The Motor Sport Month - Historic News
Ralph Lauren cars to go on show
Seventeen cars from Ralph Lauren’s private collection will go on display at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris between April 28 and August 28.
‘The Art of the Automobile: Masterpieces of the Ralph Lauren Collection’ will feature a selection of cars from the fashion designer’s garage, illustrating the evolution of car design from the 1930s to ’90s.
Included in the exhibition will be the dramatic 1930 Mercedes-Benz ‘Count Trossi’ SSK, a 1933 Bugatti Type 59 Grand Prix car, a 1938 Bugatti 575C Atlantic Coupe, the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 that came second in the 1938 Mille Miglia, and the 1964 Ferrari 250LM which took Jackie Stewart to victory in the 1966 Surfers Paradise 12 Hours.
Amon stars in NZ festival
Chris Amon’s legendary bad luck threatened to haunt the first New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing when torrential rain forced the cancellation of racing on the first Sunday of the two-weekend meeting at Hampton Downs in January.
Guest of honour Amon was reunited with a collection of cars related to his career, including his first car, the Herrick A40 Special — fitted in period with a Bugatti gearbox! Highlights included the 1968 Ferrari 246T Tasman racer in which he won the New Zealand GP, and the Maserati 250F he raced as an 18-year-old.
Less successful cars included the eponymous 1974 Amon AF1-01, which Masters series boss Ron Maydon shipped to New Zealand. Amon approved of modifications made to the car, some suggested by Red Bull designer Adrian Newey. Fellow Kiwi Roger Wills sent Amon’s unloved 1970 March 701 — as seen in Motor Sport, August 2010— as a static display.
Star names at Hampton Downs included John Fitzpatrick, Adrian Reynard, Howden Ganley and Damon Hill, who watched son Josh race a Toyota single-seater. Over 30 F5000s starred in the headline events, with Canadian Jay Esterer winning three races in his McRae GM1.
Grids of up to 58 cars will make the 2011 Silverstone Classic the biggest yet as the event moves to the new Grand Prix circuit for the first time. Organisers hope that a pair of races for the E-type Challenge will feature a capacity field to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic Jaguar.
The track licence for the new 3.666-mile layout allows 50-car grids for larger engined single-seaters and sports racing cars such as Grand Prix Masters and Group C, up from the previous limit of 42 cars.
Meanwhile, grids for many other categories featured have been increased from 48 to a record 58 cars. Races likely to hit this limit include those for Big-Engined Touring Cars, which stars dozens of 1960s V8-powered American muscle cars, as well as the two E-type Challenge races.
“The decision to switch the on-track action to the new Grand Prix circuit has a huge number of benefits,” said event director Nick Wigley. “Bigger grids will provide even more entertainment for both festival-goers and competitors. In the past we’ve had to turn down entries as certain grids have been vastly oversubscribed. Beyond that, the new layout will provide drivers with a new challenge and give fans a chance to experience the dramatic new Silverstone Wing pit complex.”
Ticket sales are already nearly 100 per cent up on a year ago, and anyone booking before the end of March will receive significant ‘early bird’ discounts. For details go to www.silverstoneclassic.com
Moss awards Aintree trophy
The trophy given to Stirling Moss for victory in the 1955 British GP has been awarded to Alan and Jason Minshaw for winning the inaugural Stirling Moss Trophy series for 1950s sports cars.
The prize marked Moss’s first Grand Prix win, in the Mercedes W196 at Aintree, but will now be presented annually to the winners of the Motor Racing Legends series that bears his name.
“In autumn I mentioned to Stirling and Susie that we needed a trophy to present,” explained Duncan Wiltshire of MRL. “Susie disappeared into the cupboard, clattered a few pots and pans, and emerged with this magnificent testament to the silversmith’s art.”
Minshaw father and son claimed the famous cup after an exemplary season in Alan’s Maserati Birdcage. With both Alan and Jason away racing in South Africa, Moss presented the award to Alan’s eldest son Jon.
Scarab GP car to race again
A front-engined Scarab Grand Prix car, built in 1959 but not used for nearly 50 years, will race this summer in the hands of new owner Julian Bronson.
Chassis number three was one of the original three cars and was first taken to Zandvoort in 1960 as a spare with no engine. It was acquired by Tom Wheatcroft in 1964 and has spent many years in the Donington Collection. The other two front-engined Scarabs are owned and raced by Don Orosco.
“I bought it from Donington,” said Bronson, who hopes to have it ready for July’s Silverstone Classic. It is fitted with a 2.5-litre Offenhauser engine, which has been built in Cincinnati.
“It’s very exciting,” said Bronson. “I’ve always wanted a front-engined Grand Prix car and this is just about the last of them. It’s just incredible; such an exciting car.” Bronson also hopes to race the car at Monaco Historique in 2012.
Packed schedule for Donington
The Donington Historic Festival has been trimmed from three to two days due to existing planning constraints at the Leicestershire circuit, meaning there will be no track activity on Friday April 29.
Qualifying and racing will be condensed into Saturday and Sunday, but most or all of the planned categories will still be in action across two full days. Organiser Duncan Wiltshire has pledged to make it to affordable for spectators. “We know that the cost of taking the whole family to a historic motor sport festival can seem prohibitive,” he said. Advance tickets are now on sale for just £18 via doningtonhistoric.com
Rhapsody in blue and orange
Fourteen of the most famous cars ever to compete in Gulf Oil colours now form part of a collection of racing sports cars gathered together by Adrian Hamilton for a private client.
The ROFGO Gulf Collection brings together cars spanning over 40 years, from the Mirage of 1967 through to a 2009 Aston Martin LMP1, and takes in Ford GT40 chassis 1048 as well as the Porsche 917 which finished second at Le Mans in 1971.
“It is a tremendous privilege to be able to build such a unique and lasting tribute to one of the greatest names in our sport,” said Hamilton, son of the 1953 Le Mans winner Duncan.
Peugeot’s ‘F1 sports car’ returns
One of the fastest cars from the closing days of the Group C era will be back on track this summer when Frenchman Richard Mille races a Peugeot 905 in Group C events.
The 3.5-litre design, which won at Le Mans in 1992 and again in ’93 in 905B trim, is the latest high-profile car to be confirmed for Group C. The cars were retired from racing after the 1993 Le Mans event.
Mille will run the car with a Le Mans-spec engine in order to extend engine life, and could include the Silverstone Classic in his schedule.