A Quick History
The latest word on the Historic motor racing scene
There has been a flurry of Heritage Touring Cars swapping hands, with many restoration projects making their way into other peoples’ sheds, as rising prices flush them out. Let’s start with Ford Sierra Cosworths. Chris Stillwell, already the owner of Dick Johnson’s 1990 Sierra (aka DJR #6), has purchased another RS500, of Colin Bond, Alan Jones and Caltex fame from 1988. Chris is selling his potent Touring Car Masters Mustang to concentrate on Historics, an area his famous father Bib enjoyed extensively. Meantime, a bloke usually seen piloting an impressive ex-Vic Elford McLaren M8E, Queensland’s Duncan MacKellar, has purchased an ex-Japanese Touring Car Championship Rouse Sierra RS500. It will be getting a going through, before hopefully debuting at Bathurst in April.
Let’s switch attention to the Japanese cars changing hands. Garry Rowe has purchased the ex-Gerry Burgess and Roger Mandeville BF Goodrich/P&O Cruises Mazda RX7. His debut event at Sandown was a great experience for him, with more time needed to develop the car and its unique Mazda handling traits. Nissan tragic Tony Alford, is starting to get to grips with his ex-Gibson Motorsport HR31, with everyone waiting to see his 1992 Bathurst-winning Godzilla stretch its powerful legs.
BMWs on the move now, firstly the first BMW M3 built by the JPS team, which is now in Queensland ownership. The Bowden family’s business, Ecurie Bowden, has got the job of restoring the car to the standard JPS Team BMW’s Frank Gardner always expected. The new owner, Peter Jones, once owned the ex-Gardner Benson and Hedges 1992 M3, so is well versed in fast BMWs. Not all sales have been local, as the global Group A scene starts to boom. The ex-JPS 635 that was raced by Kevin Bartlett and Trevor Crowe at Bathurst in 1986 has been sold from New Zealand, going to the USA, where Group A never raced but where all things BMW have a strong following.
The inaugural Daytona Classic 24 Hour, event held at Daytona Beach, Florida USA, was a great success. Imitating the successful 24-hour Historic formula used by the famous Le Mans Classic, where cars run in groups for 45-minute races around the clock for 24 hours, giving the drivers that maximum endurance feeling, but not running the valuable and occasionally fragile cars into the ground. A few Australians made the journey, with Queensland’s Russell Kempnich (teamed with Wayne Park) finishing third in the 1983-1993 Group C period in his ex-Schuppan 956 Porsche. WA’s Chris Wilson also managed a very impressive third in the 1960-1972 Group A period in his ex-Shelby American Ford GT40 and fourth in 1973-1982 Group B in his 1974 RSR 911 Porsche. Such a great effort has the event promoters, the HSR, keen to get other Australians supporting the now iconic event.
Sydney Olympic Park played host in early December to two categories catering for genuine racing cars of past eras not usually seen on the V8 Supercars undercard. Heritage Touring Cars, showcasing Group C and A, got a guernsey for a series of demonstrations. Meanwhile, competitors from the Kuhmo Tyres Australian V8 Series, which picks up where Group A left off, enjoyed full-on races around the tight Homebush precinct. This category encompasses genuine V8 Supercars from 1993 onwards – up to BF model Falcons and VZ Commodores. More exciting news for Homebush is that Shannons Insurance, stalwart of the classic car movement, confirmed it will be naming sponsor of the Heritage Touring Cars in 2015. Shannons support of Historic motorsport makes them a natural fit and will help get the Shannons name out further to the masses. Shannons can also open some doors to other events for the HTC.