Cities could be pivotal to a historic racing renaissance
By displaying its competitors’ cars on a pedestrianised Regent Street at the free-to-enter Regent Street Motor Show in early November, the London to Brighton Run might have taught historic and vintage race organisers a valuable lesson.
More than 500,000 tourists from all over the world were eager to get up close and personal with the vintage machinery in the centre of London, with people of all ages and backgrounds taking an interest in pre-war cars.
And it showed that historic cars don’t have to be confined to circuits – there’s invaluable exposure to be gained by displaying or even demonstrating cars in inner-city areas.
The Silverstone Classic, which regularly attracts 100,000 people every July, had a major presence on Regent Street. And Formula 1’s new owner – Liberty – is already reaping the rewards from inner-city demonstrations, with its October F1 Live event in Miami attracting a reported 80,000 people.
So if there is an “age problem” in historic racing, which outgoing HSCC CEO Grahame White said was a creeping issue in the December issue of Motor Sport, then utilising the tremendous footfall of cities and their young populations across the UK could well be the antidote.
Maybe a Central London demonstration is too much to ask for, being a financial and logistical burden but London isn’t the centre of the UK.
An inspiring demonstration of historic racing cars could have another positive effect as new generations pick up an interest in engineering and racing; historic racing might become a stepping stone for people to pursue STEM careers if the right demographic is targeted.
And it could help fill up dwindling grids and empty grandstands.