Euro Trophy for Britain
The European Sports-Prototype Trophy will grace British tracks for the first time in four seasons in 2004, with events at Oulton Park and Silverstone.
The 1960s GT cars and sports-prototypes will race at the Cheshire track for the first time as part of the Gold Cup meeting on August 29/30.
Group 4 Racing’s Jonathan Baker said: “We’ve got two new venues, more entrants and an even greater variety of cars.” Other races are set for Pau, Dijon, Spa and Montlhéry, which hosts its final race meeting this year.
The Oulton races will re-live the four Tourist Trophy events of the late ’60s, when Denny Hulme won three times in a Lola T70.
Group C secures Le Mans race date
Group C cars will race at Le Mans again this year after the burgeoning Group C/GTP Racing movement secured a slot on Saturday morning ahead of the 24 hours.
The 40-minute race will start at 10am on June 12 following following an hour-long qualifying session scheduled for late Thursday afternoon. Priorities on entries will be given to drivers who have previously supported the series.
The race has been arranged in conjunction with Motor Racing Legends and will re-create the Group C era of 1984 to 1993. Series organiser Jim Graham said: “We think it will be comfortable to get 40 cars. We want to reward the people who have helped build the category. The sight of 40 of these cars will undoubtedly re-ignite the enthusiasm of so many people who saw these cars in period.
The race has already sparked off enormous competitor interest. Ryan Hodges, who plans to race a Tiga GC287 this year, said: “To race at Le Mans is an unfulfilled ambition.”
Graham added: “This is a fantastic chance for the club to further promote the racing of these fabulous cars.”
Hope grows for Shelsley future as appeal hits half a million
The organisers of the campaign to save the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb venue are confident that its future can now be secured after their appeal hit the £500,000 mark.
As the Midland Automobile Club prepares for the hill’s 99th season of competition, appeal director David Grace, said: “We’ve extended the existing agreement through the summer thanks to the help of the trustees and that has taken away the axe that was hanging over our heads. We are more confident than we were, but there is still work to be done. The MAC is already planning the 100th anniversary event in 2005.”
A new initiative should allow the sale of shares in a new company called Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb Ltd, which could raise up to £1 million. The Shelsley trust would become a major shareholder, with a minimum investment likely to be set at £1,250.
Grace is confident that pledges already made to buy shares will give the campaign a further boost. Other events planned to raise funds include an auction, for which two complete cars have already been donated.
Formula Two Tecno back after 33 years
The 1971 Tecno F2 car of Patrick Depailler will return to racing in April after 33 years away from the tracks.
Chassis T00716 has been restored by Andy Kirkby and Bob Sellix and will be raced in the HSCC’s Derek Bell Trophy by Nick Wadham.
The car lay unused in the Tecno factory for decades after it had been raced by the works team in the 1971 European F2 Championship by Depailler, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and François Cevert. Now owned by KIrkby and Wadham, the car has undergone an 18-month rebuild and is expected to make its race return at Donington Park on April 11.
Kirkby said: “It needed a complete chassis-up restoration and it’s now looking very smart. The original Elf-liveried bodywork will be used on the be-winged car. It is very original and there was nothing really missing.
It is intended that the car will race in European F2 and, hopefully, the Jochen Rindt F2 Trophy. Kirkby, who is a newcomer to racing, will also drive the Tecno this year.
Atmo Nissan dusted off in UK
The rare Nissan P35 is set to race in Group C/GTP events this season.
Chris and Nick Randall will race the car, which was built in 1992, to take on Peugeot and Toyota in the last days of the 3.5-litre Group C era. But as world recession struck, the project was canned by Nissan after only one race. It finished 10th at Mine in a round of Japan’s domestic series.
Now chassis 2 is being rebuilt by Phil Stott and should be ready to run this season. “It has taken us two years to source an engine and spares package” said Stott of the V-12 engined car.
Only three P35s were built and one was subsequently developed into an open sportscar that raced in America. The other chassis remains in Nissan’s hands in Japan.
Special Lister to return
Rob Jolley is close to completing a rebuild of the unique ‘Monzanapolis’ Lister Jaguar that was created specially for the 1958 ‘Race of two Worlds’ held on the banked track at Monza.
The 3.8-litre Jaguar-engined car, acquired from Ric Weiland in Germany, was built with a low-drag body for the event that was designed to bring Indy Cars and European racers together on the banking.
It was entered by Ecurie Ecosse and driven by Jack Fairman, who finished 11th. The car was later hillclimbed by Phil Scragg and also raced extensively by Martin Chapman in historic events during the 1980s.
Jolley plans to race the car this season with the HGPCA and the VSCC and has targeted Donington Park in early May for his first event.
Dieudonne ‘batmobile’ for FIA touring cars
British racer Tim Busby will step up to the FIA European Challenge for historic touring cars this year in his ex-PIerre Dieudonne ‘batmobile’ BMW CSL.
