Historic racing news

Tip-top tin-tops at Classic

Silverstone saloons set to take centre stage | By Paul Lawrence

More than 200 racing saloon cars are set to be part of Tin-Top Sunday at Silverstone Classic, as four major historic saloon and touring car grids head the final phase of the festival on July 31.

The programme has been arranged to group the major touring car action into one day, with races for the 1990s Super Touring Trophy, the Historic Touring Car Challenge for cars of the 1970s and 1980s and the U2TC and Pre-1966 ‘big banger’ races.

On the Super Touring grid will be former British Touring Car driver Frank Wrathall, in an ex-Emanuele Pirro Audi A4 owned by series promoter Jonny Westbrook. Wrathall has twice won Super Touring races at the Classic and will now drive the last four-wheel-drive A4 to have been built. The car was more recently driven by Pirro (below) at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting.

Meanwhile, sports-prototypes from the 1990s will feature at the Classic for the first time in demonstration sessions. Cars such as the Ferrari 333SP and Riley & Scott will join 1990s GT cars in a series of high-speed track sessions. 

“There will be some beautiful cars you don’t see anywhere else,” said promoter Nick Wigley about the sports-prototypes. “They’re just as attractive as GTs from that period and their presence broadens the event’s interest.”

Beltoise races dad’s Matra

Sports car racer Anthony Beltoise honoured the memory of his father Jean-Pierre by racing a 1970 Matra MS120 at Monaco, the scene of Beltoise Sr’s only Grand Prix win (with BRM in 1972).

Anthony, a double French GT champion, contested the race for early 3-litre F1 cars in a chassis his father originally raced during the 1970 season. 

“My father was an example to me,” said Anthony. “I wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a driver, which I have now been for 20 years.”

Making its European race debut in the Pre-66 race at Monaco was the South African Assegai F1 car designed and built by Tony Kotzé in 1962. Kotzé, who sadly died three weeks before the GP Historique de Monaco, built the 1.5-litre Alfa Romeo-engined car to contest the 1962 Rand Grand Prix in Kyalami, but failed to qualify. 

New owner John Carpenter entrusted the project to Iain Rowley at Delta Racing for restoration and Rowley took the helm at Monaco.

New Goodwood GT event

A new Pre-63 GT race and a celebration of the life of Jack Brabham will be key features of the Goodwood Revival Meeting in September.

The Kinrara Trophy will be an hour-long, two-driver race into the dusk on Friday evening (September 9), for GT cars of a type built before 1963. The field will include Ferrari 250GT SWBs and GTOs, steel-bodied Jaguar E-types and Aston Martin DB4 GTs and Zagatos.

“It’s a new race at the Revival and should be a fabulous spectacle,” said event promoter Lord March. The race will complement the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration, which is for slightly later GTs.

Demonstrations at the Revival will pay tribute to the life of Sir Jack Brabham, on the 50th anniversaries of his final world championship win and F1’s move to 3-litre engine regulations.

Pure gold at Silver Flag

The 21st Silver Flag hill climb in Vernasca, Italy (June 17-19) will celebrate Alfa Romeo’s racing heritage.

The demonstration event for race cars up to the early 1970s takes place on a five-mile section of closed roads and more than 300 applications were made for 200 places. Arturo Merzario, one of the best-known Alfa Romeo drivers, will drive the Giulietta Zagato in which he started his career, while rally great Sandro Munari will handle a Lancia Stratos, the car that took him to a hat-trick of Monte Carlo Rally wins. 

Alan Mann Escort returns

One of Alan Mann Racing’s 1968 British Saloon Car Championship Ford Escorts has returned to the track after a 40-year gap.

The red and gold MkI, registered XOO 347F, was raced in period by Jackie Oliver and later taken to Barbados by Alec Poole before being sold. It went through various stages of development with several owners and only returned to the UK in 2010.

Model enthusiast John Mitchell has had it restored to period specification, with the support of Alan Mann Racing. Mann’s son Henry took the wheel in the car’s comeback race, during the Donington Historic Festival.

Bond quits single-seaters

Stephen Bond, who was lucky to escape major injury in an accident at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, will not race single-seaters again.

Bond’s Lotus 18 flipped after contact with another car and ended up dropping down into a spectator tunnel. He suffered injuries to his shoulder and right ankle and continues to make a good recovery. Bond confirmed that he has decided not to return to racing old Grand Prix machinery, though he does plan to contest some races in his 1955 Lister Bristol sports car.

He will enter his ex-Stirling Moss Lotus 18 for some events, and Andrew Hibberd drove it in Monaco recently.


 – One of only two BRM P154 Can-Am cars is due to run at the Goodwood Festival of Speed after a total restoration. The late David Hepworth acquired the ex-Pedro Rodriguez chassis in 1972 and it has remained with his family since. “It has been in bits for more than 40 years,” said Andrew Hepworth.

 – Robert Barrie and Andy Prill are taking a famous Porsche 911RS back to Le Mans in July, 40 years after it won its class in the 24 Hours. The 1974 car is owned by Chris Wilson and was prepared and raced by the Alméras brothers. It competed at Le Mans four times and in 1976 finished 12th overall and won the GT class.

 – A new concours d’elegance is set to be staged in the UK this summer. Heveningham Hall, an 18th Century estate in Suffolk, will host 50 rare pre- and post-war cars at its annual country fair on July 2/3. Aerobatic displays and vintage aeroplanes will also feature at the event.