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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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The Magazine

On page 49 of our January/February issue, and on this website, you will find the 2021 historic rally calendar, including the FIA Championship dates for the Sporting Rally Championship, which undergoes a name change this year, and is to be officially known as the FIA European Historic Rally Championship. The bad news is that COVID has already made its presence felt in the early part of the year and the Costa Brava rally, originally scheduled to open the FIA Championship season in mid-March, has been moved to the end of the year to 19-20 November. The season will now open on 9-11 April with the Sanremo Rally Storico, which is back in the FIA Championship fold.

The Regularity Championship has been more problematic to plan and details will only be announced at the end of January.

Not only fast on the track, historic racer and organiser, Diogo Ferrao, is also fast on his feet when it comes to adapting to ever-changing circumstances. Without his efforts the Iberian Endurance 250km race at Estoril would not have taken place on Friday 20 November. With tighter curfew restrictions announced in the late run-up to the two-day meeting, originally scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Ferrao moved his races to Friday, while some other grids were cancelled. He was rewarded with good support from the local, and some international, drivers, and even the weather, which remained warm and sunny all day, helped boost everyone’s spirits. The other race on the one-day programme was the Group 1 + Troféu Mini race, its drivers also enjoying a two-hour enduro.

250 kms Estoril

With a wide variety of cars, the regs allow for a myriad of classes, leaving everyone to battle for supremacy in their own group, but occasionally, a car and driver combination comes along that punches above its weight, and that has certainly been the case of Carlos Barbot and young Diogo Matos, who drove their little Merlyn MK4, in the H-GTP class, to pole and overall victory, ahead of the powerful Porsche 911 3.0 RS of Danish father and son Lars and Andreas Rolner, who nonetheless fought brilliantly for two hours and won the H-76 class. These two dominated the race, especially after the Ford Escort RS 1600 of Miguel Ferreira and Francisco Carvalho retired in the first half.


Last Race of the Season - Jerez

Being so far south, the Iberians can start their season early (in normal years) and end it late and still expect reasonable weather. With so much of the early season destroyed by COVID, they took advantage of their geography and extended the season on into mid-December with a grand finale at the Jerez circuit, where the Iberian Endurance racers again got a two-hour race. Joined by cars from the newest Race Ready grid, Carrera M80 for touring cars of the ‘80s and small capacity cars from the ‘90s, as well as GT Cup cars of the same years, Carrera los 80s was to have a three-race debut season, but the cancellation of the Jarama meeting in November meant they were invited to share the Iberian Endurance grid at Jerez. The 30 teams and more than 50 drivers were met in Andalucía with dry and mild conditions. The Pereira/Basso Escort dominated the first 30 minutes of the race, shadowed closely by Piero Dal Maso in a Porsche 911 2.8 Carrera RSR. Luis Pedro Liberal (in a similar Ford) and Francisco Freitas (Datsun 1200) lost time to the leaders, slowed by their own battle for third. But in the final phase of the race and after the last pit stop for refuelling and driver change, Piero Dal Maso returned to the lead, and held it until the end to take overall and class H76 honours.

Read more about these two race meetings in our January/February 2021 issue

Repeat Race Winners Crowned at Sebring International Raceway

The fifth annual Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic Sebring 12 Hour presented by the Alan Jay Automotive Network brought a compact but competitive 2020 HSR race season to a conclusion on 2-6 December at Sebring International Raceway, where a pair of competitors scored repeat wins in their group, and two more raced to their first 12-Hour victories.

Adam Saal Reports

With a full programme of support races beginning with free practice on Wednesday, qualifying on Thursday and racing on Friday for HSR members interspersed with qualifying for the main event, the Classic Sebring 12 Hour was just the third HSR event of the year. Joining the rest of the motorsports world in the global pause in the spring to fight against COVID-19, HSR brought the curtain down on a short season that was long on close competition. HSR’s first race of 2020 was a guest appearance with the Vintage Sports Car Drivers Association (VSCDA) at the Elkhart Lake Festival in September.

David Porter, in his Peugeot 908 HDi FAP scored a four-out-of-four win in HSR Classics competition.  Photos Brian Cleary

Although dozens of European and other international entries – and hundreds of fellow competitors and friends from around the world that annually come to Florida to race their cars – were forced to miss this year’s races, impressive entries of well over 100 cars turned out at both Daytona and Sebring.

Competitors in the HSR Classic Sebring 12 Hour were divided into four period Run Groups with each taking to the 3.74-mile Sebring circuit four different times for 42-minute race segments over the course of two days. Each overall Run Group winner was presented with a special-edition B.R.M. Chronographes watch commissioned specifically for the event.

