Historic racing news

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F1 set for summer boom
Grand Prix cars centre-stage in busy historic season | by Paul Lawrence

The resurgence of racing for Historic Formula 1 cars will reach a new peak this summer when a combined total of nearly 80 cars race with Masters Historic Racing in the UK and the USA.

A new record for the 3-litre F1 era will be set at Silverstone Classic (July 24-26) when an incredible grid of 43 cars from the 1970s and early 1980s contests a pair of races for the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship. The Silverstone event will be the fourth of eight on the 2015 schedule. The field includes an unprecedented eight Williams chassis and six Tyrrells. “We hope to be presenting our biggest-ever grid,” said Rachel Bailey from Masters.

Meanwhile, the boom in historic Formula 1 racing in Europe is being mirrored in North America and a 35-strong grid will contest the Monterey Motorsports Reunion event at Laguna Seca (August 13-16). The grid for the Masters USA event will include Chris McAllister’s Ferrari 312T, European visitors Greg Thornton and Tommy Dreelan in March 761s as well as four-times 500cc World Motorcycle champion Eddie Lawson in his Wolf WR4.

Back at Silverstone, current BTCC stars Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden will return to historic racing for the Classic. They will share Neal’s Ford Lotus Cortina in the U2TC race for pre-1966 up to 2-litre touring cars after making their historic debut at the 2014 event.

“The main aim is to go there and have a bit of fun, although of course by nature ‘Flash’ and I are both competitive and we will want to do well,” said Neal. “In fact, we probably need to go out and do a bit of homework with the Cortina, because we’re certainly not underestimating the level of opposition in the U2TC class.”

Giacomelli F2 restored

The ex-Bruno Giacomelli BMW-powered March 782 Formula 2 car has recently been restored and will now go on show at the BMW museum.

The 1978 car has been rebuilt by Cars International in Hungerford and had a recent shakedown run at Silverstone. Paul Osborn from Cars International gave it a first run. “It is perfect. Unlike many cars from this era it feels a part of you,” he said. “The engine is brilliant.”

Marc Surer, team-mate to Giacomelli in the BMW Junior Team that season, was expected to drive the car at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed. Giacomelli and Surer finished one-two in the European Formula 2 Championship that season.

Stars line up for Eifel

Former World Rally champions Stig Blomqvist, Timo Salonen, Walter Röhrl and Hannu Mikkola will all drive during the Eifel Rallye Festival in Germany (July 23-25). The champions will drive cars of the type that featured in their career, with Salonen due to demonstrate the Peugeot 205 T16 he took to the 1985 title.

The WRC victors will join former European Rally Champions Sandro Munari, Yves Loubet and Robert Droogmans in the 150-strong entry for the annual celebration of rallying history, which is based in the town of Daun. Munari will be reunited with the Lancia Stratos that he took to victory on the 1977 Monte Carlo Rally.

A Dragon at Donington

Theo Paphitis, one of the businessmen from the Dragon’s Den TV series, has started historic racing in the Ford Anglia previously campaigned by Celia Stevens.

The Cyprus-born businessman and long-time car enthusiast made his debut in the Historic Touring Car Championship race at Donington Park. He qualified last and finished at the tail of the field. Paphitis, 55, then raced with the HRDC at Brands Hatch and finished mid-field in the All Stars race.

He will continue to gain race experience this summer, fitting races in around his busy work and family schedule. Ultimately, racing at the Goodwood Revival Meeting is one of his ambitions.

Sunbeam back to Pendine

Ninety years after Sir Malcolm Campbell became the first person to travel at 150mph, his World Land Speed Record run will be recreated at Pendine Sands, South Wales.

On Tuesday July 21, Campbell’s 350hp Sunbeam will complete a low-speed demonstration run at Pendine, driven by his grandson Don Wales. It will be 90 years to the day since Campbell set the new record in 1925 at the wheel of the Sunbeam, now tended by the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

“I cannot believe that I will get this fantastic opportunity to drive this iconic machine on Pendine Sands,” said Wales.

Behra Maserati tops bill

Maserati 250F chassis 2518 will be one of the star entries at the Chateau Impney hillclimb on July 11/12. The ex-Jean Behra car will be campaigned by Oliver Way in the first revival of the event last held in the 1960s.

The 250F will take on eight ERAs in a rare gathering of the Bourne-built pre-war racing cars, with Mac Hulbert leading the way in the ex-Raymond Mays R4D. The ERA pack includes GP1 in the hands of Duncan Ricketts.

The capacity entry has quality to match the quantity and includes Willie Green (Jaguar D-type), Julian Bronson (Scarab) and Adam Jones (Chevron B8).

* The Austin Healey Sprite in which 1969 BTCC champion Alec Poole first made his name is back in action this year and will compete at the Chateau Impney hillclimb. ‘TZA 238’ was used by Poole in the early 1960s in speed events, races and rallies and was later raced by James Thacker in the 1970s. After an accident at Silverstone in 1977, it sat unrepaired for 35 years until Thacker set about rebuilding it in 2012.

* The third Shere hillclimb will be held on Sunday September 6 on a mile-long course on Staple Lane near Guildford. This non-competitive demonstration event is expected to attract around 135 participants in a range of classic and performance cars. The day starts at 9.30am and each car will complete three runs up the hill.

* A new classic rally in June 2016 will recreate the original Paris-Vienna road race of 1902 as a regularity rally for vintage and classic cars. The 2016 Paris-Vienna will run in the spirit of the original city-to-city race, an epic 890-mile contest which included a crossing of the Austrian Alps. The new event will run over six days from June 13-18.

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