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Roadbook organisation, which each year brings you the Spa Summer Classic and the Spa Six Hours meeting, is making it a hat-trick with a new, third meeting at the Francorchamps circuit, on 10-11 October this year.
HMR Holland will bring a full grid of monopostos for two races
For many years now, the other two meetings have been full to capacity, with many grid organisers being turned away due to lack of sufficient slots on the timetable. The Spa Hat Trick meeting, much like the Spa Summer Classic in its early days - before it became a meeting in its own right with its own character - will initially welcome the overflow from the other two meetings, but will no doubt take on a shape and character of its own in future years.
NKHTGT grids are full and diverse
One of the most memorable eras of motor racing was the first five years of Group A. The European Championship was healthy and the national series were rising. In the big class Rover, Holden, Jaguar, BMW, Ford and the old Volvos battled it out, and there was close racing in the 1600 and 2500cc classes as well. Nowadays, these cars are racing with the much faster FIA J2 cars, like Cosworth Sierra and BMW M3 and sometimes even with the Super Tourers of the late ‘90s.
Since its inaugural race at Donington late in 2018, the HRDC has successfully built up its Classic Alfa Challenge series in 2019 and will continue it into 2020 with a flagship race at the Silverstone Classic for the marque in its 110th anniversary year. Alfa races always attract good grids, the Alfa Revival Cup series in Italy, and the Scuderia del Portello-run Tutto Alfa races at Monza, being cases in point. Not many single marques would be able to do that. It is therefore hoped that a full grid of 75 Alfas from all over Europe will put on a fitting show to celebrate the milestone in the history of a company that has produced more racing cars and more top results than any other.
Scheduled for 6-8 November on the F1 track at the Paul Ricard circuit, this 24-hour event, unique in the world of historic competition, is decidedly back in favour after some lean times. With a maximum of 60 grid spaces available, the list of confirmed entries has already exceeded 40 with nine months to go before the event, with another 40 having expressed interest.
Amongst the entries are Henri Leconte, who will be at the wheel of Eric Van de Vyver’s TVR Griffith 200, and Philippe Gache who will partner "John Doe" in his Chevron B36. There will be family teams from Patrice Lafargue, whose IDEC Sport team is the reigning champion of the European Le Mans Series, and who will be sharing another B16 with his son Paul, while two TVR Griffith 400s will be driven by José Beltramelli and his sons Brady and Viny, and by 2019 French Champion Didier Gruau, joining forces with his talented heirs Julien and Ghislain Gaubert. Brothers Matthieu and Jean-Baptiste Châteaux will drive a BMW 635 CSI entered by their parental team, while Jean-Jacques Mancel, the editor of the magazine Berlinette Mag will share his Alpine A310 V6 with his son Cyril.
Diary of a Virus
28 February: The historic motor sport world is increasingly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, as more and more drastic measures are taken by governments to curb its spread.
Gatherings of 1000 people or more are banned in Switzerland, and The Ice event in St Moritz, due to run on February 29, is one of the first casualties, soon followed by the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show. It is a decision that clearly didn’t take into consideration the rule of unintended consequences. On the same weekend that the outdoor Ice concours was cancelled, those who would have been strolling on the frozen lake were instead packing themselves into crowded cable cabins and going up the mountain. A number of cars went out on the lake anyway.
Historic motor racing, even if it could be described as a leisure activity, is a branch of motor sport that has to comply with regulations ensuring the safety of all those involved. In particular, the regs impose the deployment of a safety car in the case of an accident or breakdown to ensure that a low speed is maintained to make the circuit safe during activity by marshals or rescue vehicles. On long circuits like Le Mans, the arrival of the safety car can signal the end of a race for the drivers. This is why slow zones were introduced in 2016 at Peter Auto events enabling circuits to be divided up into several sectors thus isolating the zone at risk where an intervention is taking place.
