A Quick History
The latest word on the Historic motor racing scene
The Sydney Retro Speedfest provided nothing but satisfaction for this jaded scribe. The sheer joy on the competitors’ faces was clearly evident on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, especially after dodgy weather on Saturday. Stunning open-wheelers were present, but it was the tin-tops and sports cars that had the numbers. Group S continues to kick goals and at the very front of the large field was a Porsche Carrera battle. Meanwhile, the 1966 GT350s of Laurie Sellers and Chad Parrish did the muscle car fans proud in the crowd favourite Sb class.
The Heritage Touring Cars action was turned on its head early, with favourites Terry Lawlor, Carey McMahon and Craig Markland all retiring before things got serious. Interesting, the Saturday afternoon race turned out to be an evening race with plenty of headlights blazing. Meantime, a few competitors found out the hard way that their rarely used lights didn’t actually work! The dark race was very rewarding for both competitors and spectators, as flames were illuminating each corner and brake discs glowed red. The Goodwood Revival runs a race into the evening that is very popular with the fans; so perhaps our own Australian Muscle Car Masters could have a look into adding this spectacle to the billing? Certainly race winner David Towe (JPS BMW M3) would be in favour.
Speaking of the Goodwood Revival, now that the Northern Hemisphere has emerged from its winter, it’s time to preview the upcoming Historic racing season. There are three ‘must do’ events for 2014, starting with the bi-annual Le Mans Classic, July 4-6. This is the world’s largest and most prestigious Historic meeting, with races on Saturday evening and Sunday for six eras of cars (1923-’39, ’49-’56, ’57-’61, ’62-’65, ’66-’71 and ’72’79). It should be on every fan’s bucket list. For the more discerning racer, it’s about the only chance a mere mortal will ever get of having that seminal Steve McQueen moment: belting down Mulsanne Straight at 300km/h. Like Australia’s Heritage Touring Cars, the Le Mans Classic is contended by cars with period history, so you know every car you’re watching is something very special.
Second ‘must-do’ on the calendar is the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, August 14-17. The races themselves are mind-blowing, with the superstar Trans-Am cars from 1966 to 1971 headlining this year to tie in with the 50th anniversary of the globally popular Mustang. All of the mind-boggling events that surround the Monterey historics make for a week any car guy will never forget, cumulating in the world’s most prestigious car show, the Pebble Beach Concours.
If your wife has not changed the locks and you still have some money, get yourself along to Chichester in the UK, for the Goodwood Revival, September 12-14. The feature race this year is the pre-1966 V8 Touring Cars of USA origin. Along with all the other events that make Goodwood special, 2014 and the V8 touring cars sound like a perfect fit for AMC readers. Competitors and spectators alike dress in period clothing.