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June 2021

 


Content from the June 2021 Issue.... 

  • With travel restrictions lifted within Continental Europe, and hopefully for the UK as well, this major international event is scheduled to go ahead on 16-18 July with a slightly pared down programme of races from previous years.   

    Most of the racing content will be supplied by the Masters, who will bring their Historic F1 and Sportscars, as well as the Gentlemen Drivers endurance series, their Endurance Legends for cars of the 2000s and the pre-’66 touring cars.  The HSCC’s International F2 series is scheduled for two 25-minute races, but as we go to press, the Club is still waiting for confirmation that travel restrictions will be lifted between the Netherlands and the UK.  The Historic Grand Prix Cars Association, who have many continental members, remain on the timetable and the home series on the schedule are the NK GTTC, and NK82-90 for Youngtimers.  The rest of the track time will be taken up with demos and track runs, mostly for local organisations.  Amongst grids missing from previous years will be NKHTGT and Formula Junior.

    The only FIA Championship race on the programme will be the FIA Historic F3 European Trophy.  This has attracted a good continental entry, but in a changing situation, organisers have extended the entry deadline to 30 June in the hopes of attracting more British drivers.  Entries can be made online on the difficult-to-navigate FIA website or call +41 22 544 44 49 and ask for the link.

  • Though it ran behind closed doors, the 2021 edition of the Donington Historic Festival, run on the Bank Holiday weekend of 1-2 May, was in many ways the best yet. The tenth edition had superb grids, consistently exciting racing and even the fickle UK spring weather was kind. Paul Lawrence reports.

    Across the socially-distanced paddock there was a wonderful feeling of renewal and optimism as teams and drivers went racing, some for the first time in many, many months. Many drivers spoke of their delight at going racing again and seeing old friends. The atmosphere of the whole event was outstanding and although fans could not be there, excellent live-streaming offered all the race action to a global audience. Roger Wills and Tim Harvey claimed the event’s big prize of victory in the three-hour Pall Mall Cup while father and son Justin and Ben Maeers won a memorable ‘Mad Jack’ Pre-War Sports contest in their 100-year-old Parker GN. The opening round of the Jaguar Classic Challenge got the weekend’s racing off to a fine start with a grid of more than 30 Jaguars battling over an hour and Saturday’s racing closed with the inaugural Amon Cup for Ford GT40s featuring a reasonable grid, which will be boosted once European contenders are able to get to the UK. The 11 cars made a fantastic sight and sound as they raced into the early evening.

    In the ‘Mad Jack’ race a field of wonderfully diverse pre-war cars battled mightily. Wheel-to-wheel, side-by-side and nose- to-tail, they made a truly epic spectacle around the sweeps of Donington. The race was won by Justin and Ben Mears in the 100 year-old 6.2-litre aero-engined Parker GN Photo Oliver Flower

    The Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy grids were combined to form a vast field of pre-1961 sports cars. The opening laps of the race featured a sensational battle as the Tojeiro Jaguar of James Cottingham worked hard to fend off the Lister Knobbly of Chris Ward. Lap after lap they ran nose-to-tail as they threaded a path through the slower traffic. The ‘Mad Jack’ for Pre-War Sports Cars is always a popular element of the DHF and in the early laps five wonderfully diverse Pre-War cars battled mightily. Wheel-to-wheel, side-by-side and nose-to-tail, they made a truly epic spectacle around the sweeps of Donington.

    Big grids characterised the meeting, including the Historic Touring Car/Tony Dron Trophy/U2TC race won by Andy Middlehurst/Jonathan Bailey’s Nissan Skyline.  Photo Eric Sawyer

    The headlining three-hour Royal Automobile Club Pall Mall Cup race on Sunday afternoon was an action-packed endurance race run at a frenetic pace, with a 50-car grid, and ending with a resounding win for Roger Wills and Tim Harvey in Roger’s ex-Bruce ex-Bruce McLaren Lotus 15.

    Roger Wills and Tim Harvey won the headline 3-Hour Pall Mall Cup race in Roger’s Lotus XV.  Photo Eric Sawyer

    The opening round of the Historic Touring Car Challenge also featured the Tony Dron Trophy and the U2TC season opener, so there was a vast and varied grid of racing saloon cars in action for an hour. The early laps delivered a great spectacle from a leading five-car pack of two Nissan Skylines, two Ford Sierra RS500s and a Cologne Capri.