Alejandro Chahwan completes his night race in Group B in his Porsche

Group A honours went to debuting Sebring 12 Hour driver John Delane in the GMT Racing 1972 Chevron B21, while Gray Gregory, Randy Buck and Ethan Shippert scored a second victory for the Chevron marque when they co-drove to a third consecutive victory in Run Group B.

Run Group C was home to another repeat winner, with David Porter scoring his second-straight 12-hour win in his GMT Racing 2007 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, despite some tough competition. The Run Group D victory went to first-time HSR Classic Sebring winners Chris Ruppel and Eric Zitza in a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup from Zotz Racing. Ruppel and Zitza avenged a narrow loss to the similar Ebimotors Porsche GT3 in Group D last year.

Sebing 12 Hour debutant John Delane solo drove his GMT Racing Chevron B21 to Group A victory

Notable performances were seen in Groups A and B by a pair of quick and well-prepared Porsche 911 competitors recording overall podium showings. Dawn Myers raced to a solid third-place finish in Group A in her 1969 Porsche 911 prepared by the 901 Shop. Finishing behind only Delane’s Chevron and the second-placed GMT Racing Lotus 23B of Travis Engen, she out-paced four other production-based Porsches and several pure-bred race cars. Damon DeSantis and HSR President David Hinton in turn co-drove the Heritage Motorsports 1974 Porsche 911 to third place in Group B, topping a field of six similar Porsche 911 models. For a full report see our January/February 2021 issue

 

 

Collins and Windelburn Share Spoils at Manfeild

Defending MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series champion Michael Collins (Leda LT27/GM1) got his 2020/21 campaign off to a winning start in the series’ opening rounds at the 35th annual MG Classic race meeting at Feilding’s Circuit Manfeild Chris Amon over the weekend of 14-15 November.

Defending MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series champion Michael Collins (Leda LT27/ GM1) got his 2020/21 campaign o  to a winning start in the series’ opening rounds at the 35th annual MG Classic race mee ng at Feilding’s Circuit Manfeild Chris Amon over the weekend of 14-15 November.  Photos Fast Company/Matt Smith Photography

Now behind the wheel of famed Kiwi driver, car designer and constructor Graham McRae’s distinctive ‘hot-pink’ STP-liveried Leda LT27/GM1 001, the 24-year-old from Christchurch qualified quickest and won the first, of three races on Saturday afternoon from second quickest qualifier and impressive local driver, Kevin Ingram (Lola T332). Collins also won Sunday’s 10-lap feature final in the afternoon. With Kevin Ingram out with a gearbox issue on the first lap, competition this time came from Race 2 winner Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400). Under the rules of a new handicap initiative, Race 2 was started from a reversed grid based on the drivers’ best lap times. The field was split into six groups, each flagged off in succession. Unfortunately, early race leader – and one of two newcomers to the series, Toby Annabell in a Class A McLaren M10B - was an early retirement thanks to a fuel issue. Fellow Class A runners Tony Roberts (high-wing McLaren M10A) and Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) then each briefly held the lead before both were overwhelmed by a hard charging Windelburn (who had started the race halfway up the order), and Tim Rush in his Class A McLaren, with category veteran Russell Greer (Lola T332) just hanging on to third place ahead of a fast-approaching Collins. But Collins reckons that was OK. “You can’t win every race you start, and I think it’s a good thing that the committee is at least looking at – and now obviously trying out – some different starting formats. I know I was trying fairly hard to make up the deficit they gave me.” Tony Roberts (McLaren M10A) was back to his best in Class A, twice leading home 2019/20 class winner Frank Karl (McLaren M10B). For his part Shayne Windelburn was buzzing – as much about finishing second to Collins in the feature final on Sunday afternoon, as he was winning the handicap race earlier in the day.

 

The other driver to make a big impression at the meeting was Anna Collins, driving the other Hey family-owned Leda LT27, the car that her younger brother Michael has been driving for the past three seasons, and with which he won the championship last year. Like Michael, Anna has a solid driving CV from 10 years of racing karts at an Island and National level before spending the past five years contesting both the NZ Formula Ford championship and the South Island F1600 series.

Though she said that her plan at Manfeild was to “ease my way into the car and category” the 28-year-old from Christchurch came away with two third places in the scratch races and seventh place in the handicap on Sunday.

Not bad for a first attempt.

The Historic Sports Car Club has unveiled its provisional race calendar for 2021 covering nine race meetings on nine different circuits.  New for next year is a two-day mid-summer meeting at Donington Park, and a change in the Brands Hatch Indy date, which now moves to the Friday preceding the Grand Prix circuit weekend, making a three-day event using both versions of the track.

