Historic racing news

Williams tops show bill

Eight F1 cars to celebrate Damon Hill’s 1996 title | by Paul Lawrence

One of the biggest displays of Williams F1 cars will be the focal point of this year’s Autosport International at the Birmingham NEC (January 14-17). A collection of eight cars spanning the 37-year story of the team will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Damon Hill’s world championship title, and his FW18 will have star billing. Hill will attend to be interviewed on the show’s main stage, while current Williams star Felipe Massa and the team’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds will also be present.

Other headline exhibits will be Williams Grand Prix Engineering’s first F1 car, the 1978 FW06-Cosworth, Nigel Mansell’s title-winning FW14B and the 2015 Williams Martini Racing FW37. To cap the display, the team’s motorhome will also be constructed next to the stage. This will be the first time it has been set up away from a race track.

Claire Williams, deputy team principal, said: “We get such great support from the fans and can’t wait to be able to give something back at Autosport International. We’ve got some incredible features lined up, and it is a great opportunity to get close to some of our most famous racing cars.”

Another key display titled ‘When we were kings’ will feature famous cars and bikes from the sport’s history. Motorcycling will be celebrated by a range of 500cc GP machines and a visit from 1987 champion Wayne Gardner. Leading cars will include a Richard Lloyd Racing Porsche 956 Group C car, March 717 and McLaren M8C/D Can-Am cars and an ex-Ronnie Peterson Lotus 72 Grand Prix car.

Motorbike ace and TV presenter Guy Martin is also scheduled to attend and will perform in the live action arena.

HSCC hits 50

The Historic Sports Car Club will launch its 50th anniversary season with a special display at Autosport International. This includes the Jaguar D-type in which Neil Corner won the club’s inaugural race.

The formation of the HSCC stemmed from a May 1966 race at Castle Combe for sports-racing cars of the 1950s, initially named the Griffiths Formula.

The ASI display will also include cars from across the club’s 50 years of racing.

The 2016 HSCC season will open with a two-day celebration meeting at Castle Combe (April 16/17).

Can-Am set for hat-trick

British fans will get three chances to see Can-Am cars racing in 2016 following the announcement that Masters Historic Racing will run races for the mighty sports-racing cars at Brands Hatch (May 28/29) and Donington Park (July 2/3).

As the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Can-Am category is celebrated, the extra two events will provide a warm-up for the star race at the Silverstone Classic at the end of July.

Historic racer Andy Newall is aiming to take part in his McLaren M8F. “These cars are fabulous to drive; they reward the driver and make a great sound,” said Newall. “Fans will be treated to some very spectacular racing.”

Tin-top theme for Classic

The 2016 Silverstone Classic will feature a ‘Tin Top Sunday’ on July 31, the final day of the world’s biggest classic racing festival. Multiple touring car grids will be part of the programme with regulars such as the Super Touring Trophy and U2TC grids being joined by a race for over 2-litre pre-1966 cars and a new 1970s and 1980s grid, when cars such as Ford Capris and Rover Vitesses will compete in a two-driver race. Experienced promoter Duncan Wiltshire will organise the new event.

Revival in Brabham tribute

The life of Sir Jack Brabham will be one of the key celebrations at the Goodwood Revival (September 9-11). The Revival will mark the 50th anniversary of the Australian becoming the only driver to win the world championship in a car bearing his own name.

Brabham, who died in 2014, had one of the last races of a career spanning more than 50 years during the 2004 Revival. Single-seaters, saloons and sports cars from his career as a driver, team owner and constructor will join on-track demonstrations over the weekend.

The main theme for the Goodwood Festival of Speed (June 24-26) will be ‘Full throttle, the endless pursuit of power’. The event will also celebrate the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, the 50th anniversary of the first Can-Am season and the 40th anniversary of James Hunt’s 1976 world championship victory.

Town festival planned

The Bromyard Speed Festival is a new event planned for the centre of the Herefordshire town on Sunday April 3.

Race, rally and classic cars will be split into 10 groups of up to 12 cars to be led around a circuit behind a safety car. The circuit will be live from 10am to 4.30pm, and access will be free for spectators. The Festival will celebrate the town’s motoring heritage and its place in the early story of the Morgan Motor Co.

Killarney cancelled

Torrential rain from Storm Desmond forced the cancellation of the Killarney Historic Rally in early December, after record levels of rainfall left the special stages in south-west Ireland flooded.

The organisers worked hard to try and run a shortened rally, but some parts of the route, including sections of the famous Molls Gap stage, were under several feet of water. The event had attracted its best-ever historic field and crews were at the Killarney start when the event was called off on the morning of the rally.

It is hoped to reschedule the event for early in 2016.