    Graham Churchill’s Austin Mini Cooper suffered a massive engine failure.  Photo Eric Sawyer

    The UK Formula Junior Championship featured three races for an entry of more than 50 cars. The opening race catered for the earlier cars and it was three front-engined cars that enacted a wonderful contest for the lead. Ray Mallock (U2 Mk2), Chris Drake (Terrier) and Andrew Hibberd (Merlyn Mk2) went wheel-to-wheel for much of the race.

    Father and son John and Jack Young clinched the Tony Dron Trophy spoils with a fine run in their Chevrolet Camaro, here seen at rest as night falls.  Photo Oliver Flower

    Will Nuthall was twice a commanding winner from a strong HGPCA grid of Pre-‘66 Grand Prix cars. His Cooper T53 was away and gone early in both races as John Fairley (Brabham BT11/19) was the best of the rest.

    For the full report see pour June 2021 issue....

  • Under a splendid sun in Portimão, the grids run by Diogo Ferrao and his Race Ready organisation began their season on 7-9 May, supporting the KIA GT Cup and the Super7s. A new Race Ready initiative this year, the Carrera los ‘80s cars produced a 20-car grid for their first outing despite the absence of many of the foreign teams. The new series, for Touring cars of the ‘80s and early ‘90s also has a class for GT Trophy and Cup cars.

    Historic Endurance

    A 40-car grid lined up for the first of two Iberian Historic Endurance races with Carlos Barbot’s Merlyn MK4 on pole. Pedro Bastos Rezende should have been alongside in his De Tomaso Pantera, but instead opted to drive his Porsche RSR, so had to start from the back of the grid. As the clock approached 5pm the traffic lights went out and the roar of the Iberian Historic Endurance engines echoed through the empty stands of the Autódromo de Portimão.

    The big grid, with a number of foreign teams, was a demonstration of just how keen drivers are to get out racing again.  Photos Antonio Paquete

    Barbot started well, but he had the two Porsches of Alfredo Martinez/Jesus Fuster and Miguel Vaz/Fernando Soares on his tail, both eventually getting past the little prototype. Some fared better than others during the mandatory pit stops, and the 50-minute race was cut short after 39 minutes due to oil on the track, leaving an all-Porsche podium.

     

     

    After the wet morning, the second race kicked off at lunchtime on Sunday, giving the track time to dry. This time Rezende started at the front and got off the line quickest to lead the pack. However, though starting in 16th place, a re-energised Barbot was challenging for second after only a few laps. Next, he surprised Rezende and snatched the lead, but the Porsche driver was having none of it and re-asserted control, though he never quite lost the Merlyn. It was great racing.

    los Barbot made a brilliant comeback to challenge the mighty Porsches

    Race Ready also ran two 40-minute rounds of their Group 1 / Trophéu Mini races. These too are very popular and attracted a grid of over 40 cars of great variety, made up of VW Golf GTIs, Datsun 1200s, Porches 924s, and of course Minis. Ford Escorts RS2000s dominated the sharp end of both races, with Paulo Vieira taking two victories in his. It was clear that the drivers were happy to be out racing again after a five-month abstinence.

    To read the report see our June 2021 issue....

  • After considerable speculation from competitors about whether or not it would even happen, the 12th edition of the Monaco Historic Grand Prix will be remembered for the special conditions in which it took place, and also for the beautiful on-track battles seen there. Originally schedule to run last year, COVID forced the organisers to postpone it to this year. The pandemic is still with us in 2021, but the will of the Automobile Club de Monaco has been stronger, and this Historic Grand Prix inaugurated a series of three race meetings in the Principality within one month, with the E-Prix coming 15 days later, then the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Jean-Marie Biadatti takes up the story.

    Spaniard Guillermo Fiero-Eleta was another driver to win more than one race during this year’s Grand Prix, taking victory in Plateau B in his 250F Maserati and winning the sportscar race in his Maserati 300S.   PhotoClassicRacing.com

     

    It was necessary to show a certain initiative to come to Monaco. All the actors, drivers, mechanics, media, commissioners coming from countries outside of the Principality had to provide a PCR test made less than 72 hours before, to enter Monaco. This done, the organisers provided everyone with a bracelet in Monegasque colours to act as a “Covid Pass”. This was in addition to the usual badges and passes, and allowed holders to both enter the circuit, and to be able to eat in the restaurants of the city. Covid-19 however, got the better of a number of entrants who could not get there because of restrictions in their own countries, bringing many late cancellations and the total number of entrants to just under one hundred, when usually at least double that number are present. On the spectator side, if the day of Friday took place behind closed doors, the spectators were able to attend on Saturday and Sunday under a beautiful sun, but always respecting sanitary procedures, the number of places being limited to 6,500.

