Historic racing spectacle

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Sir,

The controversy over the replica syndrome in historic racing is had enough but P Andrews of Richmond is advocating something potentially disastrous.

Historic racing has become, despite some unavoidable irregularities, a marvellous and exciting reminder of the past before science took over. Thanks to JCB and others and now Lloyds & Scottish we have a wonderful series. Progress is inevitable and whilst recognising that Messrs Cooper, Chapman and Broadley pushed forward the frontiers of design they also changed the face of motor racing. For the worse in my opinion. Their tiny Climax powered cigar tubes, looked, sounded and proceeded in a singularly unspectacular fashion. Even the advent in latter years of large V8 powered cars failed to recapture that lost appeal.

Now the Cooper Monaco is gaining favour in the sports car class, the same problems apply. As I write this there are three entered for the VSCC Oulton Park round of the Lloyds & Scottish championship on June 14th, one reputedly to be driven by S Moss. Watching John Harper, one of the quickest historic racers, at Brands on May 11th nearly catch Marshall’s Lister was frustrating to say the least. Compared with the sliding, noisy dramatic Listers the easy quiet progress of the Cooper was like watching Sports 2000 without modern tyres. It is interesting to note that there is not a great difference in the potential of a quick Lister and a Cooper Monaco given that both are competitively driven. In 1959 and 1960 the best drivers all went over to the Cooper, Lotus and Lola devices excepting for the long distance classics, thus hastening the demise of the big front engined machines.

Heaven forbid that anyone “finds” a Lotus Monte Carlo or that will be the end of “The Spectacle” for the sports car class at least. The. rear engined cars are basically easier and less tiring to drive, less demanding on their brakes, hold the road better and are consequently far less dramatic to watch. Those in control should do something now or before you know it instead of a grid of big engined Listers you will get 6 or 7 rear engined Cooper and Lotus machines dominating every race and looking and sounding utterly boring. True the Lister has, because of its rugged durability and Jaguar engine, enjoyed such domination but at least it looks and sounds the part. More Astons and Masers would be preferable of course but money is the problem. Let us keep historic racing exciting and leave rear engined devices to modern grids.

PSJ Parker, Loughton, Essex