Historic news

Record Fiat back on track
Rare old-timer to tackle Goodwood hill this summer | by Paul Lawrence

More than a century after it last ran in anger, a rare Fiat S76 will be one of the stars of the Goodwood Festival of Speed (June 26-29). Unofficially the fastest car in the world in 1911, the 28.5-litre Fiat has been restored over the past decade by Duncan Pittaway.

Only two S76s were built. One set a flying-mile record with Pietro Bordino on Saltburn Sands in 1911, and was later recorded at more than 135mph in Belgium, but was denied the kilometre record when it was unable to complete a return run within the specified hour.

One car was dismantled by Fiat while the other was purchased by Russian aristocrat Boris Soukhanov. After the First World War this found its way to Australia, where it was modernised and raced as a Fiat Racing Special.

Pittaway brought the chassis back to the UK in 2003 and reunited it with the original engine from the dismantled car. The restoration has taken a decade but the car is now ready to run once more.

“As the last and largest of the huge-engined Edwardian monsters, it should be sensational to see,” Pittaway said. “All the original S76 components that survived have been restored, from the chassis and engine down to the suspension, axles, pedals and steering box. The gearbox, radiator and bodywork have been created using the original Fiat drawings.”

Another star of the Festival will be the ex-David Purley Lec CRP1 Grand Prix car from 1977, which will run in anger for the first time in more than 35 years.

Acquired from the Purley family after being on show at Donington Park, the CRP1 has been restored by WDK Motorsport, and Joe Twyman will drive it at Goodwood.

Bell reunited with Porsche

Five times Le Mans winner Derek Bell will return to the French track in June, to celebrate his 50-year career by racing a Porsche 962.

Bell, now 72, will share Mark Sumpter’s 962 in the Group C race supporting this year’s 24 Hours and says it will be an emotional experience – particularly if they are able to score a podium finish.

The British sports car ace started racing in 1964 and won his first ever event, driving a Lotus 7 at Goodwood. He went on to win Le Mans in 1975, ’81, ’82, ’86 and ’87, the last four of those with Porsche. His final win came in a 962C.

“It’s half a century since I first started racing,” Bell said, “and Mark’s offer of racing his 962, in the year when Porsche returns to the top tier, made competing at Le Mans irresistible.

“I’m still a racer at heart. I would like to think we have a realistic chance of winning our class or even making the podium. For me, that would be a very moving experience.”

Sumpter pointed out that partnering Bell at Le Mans would be the realisation of an ambition. “Derek is the most famous and successful Porsche racing driver, so I’m delighted to be racing with him, particularly at Le Mans,” he said.

Dutch F1 racer to Revival

Giedo van der Garde, former Caterham Formula 1 racer and now a Sauber reserve, will make his Goodwood Revival Meeting debut this September.

The 29-year-old Dutchman will take part in the Goodwood TT Celebration event (for closed-cockpit GT cars built between 1960 and 1964), sharing the AC Cobra of compatriot David Hart – a Goodwood regular. Last season, Hart finished fourth in the TT with World Touring Car Championship front-runner Tom Coronel.

Van der Garde isn’t a complete stranger to Goodwood, having driven F1 Caterhams up the Festival of Speed hill. He is looking forward to his first Revival and said: “You can’t slide a modern F1 car and still be fast, but the Cobra was made to go sideways.”

New Silverstone GT event

GT cars of the 1990s will be demonstrated at this year’s Silverstone Classic (July 25-27), in what the event organisers hope will be the precursor to a full race in 2015.

This year, between 30 and 40 cars will take part in 25-minute demonstration sessions on each of the event’s three days. Cars from Lister, McLaren, Porsche and Lotus are all expected, including at least one Porsche 911 GT1 and a Lister Storm.

“We’re celebrating a really popular period in GT racing, which started in 1994 and ran through FIA GT1 and GT2 right up until 2000,” said event boss Nick Wigley. “There’s nowhere else for them to run and we’re certainly looking at making it a race next year.”

Shelsley Classic expands

The biggest and best event so far is promised for the annual Classic Nostalgia weekend at Shelsley Walsh hill climb on July 19/20, with action focused on cars from the 1950s-70s.

The paddock and orchard will feature competition cars, trade stands, military vehicles, car clubs and a classic trial, while live period music and an aerobatic display will add to the spectacle.

Sir Stirling Moss will make a guest appearance on Sunday to sign autographs and take part in a question and answer session in the courtyard.

There will be competitive track action for pre-1980 single-seaters, sports, GT and touring cars.

Eifel Festival sells out

The organisers of the ADAC Eifel Rallye Festival in Germany (July 24-26) have been inundated with 200 entries for 150 places.

To manage the entry, promoter Reinhard Klein has accepted only one example of each model running in a particular period livery. “The quality and originality of cars has increased,” said Klein. “We get ever closer to our aim of showing the history of our sport in as authentic a way as possible.”

Attending drivers will include Björn Waldegård, in a works Mercedes-Benz, and Stig Blomqvist in the Audi Quattro he took to victory on the 1984 Swedish Rally, above.

In brief

Maseratis will feature prominently in the entry for the seventh Cholmondeley Pageant of Power (June 13-15). As the marque’s centenary is celebrated, the entry for the speed event in the grounds of Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire, includes a 250F Grand Prix car, the Tec-Mec evolution of the 250F and the T61 Birdcage of Alan Minshaw (above).

After a month-long competition, the Datsun 260Z of Geoff Olholm and John Doble won the Sydney-London Marathon. The Australian crew spent most of the European leg with a 12-minute lead over the similar car of fellow Aussies Mark Pickering and Dave Boddy. However, a late push from the Team Tuthill Porsche 911 of Belgian crew Joost van Cauwenberge and Jacques Castelein took them into second overall, 5min 43sec behind the winners. All 15 cars that started the European leg were classified as finishers.