving series at Paul Ricard after all.  The event promises to be one of the best of the 2021 season and the F2 series regularly attracts continental drivers.  

French organisers have already confirmed that teams coming from abroad will not be subject to quarantine in France, but they must show a negative PCR test.  They have made PCR tests available at the circuit for anyone who needs one to return home.  “I know this will be a welcome opportunity for all of our friends in mainland Europe who have had little or no opportunity to race since 2019,” said series organiser and HSCC Chairman Roger Bevan.  The races are open to all period qualifying cars.

For entries contact the HSCC office or HVM.  HVM’s Laurent Vallery-Masson was keen to keep the races on the programme, “We want to offer the opportunity to Formula 2 and Formula Atlantic drivers from the continent to participate in this event, especially with the presence of Jean-Pierre Jarier who will celebrate this grid with us.”

The jewel in the crown of this cosmopolitan meeting is, of course, the Spa 3 Hours, for cars up to 1976.  This is a collaboration between event organisers Roadbook, and Diogo Ferrão’s Iberian Endurance, and has become a not-to-be missed mid-summer enduro for all those cars and drivers who are either not eligible for the Spa Six Hours, due to age of car, or those who just can’t wait for September.  It’s not too late to enter.  Dates are 25-27 June.

Competitors at the Spa Summer Classic will be amongst the first to experience the re-vamped paddock arrangements at the Francorchamps circuit, which celebrates its centenary this year.  Sadly, their fans will not be there, as the event is to be held behind closed doors.

A truly pan-European mix of grids and entrants, on the programme are the German FHR Tourenwagen Classics for DTM-type cars of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, and the Gentle Drivers Trophy races for pre-’66 touring and GT cars.  

From the Netherlands, the NKHTGT for pre-’66 cars, will be sharing the grid with the Triumph Competition & British HTGT from Germany; and the Dutch NKGT&TC will be catering for the post-’66 cars.  Also from Holland will be the Dutch Youngtimer YTCC, who always produce a big grid.  

On home ground will be the Belcar Historic & Youngtimer Cup for old and Youngtimers up to 2000 and the Historic Monoposto racers, with their formula cars from the 60’s.  Also at home is the appropriately-named CRAC.  This is a series for historic single seaters that meet on track for demo runs without timing, just for the fun. 

Other single seaters will be supplied by the Austrians for the Drexler Formula 3 Cup for Formula 3 cars up to and including 2018. The Brits, including the Classic Sports Car Club, usually such a feature of this meeting,  were reticent to join this year due to travel restrictions in the UK.

With UK racers confined to home circuits for the time being, the Thruxton Historic race meeting, put on by Motor Racing Legends, will give them an opportunity to drive on the country’s fastest circuit on the weekend of 12-13 June, and they have responded by filling the grids.  Nestled in the Hampshire countryside, the circuit, opened in 1968, offers a thrilling high speed ride to competitors.

The meeting will welcome the usual mix of MRL grids, which include two grids for cars from the 1950s.  The Woodcote Trophy is for original sports cars from post-war era, and the Stirling Moss Trophy is for sports racing cars up to 1961. 

Touring cars are catered for with two 40-minute races in one big grid, encompassing everything from what was the U2TC (under two litre touring cars) series, to the MRL HTCC for Group A cars up to 1990, Group 2 cars up to 1981 and Group 5 cars up to 1969 – so everything from Ford Lotus Cortina and GTA Alfa, to Ford ‘Cologne’ Capris and ‘Batmobile’ BMWs, through SD1 Rovers and Jaguar XJSs, to BMW M3s and Ford Sierra RS500s.  There are four separate podiums depending on period.

Pre-‘63 GT drivers will have a dress rehearsal for the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy feature race, which takes place at Classic Silverstone at the end of July.  A one-hour, two-driver race is scheduled for them.

The most recent addition to the MRL line-up, the Jaguar Classic Challenge, will also have a one-hour, two-driver race, and more recently a Pre-War race has been added to the timetable after a big response from competitors keen to get their cars out of the garage after a long hiatus.

Julius Thurgood will bring his HRDC Jack Sears Trophy for pre-’66 touring cars, Allstars for GT and touring cars of the same period, and Classic Alfa Challenge grids, giving many car owners the opportunity to enter two or even three races.

Icing on the cake will be the Jochen Rindt Trophy race.  This was born from a group of competitors who wanted to race at Thruxton and formed the Classic Racing Car Club to organise a race for them.  For early Formula 2, Historic and Classic F3, Formula Atlantic and FF2000, plus an invitation class, their efforts have garnered huge support, and nearly two months before the event the grid is virtually full.  The event has also gathered support from Former F1 world champion Damon Hill supporting the F3 class, multi-championship winning race car constructor Adrian Reynard backing the FF2000 class and British club racing hero Ian Flux, sponsoring the Formula Atlantic class.

