The Motor Sport Month - Historic News

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Lotus V12 to demo runs
One of five Lotus T102s, complete with 3.5-litre V12 Lamborghini engine, has been restored by Classic Team Lotus and will run in demonstrations this year with owner Andrew Morris.
The five cars were raced during the 1990 Formula 1 season by Martin Donnelly (above) and Derek Warwick. Donnelly suffered his careerending accident in one of them during qualifying for the Spanish GP at Jerez.

Morris has chassis 4 and the car is now in race-ready trim. The T102 is the only Lotus ever fitted with a V12 engine. Morris has invited Donnelly to drive the car.

*

Tour heads west and gets bigger
Readers of Motor Sport can gain a 10 per cent discount on the entry fee for Tour Britannia, which runs from June 17-19 this year after moving from its traditional early September date.
The classic race and rally tour will take in 11 new venues in South Wales and the West Country, with races at Pembrey and Castle Combe, before finishing at Silverstone on the Sunday.

The entry is already at more than 60, making the 2011 event the best supported in its seven-year history. Notable contenders include John Sheldon (Lotus Elan) and John Clark (Porsche 911), while event newcomer Chris Steel fields a Ford GT40.

*

Pre-war test at Brooklands
One hundred pre-war cars will contest the Brooklands Speed Trials on June 18 as part of the Brooklands Double Twelve Motorsport Festival. The following day, over 140 cars will then take part in a Driving Concours.
The Vintage Sports-Car Club sprint will use the Mercedes-Benz World circuit, while competitors in the driving concours will tackle a series of tests inspired by those used in the 1939 Junior Car Club Rally at Brooklands, as well as being judged against the exacting criteria of a concours d’elegance.
The tests will take place in evocative environments including the Members’ Banking and Test Hill.

*

Briggs B42 to run again
The F2 Chevron B42 raced in 1978 by American John David Briggs will run again this year in the hands of Chevron fan Hugh Price after 30 years in a Yorkshire barn.
In 1978, chassis 16 was run by Peter Gethin’s team for Briggs, before being sold to British racer Warren Booth for the ’79 season and used in some F2 races and the Aurora British F1 Championship.
Booth raced it in the colours of Crown Paints, but Price has had it restored in the ICI colours of the works car of Derek Daly. Fellow racer Mike Catlow has completed the project.

*

Goodwood tunes up
Goodwood’s press day, a mini-Festival in its own right, flagged up a squad of anniversaries as a host of racing names assembled to hear Lord March’s plans for 2011 and demonstrate their wares. Indycars, bikes, rally cars and supercars screamed up the hill or gleamed on the grass, while World Champion Mika Hakkinen ran a taxi service in the wild Caparo (see page 33).

With a ‘racing revolutions’ theme, the Festival of Speed (July 1-3) gets even bigger, preceded by the Moving Motor Show on Thursday June 30. No fewer than nine current F1 teams will tackle the hill, a mini ‘Gasoline Alley’ of 33 Indycars celebrates 100 years of the Brickyard, and the centenary of the IoM Mountain TT attracts a wealth of famous ‘bikes and riders.

While Blitzen Benz chased NASCAR Buick and Ferrari 312PB on the hill, Group B rally cars like Stratos and R5200 and a McLaren MP4/1 reminded us of technical leaps such as 4WD and carbon fibre, and Jaguar showed RW77, the Geneva Show F1-type from 50 years back to highlight the Style et Luxe concours.

But the Festival isn’t all history. Press day brought the first public run of the new Aston Martin LMP1 car, driven by Darren Turner, with the WRC Mini as its stablemate, while a Tesla whispered reminders of the FoSTECH technology show. In September the Revival (16-18) features a tribute to Juan Manuel Fangio and celebrates 100 years of Ford of Britain, while the Fordwater Trophy boasts a spectacular entry entirely of F1-types. On a packed race card the Madgwick Cup is for small sports-racers, and the TT Celebration again crams the grid with great GT racers and famous drivers.

But the stand-out event is on the airfield: it’s 75 years since the Spitfire flew, so grab a place for the mass scramble and formation take-off of the most beautiful fighter of all.

*

Unique V8 Rover barks again
Nearly 40 years after it last raced, the ex-Bill Shaw Racing Rover P6 returned to the track at Donington Park recently after a four-year restoration for current owner Ian Giles.

The unique Traco V8-powered car was built in 1970 as an experiment with a view to Rover entering the 1971 British Saloon Car Championship. The prototype was built by Bill prototype was Shaw Racing on behalf of the British Leyland competitions department and raced in 1970 club events by Roy Pierpoint. Giles, who has had the car painstakingly restored after it was discovered in a lock-up garage in Exeter, plans to race it this season.

*

Delecour stages return
Former World Rally Championship ace Francois Delecour returned to Welsh forests at the start of April to contest the Bulldog Historic Rally in a Porsche 911 — and came away impressed.

Delecour, runner-up in the ’93 WRC, was a guest driver on the opening round of the Tuthill Porsche Challenge, an arrive-and-drive series running within the British Historic Rally Championship.

Being new to standard route notes left Delecour dropping time to the leading Escorts in the early stages, but he picked up pace during the day and later set top-10 times.

“It didn’t feel like an old car. It was superb,” he said. “My co-driver had only done a couple of rallies before, and as the notes weren’t mine I lost time over the crests in particular. But I would like the chance of another go.”

*

Rohrl recalls historic drive
To mark 30 years since one of the most remarkable drives in the history of the World Rally Championship, Walter Rohrl and Christian Geistdorfer got back in the Porsche 911SC they drove on the 1981 San Remo Rally to tackle the Targa Tasmania.

The 911 had been restored by the Porsche Museum for Rohrl to contest the 20th Targa Tasmania, a five-day rally on the closed roads of the island off Australia.

“It’s a very nice feeling after 30 years to come back to this car,” he said. “San Remo was one of the biggest moments in my career.”

Rohrl’s 1981 drive went down in WRC history as he headed the more powerful Audi Quattros until a driveshaft failed. Ironically, a similar failure on day two in Tasmania cost him any chance of a strong result.

*

E-types massing for Challenge
Demand for grid places in the E-type Challenge has surpassed all expectations, with over 70 cars registered for the new race series to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-type.

Created by Jaguar Heritage and run by the Historic Sports Car Club, the series starts at Brands Hatch in July and then takes in races at Silverstone, the Narburgring, Oulton Park and Goodwood. The twin races at Silverstone Classic (July 22-24) will set a new record with a capacity field of 58 E-types expected.

Numerous cars are being restored and prepared for the series, which is placing great emphasis on correct period specification. Racing veteran and Demon Tweeks founder Alan Minshaw and his elder son Jon are among the contenders, and E-type fan Jon will be one of the leading runners having had great success in the cars.

“I raced a Modsports E in 1971, but never since,” said 75-year-old Alan of his return to the model after 40 years. He shook down his car at Donington Park in April.

Another freshly prepared car will be that of Mike Wrigley, who commissioned E-type specialist Valley Motorsport to build a replica of the famous 1962 car ’49 FXN’ raced by Peter Lumsden and Peter Sergeant.

Wrigley brought Lumsden, Sargeant and Samir Clat, the designer of the low-drag body, together to chat about the car. “We’ve built it as it was originally, as a roadster, and then built up the fixed head from that,” he said.

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