After an 19th edition marked by five intense days of racing that saw no fewer than six different leaders with a single second separating the first two crews, all eyes are on the 20th anniversary of the Tour de Corse Historique. From Monday 5 to Saturday 10 October aficionados of the Corsican rally stages will travel 900kms from Porto Vecchio to Bastia, Calvi, Ajaccio and back to Porto Vecchio including 20 special stages - to mark 20 years of the event - totalling nearly 350 stage kilometres. See www.tourdecorse-historique.fr for all the details.
The promoters of the Silver Fern Rally in New Zealand have confirmed more details of the November 2020 marathon rally. The rally will be based in Rotorua and will start on Sunday November 22 before finishing back there on Saturday 28. Overnight halts will be in Gisborne, Napier, Palmerston North and Ohakune. Peter Martin of the Ultimate Rally Group confirmed that the seven-day gravel rally, will cover 650 stage miles amongst the breathtaking scenery of the North Island. “We’re aiming at a field of 70 cars and we need to get at least half of them from overseas,” said Martin. “This year we will be supplying stage route notes and a DVD eight weeks before the rally.” The move to notes is aimed at encouraging European crews to enter. See https://silverfernrally.co.nz for entries.
The Royal Automobile Club and rally organisers, HERO took a break from running the 1000 Mile Trial last year, in order to better plan an event worthy of the 120th anniversary of the original Trial this year.
Photo Francesco & Roberta Rastrelli / Blue Passion Courtesy HERO
Starting from Preston and promising to be something special, there will be more emphasis on the social side of things, as the pre-war cars travel some 800 miles up to Edinburgh over flowing roads, amusing regularity sections, rousing tests, quirky stopovers and luxury overnight hotels for the final gala on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Offering R&D Tax Relief for Preparers and Other Small Businesses
U2TC has found a new sponsor in the form of Prospect Brigstock Services, a firm specialising in corporate tax relief. While this may sound esoteric, it is, on the contrary, very pertinent to many of the small businesses and workshops that supply the technology to run the cars. Ria Goff of Prospect Brigstock explains, “Most of our clients will say they are NOT eligible for tax credits and cash and absorb R&D costs because they see the expenditure as day to day running costs. Because of this only a small number of companies are making the most of the R&D tax reliefs available to them. We’ve listed three questions to ask yourself below, if you answer yes to any of them you could be eligible:
Did you encounter problems that required unique solutions?
Have you worked on a project that was a challenge to resolve, and could you explain the challenges you faced and how you attempted to overcome them?
Have your designs involved innovative or creative ideas, perhaps around more sustainable, more efficient or durable products?”
This includes the scientific or technological uncertainty of turning something that has already been established into a cost-effective, reliable and reproducible process, material, device, product or service, or an advance in science or technology. Simply put there must be an improvement. Whether that’s in the form of a service or manufacturing of a product.
The Motor Racing Legends’ season was celebrated at London’s Royal Automobile Club in front of many significant personalities from the world of motor sport such as Chief Executive of Motor Sport UK David Richards and Chief Executive Hugh Chambers, RAC Chairman Ben Cussons, Silverstone Classic promoter Nick Wigley and, guest of honour, Touring Car and Le Mans racer, Tony Dron. Awards were presented for all seven Motor Racing Legends’ series during the evening.
Photo Oliver Flower
On 24 June, 2020, Alfa Romeo will hit a new milestone - 110 years of the well-loved marque. A number of events will take place to celebrate Alfa’s founding on 24 June 1910 in Milan, Italy and its subsequent achievements, both sporting and non-sporting.
Alfa’s official team, the Scuderia del Portello, is inviting all Alfa drivers to Monza on April 4 for a mega Alfa festival, for historic and modern road cars, racing cars, touring cars, grand touring cars, prototypes and single-seaters. All are welcome and many will get a chance to drive on the circuit. There will also be a parade on the old Monza banking, as well as displays, demonstrations and more. See http://www.scuderiadelportello.org for entries, but be quick if you want to drive on the circuit, as driving places are necessarily limited.
