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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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 Contents September  issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News - Classic Marathon - Rally Weiz - Lahti Historic Rally - Heroes of Historic Motor Sport - Insider’s Market Report - Zandvoort Classics - Seven Questions for Erik Comas -  Nogaro Classic - VSCC Prescott - NKHTGT - Classic Silverstone - Historic Tour Dijon - Alfa Revival Cup

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Bits and Pieces

Brands Hatch was the location of Festival Italia on August 15, celebrating a wide spectrum of motorsport, people and virtually anything else Italian.  Peter Collins Reports…

Perhaps one of the most remarkable features was to be found in the static display of Abarths from Tony Castle-Miller’s emporium.  On show in public for the first time in over 50 years and only just completed was the famous ex-Bob Burnard Abarth Simca Due Mila RB 38, which enjoyed much success in early to mid-1960s UK GT sportscar racing.  Not quite ready to run as yet, it headed up a row of over a dozen examples of Carlo Abarth’s expertise over the years.  Some of these cars took to the track for a demonstration during the lunch break.

Chris Whelan in the ex-Dooley and ex-BTCC Alfasud

The competitive on-track action took place courtesy of the various UK Ferrari and Alfa Romeo championships, both classic and modern.

The two Pirelli Ferrari Formula Classic races were both won at a canter by Wayne Marrs in his Ferrari F355 Challenge and the same mounts were used by Tim Walker and Tristan Simpson in finishing second and third in race one.  The order was changed in the second race when Gary Culver took second with his Ferrari 328 GTB.

 James Colburn took a lights to falg HRDC Alfa Challenge win in his Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT

The HRDC race for the Classic Alfa Challenge was also an unopposed, lights to flag drive, this time for James Colburn in his fast Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT.  He was followed in by Ben Colburn who was at the wheel of his Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina with the 75 of James Wright in third.  With a superb entry of around 30 cars and a race around the Indy Circuit for 30 minutes the track was very busy at all times, with drivers reckoning on getting dizzy by the finish!  Gavin Watson was driving the wheels off his venerable ex-Dooley Giulietta Ti and Chris Whelan was finding plenty of speed from his, also ex-Dooley and ex-BTCC, Alfasud.  

With a live performance of Nessun Dorma just prior to the first race, the large crowd enjoyed a great Italian day out.

According to FIVA (Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens) some of the most iconic vehicles in history could be lost to the future unless new blood is introduced to the restoration industry.  That is the main conclusion reached at a FIVA-supported international symposium in Bucharest that took place in July, entitled ‘Restoration – Art or Science?’

Tiddo Bresters Photo Dragos Savu courtesy Retromobil Club Romania

FIVA president Tiddo Bresters describes it as an “existential challenge” for the future of classic motoring.  “This is one of FIVA’s primary objectives – to foster the preservation of historic vehicles and pass them on in working condition to future generations.  To this end, a mature restoration industry is as important as it is for other areas of cultural heritage, such as paintings and historic buildings”

A succession of world authorities addressed the symposium hosted by the Retromobil Club Romania.  Stéphane Guarato and Arthur Morault run the Conservatoire National des Véhicules Anciens near Paris, where students gain experience in basic restoration techniques before going on to specialist training.  They say a lack of skilled labour means demand is outstripping supply.  Part of the problem is the increasing gap between the skills needed for modern car repairs and those needed for historic restoration.  Plus it’s difficult to attract young people to the industry.  Half their current 150 students are around 60 years old.

A skills training programme at the Collège La Cité in Ottawa, Canada aims to attract young people into historic vehicle restoration from September 2022.  Michel Lamoureux, principal advisor for the programme, told the symposium about the two-year course, one with an international approach, offering global recruitment, work placements and collaborations with restoration shops, museums, collectors, auction houses, clubs, associations and automotive media.

Eastern European countries are increasingly looking for opportunities in historic vehicle restoration.  Cătălin Cedric Ghigea has run a specialist facility near Bucharest International Airport for the past 18 years, working on 20 or 30 cars a year.  He says all his clients are from Western Europe, and similar operations are being successfully set up and run in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.

 

David Cooper of Chicago-based Cooper Technica Inc. spoke of his “forensic restoration” technique when recreating parts that can no longer be sourced.  He has travelled all over the world researching original design drawings, surviving broken parts, and construction techniques, methods and materials.

 

Well-known collector Corrado Lopresto from Milan uses modern techniques taken from the art world for his special Italian cars, both to analyse monochromatic photographs to identify the true colours of the time, and to preserve the original paint as much as possible, entrusting his cars to professional restorers of vintage paintings.