As before, the HSCC will also be the organising club for the Silverstone Classic, which will run on 30 July-1 August next year.

Andy Dee-Crowne, CEO of the HSCC, said, “No one can currently predict where the UK will be with the COVID pandemic by the start of next season, but we are very hopeful that we will be able to run a full programme of racing in 2021.”  (see our calendar page for these and other 2021 dates).

Though still provisional the Motor Racing Legends calendar has been released with five major race meetings on the schedule (see our calendar page for these and other 2021 dates).  “We are optimistic for next year, but you’ll see that we have taken the precaution of planning a more UK-focussed calendar in 2021 to minimise the potential for disruption.” announced MRL boss, Duncan Wiltshire.

But there are other changes too.  After the successful 3-hour race, put together at the last minute to fill the end-of-season void, MRL has decided not only to repeat the experiment next October 30-31, but also to add a 3-hour pre-‘66 race to its Donington Historic Festival line-up in May as well.  “Everyone really enjoyed themselves this year and drivers are keen to do it again,” said Wiltshire.

In another announcement, it was confirmed that after an approach by the new team at Jaguar Classic, MRL will run the Jaguar Classic Challenge in 2021, part of which will next year include a big celebration race at the Silverstone Classic for the Jaguar E-type’s 60th anniversary.  Further details of the Jaguar Classic calendar will be announced soon. 

Besides their own series for ’50s sports-racing cars (Stirling Moss Trophy), ‘50s GT cars (Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy), and Touring Cars spanning nearly three decades, MRL also administers the prestigious Pre-‘63 GT series, which this year will have two rounds, at Thruxton and at the  Silverstone Classic at the end of July, where the Royal Automobile Club Historic Tourist Trophy will be awarded to the winner.  A perpetual trophy, housed at the RAC in Pall Mall, the Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars was inaugurated in 2010 and has been won by, amongst others, Carlo Vögele/Willie Green (Ferrari 330 GTO in 2010) Stuart Graham and Richard Attwood (Aston Martin DB4 GT in 2011), Wolfgang Friedrichs/David Clark (Aston Martin DP212 in 2012), Jackie Oliver/Gary Pearson (Ferrari SWB in 2014) and more recently by Martin Hunt and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in an AC Cobra in 2019.

One Make Races for GT40

In a further announcement, Motor Racing Legends and DK Engineering have revealed that they will also run two, 80-minute races exclusively for pre-1966 spec Ford GT40s including FIA compliant continuation models.  “One of the most prolific drivers of all time, Chris Amon, will forever be associated with the GT40, and we are deeply honoured that the Amon family will present the awards at each round,” said Wiltshire.

The first race will be held at Donington Historic Festival on 1-2 May, with the second round at Motor Racing Legends’ newly-announced end-of-year meeting on 30-31 October on the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.  Prospective competitors are asked to register their interest with Motor Racing Legends at www.motorracinglegends.com.

One of the largest American historic racing organisations, Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) has announced an ambitious 17-event schedule for 2021, the most events in the organisation’s 42-year history.  With many new events and circuits in the mix, SVRA will also be visiting the west coast more often, including race weekends at Sonoma and Laguna Seca.

Notably missing from the schedule is the flagship Brickyard Invitational at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  SVRA CEO Tony Parella explained that he built the meeting around the Vintage Race of Champions (VROC), now on hold due to uncertainty about whether spectators will be allowed to attend.  “We built the Brickyard Invitational around the Pro-Am racing,” he said.  “Our first-ever Pro-Am was in 2014, and we need that element for the weekend to make sense.  I will be regrouping with the IMS team in January to explore options for 2022.”

Meanwhile, Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) have also announced their calendar for next season, featuring its traditional events on traditional dates.  The season will again begin and end at Sebring International Raceway, in March and December, with the season’s highlight, the big HSR Mitty at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta meeting, the event’s 43rd running, on April 21-25.  As reported in our October issue, as of next year HSR will also take over the running of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Monterey Pre-Reunion, which take place on back-to-back August weekends at Laguna Seca.

