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The Magazine

The curtain comes down on an intense season

Seemingly within only a matter of weeks from the delayed start of the season, the Historic Sports Car Club was on home ground at Silverstone for the annual Finals Meeting on the National circuit.  Good grids, some typical end of season excitement and decent autumn weather ensured an enjoyable weekend of racing even if Silverstone’s COVID classification meant that, like every event at the circuit in 2020, it ran without spectators.

Paul Lawrence Reports

Headlining the programme was a re-arranged Historic Formula 2 double-header to make up a little for the championship schedule being completely wiped out by the virus and limitations on pan-European travel.  That ensured it was a largely UK-based grid for the pair of non-championship races, but the 26-car field was another sign of the remarkable strength of the category.  Back in the Richard Evans-tended March 742, raced to a double win at Oulton Park by Tom Smith, Andrew Smith (unrelated) was peerless as he charged to a double Silverstone victory. 

Andrew Smith raced to a Formula 2 double in the Richard Evans-run March 742.  Photos Eric Sawyer

 

To back up his F2 victories, Andrew Smith also set the pace in Classic Formula 3/Classic Formula Ford 2000 races in the team’s March 783, but was denied victory on Saturday when the gearbox output shaft failed, but after an overnight trip back to Leamington Spa to get a replacement, Smith bounced back to win the second race on Sunday.

Former Caterham racer Luke Stevens was superb at the wheel of George Douglas’ Ginetta G16 in the 40-minute Guards Trophy race

Historic Formula Ford 2000 has enjoyed a fabulous season and an entry of more than 40 cars had to be split across two grids, but that made little difference to Benn Simms who had the handling of his Reynard SF79 right in its sweet spot to sweep to an impressive double. 

The Historic Formula Junior season concluded with four races and double wins for Ray Mallock (U2 Mk2) and Cam Jackson (Brabham BT2), both clinching titles in the process

At the wheel of the Ginetta G16 of George Douglas, former Caterham racer Luke Stevens was superb in the 40-minute Guards Trophy race and won by over seven seconds from the Chevron B6 of Andy Newall, and Kevin Kivlochan was the class of the 70s Road Sports field in his Morgan Plus 8, capitalising on the open spaces of Silverstone to stretch clear. 

Philip Hall failed to nish the rst Historic Touring Car race but returned to compete in second

An excellent field of Historic Touring Cars delivered two action-packed races and two winners.  Dan Williamson (Ford Falcon) won well in Saturday’s opening race despite a dogged pursuit from the Lotus Cortina of Richard Dutton.  But the Falcon developed an oil issue and didn’t start the second race, so Dutton was able to win from the similar car of his old mate Neil Brown.

For more details see our December 2020 issue

Originally scheduled to consist of five race meetings, with two races at each meeting for each championship series, the FFSA and HVM Racing pulled off the unique feat of providing all five French Championship events, albeit with the first three rescheduled.  Now they are looking forward to a more normal 2021.

“We are heading towards the seventh season of the French Historic Circuits Championship,” said Historic Tour promoter Laurent Vallery-Masson of HVM.  “For the 2021 calendar, we remain true to our habit of offering at least one different circuit each season and to vary the location of the final.  In the interest of the drivers and the teams, we have made sure to retain dates that do not overlap with those of other historic competitions.  Due to the crisis, major events such as the historic Monaco GP and Le Mans Classic have been postponed to 2021.  We had to take this into account.”  The dates are subject to FFSA approval (see our calendar page for these and other 2021 dates).

 

Added to the usual schedule of Historic Tour championships and trophies, a new initiative is under discussion in order to give competitors more track time.  The idea is to create a 90-minute race that will take place on Saturday at the end of the day.  It will be open to all competitors already registered in one of the other GT, Touring or Prototype fields (Lotus Trophy excepted), who will thus be able to taste the pleasures of racing in teams of two or three drivers.  Called the “200kms de l’Historic Tour”, it will be organised over at least three meetings.

“2021 will be for us a year embellished with the organisation of the Grand Prix de France Historique.  Scheduled for 10-13 June, it will again focus on the history of F1.   For the rest, the fields planned for the Dijon Motors Cup, which we were forced to cancel this year, are postponed to the 2021 edition.  We also have a period in May during which another meeting could take place,” Vallery-Masson added.

Bugatti Bonus

Though the French Championships were decided at Val de Vienne in late September (see our November issue), there was still some fun to be had and some points to score for a few  of the individual French series at the October 16-17 Motors Cup meeting at the Le Mans Bugatti circuit.  Originally conceived on an international scale, the dreaded virus stopped the foreign grids from travelling to France and the event was scaled back to a two-day meeting for the final rounds of six French series.  With one exception, grids had free practice and qualifying on Saturday and two races on Sunday.

Groupe PSA boss Carlos Tavares took pole and two wins in his Chevron B21, but José Beltramelli, impressive in his TVR Grif th, came away with the ASAVÉ pre-‘66 crown.  Photos Guy Pawlak

At the close of Sunday,  2020 titles went to Xavier Jacquet in the Lotus Trophy, Julien Grenet in Saloon Cars Trophy, Gérard Besson in ASAVÉ Racing 75 and José Beltramelli in ASAVÉ Racing 65.  Having already won the F3 championship, Frédéric Rouvier, was absent this weekend, but Christian Vaglio -Giors and Alexandre Faucher tied for the Formula Renault Classic title.