    Nightfall in the paddock.  Photos PhotoClassicRacing.com

    This year, the Automobile Club de Monaco had chosen to put Ferrari in the spotlight and the headliners were Jean Alesi and René Arnoux, present at the wheel of two magnificent German-entered, Methusalem Racing Ferrari 312B3s in Series F.

    While some of the fields were a little thin, the races were very intense, the prestige of a victory in the Principality remaining just as coveted regardless of the type of competition. The man of the weekend was undoubtedly Michael Lyons who won the three races in which he took part!

    Bugatti girls: Julia de Baldanza (T 35B) and Nicola Dönhoff (T 51) in qualifying

    Having qualified in second place in the Series E field, for 3-litre cars up to ’72, at the wheel of his mother’s Surtees TS9, Lyons got off to a flying start to win the sprint to Sainte Dévote ahead of poleman Stuart Hall (McLaren M19A). The fight between these two was unrelenting, with Hall attacking every which way, every lap - attacks that were ultimately unsuccessful, the two men being separated on the finish line by only 7/10ths of a second.

    After winning Series F in controversial circumstances, (see separate text), Lyons’ third victory came in Series G, where the latest cars of the meeting, up to 1980, were found. Michael knew how to pile on the pressure to poleman Jordan Grogor (Arrows A3) who ended up hitting the Armco and eliminating himself from the race.

    Mark Shaw dominated the Serie D race in his Lotus 21

    Guillermo Fiero-Eleta was another driver to win more than one race during this year’s Grand Prix. First, at the wheel of his Maserati 250F in Series B for pre-‘61 GP cars, the field of which was one of the smallest with only seven cars. The Spanish pilot also won the Series C race for sports cars, run as a reminder that in 1952 the Automobile Club de Monaco, faced with an F1 in crisis, exceptionally chose to open its Grand Prix to this type of car. Fiero-Eleta took this one at the wheel of his Maserati 300S ahead of Martin Halusa’s Jaguar D-Type, driven by son Niklas, who, although finishing only 4.8 seconds in arrears, was never much of a threat to the winner.

    Series D, with the beautiful F1 cars of the early ‘60s, was also very thin with just seven cars. The race was dominated head and shoulders by Mark Shaw in his Lotus 21.

    Finally, in Series A for pre-war cars, poleman Patrick Blakeney-Edwards kept his Frazer Nash in the lead for half of the race until gearbox problems forced him to stop.

    ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

    The Duel of the Meeting Alesi vs Werner

    The race for Plateau F for pre-’77 cars promised to be exciting. With two explosive first rows, it sadly ended in recriminations and controversy. On pole was the former triple 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Marco Werner, but it was Jean Alesi quickest off the mark in the older, less powerful Ferrari. Though outgunned by the Lotus, which had qualified two seconds faster, in an enthralling battle Alesi used all his experience to keep Werner behind for 14 laps, with Michael Lyons keeping close watch from behind the wheel of his McLaren M26.

    Lyons kept a watching brief behind the lead battle

    Coming out onto the start-finish straight with three laps to go, Werner was tucked up right behind Alesi. Did Alesi miss a gear, as Werner later claimed? It didn’t really matter. Werner’s Lotus, accelerating faster out of the bend made contact. The contact was light, but on touching the left rear wheel of the Ferrari, the car was unbalanced and crashed into the wall. Alesi appeared to remonstrate as the German went past again, with a broken front wing, to win the race.

    Feeling aggrieved, the German refused to stand on the podium

    At the end of the race, the Lotus came to position under the No. 1 panel. There followed a wait before the podium ceremony began, where we imagined what was happening in the Race Director’s office. An official arrived after five minutes with the result sheet and informed Werner that he had received a 25-second penalty and was demoted to third place, without having been heard by officials. This gave Michael Lyons his second win of the meeting, ahead of the excellent Andlauer and his March 761. The German pilot expressed his disapproval by refusing to stand on the podium and by putting the cup on the ground. It is a shame that the race ended this way because it was the best fight on the track that we saw during the whole meeting. Of note was the sportsmanship displayed by Lyons, who took his winner’s cup and placed it on the muzzle of Werner’s Lotus.

