Historic racing calendar – May 2016


In love with old racing cars? Planning your season to catch the best historic race meetings around the UK and beyond? Then look no further. Our annual Historic Racing Guide, produced in partnership with our friends at Credit Suisse, is all you need to mark the key dates on your calendar for another packed season of action.

The question is, which events are ‘must-see’ this time around? Flick through our novel back-to-front, upside-down special and make a mental note of those races, rallies and shows you know you just can’t miss – and the answer is likely to be most of them!

The Members’ Meeting at Goodwood is a great place to start, then there’s the HSCC’s 50th anniversary special at lovely Castle Combe. The glorious Brands Hatch Grand Prix track features twice in just three months, and the pair of Silverstone meets have race entries unmatched anywhere in the world. What about Cholmondeley or Brooklands in June? How about Donington in May or July? The Chateau Impney hillclimb is back after its heralded return last year. Then there’s Shelsley Walsh, Oulton Park, the RAC Rally of the Tests… and that’s without even mentioning the biennial Monaco and Le Mans classics.

The tapestry is rich when it comes to historic motor racing – and your diary will be full in no time. Truly, we’ve never had it so good.
Damien Smith, Editor

The 2016 season is a ‘Monaco year’ for us here at Credit Suisse and we are very much looking forward to the 10th edition of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique in May. While a fleet of stunning historic machinery will occupy the paddock, there will be a new building in the middle of it: the Credit Suisse Drivers’ Club. We will offer once again a place for recreation and networking for drivers, VIPs and our guests. Moreover, there will be activities for the press.

I will have the pleasure of hosting our seventh Historic Racing Forum in Monaco on May 13 where our racing legends will share entertaining stories of their racing past. As always, we will publish the Forum video on our website credit-suisse.com/classiccars. You will also find there a splendid video of the 2014 GP de Monaco Historique, with anecdotes from Derek Bell, Sir Stirling Moss and Alain de Cadenet. In parallel we will organise our ‘Monaco Classics’ Rally which ends with our Rally Parade on the race track.

September is time, of course, for Goodwood, where Credit Suisse will once again call the Race Control building its home for the weekend. In 2015 I drove my 1955 Austin Healey 100S in the Freddie March Memorial Trophy ‘night race’ – and what fun it was. On the website you will find our video including great historical footage of this special race.

As usual, our season will end in October when Adolfo Orsi Jr publishes the bible for every classic car collector, the annual Classic Car Auction Yearbook.

I hope you enjoy this Historic Racing Guide produced by our long-standing partners at Motor Sport.
Karsten Le Blanc, Credit Suisse

For more information on Credit Suisse classic racing click here.

May 13-15
Grand Prix de Monaco Historique

The year ends in an even number… which for discerning owners of historic racing cars makes this a Monaco season. Formula 1 wouldn’t countenance bypassing May without a visit to the gaudy principality – God forbid – but for the old-car brigade the honour of treading motor racing’s most famous streets comes only every other year. What a suitable aura that creates: the most exclusive historic race meeting in the world becomes only more so when you have to wait 24 months for the next rather than 12.

Top preparers will have drawn up their 2016 season schedules around what is only the 10th GP de Monaco Historique, held two weeks before the Grand Prix proper, on May 13-15. For drivers, the attractions of experiencing Monaco from the view that counts the most are obvious. But for fans too the glamorous haven for the privileged few has its attractions – and we’d argue more so for the classic weekend than the supposed main event at the end of the month.

The streets in and around Monte Carlo are always bustling, and getting anywhere fast is not usually an option, particularly by car. But there’s at least a little more room to breathe in Historique week than during the GP, when negotiating the streets can become overbearing.

Exploring on foot is the least frustrating and most rewarding way to experience a place soaked in motor sport history – and dripping in a veneer of rarely tasteful opulence. Walking the circuit in the evenings, after track action has ceased and the narrow roads have been returned to the public, is arguably the best part of a trip to Monaco – if you aren’t lucky enough to be in possession of a media tabard or you don’t know someone who happens to have access to a convenient balcony view…

The meeting kicks off with a half-day of track action on the Friday from 2.30pm-6.30pm. A full day of practice and parades follows on the Saturday, ahead of (literal) wall to wall racing around the principality’s famous streets on the Sunday.

Six classes are catered for with races in Monaco. Sadly, the pre-war Grand Prix cars have lost the competitive element to their weekend, although there is a silver lining to a demotion to parade status only. Without the cut and thrust of racing, drivers no longer need to wear crash helmets and fireproof overalls, allowing entries to offer a genuine period spectacle – even if modern tower blocks have cost the Monaco backdrop much of its original charm.

Classes for Formula 1 cars through the 1950s to 1976 will offer echoes of GPs past. There are four F1 races on the schedule, split into the following eras: pre-61 front-engined F1 and F2 cars; 1.5-litre F1 cars from 1961-65; and a pair of races for 3-litre F1 from 1966-72 and 1973-76.

The 1970s Formula 3 cars that proved so popular in 2014 step aside this time for earlier-generation drum-braked Formula Juniors from 1958-60. The nod to the traditional Monaco support race forms part of the category’s ‘Diamond Jubilee’ celebrations. A sports car race, for front-engined mid-1950s racers, will also recall the only Monaco GP run for two-seaters in ’52.