Breton Yoann Hervé (Peugeot 309 GTI) and 16 year-old Irishman Cameron Hawes (VW Golf GTI) had a splendid wheel-to-wheel battle for 45-minutes in the Youngtimer race

Read our report in the December 2020 issue

Though the season was shorter than usual, the HSCC provided enough racing to hold meaningful championships in some of its categories, and after their Finals Meeting on 17-18 October (see page 44) and last Formula Ford races at the Formula Ford Festival Brands Hatch on 24-25 October, all the championships have been decided

Young guns Benn Tilley (March 743) (above left) and Ben Stiles (Van Diemen RF82) won the Classic Formula 3 and Classic Formula Ford 2000 titles respectivley after two exemplary campaigns on very limited budgets.  Meanwhile, the Historic Formula 3 Championship had been won a week earlier at Mallory Park by Ian Bankhurst (Alexis Mk8).

 

Antony Ross took his Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider to the Historic Road Sports Championship 27 years a er he won the HSCC Improved Road Sports crown in the same car.  Photos Eric Sawyer

Both Road Sports Championships have enjoyed tremendous support, and it was the consistent pace of Jeremy Clark (Lotus Elan) that took him to a hat-trick of 70s Road Sports titles, while Antony Ross took the Historic Road Sports Championship.

Irishman Peter Drennan (Reynard SF79) was new to Formula Ford 2000 this year, but a double win at Brands Hatch set him up for the Historic FF2000 title at the first attempt.  Meanwhile, Steve Platts earned another Historic Touring Car title to add to the one he won in 2017 in his Singer Chamois.

   

In Classic Formula Ford, Cam Jackson (Van Diemen RF80) (right) took six wins from seven rounds to end the season 21 points to the good, also winning the Formula Junior overall crown in his Brabham BT2 (left) to become a double champion

In Historic Formula Junior, Cam Jackson (Brabham BT2) took the overall crown with an unbeaten run and Ray Mallock (U2 Mk2) won the Front-Engined Formula Junior title. 

Both the Historic and Classic Formula Ford Championships were hard fought throughout the short season.    In the Historics, Pierre Livingston (Merlyn Mk20) won four on the trot at Oulton Park and Cadwell Park through the late summer to build a 15-point championship lead heading into the final.  A second and third place at Brands was enough for him to claim victory.

Due to the shortened 2020 season, six HSCC categories did not run as championships.  Included amongst these were the Formula 2s, usually run as an international championship.

Marcus Pye reports on an event, conceived and executed within only a few weeks, that proved to be like food to drivers starved of racing this season

Historic Tourist Trophy brings Silverstone lining to MRL’s year

Organised in the wake of the Spa Six Hours event’s late but inevitable cancellation, which rubbed salt into the wounds of a season torpedoed by Coronavirus, Motor Racing Legends looked closer to home for its 2020 calendar closer on October 25.  With tremendous backing from loyal partners the Royal Automobile Club and DK Engineering, and wonderful competitor support, the one-day meeting on Silverstone’s 3.66-mile Grand Prix circuit did more than turn the year around.  It pointed the way to the future.    

Roger Wills and David Clark nished 7th in the TT in their Lotus 15, helping Ecurie Triple C to the Tourist Trophy title.  Photos Eric Sawyer

Star of the show - run out of the cavernous Wing pits with a convivial hospitality lounge in the midst of DK’s tempting sales stock - was the three-hour Pre-‘66 team race.  Usually run at the Silverstone Classic exclusively for pre-‘63 cars, but cancelled this year along with the rest, it was decided to award the prestigious Historic Tourist Trophy title to the winning three-car team.  This required each crew to make two five-minute ‘socially distanced’ pit stops at times of their choosing, rather than within set windows.  While tactics came into play, this gave them the freedom to change strategies as the race evolved.

“That was a proper race. I think we changed places ve times on one lap,” beamed Tomlin, having landed his rst HTCC win in the Batibouw/Thierry Boutsen tribute-liveried Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500

The 58-car field stampeded away in beautiful autumn sunshine, but soon the skies darkened, heralding showers that changed the track conditions constantly.  With greater contact patches to put their Ford V8 power down nothing would catch the Shelby Cobras of Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie (Daytona Coupe) or Andrew Jordan/Adrian Willmott, which finished first and second in that order after a stout early scrap.  Best sports racer was the ex-Bruce McLaren/Syd Jensen Lotus 15 - a veteran of the 1959 TT at Goodwood - of Roger Wills/David Clark in seventh.  Having put so much into the event James Cottingham suffered cruel luck in the early stages, when a conrod ventilated his Tojeiro’s Jaguar engine while it was flying in fourth.