Busby has raced the car for several seasons in British club racing, but is now taking advantage of the championship’s new cut-off date of 1976.
“This is what I wanted to do when I bought the car. We have been waiting for this” said Busby, who is seeking an experienced second driver for the car.
Dieudonne and Jean Xhenceval finished eighth at Le Mans in 1977. It remains in period livery.
The CSL is one of up to five known to be under preparation for the FIA championship. Busby will give the car its series debut at Donington Park over the weekend of May 1-3. He plans to contest a full season.
Coswoth gives DFV a new lease of life
Cosworth is to begin building and supplying its iconic DFV Formula One again to meet a growing demand in historic racing.
The V8, which is the most successful grand prix engine of all time, has been given a new lease of life thanks to the success of such series as Thoroughbred Grand Prix.
Cosworth Racing’s Jim Blackstock said: “It is because of this on-going demand for the engine that Cosworth has decided to remanufacture the DFV’s core components.”
The new components will be based on the F3000 short stroke and tall sump specification of the late 1980s, which is the most common used in historic racing. Cylinder blocks, heads, sumps and front covers will all be available this summer.
The DFV, which stands for Double Four Valve, was commissioned by Ford and conceived in 1966 by Keith Duckworth. It scored 155 Grand Prix wins between 1967 and 1983.
Surtees Ferrari to make British competition debut
The ex-John Surtees 1966 Ferrari P3/412P will race in Britain for the first time in its history when the Donington Park ‘See Red’ event hosts a round of the Shell Historic Ferrari Maserati Challenge in September.
Chassis 0844 is now being raced by Peter Hardman on behalf of its present owner. In 1966 it won the Monza 1000km in the hands of Surtees and Mike Parkes and the Spa 1000km with Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti. In ’67 it finished third at Daytona as part of the NART team and was then modified for Can=Am use.
Now back in its original specification, the P3 made its return last season for the Tim Samways team. It is scheduled for a more extensive historic campaign in 2004.
HGPCA link for Wheatcroft
The Historic Grand Prix Cars Association and the Donington Collection have formed an alliance for the 2004 season, during which the world-wide programme of HGPCA events will be used to help promote the unique racing car collection assembled by Tom Wheatcroft.
The organisations will join forces for a series of on and off-track events. Later in the year, a BRM seminar is planned involving Richard Attwood and leading BRM restorer Rick Hall.
The focal point of the partnership will be the Donington International Historic Grand Prix in May when some of the cars in the collection will be demonstrated on track for the first time in many years.
HGPCA chairman Julian Sutton, said of the event that marks the HGPCA’s 25th anniversary: “To have the Donington Collection on the doorstep is a big bonus.”
Stand-alone races for 500cc F3
The 500cc F3 era will be recreated in 2004, with at least three stand-alone races and a dedicated hillclimb series.
The races will run at the VSCC meeting at Cadweel Park in June, plus Snetterton (July 4) and Anglesey (August 15). The cars of the late 1940s/early 50s could also race at the Angouleme meeting in September.
More than a dozen cars regularly compete in the hillclimb series, in which 2003 titles were taken by Alistair Dent (Hornet) and Mike Lawrence (Cooper).
Moseley lines up for Monaco
Max Mosely in a Brabham BT44 owned by Bernie Ecclestone is just one of the headline entries for the Fourth Grand Prix Historique de Monaco. The FIA President in his first single-seater race since his F2 career in the late 1960s, will contest the pre-’77 F1 race.
Other leading F1 entries include Sean Walker (Lotus 72E), Martin Stretton (Tyrrell P34), Frank Sytner (Penske PC3) and Flavian Marçais in the Brabham BT26 of Philip Walker.
The six-race entry is packed with quality cars and drivers. Stirling Moss (Jaguar C-type) and Phil Hill (Alfa Romeo 3000CM) will contest the pre-’53 sportscar race while eight Bugattis are amongst the 10 grand prix cars from the 1920s entered in the pre-’47 race.
The pre-’61 front-engined grand prix car event will pack in no less than nine Maserati 250Fs to battle with the Ferrari 555 Supersqualo of Martin Stretton. However the nimble Lotus 16s of Joaquin Folch-Rusinol and Philip Walker will be hard to beat round Monte Carlo.
Cooper, Brabham, BRM and Lotus dominate the pre-’66 rear-engined F1 grid. Ex-F2 race James KIng (Brabham BT7) joins fellow Americans Duncan Dayton and Ray Walzer (BT11s).
TGP drops Silverstone
The Thoroughbred Grand Prix Series will appear only once in Britain this year after dropping the round at Silverstone in early June. The only UK race will be at Donington on May 1-3. In place of the Silverstone date, TGP has accepted an invitation to race at Zolder for the first time in more than five years, during the Belgian circuit’s Historic Grand Prix meeting on June 19/20