Bengt-Åce Gustavsson Reports

Racing in Norway was affected just like everywhere else when COVID-19 arrived this spring, with the first race meeting, at Rudskogen, postponed until late June.  With restrictions in place, including a rule that said anyone who had been outside Norway’s borders in the two weeks before the competition was not allowed to enter the area, all foreigners were effectively excluded!  This applied to drivers as well as officials and the press…

The biggest event of the season is usually run in August each year at Rudskogen.  The Norwegians were expecting the rules to ease by then, so they invited foreign drivers to compete and they had almost 200 cars registered when stricter requirements were imposed instead, and they were not allowed to run the competition at all!  They partly solved the problem by moving the event to Vålerbanen, which is not so close to Oslo where the big summer spike in infections was, but of course, there were far fewer participants.  At least they had a competition.  The two final meetings in September were also run at Vålerbanen.

Atle Ramberg won seven out of eight races with his distinctive Ford Escort 1300 GT ahead of a determined John A Johansen in his Mini 1275 GT Atle Ramberg won seven out of eight races with his distinctive Ford Escort 1300 GT ahead of a determined John A Johansen in his Mini 1275 GT.  Photos Jörn Petersen

 
 Norwegian historic racing is divided into three different groups that run along FIA cut-off dates: Cars before 1965; cars between 1966-1971 and cars after 1972.  Eleven cars participated in the oldest class this year, of which eight were Ford Lotus Cortinas.  Ola Svendsen missed the premiere at Rudskogen, but then he won five of the remaining six races with his Cortina.  Frode Alhaug was the smoothie himself this year with his Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.  He did not win any races but took lots of podium places and finished second in the points.  Arne Teig started the year best with three victories in the first five races, but then he missed the final and finished third.

Mathias Havdal took over his dad’s well proven Porsche 911 RSR and won all eight races for post ’71 cars

In the contest for cars from 1966-1971, as usual, Atle Ramberg was at the top.  He won seven out of eight races with his distinctive Ford Escort 1300 GT.  John A Johansen tried to hang on and he took one victory and five second places with his Mini 1275 GT and came second overall in the final rankings.  Odd-Andreas Ingebrigtsen came third with his Austin Cooper S.

The class for the newest cars was the largest this year with 22 starters.  They had also invited cars newer than 1990, but these did not get any points.  Mathias Havdal took over his dad’s well-proven Porsche 911 RSR and won all eight races!  Tor Magne Tjemsland started in a “new” BMW M3 E30 and came second.  Terje Nordmark came third with his Opel Kadett GT/E.

Hard tryer Thorkild Solberg

It was a short and intense season for the Norwegians this year.  They can hopefully look forward to a better 2021.

As the season in Europe comes to a close, it’s springtime in the southern hemisphere and the NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series season is just beginning.  With travel for competition outside New Zealand’s borders virtually impossible, the Formula 5000 Association are preparing for a wholly NZ-based 2020/21 series of races.   Contested over just four - rather than the more usual five, or even six - rounds, the season kicked off on 13-15 November at the Circuit Chris Amon in Manfeild Feilding NZ.

The rest of the season is scheduled from January to March:

22-24 January 2021 - Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park Taupo

05-07 February - Mike Pero Motorsport Park Ruapuna

20-21 March - Hampton Downs Waikato

 Heading the entry list is reigning champion young, Michael Collins from Christchurch, who will once again be behind the wheel of one of Alistair and Vicki Hey’s Leda/McRae GM1s.  This season though he will be driving the original Tasman and US L&M Series-winning 1972 Leda LT27/GM1 001, while older sister Anna Collins will take over the Leda LT27/McRae car Michael used to win the 2019/20 title. 

Like her older sister Katherine, and younger brother Michael, Anna, 28, enjoyed a successful career start in karts.  She then graduated to the South Island Formula Ford championship in 2015 and won the NZ Class 2 Formula Ford championship in only her second year in the category.  Last season she finished fifth overall in the South Island F1600 Series. 

Set to take the battle to the Collins siblings this year is 2019/20 series’ runner-up Glenn Richards from Auckland (ex-Eppie Weitz Lola T400) and the series’ other familial pair, father and son David and Codie Banks.

Anniversary Edition

Way back in April, when the Modena Cento Ore was postponed to 11-15 October, it seemed like an impossible dream, but the persistence of Luigi Orlandini and his team paid off when a reduced grid of 24 cars in the competition section and nine regularity competitors, as compared to the usual hundred cars, lined up in Rome to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this popular event. 

Crews gathered at Villa Borghese in the centre of Rome for scrutineering and then set out for an early evening parade through the city centre, taking in all the monuments and tourist attractions the eternal city has to offer, with some racing cars suffering from being forced to run at such a slow pace.

he annivesary event started with a tour of Rome.  Photos Courtesy Canossa Events

 

The following day, crews drove to Perugia via two runs over the classic hillclimb Rieti Terminillo, steep, but fast if you have the horsepower, while the following day, the cars paraded through some of the hilltop towns that characterise this part of central Italy on their way to Florence, with a stop for racing at the Magione circuit on the programme.   With so few cars they all shared a common grid. 

