Historic racing news

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Petty in Goodwood return
NASCAR legend to light up hill with 1970 Superbird | by Paul Lawrence

Richard Petty and his sensational 1970 Plymouth Superbird will be star attractions at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (June 26-28).

It’s a rare trip away from the Richard Petty Museum, North Carolina, for the high-winged Plymouth, and the seven-time NASCAR champion returns to Goodwood a few days short of his 78th birthday. The famous car has only run rarely since the end of 1970.

Another US motor sport icon, drag racer Don Garlits, will make his Goodwood debut and is bringing his Swamp Rat 1 creation from 1956. It will be the car’s first time in the UK since it was restored more than 30 years ago. Garlits, 83, took a total of 17 world championships and was still performing 300mph quarter-mile runs into his seventies.

Petty and Garlits will join MotoGP ace Valentino Rossi as major draws at the event, as Rossi makes his Festival debut to mark the 60th anniversary of the Yamaha Motor Company.

Meanwhile, a special class – Fearless but Flat-Broke – will run for some F1 cars that never raced successfully. These include rare Grand Prix cars and some downright flops, not least the Life 190 that never came close to qualifying in 1990. Two Chris Amon cars will feature; the Tecno E371 and the unique Amon AF101, which raced only once, in 1974. Other entries include an ex-Roberto Moreno Coloni C3, the Simtek S951 of Jos Verstappen and the six-wheeled March 2-4-0.

Whale on stage in M3

Nick Whale has returned to asphalt rallying in a freshly built BMW M3 (below). The former BTCC racer has taken advantage of the new FIA cut-off date for historic rally cars and commissioned Rally Prep to build an M3, which he shook down on Tour Ireland and will now drive on other asphalt events in Ireland and Europe. Despite a crank sensor problem, the car showed great potential first time out.

It is the first M3 built to FIA specification in the UK and started as a standard 1987 road-going M3.

“I admired the rally car back in the day,” said Whale. “I’ve raced an M3 but never previously rallied one.”

Shelby’s half-dozen gather

The 50th anniversary of the Shelby Daytona Coupé’s success in the 1965 World Sportscar Championship will be celebrated at the Goodwood Revival in September.

For the first time, all six original Shelby Daytona Coupés will be together at Goodwood. At least two will race in the Tourist Trophy and all six will take part in demonstration runs along with other racing Cobras. The cars were built in 1964 and ’65 to take on the Ferrari 250 GTO.

The Cobras will be based in the concrete shelters behind the Jackie Stewart Pavilion, and these will be dressed to replicate the Sebring pits in 1965, when one of the Coupés took GT victory in the 12-hour race.

From Indy to Hereford

A front-engined Kurtis 500C Indycar will compete in the UK this season, with new owner Geraint Owen.

The Kurtis competed in the Indy 500 six times through the 1950s. Fred Agabashian took it to sixth in 1954 and it finished fifth in ’55 with Walt Faulkner. It came to Europe for the 1958 Race of two Worlds at Monza, when driven by Jimmy Reece, but has only completed a single racing lap in the UK when Owen tried to run it at this year’s VSCC Silverstone meeting.

“It was rebuilt in the late 1990s by AJ Watson in the US and I bought it two years ago,” said Owen. The 370bhp racer is now back in its original 1954 livery of Merz Engineering. Hereford-based Owen, who already owns a Kurtis sports-racing car, plans to contest VSCC and HGPCA races this season.

F1 back at Adelaide

The cars and career of Austrian F1 racer Gerhard Berger will be celebrated at the second Adelaide Grand Prix Revival (Oct 17/18), a weekend of classic and modern sprint action within Victoria Park. Two Berger F1 cars will be there: his 1986 Benetton-BMW B186 and the race-winning Ferrari F1/87.

The event also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the inaugural Adelaide F1 race in 1985, with F1 cars from the era.

On the Friday evening, roads will be closed while the F1 cars drive into the city centre for a street party.

Minshaw to race 935 K3

Jon Minshaw plans to race an ex-Bob Wollek Porsche 935 K3 in the new Pre-80 Endurance Series. Historic racer Minshaw has bought the Kremer Racing car that Guy Edwards, John Fitzpatrick and Nick Faure raced at Le Mans in 1977.

The former works car was raced extensively by Wollek, competing at La Sarthe twice. Minshaw has restored it to ’77 Le Mans specification and Penthouse paint scheme, as he says “the livery of the three Englishmen at Le Mans”.

* The life and racing career of Ivor Bueb will be celebrated at this year’s Castle Combe Autumn Classic on Saturday October 3. The 1950s sports car and single-seater racer made his racing debut at the circuit in 1952 in a Cooper 500. Bueb, a Cheltenham-based garage owner, won the tragic 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours with Mike Hawthorn in a Jaguar D-type but died, aged 36, following an F2 accident at Clermont-Ferrand in 1959.

* A rare 1951 Ferrari 212 Grand Prix car will be one of the key entries for this year’s Cholmondeley Pageant of Power (June 12-14). Only two or three examples of the 212 were produced, by mating a V12 engine to a 166 F2 chassis. The car of Peter Jerram will be in action at the Cheshire event.

* Frenchman Sébastien Bonnisseau was killed on the Rallye du Maroc Historique when his Ford Escort Mk2 left the road on the fourth stage between Ouarzazate and Merzouga. Initially unharmed, Bonnisseau and co-driver Fabrice Gordon were trying to get the car back onto the road when the Porsche 911 of Alain Deveza went off at the same point and hit Bonnisseau.