Historic racing

Big plans for category’s landmark anniversary

Champions from throughout the history of Formula Ford will gather at the Legends of Brands Hatch meeting on July 1/2 to celebrate 50 years of the category. The biggest ever gathering of Formula Ford winners will headline a season of celebrations. The first Formula Ford race ran at the Kent track on July 2, 1967. The inaugural race attracted a 20-car field and was won by Ray Allen in a Lotus 51.

The Historic Sports Car Club has launched a bid to get as many former Formula Ford champions as possible to the Grand Prix circuit meeting. More than 30 championships for Formula Ford 1600s have run in the UK and the gathering will also include winners of the Formula Ford Festival, the Walter Hayes Trophy and the Castle Combe Carnival.

“Our calculations suggest that as many as 500 drivers have won Formula Ford titles over 50 years and we’re keen to invite them to Brands Hatch in July,” said Grahame White of the HSCC. “We’d love to get a large crowd of Formula Ford stars to join in this unique celebration.”

Race Retro stage expands

The live rally stage at Race Retro will be bigger than ever in 2017, when it is expanded to include as many as 70 cars. The event, which is sponsored by Motor Sport, takes place at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry, on February 24-26. 

On Saturday and Sunday of the show, 1980s rally cars will be in action with the ‘Rallying with Group B’ movement and will be joined by historic rally cars from before and after the Group B era.

Clark tribute returns

A longer, tougher event is planned for the return of the Roger Albert Clark Rally in 2017.

After a two-year sabbatical, the event will cover between 250 and 300 stage miles over four days from November 10-13. As before, the rally will focus on historic cars with a section for modern, two-wheel-drive machinery. Event manager Colin Heppenstall is planning a route that covers the forests of Yorkshire, Kielder and Scotland.

Heppenstall said: “A lot of people didn’t think the event would be reinstated, but we always had the intention of bringing it back to how it all started back in 2004.”

For the first time, the regulations will allow the use of subjective route notes and the entry fee is expected to be in the region of £3000.

Historic fixtures set

Eight European festivals will make up the 2017 calendar for Masters Historic Racing. The two UK dates are at Brands Hatch (May 27/28) and the Silverstone Classic (July 21-23), while others include the Spa Classic (September 22-24) and the new Grand Prix de France Historique at Magny-Cours (June 30-July 2).

Meanwhile, the Historic Sports Car Club’s race programme will be capped by events on the Brands Hatch (July 1/2) and Silverstone (May 20/21) Grand Prix circuits. The Club’s eight-event championship schedule starts in April with a return to Donington Park and concludes with the two-day Finals Meeting at Silverstone in October.

Additions at Goodwood

Achille Varzi, a star of 1930s Grand Prix racing, will be celebrated at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting in March with a race for pre-war French and Italian Grand Prix cars and Voiturettes. Varzi scored most of his successes through the 1930s, notably for Alfa Romeo, and later returned to racing after the war. He died in 1948 after an accident in the Swiss Grand Prix.

Other new races at the March 19/20 meeting will include the Pierpoint Cup for Pre ’67 American V8 saloon cars. Archie Scott Brown will be remembered by a new race for all models of Lister sports cars that raced up to 1966, while the Weslake Cup caters for A-Series-engined sports and GT cars that raced between 1958 and 1966.

More A35 frolics

A new celebrity race for Austin A30s and A35s will be a key feature of the 2017 Silverstone Classic (July 21-23). Up to 50 cars from the HRDC Academy series, as seen at the 2016 Goodwood Revival, will contest a two-part race, with the celebrities racing on Saturday and the car owners taking to the grid on Sunday.

The celebrity drivers will be split into teams based on their profession and each team will have a racing driver as a captain, including Gordon Shedden, Jackie Oliver, Andrew Jordan and Robb Gravett. Confirmed celebrities include chef Heston Blumenthal, Theo Paphitis (formerly from Dragon’s Den) and motorbike ace Wayne Gardner.

Event boss Nick Wigley said: “We’ve included celebrity races in the past but never on this epic scale.” The race
has the potential to be the biggest race of its kind ever staged, with up to 50 cars on the grid.


Paul Rosche

Creator of the most powerful engine F1 has ever known, former BMW technical director Paul Rosche has died at the age of 82.

Rosche was a key cog in BMW’s competition engine programme from the late 1950s. 

In the early 1980s the German’s remarkable 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo was estimated to generate about 1500bhp in qualifying trim. Although initially unreliable, the engine powered Nelson Piquet to the world title in 1983 – the Brazilian became the first driver to win the championship with a turbocharged engine. After concentrating on touring cars in the wake of BMW’s withdrawal from F1 at the end of 1986, Rosche was later involved in the V12 engines that powered both the McLaren F1 and BMW’s Le Mans-winning LMR prototype in 1999. That was his final year with the company, by which time he had also started working on the 3.0-litre V10 with which BMW would return to F1 in 2000 as partner to Williams.

Martin Leach

Head of the successful NextEV Formula E team, Martin Leach has succumbed to cancer at the age of 59. He was a successful kart racer in his youth before going on to a distinguished career in the automotive industry, including a stint as president of Ford Europe.

Peter Foubister

A respected and influential figure in UK motor sport publishing, Peter Foubister has died aged 62. The former Autosport editor had most recently served as motoring secretary of the Royal Automobile Club.

Colin Folwell

The founder of Corbeau Seats, Colin Folwell died recently. He was well known as a generous motor racing sponsor and also campaigned the famous ex-Tony Hazlewood Daf 55 V8 super saloon during the mid-Seventies.