Fresh impetus for Group C
Promoters unite in bid to boost struggling series | By Paul Lawrence
The Group C category will have a fresh new look and a revised calendar for 2016, when it is run by the France-based Peter Auto organisation.
The new arrangement for the Le Mans cars of the 1980s and 1990s is described as a partnership between Peter Auto and the Group C Racing Association. Over recent seasons, the series has been managed by front-running driver Bob Berridge. Group C cars will henceforth be in action at each of the events run by Peter Auto. This year, the company promoted events at Dijon, Paul Ricard, Spa and Monza and is also responsible for organising the Le Mans Classic. It is expected that Group C cars will in future appear on the Le Mans Classic bill.
The move comes after the 2015 series suffered smaller grids than expected. The high-profile Silverstone Classic meeting drew only 15 cars and planned races at the Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix, in late August. were shelved.
The promoters hope these changes will boost the series, but it is not yet known if Group C will appear at Silverstone in 2016. “Group C Racing and Peter Auto intend to assemble a field of 25 cars,” said a spokesman.
Mexican trip for F1 racers
The Masters Historic Formula 1 series will appear on the support bill at the revived Mexican Grand Prix in early November.
The Masters races will be open to cars from both the US and European Historic F1 series. It will be the first time that Historic F1 cars have raced at the Hermaños Rodriguez track.
Historic F1 will appear at back-to-back contemporary Grands Prix. A field of 38 cars has already been confirmed for the US race at Austin in Texas on October 25.
“To earn two F`1 Grand Prix support slots is a privilege and we look forward to providing a grid that reflects the prestige of our Mexican debut,” said Masters founder Ron Maydon.
All-star cast at Goodwood
Le Mans winners Tom Kristensen, Derek Bell, Jochen Mass, Emanuele Pirro, Andy Wallace and Jackie Oliver will all be part of the star driver line-up at the Goodwood Revival (September 11-13).
Nine-time Le Mans winner Kristensen will race a Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt in the St Mary’s Trophy as well as the unique Lister-Jaguar Coupé in the TT. Five-time winner Bell will drive a Jaguar C-type in the Freddie March Memorial Trophy on the Friday night.
BTCC rivals Jason Plato and Matt Neal and three-time WTCC winner Andy Priaulx will head up 14 drivers with BTCC history. Plato will share a Mini Cooper with TV chef James Martin and Priaulx will race a BMW, while Neal and current Honda team-mate Gordon Shedden will field their Lotus Cortina in the St Mary’s Trophy. Andrew Jordan will also feature in that race, sharing a freshly built Lotus Cortina with his father Mike.
The date for 74th Goodwood Members’ Meeting has been confirmed as March 19/20 2016, when a race for Ford GT40s will run into dusk on Saturday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the car’s maiden Le Mans win. Demonstration sessions will include ground-effect F1 cars.
Purley’s Lecs back on track
The pair of Lec Formula 1 chassis built for the late David Purley returned to racing at the Silverstone Classic after an absence of more than 30 years.
The cars were bought from Purley’s widow Jane and rebuilt by WDK Engineering. The first CRP1 is a recreation of the car in which Purley had a terrible accident in pre-qualifying for the 1977 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, while the second car was used by Purley in Aurora British F1 races in 1979 after his recovery.
Neither car had raced since period until Joe Twyman and James Littlejohn drove them at Silverstone on behalf of the new owners. “We bought the remains of the first car from the Donington Collection and rebuilt it from that,” said Twyman.
Silverstone Can-Am date
A race for Can-Am cars will headline the 2016 Silverstone Classic, marking 50 years since the creation of the Canadian-American Challenge Cup.
The race for the hugely powerful sports-racing cars of the late 1960s and 1970s will be a key feature of the July 2016 event.
“We’ll definitely have a major Can-Am race next year,” said event promoter Nick Wigley. “I want people to get cars ready and we’d love to have 90 drivers applying for 50-something places on the grid.
“We’ve not yet decided whether we’ll include the turbo cars but it will be a spectacular Can-Am celebration.”
The series started in 1966, initially running to Group 7 regulations, with no restrictions on power and little control over aerodynamics.
Call to arms for FF heroes
A race for former Formula Ford 1600 drivers is being planned for this year’s Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.
The idea is to get as many previous FF1600 racers together as possible for a celebration of the 40th consecutive Festival at the Kent track. The 2015 edition will be the 44th in total, as the event ran at Snetterton for four years before moving to Brands Hatch.
The race is the brainchild of Brian Jones, who has commentated on most Festivals. “We’re also planning a celebration dinner on the Saturday night,” he said.
Likely entries include John Village, who has returned to FF1600 racing this season after a gap of 25 years.