The cars line up at Imola for the last race of the event with Janssens’ Porsche up front

As always on the Cento Ore, there is racing and there is enjoying the sights of Italy, and before the final drive into Florence crews paused for drinks in Arezzo under the Logge del Vasari in Piazza Grande.  Belgians Glenn Janssens and Tom de Geetere arrived at the top of the leaderboard in the Piazza Ognissanti in their Tuthill Porsche 911 SC, with Andrew Siddall and Sebastian Perez 1800 Escort less than 2 seconds behind.  Initial leaders, Kevin and Lee Jones from GTO Engineering, suffered mechanical problems in their Ford Escort RS 1600 and so had dropped down the order.  Richard Evans and John Faux arrived a day late in their Iso Rivolta IR 300, having repaired the clutch that failed during the parade in Rome.  First period F car was Roddie Feilden’s Shelby Mustang, co-driven by Simon Jeffries and the stunning SEFAC Ferrari 250 SWB of Arnold and Melanie Meier, was the first Period E car.

The Kadoorie Porsche continued its winning ways over the stages, but was clearly too far behind to be able to catch up

In the regularity section German crew Stephan Rohleder and Nadia Hahn led in their Porsche 911 2.4T by a tiny margin.

The following day was just as much of a challenge for organisers as it was for the competitors.  First test of the day was on the beautiful Mugello circuit just outside of Florence, where, as the cars lined up on the grid, the rain started.  This soon turned into a storm that brought out the safety car.  The race was able to resume after a few laps, and amongst various spins and offs, which happily didn’t lead to any damage, Philip Lawrence Kadoorie and Daniel Wells, in their Dansport Porsche Carrera RS proved the most agile in the conditions, with Sidall up next followed by Janssens.   The Iso Rivolta showed what it was made of by coming fifth, and Roddy Feilden somehow managed to tiptoe his big Mustang to the line in sixth place ahead of the E-type of Swiss crew Thomas Kern and Stephan Peyer to take Period F honours. 

Glenn Janssens and Tom de Geetere celebrate overall victory

Two stages in the wet rounded off the day without change in the leaderboard.  It was all change, however, for the organisers, when new rules governing distancing and gatherings were published 24 hours before.  The Gala Soirée at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, planned for that evening, had to be re-routed to the Ballroom of the St. Regis and they were also working on changing the final prizegiving ceremony from the Military Academy of Modena to the Enzo Ferrari Museum.

On the final day, the goal of arriving in the Piazza Roma in Modena was now firmly in sight, but first two more hillclimbs awaited and the best treat was reserved for last, a race on the circuit of Imola.  The day offered, wet, dry, dusty and leafy conditions.  The Kadoorie Porsche was clearly too far behind to be able to catch up, while Janssens’ Porsche enjoyed a comfortable cushion to Sidall’s Escort.  Kevin and Lee Jones were back in their Escort, performing well on the stages, but way behind in the overall rankings. 

Arnold Maeier’s stunning SWB SEFAC nished ninth and second in Period E

So it was Glenn Janssens and Tom de Geetere that rolled into Modena as overall winners of the 20th anniversary edition of the Cento Ore.  Though they only won one stage outright, their consistency while all around them faltered, paid off.  They were followed by Andrew Siddall and Sebastian Perez, with Philip Kadoorie and Daniel Wells on the third step of the podium, all three cars in the G/I categories.  Period F winner, and an excellent fourth overall was the Swiss Scuderia Apax Jaguar E-type of Thomas Kern and Stephan Peyer.  Louise and Jason Kennedy captured the Period E Trophy and the Index of Performance award, driving  their Lancia Aurelia B20. 

Stephan Rohleder and Nadia Hahn maintained their lead in the Regularity section in their Porsche 911.

Competitors, many of whom had braved quarantine and logistic restrictions to get there, were grateful to Orlandini and his team that the event took place at all.  They had seen an autumn Italy, with the leaves turning red and gold and the sun lying low, in stark contrast to the usual mid-summer date.  Canossa Events CEO Orlandini summed it up, “There is no doubt that this was the most difficult edition from an organisational point of view.  I have my team to thank for their commitment and for their prompt action when faced with the never-ending changes in the regulations, as well as the authorities for their advice and support.  But the biggest thanks of all go to all the participants who decided to come and join us on our 20th anniversary”.

Though socially distanced, there was still elegant dining in Florence

For a more detailed report see out December 2020 issue…