September 2019

Youngtimer Festival Spa 2019

Ardennes Invasion

Germans have a passion for touring cars and, with the help of its automotive industry, have been dominating in them for decades.  No wonder, therefore, that the German-based Youngtimer Trophy has become so popular in the last 20 years and can boast bumper grids that run into three digits.  But the Youngtimer Festival at Spa-Francorchamps was about so much more than that.  Some 450 different cars passed under starter’s orders during the weekend of August 3-4.  The lure of Spa brought in quite a number of French, Belgian, Swiss and Dutch drivers as well.  The Festival wasn’t strictly a historic meeting either.  The ‘Cup und Tourenwagen Trophy’, which is run by the Youngtimer Trophy organisation, and the ‘Rundstrecken Challenge Nürburgring’ were mainly made up of recent one-make Cup Clios, Cupras, Minis and VLN cars.  More than just a historic race meeting, the weekend was a celebration of continental club racing. 

The 100-car Youngtimer  eld was split into two grids covering more than two dozen different classes.  Photos Gina-Maria/Stefan Eckhardt

VSCC Formula Vintage - Cadwell Park 2019

In spite of an unfortunate clash with the massive Silverstone Classic meeting on the weekend of July 27, entries for the VSCC’s annual foray into the Lincolnshire Wolds did not seem to suffer unduly, and most of the regular protagonists were present to relish the challenges of the Cadwell Park circuit, which is always a favourite with drivers of pre-war cars.

Richard de la Roche (Cooper MkV) and Mike Fowler (Cooper MkIV) battle in F3 500s  Photos Alan Cox

The perverse English summer continued to challenge the forecasters and the day began with a torrential downpour, but happily eased off as the morning progressed.  However intermittent showers continued with no sign of sunshine to allow the track to dry out. 

Hungaroring Classic 2019

Jon Bunston Reports from the fourth round of the 2019 Peter Auto Championships

Photos John Bunston

Just 20km from Budapest and in the sleepy countryside around Mogyoród, lies the 70,000 capacity Hungaroring, home to the first Formula One Grand Prix to take place behind the Iron Curtain.  Construction work on the circuit started on 1 October 1985 and was completed for the first race held on 24 March 1986, less time than any other Formula One track. 

Fast forward 33 years and the biennial Hungaroring Classic event was the precursor for the Hungarian F1 GP, as the Budapest circuit pulsated to the rhythm of historic cars on the weekend of 12-14 July when the Peter Auto Series arrived in town. 

Rallye Weiz Historic 2019

FIA Historic Rally Championship

‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons have continued their winning streak in the European Historic Rally Championship in their Lancia Delta Integrale 16V with a storming drive on the Rally Weiz Historic, winning all but two of the 14 special stages in the Austrian round of the Championship on the weekend of 18-20 July.  

Second overall and  rst in Category 3 ‘Zippo’ and Denis Piceno took maximum championship points

The first day already saw the Italian pair with a lead of 1m25.2s ahead of their nearest rivals and well ahead of the second placed Category 4 competitor after the Porsche 911 SC of championship leaders Mats Mysell and Esko Juntilla suffered a technical problem on the fourth stage of the day.

HSCC Croft - Retro and Classic Weekend 2019

HSCC Club racers in action at Croft

The Historic Sports Car Club’s season continued at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire over the weekend of 3-4 August as nine of the Club’s categories provided some entertaining racing during the annual Retro and Classic Weekend.

2019 champion Andrew Park (Reynard SF81) won the first Formula Ford 2000 race from a bumper grid, though the race was shortened due to a red flag when Graham Ridgway’s Reynard tangled with Andrew Smith’s Royale.  Benn Simms snatched the lead on the restart in his Reynard SF77 but was quickly reeled in by Park and second-placed Ian Pearson in his Royale RP30.

‘70s Roadsports Photos Charlie Wooding

AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix - 2019

Size doesn’t matter

In our report from last year’s Oldtimer Grand Prix we touched on the fact that the event – downsized from its huge Marathon days – seems blossoming despite the fact that it attracts fewer cars every year.  The trend continued in 2019 on the weekend of 9-11 August, with entry numbers slightly down from the previous year, while spectator attendance was markedly on the up yet again.  Especially on Saturday and Sunday when the Nürburgring paddock was swarming with fans from all over Europe very much enjoying their day out.  So, the smaller the Oldtimer GP gets, the more people it attracts!  It’s the amazing shrinking event…

 The first Deutsche Rennsport-Meisterschaft race was won by Felix Haas’ Lola T294 and the second by Marco Werner in a McLaren M88  Photos Eric Sawyer

 

Historic Sportscar Racing is making some alterations to the groupings at this year’s Daytona Classic with the division of Group E into two distinct classes, each featuring modern but retired prototypes and GT cars from this century.  Group E remains the place for Audi R8, Pescarolo Judd, Peugeot 908 and Lola B07 LMP race cars that compete in the group with Daytona Prototype International (DPi), LMP2 race cars and others just past their prime, but the split paves the way for Oreca FLM09 Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) “PC” cars and Gen 2 and Gen 3 Daytona Prototypes to compete for overall honours in a move to completely restructure Group F.  Still current in their appeal but no longer eligible in contemporary racing series, the “DP” and “PC” cars will compete in Group F against retired LMP2 cars of the same era.

