F1 future is resolved
GP Masters championship gains FIA status, By Paul Laurence
After a winter of negotiations, the Grand Prix Masters series will become the FIA Historic Formula One Championship for 2013 in the wake of the cancellation of the former series managed by the TGP organisation.
Under the new arrangement, two FIA champions will be crowned in 2013, one driver from the later generation ground-effect and flat-bottomed cars and one from the earlier non-groundeffect cars. The championship will again cater for Fl cars from the late 1960s through to the early 1980s.
Over recent seasons, the two rival series for period Fl cars have competed for a generally smaller pool of competitors and a rationalisation has been discussed several times.
“This is the start of a whole new era for Masters and a tribute to how far we have come in the last nine years,” said Masters boss Ron Maydon. “It is a new challenge for us and one that we are looking forward to immensely.”
John Hughes, president of the FIA Historic Motor Sport Commission, hopes that the development will be a major boost to historic Formula 1 racing. “By entering into this agreement with Masters, the FIA is able to provide drivers with a far stronger Historic Formula One Championship than in recent seasons,” he said.
The schedule starts at Barcelona (April 14) and includes Brands Hatch (May 27) and Silverstone Classic (July 28).
In addition to the elevation of Grand Prix Masters to FIA status, the World Sportscar Masters series has also been granted FIA status and will now be the FIA Historic Sports Car Championship.
Watts returns to Peugeot
More than a decade after he last raced the car in Australia, Patrick Watts will return to the wheel of a Super Touring Peugeot 406 this season in the new Super Touring Trophy.
Watts has bought the ex-Tim Harvey and Paul Radisich cars from Australia, where they went at the end of 1998. Watts raced the ex-Harvey car successfully in four races in Australia in 1999.
“I saw the Super Touring cars at the Silverstone Classic last July and they looked so good,” said Watts. “It’s a little bit of history; these cars are classics in touring car terms.”
GTs to be evening stars
A new hour-long pre-66 GT race will be one of the star events at this year’s Silverstone Classic (July 26-28), running in the prime Saturday evening slot.
The event organisers expect a capacity 58-car grid for the Piper Heidsieck International Trophy for Classic GT Cars, including AC Cobras, Ferrari 250LMs and Jaguar E-types.
“All potential entrants are being asked to provide photographs, information and provenance about their cars which will be evaluated by the selection committee,” said event boss Nick Wigley.
The event is also aiming to attract 911 Porsche 911s into a track parade to celebrate 50 years of the model, and 100 Aston Martins to mark the British manufacturer’s centenary.
Two-day Tour Britannia
This year’s Tour Britannia (May 10/11) will be based at Warwick, with scrutineering and documentation on Thursday evening before two full days of competition on Friday and Saturday.
The event’s most compact route to date takes in special stages at Arbury Hall, Packington Hall, Stoneleigh, Arncott, the Porsche Centre at Silverstone and Mallory Park. There will be races at Mallory and Silverstone, too.
Meanwhile, the route outline for the new Targa Iberia (October 22-25) has been confirmed. Starting from Portimao, the route will take in the race tracks at Monteblanco, Ascari and Jerez with two overnight halts and the finish at Jerez.
Kirkistown jubilee plans
The 500 Motor Racing Club of Ireland has revealed plans to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Kirkistown circuit.
The major race meeting on June 22 includes a double-header for historic single-seaters up to 1600cc from the 1960s and early ’70s. Paul McMorran, new owner of Crossle, will support the race with examples of the local marque.
The former airfield on the Ards Peninsula hosted its first race meeting on June 23, 1953 when racing transferred from the nearby Newtonards airfield.
Can-Am honours Follmer
1972 Can-Am champion George Follmer will be grand marshal for the Can-Am celebration event at Canada’s Mont-Tremblant circuit (July 11-14). Follmer raced a Lola T70 to fifth in the inaugural Can-Am event at MontTremblant in 1966, took the 1972 title in Penske’s Porsche 917/10 and won at the track in the revived Can-Am series in 1978, the only driver to do so.