The Magazine

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

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The Magazine

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.

Peter Auto and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest have announced the postponement of Le Mans Classic to the first or second weekend of July 2022 (date to be confirmed in September).  This event will come back in 2023 for a centenary edition of the 24 Heures du Mans which promises to be exceptional.  A Peter Auto race meeting on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit will be held in its place on July 3-4, 2021, the weekend scheduled for Le Mans Classic, offering races for all the Peter Auto grids.

In a further development, the Dix Mille Tours meeting at Paul Ricard circuit, already postponed from March to early May, has now been cancelled altogether.   This is mainly due to travel restrictions for competitors and teams, explained Patrick Peter.  “Respecting distancing measures and other health protocols are only small obstacles that can be overcome.  We were able to put up with it and organise a very good 2020 event last July, when it was possible for French and foreign competitors to move relatively freely.  This time, however, fluctuations in intercountry travel restrictions forced us to cancel the event.”

A consolation prize for the Endurance Legends drivers will be two races in August as a curtain-raiser to the 24 Hours of Le Mans!

News from Peter Schleifer, driving force behind the European Historic Can-Am & Sportscars series, is that he is branching out with a grid to include Le Mans cars from 1982-2004, to be run in collaboration by Germany’s largest historic racing club, FHR.  The new series, ‘Group C Classics’ will welcome all sports prototypes from the Group C era up to the furious days of the LMP cars born in the beginning of the new millennium.  “We have not forgotten to create a home for the GT cars from those years as well,” said Schleifer.

To launch the new series, Schleifer’s Can-Am & Sportscars group will invite the Group C Classic cars to join them in two races at the FHR Spring Classic at Hockenheim in early May.  “If there is a Can-Am, a 2-litre racer, Group C1 or C2, CN, C3 or LMP car up to 2004, please join us.  We will be for sure at the Oldtimer GP, so it`s time to join,” urged Schleifer.

With all DMSB permits in place, further events will have separate races for each series.

The international vintage automotive collectibles show, held each August as part of ‘Automobile Week’ in Monterey, California has been cancelled for what would have been its 18th year this summer, due to continuing Covid-19 governmental regulations, particularly restricting large indoor events.  What does this mean for the many other festivities during that week?

Former American driver and current championship team owner Roger Penske will be a focal point as he attends the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed on 8-11 July.  Penske’s attendance comes as the event celebrates “The Maestros – Motorsport’s Great All-Rounders”, a theme consistently exemplified by Penske and his race teams.  As a driver, Penske enjoyed success on both sides of the Atlantic, winning in NASCAR and making it to Formula 1.  But ‘The Captain’ is perhaps best known as the leader of Team Penske, having achieved unprecedented success across a number of motorsport disciplines, including INDYCAR, NASCAR, Trans-Am, Sports Cars, Australian Supercars and Formula 1.

Goodwood will assemble some of the team’s most famous cars at the Festival.  These will include Team Penske’s first Indy 500 entry from 1969, the four-wheel drive Lola T152; the McLaren M16B representing the first of the team’s 18 Indy 500 wins in 1972; the Penske PC23 that dominated the 1994 Indy 500; as well as the 2006 and 2018 Indy 500 winners.  Also confirmed is the Pontiac Catalina honouring the car that Penske himself drove to a NASCAR victory at Riverside in 1963, as well as the 2008 Daytona 500 winner.  Representing Team Penske in Formula 1 will be the Penske PC1 from 1975, the first car manufactured by Penske Cars UK, and the PC4, which won the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix driven by John Watson.  Penske himself will take to the Goodwood Hill in the Porsche RS Spyder that won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2008.

Penske commented, “I have wonderful memories of racing at Goodwood in 1963 and am honoured to be invited to return this summer.  I am very much looking forward to sharing in the celebrations with Goodwood’s passionate fans as they return for the 2021 Festival of Speed.”

The UK Pre-war trials season was able to make a delayed start in April with a rescheduled Exmoor Trial and Herefordshire Trial organised by the Vintage Sports-Car Club.

Some serious racers took the opportunity to get some action on the muddy hills, trading the driving seat of some fearsome historic racing cars for that of the ubiquitous Austin 7.   Martin Hunt of Historic TT HWM fame and son Theo were getting to grips with a lovely Austin 7 Ulster whilst Jaguar C-Type racer Ben Cussons of the Royal Automobile Club had his daughter Grace and son Alexander out in Austin 7 Chummys.  Patrick Blakeney-Edwards is itching to race his hairy BMW CSL ‘Batmobile’ this season, but was getting his pre-season kicks, with daughter Scarlett and son James, in his Austin 7 saloon, which has a potent supercharger!

The Cussons family seem to be nding itself in a spot of difficulty

MotorSport Vision (MSV) has purchased the freehold of the Donington Hall Estate comprising Donington Hall itself, former office building Hastings House and the Lansdowne workshops building.  The estate is set in 28 acres of grounds next to the MSV operated Donington Park race circuit in the East Midlands.

A magnificent 18th century mansion house with historical ties to the adjacent racing circuit, which is within the estate’s original grounds, MSV plans to develop the Grade II listed Donington Hall into a 40-bedroom hotel with a range of accommodation.  The hotel is planned to open for the 2023 season.

Hastings House was built in 1990 as the main administrative headquarters for the British Midland International airline.  MSV plans to transform the 45,000 square foot building into the state of the art Donington Hall Motorhouse, a storage facility for supercars, classic road and racing cars and motorcycles.

The Lansdowne workshops, totalling 18,000 square feet, will be available to let for high-end motor engineering businesses that support the preparation and maintenance of vehicles kept at the Donington Hall Motorhouse and used on the race circuit.  Both the Hall and Motorhouse will benefit from a direct route to the circuit paddock areas, in addition to direct access from the Hall to the circuit by the original Starkey’s bridge.  This will allow race cars to be driven directly to Donington Hall for awards presentations and special events.

MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer said, “We will be creating an extraordinary and unique facility.  Car owners will be able to fly directly into East Midlands airport, view their cars within 10 minutes of landing before settling into, for example, the Rosemeyer Suite at the hotel.  Their car will be prepared and warmed up, waiting outside the front of the Hall after breakfast, from where they can drive it up the original carriage drive and directly into the Donington Park circuit.  After a day’s circuit driving or racing, our team will return the car to the workshops for cleaning and a check over before returning it to storage, while our visitors are on their way home.”