  • A beautiful spring morning greeted the drivers of the Vintage Sports-Car Club’s season opener at Silverstone, the Club’s first race meeting since way back in August last year. A light breeze and bright sunshine under a clear sky soon boiled away the overnight frost, as the teams began the engine warm-up procedures and the heady aroma of pure alcohol racing fuel with just a hint of Castrol R drifted across the paddock, says Chris McEvoy. The spacious environs of Silverstone made it the ideal location for racing during a pandemic, but despite this, the meeting had to be held without spectators. It was, however, the opportunity to give the cars an outing and test the work done over the extended winter lay-off and to see if all of the hard work, skinned knuckles and occasional verbal threats would pay off.

    Terry Crabb in ERA R12C and eventual Allcomers race winner Julian Wilton in ERA R7B.  Photos Eric Sawyer

    The morning’s mixed practice sessions passed largely uneventfully, though one driver lost a wheel at Copse. The wheel stayed on all the way through the wiggle of Maggotts and continued onto the full circuit, when the rest of the car turned right into Becketts for the National one. As always with VSCC events there was an interesting range of vehicles, showing automotive development, some with features still discernible on modern cars, to the quirky that only lasted briefly but seemed a good idea at the time. And you have to remember that in the VSCC ‘modern’ cars are typically those that have front brakes and the gear lever inside the body work. Although a roof and full windscreen are still regarded as optional. An afternoon’s card of ten races kept the action moving and started with a 32-car grid for the VSCC Specials Race for the Silverstone Trophy. Having made their official debut at Silverstone in October 1948, two races for F3 500s were on the programme, as the invited Formula 3 500 Owners Association took to the track. An unkind description of these diminutive but rapid vehicles is that they resemble a large cigar tube powered by a motorcycle engine. However, with lap times amongst the fastest of the meeting they are certainly serious racers. George Shackleton (Cooper MkXI) demonstrated his prowess at the wheel by taking the flag in both races from pole position.

    George Shackleton (Cooper MkXI) demonstrated his prowess at the wheel by taking the flag in both F3 500 races from pole position

    Race 3 was an amalgam of the Vintage, Pre-War and Pre-1961 Racing Cars grids, comprising the classes for the GP Itala & Lanchester Trophy, and the Amschel Rothschild & Patrick Lindsay Memorial Trophy. Possibly the race of the day, Frederick Harper took his Kurtis Indy-Roadster to a win from pole, ahead of Richard Wilson in a Ferrari 246 F1.

    Another guest grid was the HGPCA with a cracking race for Pre-1966 Grand Prix Cars that saw Barry Cannell in his Brabham BT11A chasing poleman Will Nuthall’s Cooper T53 from the off, with Andrew Beaumont (Lotus 18) keeping a close eye on proceedings.

    The Pre-War and Pre-1961 Racing Cars race was initially led by Richard Wilson’s Ferrari 246 but was eventually won by Fred Harper in his Kurtis Indy Roadster

    The ODM/Fox & Nicholl Trophy Race for Standard and Modified Pre-War Sports-Cars saw a packed grid with reserves, one of which was the eventual winner. The ODM stands for Owner-Driver-Mechanic and is a special award for amateur racers.

    The race attracted a wondrous variety of cars such as Delahaye, Frazer Nash and Talbot Lago into the action.  A joint venture between the VSCC and the Fifties Sports Car Club, the FISCAR Tom Cole Trophy & VSCC Hawthorn International Trophy Race featured sports racing cars from the ‘50s.

    ernardo Hartogs leads the 50s sportscar pack in his Lotus XV ahead of Martin Hunt/Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in Hunt’s HWM

    Handicap races are a favourite feature of VSCC events, bestowing a means by which disparate vehicles can compete on a relatively equal basis. Two short All-Comers Handicap Races for Pre-War cars saw victories for Wilfred Cawley in his Austin 7 Special and Ben Maeers (1926 GN Parker), a fitting consolation for a DNF in the earlier HGPCA race aboard a Cooper T51.