 

Daytona Prototypes and LMPC cars have become quite popular with HSR competitors in recent years

Preview: Formula Atlantic at Long Beach

After a successful run this year for historic IMSA cars at the Long Beach Grand Prix, next April Historic Formula Atlantic cars will run two 20-minute support races at the annual  IndyCar street racing event.

Races will run Saturday, April 18 along with the IMSA WeatherTech Championship race and Sunday, April 19 - the same day as the NTT IndyCar Series race -- with practice and qualifying on Friday.

The Formula Atlantic series ran at Long Beach from 1978-‘82 and 1989-2008 as one of the premier “feeder” series to top-level open-wheel racing.  “Hosting the historic Formula Atlantic cars are a natural at Long Beach,” said Cris Vandagriff, president of the HMSA, the body that will be organising the race.  “It will be so exciting to see these cars on the Streets of Long Beach again and have many of the former drivers attend the Formula Atlantic autograph session.  All the cars will be authentic in every detail including the livery they ran in-period.”

Contact HMSA at www.hmsausa.com for details and entries.

Preview: Spa Six Hours

This meeting has now become so big that it commences on Wednesday 25 September with track sessions for pre-war cars (this in collaboration with the Belgium Classic Cars Federation) and the activities of Aston Martin Heritage, who is sponsoring the track time for their customers with recent racing cars.  This is in addition to the two Masters Endurance Legends races, also sponsored by Aston Martin that were already shoe-horned into the event last year. 

The schedule for this year’s Spa Six Hour meeting is more packed than ever

As in previous years, Thursday is given over to free practice and testing for all competitors before the full race programme begins on Friday with qualifying for all grids and racing for a few.  All of the usual grids will be there, including HGPCA,  all the Masters grids, all the Motor Racing Legends grids, including pre-war sports cars, and the HSCC has its usual two-30-minute race slots, this year for closed wheel cars from any of their championships, from Touring cars, to Thundersports.  The HSCC also brings back its Jaguar Challenge.

The Circuit des Remparts will this year celebrate 50 years since the first ‘Circuit Automobile des Remparts’ at Angoulême with a re-evocation of that original grid.  Run in 1939 as two qualifying heats of 40-laps each, followed by a final of 70 laps, it was hardly surprising there were a number of DNFs behind eventual winner Raymond Sommer in an Alfa Romeo 308, the only truly modern GP car to have competed. 

This year’s event will feature many favourites, such as the Bugatti races, this year split into two categories, for four and eight and cylinder cars.  Other pre-war grids will include pre-war GP racers and there will also be a grid for Edwardian cars.  Post-war cars will run in two grids, for cars up to 1965 and for cars up to 1976.  In addition, numerous demos and themed runs are planned.

As usual there will be the Concours d’Élégance and the Concours d’État and the International rally, all culminating on Sunday when the streets are closed and the racing takes place in front of packed grandstands.  Dates this year are 13-15 September.  For once it doesn’t clash with Spa Six Hours, which has moved to 27-29 September this year, but it does clash with the Goodwood Revival.

Preview: Tour de Corse Historiques

Entry demand is strong for the 2019 Tour de Corse, which will kick off on October 7 with a shakedown stage in Porto-Vecchio before setting off on a new five-day route that will take in some 840kms and 17 special closed road timed stages, with night stops this year in Porto-Vecchio, Saint-Florent, Calvi and Ajaccio before returning to Porto-Vecchio.  Regularly attracting a who’s who of historic rallying, providing fierce competition at the top of the leaderboard, the event also attracts a multitude of drivers with more modest ambitions and abilities in a wide variety of cars, old and not so old, who just want to drive on the classic Corsican stages in what is some of the most stunning scenery in Europe.  With competition and regularity classes, the entry is limited to 250 cars and is usually over-subscribed.  For cars up to 1990 with HTPs or technical passports divided into age categories, there is a discounted entry fee for cars under 1300cc (Mini drivers take note).  There is also a legend class for early post-war cars from 1947.  Entries can be made through www.tourdecorse-historique.com or an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. will get you an entry form.

 

Midnattssolsrallyt

Rådström Reigns on the Road....

