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Tour Britannia launched
Round-Britain historic challenge aims to match Euro extravaganzas
A new historic event will provide Britain with a rival to the Tour Auto and Tour of Spain. The four-day Tour Britannia in September 2005 will be for pre-1976 cars and will include races and tarmac stages.
The brainchild of Alec Poole and Fred Gallagher, it will cater for a maximum of 180 cars by offering a Touring Regularity class as well as the more competitive groups.
The Tour will run under the wing of the BRDC and Silverstone will feature heavily. Cadwell Park and Cornbury Park are also on its provisional schedule. "We want this to become an annual event," explained Gallagher, who is also Clerk of the Course for Wales Rally GB, Britain's round of the World Rally Championship. "It's going to be a prestigious event and we want to organise it to the highest standards. We are investing an awful lot of money in this and so it has to run and run!"
Gallagher is eager for pre-war cars to take part.
"The BRDC is proud to support Tour Britannia and we believe it will be every bit as good as the events in France and Spain," said BRDC Chairman Ray Bellm, who immediately confirmed his intention to contest the Tour in his Ford GT40.
After scrutineering in Stratford-upon-Avon on Sunday September 4, the competition proper begins on Monday with sections at Belvoir Castle, Cadwell Park and Manby Showground. Tuesday will include two races at Silverstone and two stages at Cornbury Park, while Wednesday provisionally takes in Snetterton and two other venues; however, Wednesday's route could swing to the west rather than the east. Thursday will include a race on Silverstone's Historic GP track before the event finishes opposite the BRDC Clubhouse.
TGP Winter Series ?
A Winter Series for Thoroughbred Grand Prix cars is under investigation for the end of the 2005 season.
"It's very much speculative," said organiser Oli McCrudden. "We are looking at logistics and practicalities for a separate series to run beyond the 2005 season."
Regions under consideration to host the proposed programme include the Middle East, Australasia and South America. One of the aims of a winter series would be to encourage US-based cars and teams to compete regularly against their European counterparts.
The 2004 championship started in Bahrain, but the 2005 TGP calendar will remain within Europe and has the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on its provisional schedule.
New for the main 2005 series will be four double-headers, providing 12 races within eight events.
GPM acquires GP4
The European Sports Prototype Trophy for Group 4 cars (above) has been acquired by Grand Prix Masters following a deal between Jonathan Baker of Group 4 and Ron Maydon of GPM.
Maydon plans rapid combined growth for the twinned series as well as other acquisitions of historic championships.
It is likely that GP Masters and Group 4 will share a number of events in 2005, and have the same calendar for 2006. Pau, Silverstone, Dijon and Spa are already on the 2005 schedule for both.
Maydon has pledged to maintain the same classes for Group 4: "We want to show owners and drivers they can count on excellent facilities and services."
Group 4 founder Jonathan Baker will continue to race in the series and play an advisory role in future developments.
Fredy steps back
Fredy Kumschick is taking a year out of racing in order to concentrate on running the Jochen Rindt F2 Trophy in 2005. The Swiss ace will also run the TGP Brabham BT49 of Christian Gläsel.
"F2 looks really good," said Fredy. "We have a good calendar, starting at Pau, and we hope to have one or two meetings in Britain." The Oulton Park Gold Cup meeting is one of his preferred UK slots.
Kumschick will also enter his ex-Fittipaldi Lotus 69 for guest racers.
Dundrod plans TT Festival
The 50th anniversary of the final Dundrod TT will be celebrated during a four-day festival in June 2005. Highlight of the event will be a pursuit sprint for 1950s sportscars over the full 7-mile circuit on Saturday June 18.
"This is a unique event for this important anniversary," said organiser Bill McMahon. Every competitor will get two timed runs, each over three laps of the famous circuit near Lisburn in Northern Ireland.
Although the daunting circuit has not been used for cars since the tragic 1955 event, it remains in annual use for the Ulster Motorcycle Grand Prix.
"There's been one slight change to the track since 1955," said McMahon. "We can take up to 80 cars, but probably between 50 and 60 would be the ideal number."
In the days preceding the pursuit sprint a series of displays and parades will be held in Lisburn and the organisers plan to have a selection of GP cars taking part in demonstration runs.
It is hoped that Sir Stirling Moss, a three-time TT winner at the track (1950-51 and '53), will attend.
Mt Stuart axed
Problems getting visitors to the Isle of Bute by ferry have led to the cancellation of the Mount Stuart Motorsport Classic. The 2004 event was dropped when the difficulties of mass travel to the island became insurmountable.
Now the organisers have decided that they can no longer support the meeting following a transport study. "We have become a victim of our own success", said event founder and former F1 racer Johnny Bute. "We had hoped to find a way to overcome the problems of staging such a large event on Bute, but there are no obvious solutions."
Champ in Hesketh
2003 TGP champion Mike Wrigley has acquired the ex-Rupert Keegan Hesketh 308E from Rolf Lamberty and plans to campaign it in the 2005 series.
After racing his Tyrrell 012 for seven seasons Wrigley is putting that car up for sale in order to concentrate on the 308E, which he may also use in selected Grand Prix Masters events.
Alongside the Hesketh, Wrigley will drive an Austin A35 in Top Hat saloon car races: "I just intend to have some fun in the A35." He previously used a Lotus Cortina in classic saloon events.
RAC to run in 2005
Building on the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the 2004 event, De Lacy Motor Club has already stated its intention to run the Roger Albert Clark Rally again in 2005.
The four-day event, aimed primarily at pre-1981 cars, drew only a small entry this year but big crowds packed the forest special stages in the North of England and southern Scotland.
The event will again be based in Sheffield and will start on Saturday November 19. More stage miles, increased spectator stages on the Sunday and a reduced entry fee are the main targets for the second running.
The route is again likely to centre on the Borders region, although other areas of forest could be used subject to the annual allocations made by the Forestry Commission.