This prestigious trophy has been awarded by the BARC over the years, since the untimely death of Rindt, who had strong connections with Thruxton and Formula 2.  The first JRT was won in 1971 by Graham Hill (Rindt’s teammate at Lotus in 1970).  Since then, the JRT has been run periodically for special races with the blessing of the BARC.  Two 20- minute races are on the programme.   Contact Rob Manger This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for entries for this.

 

Organisers of the Bernina Gran Turismo hillclimb, first run in 2015, have long held the ambition to revive the International Automobile Week, which last took place in 1929 and 1930 in glamourous St Moritz.  The event back then comprised of a concours d’élégance, a race over a flying kilometre, a rally, and the Bernina hillclimb. 

As of 2021 the Internationale St. Moritzer Automobilwochen will be relaunched to include all of these events over one week in autumn based in the famous resort.  “It was only logical to resume the Kilomètre Lancé and the Concours,” said event Advisory Board member Florian Seidl.  “Of course, such events have to be adapted to the times without losing the reference to history.”   Rather than running on the road, the race will take place at the airport in Samaden, within sight of Shellstrasse, the road where it was first held, and which still bears the name of the sponsor of the time.  Event backer, Kurt Engelhorn and his team have recruited expert reinforcements in the form of German organisers Tobias Aichele and Jörg Litzenburger, known for the Solitude Revival and the Glemseck 101 motorcycle events respectively, to help with the planning. 

“The Motorsport Revival will be a concours that is not a concours,” continued Seidl.  “Instead of the conventional, somewhat dusty display of over-restored vehicles, we will focus on racing and sports cars.  It will be a very exclusive event, celebrating upscale lifestyle, but uninhibited and modern.  This suits St. Moritz and not least the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, where the event will take place.  There will therefore only be a strictly limited number of tickets available to maintain exclusivity and the vehicles on display will also be selected according to strict criteria.”  A motoring-themed film festival is also planned during the week.

Another topic close to the organisers’ hearts is the issue of the next generation, which is why there will not only be a decidedly young jury, but also a themed discussion panel where the new generation will have a voice.  “This is the main reason why we want to leave the beaten track.  We need to make Classic Cars and the related events interesting and exciting for a young audience.  Therefore, we will bring more movement and action and much less stiff static into play.  The events have to be more fun again.”

Dates over which the various events will take place, culminating on the second weekend with the popular Bernina hillclimb, are 10-19 September.  Each event has its own website and social media pages.

In August 1921 the first race was held on the Spa Francorchamps circuit.  The circuit is intending to celebrate this centenary over the year starting at the beginning of summer, but in view of the changing health situation, plans will only be revealed when there is more certainty.

However after it was announced that there would be an €80m investment in the circuit, work has been continuing to give the whole place a facelift and to vastly improve the paddock facilities, especially the area known as the Red Paddock, ahead of the return of motorcycle racing to the circuit in June 2022, when the new FIM Endurance World Championship 24H Spa Motos event will make its debut. The renovation will form part of a 10-year investment plan designed to support the modernisation of the historic circuit.  Run-off areas will be enlarged and 13,000 new grandstand places will be added.

With backing from the FFSA and the Ministry for Sport, organiser HVM gave numerous reassurances that the Historic Tour Albi, first round of the French Championships, could go ahead.  It was only on 6 April that the Prefecture asked HVM to postpone the event, which was to take place three days later, on the weekend of 9-11 April, leaving both organisers and competitors disappointed to have got so close.   The event is now rescheduled for 9-11 July.

In a further blow only a week later, HVM was forced to re-schedule their Historic Tour Dijon round too, which will now take place on 6-8 August.

“We were optimistic that we would be able to maintain the Historic Tour d’Albi on the initial dates, as this event was fully within the scope of professional events authorised by the Ministry in charge of sports and the FFSA.  This had been clearly confirmed to us “, commented Laurent Vallery-Masson of HVM.  “Caution requires us to postpone the Dijon meeting now to avoid the risk of a Prefectural veto at the last moment, such as the one we were faced with for Albi.  We were obviously sorry for our competitors to have to make such a late announcement and we don’t want to do that again.  Beyond that, as we did in 2020, our objective is to succeed in maintaining all five rounds of the French Historic Circuit Championships this year.”

The new Historic Tour calendar is:

Historic Tour Albi, 9-11 July

Historic Tour Dijon, 6-8 August

Historic Tour Val de Vienne, 3-5 September

Historic Tour Charade, 24-26 September

Historic Tour Lédenon, 22-24 October

Check the calendar section of our website for all calendar updates.