Historic racing news

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Murray & Vatanen to star

Design and rally legends headline London Classic | BY PAUL LAWRENCE

A display at the LONDON
Classic Car Show (Excel, February 18-21) will celebrate the McLaren F1 and its creator, Gordon Murray.

Five F1s will be on show in a display curated by Murray, with two standard road cars, two GTR racers and a long-tail F1 GT. Between 1992 and 1998, just 106 F1s were built, 64 for the road and 42 for racing. Adding to the display will be technical drawings, photographs and a special film made by McLaren to mark the 20th anniversary of the car’s 1995 Le Mans victory.

To mark 30 years since Group B rally cars were banned, the show will also include a display of period rally cars presented by 1981 world rally champion Ari Vatanen. Those on show will include the Lancia 037 and its replacement, the Delta S4, the Ford RS200, the MG Metro 6R4, the Audi Quattro and
the Peugeot 205 T16 that Vatanen
made famous.

“I have such good memories of Britain,” said Vatanen. “I lived there at the start of my career and have always enjoyed going back – it’s fantastic to meet such enthusiastic fans and it will be a nice opportunity to look back at some of our sport’s greatest cars.”

***

Goodwood Group 5 demo

Le Mans cars from the Group 5 era will perform during one of the stand-out demonstrations at the 74th Members’ Meeting at Goodwood (March 19/20).

With period stars and Le Mans winners Derek Bell, Jackie Oliver and Richard Attwood on hand, the demo session will feature 16 5-litre Group 5 sports cars from 1969 to 1971, including six Porsche 917s, five Ferrari 512s and four Lola T70 Mk3Bs.

Among the Ferraris will be the rare low-drag ‘Coda Lunga’ version designed for Le Mans in 1970.

***

New historic enduro series

A mini-series of three-hour races will run in Europe this season for pre-1966 GT and touring cars.

Building on the success of the inaugural endurance race at Donington Park last July, Masters Historic Racing has launched the Masters Three Hours series. Events will take place at Brands Hatch GP (May 28/29), Donington Park GP (July 2/3) and Jarama (October 15/16). In addition, two pre-66 races will run in North America at the Daytona Historic (November 10-13) and Sebring (December 1-4).

Jo Seymour from Masters said: “Our pilot race at Donington proved the popularity of long-distance racing for historic cars.”

***

Toivonen honoured

A celebration of the life of rally driver Henri Toivonen will be a major feature of Race Retro, the Historic Motor Sport Show at Stoneleigh on February 26-28.

Toivonen and co-driver Sergio Cresto died on the 1986 Tour de Corse and, to mark the 30th anniversary, significant cars from the Finn’s career will be brought together.

Machines on show include the Ford Escort Mk2 he drove on the 1979 Lombard RAC Rally, Opel Ascona, Porsche 911, Talbot Sunbeam Lotus (as above) and Lancia Delta S4. The event organisers hope his younger brother Harri will also be present.

***

Boost for Clark fans

Plans for a new Jim Clark Museum in his home town of Duns have been boosted after the Jim Clark Trust gained charitable status.

The Trust plans to open the expanded museum in spring 2018, 50 years after the double Formula 1 champion died in an F2 race at Hockenheim. 

Scottish Borders Council has committed £600,000 to the £1.65m museum project and the Trust hopes to secure £700,000 from The Heritage Lottery Fund, plus an additional £300,000 through fundraising.

Three new patrons have been appointed to the Trust – Clark’s early mentor and friend Ian Scott-Watson, rally driver Andrew Cowan and Hugh McCaig from Ecurie Ecosse.

***

Revival gets all-A35 race

A grid full of identical Austin A35s will line up at the Goodwood Revival in September when cars from the Historic Racing Drivers Club’s Academy contest the St Mary’s Trophy.

With nearly 50 cars complete or being built, the HRDC Academy is booming and will take a major step forward when the cars race at the Revival. The norm for the St Mary’s race is for car owners to share with famous drivers.

Goodwood star and BTCC ace Andrew Jordan tested one of the cars recently at the Sussex track. “It was a real pleasure to drive and you can really maintain cornering speed,” he said.

***

1966 and all that…

A recreation of a 1966 grid will be a focal point of the Historic Sports Car Club’s 50th anniversary two-day race meeting at Castle Combe on April 16/17.

On May 14 1966 the first Griffiths Formula race for sports cars from 1945 to 1955 was held at Castle Combe – and that led to the formation of the HSCC.

Some of the original cars from the 1966 race have been tracked down. For those that are not available, a car of the same make and model will feature in a retro grid line-up at lunchtime on both days.

***

Le Mans 924 GT restored

After 30 years in storage in Germany, an ex-Le Mans Porsche 924 Carrera GT is to be restored by a consortium of Porsche Classic Partner Centres in the UK. Three 924s were entered for Le Mans in 1980 and the British car, driven by Tony Dron and Andy Rouse, finished 12th overall.

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