Historic racing

Masters' Trans-Atlantic trio

Historic 3-litres to support three Grands Prix

The US wing of the Masters Historic Formula 1 series boasts high-profile exposure this season with three rounds featuring as support races to trans-Atlantic Grands Prix. The rounds at Canada at Montréal in June and the back-to-back races at Austin, Texas and Mexico in late October will all host events in the series, showcasing 3-litre F1 cars from 1966 through to 1985. Ferrari, Shadow, McLaren, Lotus and Williams chassis will all help to boost awareness of Formula 1 and its history in a market that is firmly being targeted by the sport’s new owners.  

Canada’s historic round, returning after a lay-off, celebrates 50 years since the first Grand Prix in that country, while the other two supports have previously proved highly popular.

The Masters US season starts at the Laguna Seca Spring Classic in May, while one week on from Montréal the cars reappear at Mosport, one of the Canadian GP’s former homes. Completing the programme will be a July date at Road America.

Sounds of the Seventies

Ferrari 312PBs and Matra MS670s will present a sensational sound track for the 75th Goodwood Members’ Meeting on March 18/19.

The 3-litre V12 sports-racing cars of the early 1970s will take part in one of the weekend’s high-speed demonstration sessions along with Alfa Romeo T33s and Cosworth DFV-powered Mirages, while the 2-litre cars of the era will be represented by Chevrons and Lolas.

The new Achille Varzi Trophy race has drawn a fabulous line-up of 1930s Grand Prix cars to celebrate the memory of the Italian racer. A grid full of pre war French and Italian Grand Prix cars and voiturettes will include examples from Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Delahaye, Maserati and Talbot-Lago. 

Meanwhile, the Lola T70 in which Michiel Smits had a violent accident at the 2016 event is due back on track again for the Bruce McLaren Trophy after a total rebuild by Complete Motorsport Solutions. The ex-John Mecom Racing T70 Spyder was very badly damaged when Smits flew off the road at Woodcote but the rebuilt car was shaken down at Donington Park recently.

Donington packs them in

Two full days of COMPETITION  covering 19 races will cap the 2017 Donington Historic Festival on April 28-30. After a full day of qualifying on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will each feature more than nine hours of racing with Saturday’s programme ending with a 90-minute race for pre-73 sports-prototypes, GT and touring cars.

Other headline races include Historic Formula 2, Historic Touring Car Challenge, the Stirling Moss Trophy, U2TC and the Super Touring Trophy. A programme of off-track attractions is planned to give visitors the chance to get a hands-on taste of historic motor sport.

Endangered species

A rare 1964 Cheetah will contest the Graham Hill Trophy race at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, giving the model what is believed to be its European race debut.

The GT car (below) is owned by Ian Burford and has been rebuilt by CCK Historic over the last three years. 

About 11 of the Chevrolet V8-engined spaceframe cars were completed by 1965 in the US by Bill Thomas. Thomas was a noted Chevrolet engine tuner and he conceived the Cheetah, with approval from General Motors, as a rival to the AC Cobra. A further batch of chassis was produced but a workshop fire in September 1965 halted production and Thomas turned his back on the project.

Daniel Lackey of CCK says that they have used period photographs to help with the rebuild of what arrived from the US as a bare chassis with a number of suspension components and some bodywork.

“It uses Corvette C2 running gear and that all dropped into place very well. We had a very good shakedown run at Brands Hatch recently. It has drum brakes all round, but it was stopping well,” said Lackey.

At least one car has been active in US historic racing but none is thought to have previously competed over here.

Bennett fields F1 six-pack

Seasoned racing car preparation specialist Colin Bennett will field up to six cars in this season’s FIA Masters Historic F1 Championship. Bennett has been active in the sport for close to half a century.

Bennett’s CGA Race Engineering team will prepare Tyrrell 010s for championship front-runner Loïc Deman (ex-Jarier/Daly) and Mike Cantillon (ex-Alboreto) along with Joaquin Folch’s ex-Piquet Brabham BT49, the Williams FW07C of Christophe d’Ansembourg (ex-Jones) and Mike Wrigley’s ex-Jones/Reutemann FW07D. 

Completing the squad will be US-based category newcomer Jonathan Holtzman who has bought the ex-Nico Bindels Lotus 87B. Holtzman has previously raced Formula Atlantic and sports cars in the US.

VSCC rebrands

The Vintage Sports-Car Club has refreshed the image of its racing programme by branding it ‘Formula Vintage’. In the year that the club marks the 80th anniversary of its first race meeting at Donington Park in July 1937, the new name is designed to introduce VSCC racing to a wider audience.

The calendar for Formula Vintage starts at Silverstone, which returns to a two-day format on April 22/23, and then takes in one-day race meetings at Oulton Park (June 10), Cadwell Park (July 23), Mallory Park (August 12) and Snetterton (September 17).

Feature races at each event include pre-1931 vintage racing cars and pre-1961 racing cars.

Rule-changers for FoS

‘Peaks of Performance – Motorsport’s Game-Changers’ is the theme of this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed (June 29-July 2). The event will celebrate racing machines that were so fast, powerful, expensive or complicated that the rules were changed to control them. The event will showcase unlimited sportscars, 1930s-era 750kg Grand Prix cars, Group B rally cars and ground-effect and turbo-powered F1 cars.

Euro racers head west

UK and Europe-based sports racing and production GT cars from 1947 to 1955 have been invited to race in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca in August. After several US-based cars competed in Europe last summer, a return trip is on offer for both the Rolex event and the pre-meeting on the same track a week earlier. Each event will feature two qualifying sessions and two races.

Obituaries

David Good

David Good, the 1961 British Hillclimb Champion who died recently aged 83, was a respected figure in the sport. Born without a right forearm, he was unable to get a race licence and turned to hillclimbing where he was outstanding. He was at the head of the sport for many years and won the 1961 title in his Cooper-Jap. He drove the car again recently at the re-opening of the Chateau Impney hill.

Keith Hall

Keith Hall, who has died aged 88, was a works sports car driver for Lotus in the late 1950s, only losing an F1 seat though injury. Hall’s racing began with a Cooper-Bristol. Joining the Border Reivers he raced in F3, then was recruited by Chapman,  winning the Index of Performance at Le Mans in 1957 sharing an Eleven with Cliff Allison. Sadly, the 1958 crash that snuffed out his F1 opportunity also ended his racing.