 

President of Retromobil Club Romania, Gabriela Măgureanu, concluded, “It’s high time we talked about restoration and worked together to create opportunities, share experience, exchange ideas and address challenges better.  We are honoured that these leading figures have agreed to share their knowledge, and we aim for this symposium to be the first of many.”

Organisers of Bernina Gran Turismo have expanded their offering to encompass a week of automotive festivities for this year’s event, which will be the seventh edition. Celebrating the Internationale St. Moritzer Automobilwochen that took place in St Moritz in 1920 and ’30, an automotive film festival, a sprint race, and a concours will culminate with the Bernina Hillclimb in the week of 10-19 September. The latest announcement from organisers is that RM Sotheby’s will also be holding an auction on the grounds of the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains in St. Moritz Bad on 17 September, RM Sotheby’s first auction in Switzerland. The event will now be known as the International St. Moritz Automobile Week and can be found at http://i-s-a-w.com.

The huge organisational machine behind the giant Auto e Moto d’Epoca exhibition in Padua is working full steam ahead for the 2021 edition, having reported strong demand for its 115,000 square metres of exhibition space from international vendors.

One of the new features of the 21-24 October show, will be a special focus on Classic Motor Sports and competition cars highlighting an industry on the rise with an increasing number of fans. The show, spanning 11 exhibition halls in addition to the outdoor areas, will host a special exhibition of barchetta sports cars and torpedoes that raced before the war, Formula cars, World Touring Car Championship racing cars and the stars of the great international rallies from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Other themes this year are 100 years of the Lancia Lambda, and motor bikes from famous collections, from rare Menons to old single-cylinder Moto Guzzi to the great Japanese motorbikes of the 70s. Go to https://autoemotodepoca.com for tickets.

The Circuit Paul Ricard is continuing its commitment to sustainable development initiated more than ten years ago by adding a new action to its environmental approach: the switch of its entire diesel fleet to biodiesel.  In 2019, Circuit Paul Ricard became the first circuit in France and the second Formula 1 circuit in the world to obtain the highest level of FIA environmental certification (3 stars).  This certification is the reward for the monitoring of air quality, measurement of noise emissions, eco-grazing, sorting and recycling of waste, recovery of rainwater, photovoltaic panels, etc.  In addition, in terms of sustainable mobility, the circuit plays a role in reducing fossil fuel consumption with a large fleet of electric vehicles for the technical teams.  The circuit is also equipped with 20,000 m² of photovoltaic panels which produce 3,484 MWh, the equivalent of the consumption of 2,968 people per year (excluding heating), green energy which thus compensates for the supply of its charging stations for electric vehicles and its hydrogen station, the first in the Departement of the Var.

Concours d’Elegances seem to be proliferating in today’s world, with new ones popping up regularly, while the old established ones seem to be changing hands.  After the acquisition earlier in the year of the Cavallino Classic by Canossa Events, Michigan-based Hagerty has announced it has acquired the Amelia Island Concours, one of the largest and most prestigious concours, events, founded 26 years ago by Bill Warner, who will remain as event Chairman.  Known for its world-wide classic vehicle insurance business Hagerty has also recently acquired other top-tier US automotive events, including the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, Concours d’Elegance of America and the California Mille.  The company takes part in more than 2,500 car events annually.

 

Marcus Pye Writes…..

The Historic Formula Ford 2000 championship had its first female race winner - on track at least - when Molly Dodd took the chequered flag in the second heat on Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Friday, July 9.  The 18-year-old was unsurprisingly deflated, however, when a 30 second penalty for a non-functional timing transponder saw her re-classified fifth.

First on the Road: Molly Dodd in her #147 Royale  Photo Gary Hawkins

The fault, flagged-up during the morning’s qualifying, with a warning that the competitor might not be timed in the race if not fixed per MSUK statute, proved to be an error.  Dodd’s team had wired the ‘red box’ into her Royale RP27’s electrical system, which trumped its built-in battery and failed to trigger TSL’s clocks.  Chief timekeeper Nick Palmer’s ‘walk-through’ of the timing beacon with Molly subsequently demonstrated that it worked independently.    

Without slicks-and-wings experience, the Junior Saloon Car and Ginetta Junior graduate’s progress has been impressive in her maiden single-seater season.  In a super-competitive category, which to most would be a steep learning curve, the Loughborough College student and MSUK Driver Academy member improved her personal best points race finish from 12th (at Cadwell Park and Donington) to sixth, then fourth at Brands.  Her Saturday final drive on the Grand Prix circuit - where she had topped the qualifying times for a while - suggested that her dream of an overall podium is attainable. 

