The Motor Sport Month - Historic News
Series to rival Masters
Two new historic race series will compete directly with existing classes from Masters Historic Racing in 2011.
A new series for pre-1960 touring cars from Julius Thurgood and a four-race series for World Endurance Championship cars from 1968-71, which will be organised by Jason Wright, will rival the Masters Oldies but Goldies and World Sportscar Masters classes respectively.
Wright has launched his new series following a date clash that left him without a prototype race for his Coppa Inter Europa meeting at Monza on June 3-5. Having settled on the 1968-71 era, Wright decided he should offer three more 250km races to make an overall 1000km contest across the season. The schedule will start at Donington Park on May 1/2 and includes races at Dijon and the Algarve.
Thurgood has been critical of race series promoters in the launch of two new series under his Historic Racing Drivers' Club. He will promote Touring Greats for pre-60 saloon cars and Grand Touring Greats for under 1500cc pre-66 productionmodified historic GTs.
Thurgood was the original creator of the Top Hat movement, which he later sold to Masters, and the new Touring Greats series is aimed at the same cars as Oldies but Goldies. The GT series is aligned to the Fordwater Trophy at Goodwood. Thurgood says he has yielded to pressure from competitors to revive the impetus for the pre-60 series. By placing the mantle of the HRDC around these competitors, I hope that a new focus and interest will be the catalyst of a revival for these unique racers."
Ralph Broad honoured
Drivers and friends of Ralph Broad came together last month to pay tribute to the saloon car tuning legend, who died in September.
Paul Stanworth, the current owner of the Team Broadspeed name, organised the gathering at the Red Barn in Bromsgrove on December 7. Some 80 people turned out to pay their respects, including former drivers John Fitzpatrick, Chris Craft David Hobbs, Vince Woodman, Tony Dron and Anita Taylor. Rivals who competed against Broadspeed such as Dave Brodie, Gordon Spice and John Rhodes were also present, as were Stuart Turner, John Davenport and Simon Pearson all of whom had engaged Broadspeed to race cars for their companies.
The tributes came from all sides and included Fitzpatrick acknowledging his debt to Ralph Broad for gaffing him involved in racing in the first place and also being there to help along most of his career path. The memories from the mechanics tended to centre on Broad's amazing ability to handle engineering detail, his inexhaustible profanity and his hair-raising driving skills on the road.
Plan to race touring car classics
Having previously concentrated on running race series for sports cars of the 1950s, Motor Racing Legends is expanding in 2011 by adding a series of races for Group 1,2 and Group A touring cars produced between 1977-85.
Duncan Wiltshire's organisation is aiming to capture cars like the TWR XJS, BMW 528, Alfa Romeo GTV6 and Ford Sierra XR4i, with the opening race planned for the new Donington Historic Festival on May 1/2.
"We believe a lot of the genuine race cars still exist, but they're not being brought out as there isn't a series catering exclusively for them," said Wiltshire.
RAC crews battle snow
Against a backdrop of the worst November weather for 20 years, Belgian crew Stefaan Stouf and Joris Erard scored a famous victory as the Roger Albert Clark Rally ran in incredibly tough conditions in Yorkshire, Northumberland and Scotland.
The Escort Mk1 crew made use of Dunlop snow tyres to battle through deep snow and fend off various challenges to win by over a minute when the survivors arrived in Carlisle after the toughest British rally for more than a decade.
While Dunlop provided the perfect tyre, Gwyndaf Evans (contracted to Pirelli) and Mark Higgins (contracted to DMack) dropped a lot of time on the opening night in Dalby forest in their Escort Mk2s. Higgins battled back to finish second, having overtaken Andrew Haddon's ex-Ari Vatanen Mk2 on the final leg.
"To win the RAC against Gwyndaf is an incredible result," said Stouf. Both Nick Elliott (Escort Mk2) and Rob Smith (Vauxhall Chevette) challenged for the lead before going off the road.
Historic event schedules taking shape
Details of some of 2011's major historic events are being finalised, including the second Chelsea AutoLegends.
September 4 is the date for what is being billed as an even bigger event at London's Royal Hospital Chelsea.
On June 17-19, Masters Historic Racing will manage the Grand Premio Historico do Porto, the biennial race meeting on the streets of the Portuguese coastal city.
The annual Cholmondeley Pageant of Power will be extended to three days over July 15-17, with Friday given over to manufacturer events and driver practice runs.
The Silverstone Classic on July 22-24 will include a return of Group C cars. Other feature events include the RAC Tourist Trophy for Historic Cars, GP Masters and a Big Beasts race for over 2-litre pre-66 touring cars.