The Motor Sport Month - Historic News
Can-Ams at Canada meet
The history of Can-Am racing will be celebrated at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Canada next July with a race dedicated to early Cam-Am cars during the Sommet des Légendes.
In 1966 the first Can-Am race was held at the track, then known as St Jovite. The Lola T70s of John Surtees and Dan Gurney that took the front row 47 years ago will be back at the track for the July 12-14 event.
"We're inviting all Can-Am cars, especially the early cars of 1966-68, and hope to have two Can-Am grids," said organiser Cris Vandagriff.
Six-wheeler on display
The remarkable March 2-4-0 six-wheeled Formula 1 car is on show at the Donington Grand Prix Collection this winter. Never raced in period, the four-wheel drive system was mated to a March 751 chassis as a design exercise by March founder Robin Herd.
Over the past two seasons, owner Taff Smith has developed the car into a viable racer. Driven by his son Jeremy, it has enjoyed strong runs at events such as the Silverstone Classic. In the rain at the 2012 OuIton Park Gold Cup, the six-wheeler finished second in the Derek Bell Trophy race to record its first podium finish.
Costs scare for race series
Senior members of the European historic racing community are hopeful that a workable solution will be found to a potential hike in costs for running race series on an international basis in 2013 and beyond.
Plans from the FIA to levy new charges for series that run in more than one country caused alarm along many organisers of historic racing as most premier series have a pan-European schedule. The fees could run into thousands of pounds, with a sliding scale based on the power-to-weight ratio of the cars involved.
However, John Hughes, chairman of the FIA Historic Commission, has been working hard to resolve the situation and will now make recommendations to the World Motor Sports Council in December.
Hughes and other members of the FIA Historic Commission recently met with a range of leading figures from the historic motor racing world. Among them were the founder members of a newly formed organisation, the European Historic Motorsport Association: Bob Berridge (Group C), Ron Maydon (Masters), Carol Spagg (U2TC), Duncan Wiltshire (Motor Racing Legends) and Patrick Peter (Peter Auto).
"It was an extremely informative meeting," said Berridge. "There was an enthusiastic spirit to engage fully with the historic community and understand our concerns."
Although the signs are that a solution will be found for historic racing, the new fees structure could still have a significant impact upon contemporary racing. Championships such as the British Formula 3 series could be adversely affected, given that the calendar includes a number of races outside the UK.
Donovan top after thriving Group C season
Mike Donovan, a British F3 racer in the mid-1980s, is the 2012 Group C champion after a season packed with highs and lows in his C2category Spice 5E88C.
The Gloucestershirebased racer clinched the title with another category victory in the final race of the season at Imola, out-scoring the Sauber Mercedes of the C1 champion Gareth Evans, who missed the final round in Italy.
Donovan's car was badly damaged in an accident during the Le Mans support race in June and it took a mighty team effort to prepare it for the following race at the Silverstone Classic.
More than 40 drivers scored points during the season, which bodes well for the future of the category.
The provisional 2013 Group C calendar includes a return to the Silverstone Classic (July 26-28) as well as the Donington Historic Festival (May 3-5). Other tracks on the event schedule include Barcelona, Spa, the Narburgring, Paul Ricard and Mugello.
HRDC to prune races
The Historic Racing Drivers' Club has dramatically cut its racing programme for 2013 after suffering significant losses during 2012 because of grids that proved smaller than anticipated.
The club's pre-63 Touring Cars, MGB 50th and Grand Touring Greats race series all underperformed in terms of grid size, and only the Pre-60 Touring Greats delivered viable fields.
To counter the losses, HRDC's founder, Julius Thurgood, has created a new partnership with the Aston Martin Owners' Club to run a five-race series for the Touring Greats. Cars from the other three classes will be mopped up in a three-race series titled HRDC Allstars.
Boucles to battle on
The organisers of the Boucles de Spa, the biggest historic rally in Europe, have pledged to run the event again on February 16, 2013, despite running up losses measured in tens of thousands of euros in 2012.
Charges from local councils for the costs of road repairs plunged the event into a heavy loss as a severe freeze and then rapid thaw broke up the asphalt in places.
"After much careful consideration, we have nevertheless decided to try another year," said Pierre Delettre of the RAC Spa. The 2013 entry will be capped at 300 cars with entry fees rising to €950 for the Classic category and €1500 for Legends entries.
Historic triple family podium
Motor racing history was made at the Algarve Classic Festival in October when all three podium places in the Stirling Moss Trophy race went to father-and-son driver pairings.
The final race of the season for pre-1961 sports cars was a two-hour, two-driver race running into the dusk, and winners were Gabriel and Dion Kremer in their Lotus 17 Prototype, with the Lister Knobbly of Barry and Tony Wood close behind in second. Completing the podium was the Lister-Chevrolet of Mark and James Gibbon.
"We're not aware of it ever happening before," said Duncan Wiltshire of series organisers Motor Racing Legends.
Wiltshire was also central to a dramatic finish in the Pre-War Sports Car race as the Aston Martin Speed of David Allen beat the Bentley that Wiltshire had taken over from Clive Morley to the flag by a tenth of a second.