HGPCA — Oporto streets ahead
Former Portuguese GP circuit revamped in readiness for spectacular road-racing festival
After a gap of more than 30 years, racing will return to Oporto’s road circuit this July for the first Grande Premio do Porto. Classic F1 cars from the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association will head the line-up on the 2.6 mile circuit.
Set for the weekend of July 9-10, the Porto Historic Festival will use a shortened version of the circuit that hosted Portuguese GPs of 1958 and ’60. The original layout was 4.6 miles long and was notorious for its tramlines and cobbles. Considerable work, including a full resurfacing, is being carried out to make the track suitable for a return to racing.
The HGPCA will field grids of Pre-1961 and Pre-1966 GP cars, as well as drum-braked sportscars. The other key encounters will be for Gentlemen Drivers GTs, Formula Junior and Sports Endurance and Sports Racing Challenge.
“The organisers were wonderfully accepting of every suggestion we made,” said Martin Grant-Peterkin of the HGPCA after visiting the track. “We’re using the seaward side of the original GP circuit and about half of the old Boavista straight by the seafront.”
A short section of the track tightly flanked by houses is likely to be designated a no-overtaking area.
Fact File — Racing at Oporto — a potted history
– The track was active 1953-69
– The Boavista Straight was more than 2km long
– The F1 lap record is held by John Surtees in a works Lotus 18: 2min 27.53sec (112.309mph). He was on pole position too.
– Stirling Moss won the 1958 GP for Vanwall from Mike Hawthorn’s Ferrari 246 Dino.
– Jack Brabham (Cooper T53) led team-mate Bruce McLaren home in the 1960 GP; a young Jim Clark finished third for Lotus.
Donington GP remembered
The VSCC is planning to recreate the first GP to be held at Donington Park during its See Red meeting on September 3-4.
The inaugural race was held on October 5, 1935, and its 70th anniversary will be marked by the Historic Seaman Trophy. As many cars from the original event as can be found will tackle the 12-lapper on Sunday afternoon.
The 1935 race attracted three European entries: Giuseppe Farina and Gino Rovere in Maseratis and Raymond Sommer (Alfa Romeo).
The See Red meeting will also focus on the Maserati marque with a dedicated one-make race, while a special paddock area will be set aside for the Bologna company’s road cars.
Historic F2 racer Nick Read is planning to sell his Brabham BT35 (above) and donate the proceeds to the charities rebuilding Sri Lanka in the wake of the recent tsunami. Read and his family were on holiday in the region when the disaster struck.
Read last raced the car in 2003 and is hoping it will raise around £35,000.
More details are available from www.rebuildingsrilanka.org.uk or on 07831334480.
TGP at Brands GP
After a gap of several seasons, Thoroughbred Grand Prix cars will again grace the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit as a support race to the new A1 GP series on September 24-25.
Group C/GTP cars will also return to the track during the HSCC Historic Superprix on July 23-24, which forms a British double-header for the sportscars with the following weekend’s Silverstone International Historic Festival. Category promoter Jim Graham hopes that having two UK races in a week will encourage some US drivers to do both events.
TGP will also be a feature of the Silverstone event.
Tour Auto grows
The 2005 Tour Auto will include races at Magny-Cours, Charade, Nogaro and Pau in a route that starts in Paris on Tuesday April 27 and finishes in Biarritz on Saturday April 30. It will be the first time that the event has used the Pau-Arnos circuit.
A maximum of 200 cars from 1951-73 will contest the 14th running of the event that mixes races with timed special stages on closed public roads.
Notable entries include former Renault GP boss Jean Sage (Alfa Romeo 1900), John Sheldon (Lotus Elan), former Ligier F1 driver Erik Comas (Alpine-Renault), US racing legend Danny Sullivan (Porsche 911RSR), Paul Knapfield (Ligier JS2), Monte Carlo Rally and Tour of Corsica winner Jean Ragnotti (Alpine-Renault) and rubber-faced comedian Rowan Atkinson (Jaguar MkVII).
F1 champs at Chevron bash
It is hoped that three Formula One world champions who raced Chevrons in their formative years will be the star names at a gathering of drivers who drove for the Bolton marque.
The organisers of Chevron’s 40th anniversary celebrations are making approaches to Keke Rosberg, Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter to attend the Oulton Park Gold Cup meeting on August 28-29.
Other big Chevron names linked to the event are Brian Redman, John Lepp and John Burton.
The Chevron 40th Anniversary Tour will comprise four major historic meetings in North America, the Oulton Park event and a dedicated class in the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb on September 10-11.
The USA’s Chevron races will be held at Summit Point (May 21-22), Fontana (June 25-26 and September 17-18) and the Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca on August 20-21.
The Monterey race will be limited to 2-litre cars and at least seven B16s are due to take part along with the 1977 Targa Florio-winning B36 in a field of more than 20.
F3 for Monaco
If current plans are realised, the 2006 Monaco Historique Grand Prix will include a race for 1600cc and 2-litre F3 cars from the 1971-82 era. It will be the first time that such cars have featured at the event, which runs every other year on the weekend before the Formula One Grand Prix.
If it is given the go-ahead, the race will recreate the Monaco GP support races of more than a decade.
With thriving Classic F3 series in Britain, France, Germany and Holland, there is no shortage of eligible cars. Many of them still racing have a Monaco history, and an increasing number of cars in the British series are reverting to period livery.
RAC: More please
The organisers of the Roger Albert Clark Rally have pledged more stage miles and a reduced entry fee for its second running on November 19-22.
Following the success of the 2004 rally, De Lacy Motor Club plans to encourage up to 100 cars to the event, with at least half of them running in the three historic categories.
“Everything worked in 2004, so we’re building on that, said rally manager Colin Heppenstall.
The provisional route will be broadly similar to that of 2004, with the start and finish in Sheffield. In between, cars will tackle forest stages in southern Scotland and Kielder, and it is hoped to include some Lake District stages on the Sunday afternoon.
Rother Valley will again be used as a spectator stage close to Sheffield on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday before the rally moves into the forests.
Last year’s event was won by Stig Blomqvist in a David Sutton-run Escort.
Le Mans ‘bleus’
Races for the Grand Prix Masters and World Sportscar Masters series will headline the Le Mans Story meeting on September 2-4. Run on the Bugatti circuit, the 14-race weekend will also celebrate cars representing the ‘blues of France’.
The 3-litre F1 cars and Group 4 sports/GT cars will provide the major races, supported by events for period F2, F3 and FF1600 cars.
Several classic French series will also be in action, including Monomil single-seaters and the Maxi 1000 series for period 1-litre sportscars and saloons.
The gathering of cars celebrating ‘blues of France’ will include Panhards, Alpine-Renaults and Renault 8 Gordinis.
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