The definition of 'old'

Opinion from the world of historic motor sport

The launch of the Masters Endurance Legends series – for cars up to 2011 – has polarised opinion in historic racing.

In the eyes of the FIA, historic motor sport stops at 1990. Anything since then is considered too new in terms of technology to come under the historic umbrella. Of course, in the fledgling days of historics half a century ago, there was a place for cars that were maybe less than a decade old.

What cannot be argued is that the new series is rapidly gathering support. The chance to race 1995-2011 prototypes and GTs has captured the imagination and those with suitable resources are busy buying or preparing cars.

In an era when racing modern GTs and prototypes can be an intimidating prospect for amateurs, the chance to race such cars within a less pressurised environment clearly has appeal.

Do such races belong in historic festivals? Silverstone Classic promoter Nick Wigley feels these spectacular cars add a new dimension to the event and open up the chance of drawing in a younger audience. Wigley is so convinced he as given the race a prime Saturday evening slot in 2018.

There are, inevitably, drawbacks. These cars are not simple to run and require a level of expertise way beyond most current historics. They are not cheap to run, either, but Masters Historic Racing recognises that and plans a modest programme of races.

Then there is the question of policing the integrity of earlier carbon-fibre tubs as well as sophisticated electronics. A new breed of scrutineer will be needed to provide relevant period experience.

It is a gamble, but watching 30 or more prototypes and GT cars from the last 20 years – racing into the dusk at the Silverstone Classic – could just be the highlight of the event.