Having heard last month on the day we went to press the surprise announcement that the Chateau Impney Hillclimb event was to be discontinued, we have now had a conversation with Rod Spollon, Chairman of the Chateau Impney Hill Climb Club and Director of the Chateau Impney Hotel who said, contrary to what has been circulating on social media, that funding the event was “certainly not an issue, nor was there an environmental concern.” Reluctant to say much more, he repeated the words in the official press release, saying, “We set out to create a successful hillclimb event and we think we accomplished that, and we are moving on to other things.” The event will be missed.
2020 is a special year for Zandvoort as FIA Formula One returns to The Netherlands for the first time since 1985 and the circuit is being upgraded to welcome its return. The upgrades to the circuit include two new banked corners, improved run off areas and expansion of the paddock (check out Google or Youtube for some videos of the ongoing work).
Zandvoort has long been associated with Formula 3
Single-seater racers from the Historic Sports Car Club will have the chance to race on the famous Pau street circuit, first used for the French Grand Prix in 1930 and virtually unchanged since. In partnership with event promoters HVM Racing, up to 2-litre cars from the HSCC single-seater ranks will tackle a double-header over the weekend of 30-31 May. Originally billed as a round of the HSCC’s Historic Formula 2 series, it became clear that the timing was awkward as the date falls immediately after the Masters Festival F2 round at Brands Hatch and is itself followed the next weekend by a round at Dijon. “Consequently entries will surely suffer,” said Roger Bevan, HSCC F2 Championship Chairman. Therefore the grid has been opened up to cars from the new Geoff Lees Trophy. Launched this year, the Geoff Lees Trophy series is open to up to 2-litre Formula 2, Formula Atlantic, Formula 3, Formula Ford 2000, Formula Vauxhall Lotus, Formula Renault and Formula Super Vee cars built and raced during the 1980s.
A Century of Automotive History on Track
Le Mans Classic, the biennial event with its six grids for cars from 1923 to 1981, will include even more cars racing on the legendary track this year, with single marque support races for both Porsche and Jaguar and, as has become the tradition, two Group C races. This year the latter will run in partnership with Mazda, who will take the opportunity to celebrate its centenary during the July 2-5 event. The Japanese manufacturer will be bringing its iconic 787B. Even later cars will also be running, with the Peter Auto series Endurance Racing Legends no longer on display, but engaged in real racing. A 75-car grid of these GT and prototypes from the 1990s and 2000s is expected.
Bravo (Belgian Racing Automobile Vintage Organisation) the promoter behind the ever-popular Belgian historic championship, has announced five rounds for the 2020 season. Starting early in the year, they go to Zolder to support the 1000km of Zolder 2CV Cup on 21-22 March. At the end of June they go to Spa-Francorchamps for the Spa Summer Classic, before returning to Zolder in mid-August for the Historic Grand Prix Zolder. With a return to Circuit Zolder for the American NASCAR Festival at the beginning of October (3-4), they will end the season at the Nürburgring on 16-17 October for the Westfalen Trophy meeting.
This year will see a new class, “Nineties”, for cars after 1990 but with a maximum engine capacity of 2500cc. The category is therefore open to small cars (Peugeot 106, Toyota Yaris, etc.) and serves as an entry class for drivers who want to discover circuit racing at an affordable price. See www.bravoracing.be for entries and details.
As reported in our last issue, VdeV racing in collaboration with HVM, are reviving the Deux Tours d’Horloge at the Paul Ricard circuit on the weekend of 6-8 November. Cars up to 1990 are eligible and there are classes for early cars from Period E upwards. All GT, sports, sports prototypes, Sports 2000 (up to 1986 without aerodynamic aids) and touring cars are welcome. No slick tyres will be allowed. Entries are now open at https://vdev.fr.