After an enforced absence in 2020 due to COVID, the popular American Speedfest returned to Brands Hatch, appropriately over the 4th of July weekend.  This was the eighth running of the event which centres around the NASCAR sanctioned Whelan Euro Series (NWES).  While most of the race programme is for modern machines there is some interest to historic race fans with races for Formula 5000 and Bernie’s V8s.  

The most interesting entry in Bernie’s V8 race was Greg Thornton’s unique 1961 McKee Mahyra, a car built for the USRRC series racing prior to the introduction of the Can-Am category in the US  Photos Eric Sawyer

Sadly the F5000 races attracted a small field of just nine cars with two 20-minute races won by Greg Thornton in his Chevron B24 from the Chevron B37 of Neil Glover.  In contrast, Bernie’s V8s series was oversubscribed with a full grid of 34 cars starting the first of three races over the weekend.  Despite the series name, although aimed at V8-powered cars from the 50s through to the early 90s, the eclectic mix included a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus and a Ford GT40 replica.  Three races produced three different winners, the first going to Sam Wilson in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, the second to the Ford Escort Mexico of Michael Saunders and finally, the third to the V8-powered Austin Healey 106 of James Plant.  

Derek Drinkwater’s Buick Regal

In recent years the programme has included demos by historic NASCARs and this year saw the largest ever gathering, with 16 cars taking to the track, as UK enthusiasts bring more such cars in from the USA.  One of the earlier cars, the Buick Regal of Derek Drinkwater, also raced in Bernie’s V8s races.  The weekend aims at celebrating all things American with massive American car displays, monster truck rides etc. and even a BBQ competition.

Chevrolet short track NASCAR raced throughout the Carolinas during the ‘50s

Historic Formula One and Formula Junior competitor, John Delane, who you may have seen feature recently in our Heroes of Historic Motor Sport section, recently celebrated a milestone in his 34-year historic racing career, when he raced on his 100th different track.  Delane has competed in over 412 events in 21 countries.  With some 17 FIA titles on his CV, he was the first American to win the Historic Formula One Championship outright and the first driver to win two overall FIA historic championships, F1 and Formula Junior, in the same year.  In recent years he has concentrated on driving sportscars.

hn Delane celebrates yet another podium finish on his 100th track

May 14, 2021 marked Delane’s 100th track at Summit Point, WV, when he participated in the Jefferson 500 in the Cunningham Cup race in his 1972 Chevron B21.  He was cheered on by his wife of 55 years, Mimi, along with family and friends that travelled from various parts of the country to see him yet again on the podium, when he came third in the race.  During the weekend, Director of Motorsports Operations for Summit Point, Edwin Pardue recognised Delane with a Certificate of Achievement to commemorate the occasion. 

The Mitty? Wait, is it a person or a thing or more? Peter Falkner explains

In 1977 the Atlanta Jaguar Society and its members wanted to “exercise” their cars at a track and did so for a couple of low key days at Road Atlanta. The next year the Ferrari club asked to join the fun. The organisers were Steve Simpson and Howard Turner. At some point Howard’s wife, clearly unimpressed, said, “You’re all just a bunch of Walter Mittys pretending to be something you’re not.” Readers may recall that Walter Mitty is a fictional character often defined as an ineffectual individual who indulges in fantastic daydreams, convincing himself they are real personal triumphs. The next year the event was called the Walter Mitty Challenge. The name stuck, the event caught on and by the mid-‘80s it was one of the main attractions of the US historic racing season. In 1991 the organisers decided to branch out and put on more races at other tracks. That was the birth of the Historic Motor Racing (HSR) organisation. 2021 sees the 43rd running of The Mitty, making it one of the longest continuously running vintage events in the United States. For all those years, Road Atlanta, now Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, has been the home of The Mitty. Road Atlanta is a 2.54 mile, 12-turn track recognised as one of the finest road courses in the world. The numerous elevation changes and park-like setting make it a dream for drivers and spectators alike. For 2021, the featured marque was Chevrolet Corvette. 2021 also marks the 65th anniversary of the Corvette’s first professional race, the 1956 12 Hours of Sebring. Just a few years later, in 1960, Briggs Cunningham took the Corvette to Le Mans. Since 1999, Corvette Racing has won 113 races including eight 24hrs of Le Mans and 82 in the American Le Mans Series.

The paddock glowed with six of the lemon yellow Corvette Racing beasts spanning the years 2004 to 2016. Marshall Pierce/Eric Foss delighted fans with the unforgettable booming exhaust note of the 2016 Corvette Racing C7R as it put in impressive lap times, even in the rain. Altogether, over 60 years of Corvette coupes, roadsters and Daytona prototypes took to the track for the various HSR races. Please see our June 2021 issue for a full report........