Fastest from the off,  Arne Rådström dominated Sweden’s most important historic rally, the KAK Midnight Sun Rally, in his Volvo 262 at the head of a highly competitive 130-car field, finishing each of the three days, from July 10 to 13, in the lead.  But, after 900kms and over 150 stage kilometres, the Volvo driver was disqualified for a technical infringement, which was upheld after appeal.

This gave second on the road Patrik Dybeck and Jonny Norling the victory in their Opel Kadett GSI over the Volvo 242 of class-winning Harry Joki and Tony Sundkvist by a margin of 23 seconds.   An expected podium place for Ola Axelsson evaporated on the final day when he was sidelined with clutch problems in his Volvo 244, gifting the place to Mikael Wisti’s Volvo 240.  A worthy fifth were reigning European rally champions Mats Myrsell and Esko Juntilla in their Porsche 911 RS, who also won their class.  

Fastest from the start, Arne and Dennis Rådström were disqualified for a technical infringement in their
Volvo 262 SE

Liège-Brescia-Liège 2019

Organised by Malcolm McKay’s ClassicRallyPress organisation, this year’s Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally for Triumph TRs in July saw 26 TRs from 1953 to 1976 take part.  The rally closely followed its original 1958 route but was split over 10 days instead of the original continuous 60hrs with just one 8hr break.  Still formulated as a navigational endurance challenge, with three circuit tests, drivers were offered the possibility to drive the rally as a tour, but none of the TR owners were interested in that option, all battling to find the route controls and win at least a class award, if not win overall. 

The route headed over the Belgian Ardennes into Germany and the Dolomites, crossing Austria to Italy then headed east into Slovenia and over the challenging Vrsic pass before dropping down to Ljubljana, where a day’s break allowed competitors to service their cars and visit the city.

The weather was superb throughout – making the scenery all the more stunning and the roads more enjoyable. 

Lyn St James crashed James Heck’s Corvette out of a star-studded Charity Pro-Am race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the weekend of 3-4 August.   The seven-time Indy 500 starter and prominent sports car racer sustained minor injuries during the crash and was kept overnight in hospital as a precaution.  “St. James said. “I’m really thankful that all of the safety equipment that I wore and what was on the car functioned as it was designed to.  I am walking away from a pretty big hit.”

Willy T. finally won the Pro-Am race at Indianapolis Photo Courtesy SVRA

The race was won by Willy T. Ribbs and Edward Savadjian in a Duntov-prepared 1969 Corvette A Production racer, Ribbs’ first Sportscar Vintage Racing Association pro-am win after seven tries.  After a close battle Geoff Brabham had taken the lead of the 50-minute race until a belt broke in his similar Corvette, shutting off his power steering and rendering the car undrivable.

“We were having a great duel with Geoff, and I honestly feel for him,” Ribbs said from the podium. “We had the deal here all but closed the last two years and then something always happened.  There’s no place like the Speedway.  Anytime you win here, it’s a terrific day.”

Vintage Sports-Car Club, Prescott Hill Climb

Prescott is the great early August annual social occasion for VSCC members with the Orchard car park as full of desirable motor cars as is the competitors’ paddock.    Rileys are always well represented and with the grandson of founder William, and son of Victor Riley, Victor Jnr in attendance, this year even more so.   The hill also finds favour with Lady drivers, often sharing with their ‘other half’ which, of course, is more difficult to do when circuit racing, and there were many among the large entry. 

This year the Alvis marque was celebrated with a special display of
road cars as well as compe  on cars such as this, the 1923 Alvis
Racing Car No.1 and the Speed 20 on the hill. Photo John Retter

Grand Prix Historique du Pas De Calais 

Undoubtedly the major attractions at the Grand Prix Historique du Pas De Calais on 6-7 July were the two rounds of the 500 Owners Association Circuit Championship.  Many of the 500 racers are also Formula Junior drivers, and they were well represented at Croix, led by likely winner Mike Fowler (Cooper Mk 5).  Martin Sheppard (Effyh “Brynfan Tydfyn“), Xavier Kingsland (Staride Mk3), Duncan Rabagliati (Comet Mk1) and Andy Rayner (Cooper) were also amongst the tourists from the other side of the Manche, while Elva 200 Lurani racer Gilbert Lenoir brought along three of his cars to race, the French built Terigi for Simon Frost, and two invitation cars, the front-engined, Monopole FJ for Jean-Luc Renard and the ex-Harry Schell 1950 Monaco F1 GP Cooper-JAP v-twin for journalist Dominique Pascal, while Goodwood French commentator, Olivier Barjon was also there in his near barn find Cooper Mk II, although not yet ready to race.

Photo Kitty Chisholm 
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