Racing’s classic appeal

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Current page

181

Current page

182

Current page

183

Current page

184

Current page

185

Current page

186

Current page

187

Current page

188

Current page

189

Current page

190

Current page

191

Current page

192

Current page

193

Current page

194

Current page

195

Current page

196

Current page

197

Current page

198

Current page

199

Current page

200

Current page

201

Current page

202

Current page

203

Current page

204

Fancy getting on the grid yourself? Historic motor racing has been one of the sport’s biggest growth areas across the past two decades, with events throughout the UK and Europe but it can sometimes be an intimidating place to get started in.

However, there are some key strengths to this form of motor sport that have remained true, regardless of the level of competition you’re aiming at.

Motor Sport caught up with some of the leading names from within historic motor racing to find out some of the benefits of this, unique, form of competition.

Variety is king

For anybody fresh into historic motor racing, one of the first things they’ll notice is that almost any given grid is made up of machinery or all shapes, sizes, colours, capacities, countries and marques.

“Historic racing cars have identities, you’re not just looking at the same shape in different colours, like you do with a lot of modern categories,” says Alan Jones, competitions secretary of the Historic Sports Car Club – the UK’s largest classic racing organiser.

“With historic grids you’re looking at the shapes and forms, the model and the different engines and you have a depth most other parts of the sport can’t match. Many cars also have interesting histories, whether that involves who built them, who raced them or what they competed in. You don’t get that with modern cars.

“There’s also often an emotional connection between the cars and their drivers. If you have a particular passion for the sport, being able to drive cars associated with the heroes of the past or your personal heroes – such as a Lotus Cortina similar to one Jim Clark raced – it’s very special. If you have a versatile car, like a Lotus Elan or MG B, it opens the door to so many different events, and many are very prestigious – such as the Silverstone Classic, Spa Six Hours, Hockenheim Historic or things like the Monaco Historique and Le Mans Classic at the higher end. You can pick and choose where you want to race around the UK and Europe, depending on your budget.”

It can be affordable

The Historic Racing Drivers’ Club is one of the UK’s newer organisers, and opts to run only series instead of championships, with the thinking being that the lower-pressure environment encourages more relaxed and welcoming racing.

“A lot of drivers who come and race with us get connected to their cars via the classic clichés like ‘My dad used to take me to school in one of these’ or ‘My parents once had one of these and I loved it” says HRDC head Julius Thurgood. “Historic racing tends to be an emotive thing.

“I always suggest for newcomers to buy a car, instead of build one, purely because they will usually get it for less than it would cost to build from scratch in many cases, and at that point it’s very unlikely to lose any money, making it more of an investment. Plus, it also saves the hassle.

“If you do your research, it’s quite easy to buy a proven, reliable car with a strong history that will take a lot of the stress out of getting started in the sport and allow you to just enjoy the racing.

“The cars also offer good sustainability. With a lot of modern series you can pay a lot for a car, and it can be obsolete in a year or two and lose a load of value. For example, if you buy something like an MG B – which I still believe to be one of the most affordable and accessible historic cars going – it does the job, is easy to run and I know people who have run them for 20 years and they’re still competitive, mostly because the regulations rarely change.

“Sure, the top level of historic racing can be hugely expensive with things like Goodwood and the Le Mans Classic, with star cars and star names, but that’s not really what historic motor racing is about in my mind. This side of the sport doesn’t have to cost a fortune.”

Jones agrees on the grounds of cost limiting, adding that club competition in the UK can be very good value.

“We get a mixture of entries running the car with a team, which obviously costs more, or running the cars themselves, which is more cost-effective,” he adds. “The paddock is very open, with drivers often happy to be up to their elbows in axle grease and chat about their cars as they become a source of pride, whatever the level they’re raced at.

“You’ll also find that most of the popular cars are very sustainable because many spare parts are reproduced new, so it removes the expensive rarity factor. If you go for the mass-market cars, so to speak, the costs aren’t much different to running a modern vehicle.”

The skills it teaches

“The fact the cars handle so differently makes them a different challenge for racers as they put the driver element back into the competition,” enthuses Jones on this subject. “A few of our HSCC members have dabbled in modern racing and a few have progressed well in it, but they usually always come back to the historic classes because of the feeling the cars give you.

“With modern racing much of it is about hitting the right window in qualifying with the tyres in perfect state, and often where you’ve qualified is where you’ll be for most of your weekend. Historic racing is very different in that you can start at the back and finish anywhere, and have some real battles along the way, which I think is probably the biggest draw.”

The HRDC happened on to something of a historic racing sensation when it created its Academy series in 2014. It used Austin A30/35 saloons with limited modifications and can be credited with bringing a large number of new drivers into historic racing. The formula even hosted a celebrity race during the 2017 Silverstone Classic.

Thurgood says: “The Academy is our way of bringing new drivers through and it got elevated because the cars were so accessible. I designed them to be a car that you have to learn to drive. They have no limited-slip differential which means you have to judge the wheelspin and they only have 75bhp, so they can’t get you into too much trouble. They are also easy to maintain and build and the Austin just epitomises the historic genre and the sense of fun and competition. We got up to 80 cars at one point.”

Where to start

For drivers looking to go historic racing on a budget, there are a number of cost-effective options that will allow you to get behind the wheel of a classic without reaching too deep into your pocket.

“Classic Clubmans is perhaps our lowest-cost series,” says Jones about the HSCC’s current portfolio of championships. “The cars have been in owners’ hands for many years and they all use common engines, like the Ford Kent X-Flow. They look like a modified Caterham, but because they run slicks and wings, they can lap as quickly as a two-litre classic F3 car, but cost far less.

“Roadsports has also been a huge success, because we keep the regulations tight. The cars are production-based and use a road tyre. With that series you’re buying into a piece of history, and they are cars that usually you can drive on the road, too.”


Some to consider

Four of the most accessible UK series

Swinging Sixties (CSCC)

The Classic Sports Car Club has been one of the big success stories of club racing, running only series instead of championships. Swinging Sixties is one of its most popular offerings, catering for 1950s and ’60s sports, GT and production cars. Races are 40-minutes with a pitstop, allowing drivers to share. This is its 16th year.

Roadsports (HSCC)

A runaway success, Roadsports is now a series split in two to allow an even greater variety of cars. It has grids for production or GT cars from 1947-1969 (Historic Roadsports) plus its ’70s Roadsports variant. Cars must remain road-legal and you even get extra championship points for driving your car to rounds.

Gentlemen Drivers (Masters)

While aiming at the higher end of the market with many rounds held around Europe, Masters still offers some accessible options. Its Gentlemen Drivers class offers mini-endurance races for pre-1966 GT cars. Cars range from high-ticket Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsches down to more available MGs, Fords and Austins.

HRDC Allstars (HRDC)

For Pre-66 GT and Touring Cars the Allstars offers great variety and a low-pressure series-only format. Races are often 30-minute sprints with meetings typically lasting just a single day. Rounds are usually run alongside the HRDC Coys Trophy, allowing drivers the chance to enter a second race should they wish.

You may also like

Related products