    For a full report see out June 2021 issue....

  • May 15-16 marked the return of VdeV Historic Endurance racing when 26 crews and 65 drivers gathered at Nevers Magny-Cours to participate in the VdeV 6 Hours of Magny-Cours. Despite tricky weather conditions, with alternating showers and clear skies resulting in ever-changing track conditions, everyone was delighted to be there after the long winter break and all the many cancellations and postponements caused by COVID.

    After two free practice sessions and the qualifying session, the competitors set off on Sunday at 12:40pm for six hours of racing on the 4.41km Nivernais track under heavy rain, resulting in a rolling start with five initial laps behind the safety car.  In total, the event would see no fewer than ten different leaders during the 6 hours and also a number of safety car interventions, brought on by a heavy rain, or shorter interventions caused by racing incidents.

    The winning Porsche did 644 kilometres and 146 laps.  Photos Jacques Letihon Courtesy VdeV Racing

     

    Starting from pole, the team consisting of Damien and Matthieu Alfano, Nathalie Seigneurin and Maxime Tandel was long delayed when their Porsche 911 3.0 SC was stopped by an oil leak an hour in. Others also experienced reliability issues, like the Ford Mustang of Dutch crew Bas Jansen and Jacques Meeuwissen. The victim of engine overheating during free practice, the team made an overnight return trip to the Netherlands to bring back an identical Mustang, an effort that was rewarded with a sixth place finish.

    Overall and GT category victory went to the Swiss-Belgian team of Serge Libens, Henrique Gemperle and Marc De Siebenthal at the wheel of a Porsche 964 RS. The crew completed 146 laps and 644 kilometres over the six hours. They were followed home by the Châteaux family BMW 635 CSI, which took Touring Car honours, and the Mk 1 Ford Escort of José Beltramelli, sharing with sons Brady and Viny. Two more Porsches, the 944 S2 of former rally champion Jean-Claude Andruet, co-driven by Christian Noret, and the 964 RS of the Pelletier family, with Christophe Peyrat, made up the rest of the GT podium.

    The Beltramelli family took third overall in their Ford Escort MK1

    Contested until the last laps, first place in the Saloon Car class was finally won by former tennis pro and winner of the Davis Cup, Henri Leconte, in the Van de Vyver TVR Griffith 200 shared with Léo Mothe and Alex Meynard.  The Sport Prototype category saw the Chateaux Sport Auto team clinch another victory in their Grac MT 14B, driven by Axel De Ferran and Bernard Zimmer.

  • The 29th running of the Historic Vltava Rallye, round 2 of the 2021 FIA European Historic Rally Championship, as well as counters for local and national Czech championships, finished with a victory for the Italian duo of Andrea ‘Zippo´ Zivian and Denis Piceno, who drove their Audi Quattro in a nail-biting duel that was only decided on the last stage of the two-day event.

    It was reigning Category 3 champions Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the first day of the 7-8 May event, based in the Bohemian city of Klatovy.  Their Porsche 911 SC finished the day with a 17 second advantage over the chasing Audi.  The lead pair were far ahead of the rest, with third-placed Anders and Ingrid Johnsen 54.7secs behind in their Porsche 911 RS, leading the category 2 field, ahead of the Ford Sierra Cosworth of Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera, which was the fastest Category 4 competitor.

    Karl Wagner had led the rally from the start.  Photos Rallyservice.cz

     

    There were several retirements on the opening day.  James Potter and Geoff Jones retired their Ford Escort before SS1, while their Flexifly teammates Ernie and Karen Graham had an engine issue on the first stage and missed the rest of the day.   On the second day, with seven more stages to run, the fight grew even more heated.  On the first few stages Wagner extended his lead over the Audi, taking a full six seconds from the Italians on one stage alone.  ‘Zippo’ took the next two stages, with Wagner responding to the challenge to take SS8 and head to the service park 29 seconds to the good, with three stages to go. 

    EHRC newcomers Vojtech Štajf and Vladimir Zelinka, (Opel Kadett) scored an excellent fourth overall in the FIA contest, just 2.2secs behind Anders and Ingrid Johnsen’s 911 Porsche RSR

     

    On stage 10 the Audi closed the gap by 11secs, and on stage 11 the gap was down to just 0.7secs with just the 22.71km Stransinska stage remaining.  ‘Zippo’ put everything he had into it, improving his stage time from the morning run of the same stage by an incredible 41 seconds for a time of 12m37.4.  But Wagner improved on his morning time too, and finished the stage in 12m42.6.   It was just not quite enough to keep the lead, and the Audi Quattro  finished the rally just 4.5 seconds ahead to take the overall victory at the last gasp.  This also gave Zippo his second category 3 win of the season.

