It had to happen. A major manufacturer has entered legal correspondence with the maker of a fibreglass replica of one of the manufacturer’s current models. Many replica makers are technically in breach copyright of the designs they are producing. A car such as the Naylor TF 1700, an MG TF copy, is produced with the active encouragement of ARG. The makers of Cobra replicas seem to have the tacit support of AC Cars who apparently take the view that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and, besides, the original Cobra is long of production.
The point of contention seems to be when replica makers begin producing copies currently produced models from serious manufacturers. We understand that not only are the manufacturers concerned upset these breaches of copyright (and who can blame them?) but the serious elements among the kit car industry feel that the image of kit cars is being damaged by some replica makers.
* * *
Renault has revived its association with one-marque racing and has put together a highly professional package worth £100,000 for the Renault 5 Elf Turbo UK Cup. It is an 11-round series using the 115 bhp turbocharged Renault 5 GT, examples of which will be made available to competitors some months in advance of the car’s official ‘UK launch in the summer. Ten of the rounds will support good quality British meetings while the final will be at Vallelunga in October. Among inducements offered to drivers are a generous discount on the cars, free racing overalls and free transportation to Vallelunga. The prize money and bonus schemes are generous and, indeed, it is theoretically possible to earn £25,000 from the season.
Technical and tyre support will be available at all meetings and, very sensibly, the series will be policed by two RAC scrutineers who will receive training in France.
* * *
This year’s Grovewood Awards have gone to: 1st Mark Blundell an eighteen year old who, in his first season of racing, recorded 24 pole positions, 21 fastest laps and 25 wins, all in FF1600. 2nd, Andy Wallace, 23, who was a front runner in F2000 last year and who hopes to drive in F3 this year. 3rd, Will Hoy, a former karter who came into car racing in 1982 at the comparatively late age of 28 and who has been outstandingly successful in Clubmans racing. Special commendations, which do not bar the recipients from full awards in the future, went to Jonathan Bancroft, 21, who won both junior FF1600 championships (beating Mark Blundell on both occasions) and Damon Hill, son of Graham. Bancroft and Hill finished fourth and fifth in last year’s Formula Ford Festival and were the first two Britons home.
* * *
Audi has now completed its range offering Quattro models for all configurations. Full details and driving impressions next month.
* * *
More sanity in FF1600! Minister Racing Engines Ltd, following consultations with the RAC, has taken the responsible step of not offering its recently developed Ignition Management System for racing. This is a move aimed at trying to stem escalating costs in the formula.
* * *
Hans Mezger, the engineer behind the Porsche-TAG F1 engine has been internationally recognised for his achievements and has already received awards of merit from Italy, Germany and France.
* * *
Another famous name to return to WEC racing this year will be Chevron which has a new car, designed by Paul Fox, under construction at its Winchester headquarters.
* * *
Systime, the leading British computer company which sponsored the Tyrrell team last year, has entered its motor racing involvement in a particularly imaginative way. Systime has made it possible for Steve Sydenham to operate the equally imaginative Racing for Britain scheme on a full-time basis.
Racing for Britain, which will now be known as Systime Racing for Britain, has been of incalculable value in furthering the careers of some British drivers, notably Jonathan Palmer and Martin Brundle. The greatest compliment one can pay the scheme is that its professionalism has been such that one would never guessed that hitherto it was run on a part-time basis by a small group of dedicated enthusiasts.
* * *
Buoyed by its lndycar successes, and the orders which have poured in as a result, Lola Cars Ltd has announced that it will run a two-car works team in F3000. This is an unusual step for the company which, in the past, has preferred to form relationships with outside teams so the cars have been works-assisted rather than works-run. This departure from Lola’s established practice is an indication of how seriously production racing car makers are treating F3000.
Another manufacturer to be considering F3000 is Team Spirit which hopes to run a car alongside its F1 entry,
* * *
The announcement that Yamaha is to contest the Japanese F2 Championship this year with an all-new V6 engine naturally leads one to speculate that, if all goes well, an F1 engine will eventually follow. Remember how Honda cautiously entered F2 in 1980 with a single Ralt driven by Nigel Mansell for a few races?
It may also mean that the company is considering entering the production car market.
Some Random Reflections on the 1920s I was fascinated to read, in your September issue, the "Memories of the Austin Whippet", as I cut my internal combustion teeth on the…
The Tipo 118S Fiat 1500 Cabriolet
Engine; Four cylinders, 78 X 78 mm. (1,491 c.c.). 80 b.h.p. (90 S.A.E. h.p.) at 6,000 r.p.m. Overhead valves operated by twin overhead camshafts. 8.68-to-1 compression-ratio. Gear ratios: First, 13.27…
My memory of Peter Collins involves an 850cc Dyna Panhard, which had been brought over for him to drive in a Silverstone Touring car race. I remember my excitement when…