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

These stories are all from the pages of Historic Motor Racing News.  Some have been abbreviated for this web site.  If you'd like to receive the full version, go to Subscribe where you will find postal subscriptions available.  A full subscription also entitles you to access the current issue online (available soon), so you can take it with you and read it anywhere, and we are working on providing full access to our archives of back issues exclusively for our subscribers.  Those who subscribe online are automatically given access to our bulletin board area.

Contents October Issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News Tour Auto, Rally Asturias, Scottish Malts, VSCC Mallory Park, Seven Questions with Jean Ragnotti, Monterey Motorsport Reunion, Oulton Park Gold Cup, French Championships, Historic Tour Val de Vienne, Hockenheim Historic, Vallelunga Classic, Goodwood Revival (four pages form Marcus Pye) and the Limonest Hillclimb

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Bits and Pieces

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........

The BSH is a Berlinetta designed by François Benais and Max Saint Hilaire who combined their initials to name it.  Offered for sale as a kit or built-up car in 1970, this sports car, on a tubular frame, weighed in at just 600kg, and with running gear from the Renault 8 Gordini, R12 and R16, was very competitive in hillclimbs and rallies against the Alpine of the time.  In 1971, BSH # 2137150 took the start of the Tour de France with Le Mans and Tour de France regular driver, Segolen,  Unfortunately, it didn’t make it to the end of the rally due to an engine failure.  So, 50 years later, the driver and the car will be back to seek his revenge, this time in the event’s historic version.  On 30 August-4 September Segolen will be accompanied by Thierry Guitton to tackle the famous Tour Auto stages. 

The 50th anniversary of the Times Trophy race will be the centrepiece at the Bentley Drivers Club’s 73rd annual race meeting at Silverstone, on Saturday 7 August.  The Times Trophy encounter, a Bentley scratch race incorporating a contest for pre-war cars, is the meeting’s blue riband event and will undoubtedly be the high point of an 11-race programme – the biggest in recent years.

The list of multiple Times Trophy winners down the years reads like a who’s who of the BDC’s most celebrated drivers, but in recent times, Michael Higginbotham has remained undefeated since 2017 in his imposing black Mk VI Special.  Indeed, ‘The Gadget’ itself hasn’t actually been beaten since 2016 when Michael’s father Mike Haig triumphed.

This year the competition should be hotter than ever, with a staggered start being introduced to allow the older cars a greater chance of winning against the more modern machinery.  The popular ‘garden-party’ style club meeting will also feature two races each for the Aero Racing Morgan Challenge and MGB GTV8s along with grids for FISCAR (Fifties Sports Car Racing Club), Ecurie Classic Racing, BDC Classic Challenge (incorporating the Morgan Techniques Trophy) and Allcomers scratch plus TVRCC Challenge.

 Rally organisers Rallystory have announced a unique opportunity for participants to drive two laps of the full Le Mans circuit.  A tour with no competitive element on August 15th, the official test day for the 24 hours, entrants are offered breakfast and lunch at the Panoramic restaurant in a VIP area with the best view of the start line and the Dunlop curve.  After a tour of the museum, entrants are invited to take their own cars out on the track, after which they will have a guided tour of the paddock to meet the teams and see the cars.   See for details.

The distinct unsilenced rumble of brute American muscle cars will be celebrated at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion on August 12-15 as Ford Motor Company presents ‘Ford in Trans Am - a 55th Anniversary’.

Created by the Sports Car Club of America in 1966, the Trans Am series initially spotlighted mostly European under-2.0-litre cars, yet it was the mighty V8s that catapulted the series into prominence. Ford led the way, capturing the over-2-litre manufacturers’ title in 1966 and 1967, led notably by Jerry Titus behind the wheel of the Shelby American Team Mustang.

George Follmer in the Ford Mustang Boss 302 leads the Plymouth Barracuda driven by Dan Gurney in the 1970 Trans Am Championship race at Laguna Seca Photo Courtesy WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

There are few race groups that captivate all audiences more than historic Trans Am with its all-American line-up and drivers who were household names in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The mantra “Win on Sunday - Sell on Monday” was more than a slogan, it was true for the carmakers of these production-based racers.

“Mustang is one of the biggest success stories in automotive history and its success began on this very racetrack in Trans Am’s early days,” said Jim Farley, Ford Motor Company CEO. “We’re so proud to return to Monterey this August to re-live a memorable chapter in our history -- some of the best racing ever witnessed -- and a significant contributor to the Mustang story.”

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.”