    Third overall, and the Category 2 leaders, were Anders and Ingrid Johnsen, the Swedes fending off a late challenge from the Opel Kadett C GT/E of EHRC newcomers Vojtěch Štajf and Vladimir Zelinka, the Czech crew finishing just 2.2 seconds behind the Porsche at the end of the final stage. 

    Spaniards Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera won Category 4 in their Ford Sierra Cosworth.

    The Ford Sierra Cosworth of Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera finished the day in fifth overall and the winner of Category 4.  The Spanish crew finished the rally 1m41.9 seconds ahead of the Ford Sierra Cosworth of Austrian Alfons Nothdurfter and his German teammate Jurgen Nolte.  Ville Silvasti and Risto Pietilainen (Audi Quattro A2) came home eighth overall and completed the Category 4 podium.

    The familiar Porsche 911 S of Antonio Parisi and Giuseppe D’Angelo finished in 15th place overall to add the Category 1 victory in the Czech Republic to the one they took in Sanremo last month.  With some 22 registered competitors, the EHRC seems to be undergoing a bit of a revival and will no doubt pick up even more competitors as the championship moves further south after the next round in Hungary in late June.

  • From this year the Rally de Portugal Historico will expand its eligibility criteria to welcome cars built up to 1986. However, in order not to discourage the earlier cars, always a feature of this event, the Classic Category, for period E and F cars (1946 to 1965) and under 1600cc cars up to 1967, will have its own podium and the winner will receive “an exceptional prize.” Another novelty this year will be the running of some regularity sections on closed roads. The 15th edition of this popular event will be on 4-10 October, starting and ending in the resort town of Estoril as part of the ‘Speed Week’ celebrations there. Entries are now open. See rallyportugalhistoric.eu for details.

  • Like their track racing counterparts, historic rally drivers are obviously very keen to get back on the road. The organisers of the 2021 Roger Albert Clark Rally, scheduled for 25-29 November, were completely overwhelmed by the demand for places when the entry list opened. All 150 places were snapped up in less than two hours and the event now has a reserve list of nearly 50 cars.

    Rally Manager Colin Heppenstall said: “The level of interest is overwhelming. This is the culmination of 14 years of organising and building the event and it is very clear that there is a big demand for forest rallying. This is a massive boost for the whole of UK forest rallying and the economies in the regions that we visit.”

    There has not been a major UK forest rally since February 2020, and this event is generating business for car preparers, suppliers, engineers, tyre companies, fuel suppliers and more. A number of fresh car builds are now in hand, specifically for the rally. Meanwhile, the regions visited by the event are already reaping the benefit of hundreds of hotel rooms being booked in what is a very quiet time of the season.

    The classic Mid-Wales forest special stages of Dyfnant, Gartheiniog and Dyfi will be used on the event for the first time this year in the event’s most ambitious Welsh leg to date. The Welsh leg follows three days of rallying in the north of England and southern Scotland, as the 2021 Roger Albert Clark Rally becomes the longest and toughest special stage rally in Great Britain since the 1991 Lombard RAC Rally. Thirty years ago Juha Kankkunen and Juha Piironen won the final round of the World Rally Championship in a Lancia Delta Integrale. The 351-stage mile route used that year included a number of stages that will be used this November.

  • When the Boucles a Bastogne rally was cancelled last year, then again this year, the main reason was to avoid the large public gathering that the event attracts - so organisers decided that rather than waste all the effort of creating the route book and organising the marshalling and checkpoints, they would  put the public in the cars.  For a small fee, anyone could have a route book and travel through the famous stages in their own cars and see the rally drivers’ view, with no timing and no competitive element, in a COVID safe environment.  The positive response was massive.  Known as the Balade de Bastogne, it too was then postponed from its original April date.  

