The Motor Sport Month - Historic News
Right Time for Martini trophy
Chris Craft, John Miles and John Burton were among the drivers present to mark the launch of the Martini Trophy, the new HSCC series for 1970s 2-litre sports-racing cars.
The Martini Trophy plans were unveiled at Autosport International and interest in the series is high. The HSCC aims for 25 cars for the opening races at Silverstone on May 14/15.
Burton (69) was a race winner in period and still races a Chevron B26. He plans to contest the new series, which has other dates at Brands Hatch, OuIton Park and Dijon-Prenois.
"It will be lovely to see these cars racing as they should do, not with Can-Am cars, but on their own," he said. "They never raced against Can-Am in their day. It's great that the HSCC has created a 2-litre series, and I hope it's going to be a success."
Histories to race all night
The first-ever British 24-hour race for historic cars is being planned for 18 months' time by Goodwood consultant and Top Hat founder Julius Thurgood. It will be run by his recently founded Historic Racing Drivers Club.
No formal announcement has been made, but it seems clear the race will be run for pre-66 production cars in 2012. As only Silverstone and Snetterton are licenced to hold such an event, and as the former is scheduled to hold the Britcar 24-hour race, the MSV-owned Norfolk circuit is currently believed to be the most likely option, though Donington has not yet been ruled out of the running.
Although the race will not be an FIA event, it will run to FIA eligibility criteria, meaning cars with Historic Technical Passports will be given priority on the 40-50 car grid. However it will not accept production racers such as Ford GT40s. Thurgood is adamant that allowing specialist racers and prototypes would be "to take the event out of the hands of the very people it's been organised for".
So expect E-types, Alfa GTAs, Mustangs and Lotus Cortinas. Relay teams may race alongside single-car entries, and if space allows, 1950s touring cars will also be accepted for variety.
Silverstone hosts E-type record
The largest assembly ever of Jaguar E-types will make history as the model's 50th anniversary is celebrated during the Silverstone Classic in July. As well as more than 50 cars racing on the Grand Prix circuit, up to 1000 road-going models are expected to pack into the infield display areas.
The race programme for the July 22-24 event includes the second round of the E-type Challenge, which starts at Brands Hatch three weeks earlier.
"With so many E-types on and off the track, it's going to be the world's biggest and best celebration for one of the truly great sports cars," said Silverstone Classic boss Nick Wigley.
Donington festival grows
Duncan Wiltshire, the driving force behind the Donington Historic Festival, says that he plans to expand the event year by year to make it a major annual celebration of the Donington Park circuit.
The inaugural event will run from Friday April 29 to Sunday May 1, and Wiltshire says that there are long-term plans for the festival. The most important thing is that the whole festival is about the history and heritage of Donington Park. With Kevin Wheatcroff's support, it's got all the right ingredients, and this event will grow as the circuit re-establishes itself."
Wiltshire opened discussions about a festival before the abortive work started on developing a Grand Prix circuit at the East Midlands venue and now wants to build an event that will, in future years, become a major spectator draw.
Adding to an impressive race line-up are the opening races of the Group C season, Historic F2 and the new 1000kms sports-prototype series, racing into the twilight of Saturday evening. Other races include U2TC touring cars and pre63 GT cars as well as categories from Wiltshire's own Motor Racing Legends organisation.
Off-track attractions will include Group B Rally car demonstrations on a mock special stage on the Grand Prix loop, with full spectator access, so that Audi Quattros, MG Metro 6R4s, Ford RS200s, Lancia 037s and Peugeot 205 T16s can be put through their paces at Donington for the first time in more than a decade.
Pageant majors on 4WD
The biggest gathering of four-wheel-drive Formula 1 cars ever staged at an event will be a major attraction at the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power (July 15-17).
"It will be a unique sight, such a big collection of fourwheel-drive Formula 1 cars. We hope to have four or five there with several of them running," said Rick Hall, who is co-ordinating the event. Hall's company maintains several of the cars currently in the Donington Grand Prix Collection, from which will come a Lotus 63, the McLaren M9A, the unraced Cosworth Fl and the BRM P67 that practiced for the 1964 British GP but did not race.
Joining them will be the first such car, the Ferguson P99 (above), which has recently been bought by Stuart Rolt. His father Tony was the driving force behind the creation of the P99, and Rolt has become only the car's second owner after the Ferguson family.
"The car is very special to me as my father was absolutely instrumental in its creation," said Rolt.