Video: HGPCA Historic Race of the Year (56 minutes, HGPCA, c/o Totnes Motor Museum, Totnes, Devon. £49.95).
October’s 50th anniversary of the last Grand Prix at Donington Park was marked by an adventurous promotion by the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association — nothing less than a 100-mile race, the most demanding challenge most of these cars had faced since their youth. The race was very successful, with full grids and close racing, justifying the equally bold decision by Peter Hannen, race organiser and entrant, to back a professional video of the weekend. But this tape is more than just a record of some fine old-car racing. It opens with evocative footage of the crowds streaming into Donington for the 1938 GP, and continues by interlacing the pre-war Mercedes and Auto-Union battle with a tour of the paddock for the commemorative race 50 years later.
This makes for an informative and gripping background to the spread of Grand Prix cars owned and run by the Association’s members, from T35 Bugatti to Maserati 250F — no less than eight of them entered for the 100 Miles. The race itself is well covered, with five camera stations to give a complete picture of Neil Corner and Willie Green having their epic Maserati battle in the first heat, but switching to a more general picture for Sunday’s action. The excellent atmosphere comes over well, and it is a pleasure to hear Green and Corner talking with relish about the thrill of it all, instead of the poker-faced professionals in today’s motorsport.
A great hour of Grand Prix cars being used hard, but the £50 tag would seem high if it were not for one other element: a few glorious minutes of early-Sixties film from a camera mounted on J-M Fangio’s 250F as he does some laps of the disused Modena circuit. Taken from the film Tribute to Fangio and rarely seen today, these clips form a compelling highlight to a fine documentary. Only 200 copies of this privately-backed project have been recorded, which leaves some over for the public when the HGPCA members have collected theirs. They are available from the Totnes Motor Museum, whose proprietor Richard Pilkington is Chairman of the Association. GC