“It’s like riding a wild tiger on wet lino - and that’s in the dry,” was Milner’s description of driving the ex-Mike Anthony Chevrolet V8-powered car

When TSL’s timekeepers had ruminated over their figures the team results honoured Ecurie Triple C - Wills/Clark, Karsten Le Blanc/Chris Milner (Austin-Healey 3000) and Georg Kjallgren/Jeremy Cooke (Ford Mustang) - as the RAC Historic Tourist Trophy winners. 

The morning’s three qualifying sessions on a wet but drying track were followed by 60-minute RAC Woodcote/Stirling Moss Trophy and Historic Touring Car Challenge/Tony Dron Trophy/U2TC mini-enduros.  Both were close-fought and contested with an end-of-term spirit.

Nothing could catch the Cobras, and Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie took overall honours in their Daytona Coupe

For a full report see our December 2020 issue

 

Entries are now open for the annual Winter Marathon regularity rally based in the resort of Madonna di Campiglio in the Italian Dolomites.  It is due to run next year on 14-17 January.  One of the unique features of this event is the race on the frozen lake on the last day for the first 30 cars to qualify.  For cars up to 1976, this event nonetheless usually attracts quite a large pre-war entry.  Entries can be made online at www.wintermarathon.it

The Jaguar E-type will be 60 next year and no doubt the Jaguar Heritage PR team will be cranking up the volume to remind us what an extraordinary car it was, or should we say, is, because they are re-making them.  They have for the moment pulled the plug on the Jaguar Challenge series of races, but depending on how things go, these may yet be re-instated for next season.  One thing is sure, the HSCC will be marking the anniversary with a dedicated hour-long E-type race on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit next May at their Silverstone International Trophy meeting.  Their aim is to attract 60 E-types for 60 minutes on the 60th anniversary.

This will extend a Club tradition, as in 2011 the HSCC organised the E-type Challenge to mark the model’s 50th birthday.  In addition to this special celebration race, the HSCC is actively working towards running more races in 2021 to cater for all models of Pre-1966 Jaguar, including E-types.

Other festivities planned are a tour to Geneva, where the E-type was first unveiled to the world, again with a target of 60 cars, to include the first Geneva Motor Show E-type and the last E-type made.   Sadly the Geneva Motor Show has already been cancelled for 2021, but the Tour, organised by Jaguar Heritage (www.jaguarheritage.com), will go ahead.

 

As organisers need to sort their calendars early, many are setting their dates even now as they rush into the unknown territory of 2021.  The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is set to take place on 12-15 August and will feature historic Indy Cars for the very first time.  Other races scheduled include historic Formula One and historic Trans-Am up to 1972, along with many of the customary grids for sports, touring and IMSA cars.  Next year will also see a slot dedicated to pre-1920 cars in an exhibition race.

With the UK quarantine restrictions in place, it is clear that very few UK competitors are willing or able to travel to Portugal and Motor Racing Legends, which was  to have four grids there made up mainly of British teams, has decided not to go.  Duncan Wiltshire of Motor Racing Legends, informed competitors,  “With heavy heart.  This is tough on those of you who were still wanting to go, but with so few cars on each grid our attendance at the event has simply become untenable,” he said.  “We love the Algarve Classic Festival, having supported it every year since it began in 2009. To all of you who were still willing to go, I apologise.”

Likewise after putting it to a vote and receiving some positive responses from those willing to quarantine afterwards, Automobiles Historiques have also cancelled their GT & Sports Car Cup race at the undulating Algarve circuit.  “A real shame,” said Vanessa Marçais, “as initially we had a 30 car grid for this event.”  Formula Junior has also informed competitors that they have cancelled their  race at Algarve for the same reason.

Frédéric Rouvier has won the French Historic Circuits Championship in the Single-seater/Proto category for the third year in a row.  Aged 42, Rouvier, a native of Cannes, who is an educational manager at Oreca Events, won this new title at the wheel of a March 783 run by Italian team Blue is Blue after having won 9 of the 10 F3 Classic races this season. “It’s great to be champion of France again, especially since this third title was perhaps the most difficult to obtain,” he said.

 

 

With eight Coupe de France des Circuits titles in modern cars to his name, Franck Quagliozzi won the historic GT/Tourism category for the second time.  The 40-year-old Mâconnais, a Honda specialist, was competing in his third historic season in the Youngtimers GTI Cup.  He remained undefeated all season aboard a 1990 Honda Civic prepared by the family Honda Quagliozzi Racing team.  “We knew we had to win all the races to be champion.  I didn’t make it last year, and we worked hard to make sure we didn’t miss it twice in a row “

 

Laurent Sabatier took his rst French Championhsip.  Photo Guy Pawlak

Unlike the other two winners of the Historic Tour, 61 year-old Laurent Sabatier took his first championship title.  The long-time “Porschist”, also undefeated over ten races,  tied with Franck Quagliozzi in the GT/Tourism category to become joint champion.  Racing in the GT Classic series since 2015, his victory was achieved behind the wheel of a 1996 Porsche 993 GT2, exceptionally replaced by a BMW M3 GTR at Nogaro.  “Today’s races weren’t the easiest,” he said after the final round at Val de Vienne.  “I was under tremendous pressure to find myself in this situation where I had the title within reach.”

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