    Finally, on the weekend of 8-9 May 450 cars were able to take to the famous stages.  “They ranged from the small vintage Fiat 500 to the Audi Sport Quattro, passing by Alpine A110, Renault 5 Turbo, Austin-Healey, and even Buggies and VW Kombis!  It was incredible,” said event Director Pierre Delettre of organising Club R.A.C. Spa.  “Good humour was widespread, the participants scrupulously respected the health rules in force, and everyone was able to have a hell of a good time ... “  So favourable was the reception, the R.A.C. will run the event again in 2022!

  • 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.”

  •  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 www.rallystory.com for details.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • Competitors at the Spa Summer Classic will be amongst the first to experience the re-vamped paddock arrangements at the Francorchamps circuit, which celebrates its centenary this year.  Sadly, their fans will not be there, as the event is to be held behind closed doors.

    A truly pan-European mix of grids and entrants, on the programme are the German FHR Tourenwagen Classics for DTM-type cars of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, and the Gentle Drivers Trophy races for pre-’66 touring and GT cars.  

    From the Netherlands, the NKHTGT for pre-’66 cars, will be sharing the grid with the Triumph Competition & British HTGT from Germany; and the Dutch NKGT&TC will be catering for the post-’66 cars.  Also from Holland will be the Dutch Youngtimer YTCC, who always produce a big grid.  

    On home ground will be the Belcar Historic & Youngtimer Cup for old and Youngtimers up to 2000 and the Historic Monoposto racers, with their formula cars from the 60’s.  Also at home is the appropriately-named CRAC.  This is a series for historic single seaters that meet on track for demo runs without timing, just for the fun. 

    Other single seaters will be supplied by the Austrians for the Drexler Formula 3 Cup for Formula 3 cars up to and including 2018. The Brits, including the Classic Sports Car Club, usually such a feature of this meeting,  were reticent to join this year due to travel restrictions in the UK.

  • The jewel in the crown of this cosmopolitan meeting is, of course, the Spa 3 Hours, for cars up to 1976.  This is a collaboration between event organisers Roadbook, and Diogo Ferrão’s Iberian Endurance, and has become a not-to-be missed mid-summer enduro for all those cars and drivers who are either not eligible for the Spa Six Hours, due to age of car, or those who just can’t wait for September.  It’s not too late to enter.  Dates are 25-27 June.

  • The Historic Sports Car Club cancelled the round of its F2 Championship at the Historic Grand Prix de France at Paul Ricard, scheduled for 10-13 June, when it became likely that anyone travelling back from France to the UK would still be subject to quarantine, if not to outright ban, on that date.   A replacement pair of races was found for the F2 cars at the HSCC’s Silverstone International Meeting on 22-23 May.

    However, a few days later, after a change of heart, and no doubt protests from GP de France organisers HVM at the late cancellation, the Club announced that there would be two non-championship races for the thriving series at Paul Ricard after all.  The event promises to be one of the best of the 2021 season and the F2 series regularly attracts continental drivers.  

    French organisers have already confirmed that teams coming from abroad will not be subject to quarantine in France, but they must show a negative PCR test.  They have made PCR tests available at the circuit for anyone who needs one to return home.  “I know this will be a welcome opportunity for all of our friends in mainland Europe who have had little or no opportunity to race since 2019,” said series organiser and HSCC Chairman Roger Bevan.  The races are open to all period qualifying cars.

    For entries contact the HSCC office or HVM.  HVM’s Laurent Vallery-Masson was keen to keep the races on the programme, “We want to offer the opportunity to Formula 2 and Formula Atlantic drivers from the continent to participate in this event, especially with the presence of Jean-Pierre Jarier who will celebrate this grid with us.”

  • Although their race scheduled for the cancelled Hockenheimring meeting in April turned out to be a false start, NKHTGT organisers are confident that they will be able to begin their 25th anniversary season at Zandvoort on 4-5 June with a pair of old fashioned 1-hour races.  After that they intend to stick to their original schedule of five more races, including the novel night race at Barcelona on 3-4 September when they will be supporting the Hankook 24H Series.  It will be “A unique occasion, with the first evening race in the history of the NKHTGT,” said series spokesman Jan-Bart Broertjes.  “We will see the late summer sun set on Friday evening during a 50-minute race.  On Saturday, we will have another 30-minute race.  The 25 year success of the NKHTGT is thanks to our trusted competitors.  They will all receive a special anniversary present: the Barcelona event is free for all participants with an NKHTGT package deal 2021!”

