A Quick History
The latest word on the Historic motor racing scene
‘First world problems’ are hitting the historic race scene and how these issues are managed, probably won’t, nay can’t, please everyone. With increased demands on grids, it is the cars with poor provenance, performance discrepancies and lesser histories that are culled, much to the dismay of their owners. This problem has been around in the booming European historic scene for many years, so perhaps decision makers will cast their eyes north and see what systems they have in place?
Heritage Touring Cars members received a great Christmas present with a surprise invitation to race on the Australian Formula One Grand Prix support program (March 13-15). After putting on a successful show, backed by Shannons Insurance, in 2012, the HTC, like every major category in Australia, was always keen to get a return invite. Tight notice and a commitment at Bathurst over Easter (April 3-5) had series organisers worried about filling the 25car minimum requirement. To everyone’s surprise, and five people’s disappointment, the event (with a 40-car maximum) is currently oversubscribed, with five very good Group A cars on a ‘reserves’ waiting list. The Group A field currently consists of the cream of Australia’s motorsport history, with ATCC- and Bathurst-winning Nissan GTRs, Ford Sierras and VL Walkinshaws. The Group C part of the split field (20 Group A/20 Group C) is also at capacity, with a crowdpulling mix of roaring V8 Falcons, Commodores and screeching Mazda RX7s.
The Bathurst Motor Festival, AKA ‘Easter Bathurst’, is only about 20 days after the F1 AGP on April 3-5. Like the AGP event, it’s also oversubscribed, with a capacity grid of 55 of Australia’s greatest touring cars. No less than three of Nissan and Gibson Motorsport’s finest creations, the GT-R, will line up for top honours and all been driven by men who know how to extract the best out of them. Hot on their tails will be a fleet of RS500s and the Walkinshaws. David Holc’s ex-Forbes GIO car will likely be the pick of the beloved ‘Plastic Pigs’. Group C will also be hotly contested, with Milton Seferis and Edward Singleton’s VH Commodores having another showdown seeing whose V8 grunt will rule at the hallowed Mt Panorama. Dark horse for Group C is reigning champion John Douglas in his Berklee Mazda RX7, with rotary backup from the Bowden-owned and driven Tokico-liveried version. Despite repeated noble efforts, Moffat never could put a rotary on the top step in period. Shaun Tunny, Stuart Hayes and Tony Sawford will be keeping the older brigade happy with their iconic crowd-pleasing Holden A9Xs. Meantime, Mike Moylan is coming all the way from WA in his ex-Rod Donovan Falcon coupe.
In the UK, things are starting to warm up, so to speak. Perhaps an anomaly or maybe a sign of things to come, Jaguar has announced its own race series for classic machines. The 2015 Jaguar Heritage Challenge is open to genuine XKs, D Types, C Types, MkI and II Saloons and pre-1966 E-Types. Also in the UK, a new historic enduro has been announced for July 4-5 at Donington Park. The four-hour event runs into the English summer dusk. It is only open to FIA logbooked pre-1966 grand tourers (think Corvettes, Cobras and 250 GTO Ferraris) and touring cars – V8 Mustangs, Falcons and nimble Cortinas being the weapons of choice.