John Whiteman went to the top exhibition of the classic car world
Photos Eric Sawyer
The event that kicks off the European season each year, Salon Retromobile, took place over 5 days, from 5-9 February, in the 75,000 square metres of Paris Expo at Porte de Versailles 44 years after it was started by Marc Nicolosi whose passing was recorded in the January/February issue of Historic Motor Racing News. Sadly, apart from a brief mention in the official guide, no further tribute was paid at the show, which until last year has been run for events company Comexposium by Nicolosi’s right hand man at the very beginning, François Melcion.
Visiting UK driver Michael Lyons (Lola T400) roared to an SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series clean sweep at the annual Taupo Historic GP on the weekend of 18-19 January, the series’ second meeting of the 2019-2020 season.
After claiming pole in qualifying on Saturday morning, then smashing category stalwart Ken Smith’s F5000 class lap record on the way to a dominant win in the first race on Saturday afternoon, Lyons went on to win the two Sunday races, all from fellow young gun and series leader, Michael Collins (McRae GM1) from Christchurch.
Photos Fast Company/Graham Hughes
For a report of the proceedings of the Historic Circuit Sub Commission see our March issue
P. Cantarella (ITA)
HRH Prince Joachim (DNK)
President of the International Historic Commission
F. Graf Zu Ortenburg (DEU)
South Africa’s historic racing scene is vibrant, colourful, relaxed and proudly independent of institutional red tape. The focus and cars are, in the main, very different from those in other theatres of warfare. They, not to mention the promise of winter sunshine, attract British, European and American competitors year after year. Marcus Pye ‘Brexited’ from the UK early to experience February’s 19th Passion for Speed events.
An inspired Andrew Beaumont (Lotus 18) staved off Will Nuthall (Cooper T53) to record a superb maiden HGPCA victory at Killarney. Photo Colin Brown
Paul Lawrence Reports
On his first competitive rally since his World Rally Championship career came to an end, Irishman Kris Meeke joined the illustrious list of winners of the Legend Boucles à Bastogne. Equipped with a full-spec Ford Escort Mk2 from the stable of Belgian competitor Christophe Jacob, Meeke and co-driver Seb Marshall dominated the huge Belgian event and pressed home their advantage when the rally moved to gravel stages for the second day.
“Meeke was simply on another planet” Photos Letihon.be
Jurriaan Tas Reports
Formerly a famous speed event, the ‘Neige et Glace’ fell foul of the 1974 oil crisis and was revived as a historic regularity rally in 2000, run by Dakar winner Patrick Zaniroli. He moved the event from Grenoble to the Jura, dubbed by locals as ‘Little Siberia’, because of the near certainty of finding snow and ice there in January. A switch back to the area around Grenoble for the past two years proved unpopular with competitors and the event is now firmly back in Malbuisson.
Winners Romuald Sanseigne and Florin Fornassier in their Autobianchi A112 Abarth. “In the end, it was a small mistake that decided the place. We are so proud to achieve the double, Joël and Corinne taught us everything,” said Romauld of his uncle and aunt, who came second. Photos Richard Bord Courtesy Zaniroli Classic Events
Andrea Belome and Massimo Be nsoli took a slender 8-point win
Andrea Belometti and Massimo Bettinsoli won the Winter Marathon 2020 driving a 1937 Fiat 508 C. The crew from team Brescia Corse remained amongst the top positions over the many Dolomite passes on 23-24 January, beating the young crew of Edoardo Bellini and Roberto Tiberti in a similar Fiat, by eight penalty points. Third place went to Guido Barcella and Roberto Ghidotti in a Porsche 356 C Coupe, some 90 points down on the two leaders.
Peter Collins Reports on one of the most popular events in endurance rallying, with over 300 entries.
Consistency was the key to success for Henrik Bjerregaard and Jaromir Svec Photo http://promopub.org
The first cars to set off on the annual pilgrimage to Monte-Carlo were those from Athens at 12:40 on Wednesday January 29th. Five crews had chosen to do this and they were faced with a 1,715km drive before they would finish on the harbour of the Principality. A further two cars had chosen Glasgow from where they started, along with the Rallye Classique participants, at 19:00 the same day, faced with covering 2142kms to Monte.
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