Two years ago, our own Andrew Frankel made his Monaco debut in this latter race, driving a highly original ex-Stirling Moss Jaguar C-type. It’s an experience Andrew will always cherish – beyond his original expectations.

“Ever since I started racing more than 20 years ago, there has been a list in my head of places where I simply had to compete,” he says. “The old Nürburgring, Spa, Le Mans, Goodwood and so on. Monaco was never on it. It seemed a place of style, not substance, a slow track that rewarded precision more than courage. Which just goes to show that a little knowledge is often a whole lot worse than no knowledge at all.

“It’s not a nice track to learn. With all those tight turns it’s difficult to get it to flow, especially if you’re in someone else’s multi-million pound motor. But when you know enough to begin to attack the lap, suddenly it all comes together. As is often the case, the most famous corners such as Casino Square, Mirabeau and Loews are the least interesting. But the run along the sea front through the tunnel to the swimming pool is epic, and Tabac one of the best corners on any circuit in the world.

“To the amateur pedaller, one of the biggest challenges is simply not being distracted: as you slide out of Massenet it really doesn’t do to be checking out the supercars parked outside the Hotel de Paris. So for me the real impact of racing at Monaco only came after the fact, after I realised what a superb driver’s circuit it really is. Now I know that to head down the road through Ste Dévote, up the hill and away, history oozing out of every wall you pass, is one of the greatest privileges any driver, amateur or professional, can ever be afforded.”

Credit Suisse returns to Monaco

The Credit Suisse Drivers Club has become a popular refuge for competitors in the paddock since the bank began supporting the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique in 2010. But there is more to its partnership with this event than offering drivers hospitality over the course of a busy racing weekend.

The Credit Suisse Classic Rally Parade has become part of the itinerary between competitive sessions, its participants being treated to three laps of the GP track to complete an unforgettable weekend. Then there is the Credit Suisse Historic Racing Forum, staged for the media and broadcast online at credit-suisse.com/classiccars. The Forum features brand ambassadors such as Jochen Mass, Alain de Cadenet, Sir Stirling Moss and Derek Bell.

In 2014 Porsche’s World Endurance Championship star Romain Dumas added a modern perspective to remind us that Monaco now is as captivating as it has always been.

May 13-15
Spa Classic

Peter Auto is one of Europe’s leading organisers of historic racing, with a splendid portfolio at some of the finest circuits. An annual spring visit to Spa is one of the season’s highlights.

For most historic racers Spa-Francorchamps is right at the top of the list and the daunting Ardennes track never fails to deliver.

In May, Peter Auto will field a full complement of categories, topped by the outstanding Classic Endurance Racing. Up to 100 1970s Le Mans-type cars across two grids will be a certain highlight, although Group C and the burgeoning Heritage Touring Cup will be just as spectacular.

May 18-22
Mille Miglia

In the modern era, it is hard to comprehend the event that the Mille Miglia was in period. Run 24 times between 1927 and 1957, this was an outrageous 1000-mile road race around Italy.

The end of the event was inevitable when 13 people, including nine spectators, died during the 1957 event. The memory and spirit of the Mille Miglia live on, however, in this contemporary regularity rally.

The route from Brescia to Rome and back mirrors the original, and enthusiastic spectators line the route to see cars of the type that competed in period. San Marino, Siena and the Futa Pass are just some of the landmarks.

May 21-22
HSCC International Trophy

For two days of access-all-areas historic racing on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, the HSCC’s International Trophy meeting has to be one of the deals of the season for spectators.

This is not an event that purports to rival the Silverstone Classic, for they are very different beasts. But the International Trophy offers both drivers and fans two days of racing from huge grids on the excellent historic version of the Grand Prix track.

The programme includes all the usual HSCC favourites, including Historic Formula Ford, Formula Junior and the Guards Trophy, enhanced by a race for the new Pre-80 Endurance Series and the GT and Sports Car Cup.

May 28-29
Masters Historic Festival

The sound of a Cosworth DFV engine at full stretch around the Grand Prix loop at Brands Hatch is a truly wonderful sensation. Once again, the visit of the Masters FIA Historic Formula 1 Championship to Kent is a highlight of the season.

The varied, undulating track was at its pomp in the era of the Cosworth DFV and six of the circuit’s 12 British GP winners were thus powered. The FIA series for cars of the 1970s and early 1980s, dominated by Cosworth cars, is in rude health heading into the 2016 season and about 25 cars can be expected at Brands over the Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend.

The Masters FIA Historic Sports Car Championship is another winning package, with a clutch of Lola T70s taking on a raft of opponents at a track where the best 2-litre cars are well in the hunt.

Gentleman Drivers GT and Pre-66 Touring Cars are strong supports, but two new races should really add to the appeal. To mark the 50th anniversary of Can-Am racing, the Can-Am 50 Interserie Challenge will draw out a gaggle of monsters and the new Masters Three Hours should deliver a strong pre-66 grid of sports and GT cars.

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