Donington Festival grows
Motor Sport Trophy a key cog in the 2014 line-up | by Paul Lawrence
The 2014 Donington Historic Festival will be the biggest such event yet, with racing on each of its three days from May 3-5.
The line-up spans more than 60 years of racing, starting with the Motor Sport 90th Anniversary Trophy for pre-war sports cars. A full grid from the 1920s and 1930s is anticipated, with a pair of half-hour pitstop races.
The most recently confirmed event is for saloon cars from 1958 to 1966, to showcase the early years of what became the British Touring Car Championship. The Historic Racing Drivers Club is putting together a representative field to cover an era that embraces the Austin Westminster of Jack Sears and Jaguar Mk1 of Tommy Sopwith, plus Ford Zephyrs, Austin A40s, Minis and Jaguar Mk2s.
“We will endeavour to illustrate the championship winners from the early years as well as the class acts that supported them,” said HRDC founder Julius Thurgood. The race, planned for Saturday, will last 45 minutes and includes a pitstop.
The meeting also features headline races for Pre ’63 GT cars, the Martini Trophy for 2-litre sports-racers of the 1970s and the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship.
John Surtees will be the guest of honour at this year’s Festival, because this season heralds the 50th anniversary of his 1964 F1 World Championship victory with Ferrari. The event will raise funds for the Henry Surtees Foundation, set up in memory of John’s late son, and Surtees will attend autograph sessions on Sunday and Monday.
Mikkola for Sydney-London
Hannu Mikkola is the star entry for the 2014 Sydney to London Classic Marathon Rally, which starts in Sydney on April 12 and finishes in London a month later.
The rallying legend will drive a Ford Escort Mk2, with son Vesa co-driving, and admits that, at 71 years old, this could be his last such marathon. The 1983 World Rally champion heads a 27-car field and the route covers 91 stages in eight countries.
On the last marathon to link London and Sydney, in 2000, Mikkola was co-driven by elder son Juha. Now, it’s his younger brother’s turn. “It will be good to get my father back where he belongs, behind the wheel of a Ford Escort RS1800,” Vesa said.
Bahamas back on track
Motor racing returns to the Bahamas next January, as the Speed Week Revival steps up a gear on a purpose-built track that’s currently under construction.
Between 1954 and 1966, the Bahamas Speed Week was a popular off-season event for the period’s leading drivers, who took part in sports car races on temporary circuits near Nassau. In recent times, the flavour of that event has been recreated and the return of full-blown racing represents the next stage.
A new FIA-standard circuit is being built on a 600-acre sports complex in Nassau. It will be inaugurated on January 22-24 with grids of up to 30 cars racing on a two-mile track. Featured categories include Formula Junior, Pre ’66 Saloons, Formula Vee and sports-racing and GT cars from 1954-60 and 1961-66.
“The track is now in build,” said event chairman David McLaughlin. “The layout includes about 20 per cent of the Oakes Field track (pictured in 1961, above) first used in 1954, so we will also be celebrating the 60th anniversary of that event.
“The layout will flow really well for historics. It was always part of the long-term plan to bring racing back to the Bahamas and there is a development plan for the event in future years.”
Historic F1 in demand
The FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship is poised for a record-breaking season, after a 29-car entry was received for the opening races at Barcelona’s Catalan Classic Festival (April 4-6).
The field includes reigning post-78 champion Greg Thornton in his ex-Nigel Mansell Lotus 92/5 and 2013 runner-up Ian Simmonds (Tyrrell 012). Meanwhile, former GP Masters champion Richard Barber will run his new-for-2014 Williams FW08C.
“It proves that there is still huge enthusiasm for historic Formula 1 racing,” said Rachel Bailey from Masters, “and we know of more cars that will come out later.”
Trident at the ’Ring
The centenary of the Maserati marque will be commemorated during the 42nd Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring (August 8-10) – and celebrations will be topped by the spectacle of classic 250F Grand Prix cars being driven on the 14-mile Nordschleife.
While the focus of the weekend’s racing will again be the modern GP track, a parade of racing Maseratis will take to the full circuit. The 250F has rarely been seen on the Nordschleife since Juan Manuel Fangio’s famous German GP victory in 1957 (above).
The HGPCA will present its Nuvolari and Ascari Trophies to winners of races for Pre ’60 and Pre ’66 Grand Prix cars on the modern track.
The promoter of the Silverstone Classic aims to set a new record for the number of Ford Mustangs in one race.
The July 25-27 event marks the 50th anniversary of the American machine and two Masters Pre ’66 Touring Car races will include Mustangs running to Appendix K specification – as well as a one-off invitation class for slightly more modified examples.
It is hoped that 25 racing Mustangs will be involved.