    The 2021 NKHTGT season will feature no fewer than 31 regular participants.  With restrictions being relaxed, they are expecting more entries from regular foreign guests.  At the moment, individual entries are still available for all races.  “If you have a pre-’66 FIA-compliant touring car, GT or GTP, you are very welcome to come and race with us,” continued Broertjes.  For the NKHTGT series calendar, see www.nkhtgt.nl or the Historic Motor Racing News web site to see it in the context of other events.

  • Fully Booked

    Packed grids characterised the Preis der Stadt Stuttgart meeting at Hockenheim on 16-18 April, where Youngtimers, HTGT for Touring and GT cars of the early ‘70s, and the HEC endurance series for cars up to ‘76 met up for the first time this season.

    Brothers Harald and Dennis Busch celebrated their FHR debut with pole position and overall victory from the 41 starters of the HTGT race. The professional stage manufacturers entered the historic racing stage without the backdrop of spectators due to Covid. Their Ford Escort BDA proved largely superior to the RS1600 of Heinz Schmersal and Mike Stursberg by a clear 49 seconds at the end of the one-hour race. Schmersal recognised defeat, “There is no match for this BDA, we had to be content with a class win.” Michael Wittge and Markus Diederich kept the Porsche 911 ST of the Sanchez brothers in check to take third place.

    “There is no match for the BDA” Harald and Dennis Busch celebrated their FHR debut with pole position and overall victory from the 41 starters of the HTGT race.  Photos Peter Heil

     

    The rapid Alexander and Vincent Kolb father-son combination secured overall victory in the final two-hour race for the FHR Dunlop Historic Endurance Cup in their beefy Ford Cobra 289. The road to victory was only cleared when the exhaust manifold of the leading Ford GT40 eliminated the Sanchez opposition halfway through the race. The Munich-based Alfa GTAm duo of Peter Praller/Clement Fromm skilfully kept the Porsche 914/6 GT of Wittke/Diederich within two seconds, which turned out to be seven after a time penalty was added for a pit stop infringement. There was bad luck for the reigning German champions (DHAM) Jochen Wilms and Christian Dannesberger, who were let down by their GTAm Alfa in both races.

    The road to victory for the Kolb Cobra was only cleared when the leading Ford GT40 retired

     

    Vice-Champion Kersten Jodexnis fared no better. His Porsche 911 S/R lost almost 14 laps due to a lengthy shift linkage repair, after which his teammate, Robin Chrzanowski, showed what could have been by taking fastest lap of the race on day that remained dry despite a thick cloud brew. Encouraged by the great popularity and the smooth running of the event under Corona conditions, the FHR is planning another event at the Motodrom to replace the cancelled Nürburgring Classic.

  • Lights Go Green for German FHR Season

    FHR held their first event of the season on 7-8 May at Hockenheim, bringing grids that included the Can-Am & Sportscars and the recently-announced Group C Classics, as well as the Gentle Drivers Trophy, GT Classics and Tourenwagen Classics. For this first outing, the Group C cars ran with the Can-Ams and sportscars with only two takers. Michael Lyons (Gebhardt C88) and Felix Haas (PRC 97), who twice stood on the Group C podium in that order. Georg Hallau went home with the most silverware, winning the sportscar category in the first of two races in his Lola T310, and taking both Gentle Drivers races in his Lotus 23. Runner-up in race one, Harry Schmidt turned the tables on Hallau in the second sportscar race in his McLaren M8C.

    Georg Hallau - Lola T310 and Peter and Stefan Mücke in their Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri.  Photos Peter Heil

    Previously, the two-minute mark for Group A cars on the 4.574km track was more or less the limit, but this was pulverised, as low and medium 1:50 times were almost the rule on the monitors during qualifying for the Tourenwagen Classics. Sub 2-minute times up to and including 19th place were noted. With a long safety car period at the start of the 40-minute race that lasted all the way to the pit stop window, overall victory went to the father-and-son team of Peter and Stefan Mücke with their Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri. The leading pair had a bad stop, but Michael was able to recover from seventh place to beat Yannik Trautwein’s BMW E36 and Hans-Ulrich Kainzinger’s Porsche 993 GT2 to the line. Marc Seesing (BMW M3) and Michael Hahn BMW 325i, won the 88 and 86 Group A classes respectively.

  • 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........