A Quick History
The latest word on the Historic motor racing scene
The Group C and A machines of the Heritage Touring Cars category hit Mount Panorama over the Easter weekend – only for the heavens to open. Fogged-up windows and ancient wet weather tyres proved to be harder to cope with than the very damp track. Not surprisingly, the swift Terry Lawlor (GIO Nissan GT-R) proved unstoppable, winning all three Bathurst Motor Festival races. Bryan Sala (Sierra) was runner-up each time. Group C pacesetter was Jeff Trembath (ex-Warren Cullen VC Commodore), from Neville Butler (ex-Garry Willmington Falcon XD). Chris Stillwell hovered around the top five all weekend in the Shell Sierra DJR6, racing at Bathurst for the first time since 1992 when it was #18, having been #17 the two previous years.
Regarding the Heritage Touring Cars, CAMS officials were busy beavers at Bathurst, with engine seals and fuel samples for the turbo cars being checked. The fuel sample results aren’t likely to be posted anywhere, but one keen-eyed punter noted that different-coloured fuels were evident. CAMS stalwart Frank Lowndes, a man who has always enjoyed the job, was leading the charge and would have been in his element. CAMS’ ‘Fifth Category’ facilitators David Bellenger, Peter Doulman, Frank Lowndes and David Holc have been working closely with the Heritage Touring Cars and the last two showpiece events, both with near capacity fields, are proof the system is working. Bathurst in particular was notable, as the HTC were the only category to not have a race red-flagged, while other categories experienced some carnage.
The northern hemisphere’s historic season is underway, with Aussies tackling some famous events. That great all-rounder John Bowe will be racing at the September 11-13’s Goodwood Revival in the same Corvette that Peter Brock raced in the 2005 and 2006 RAC TT event. It is an auspicious return for the Corvette, as it was to be the last circuit race ever raced by the great Brock, before his untimely and tragic end in a rally a few weeks later. The Corvette is now owned by Victorian Joe Calleja, who will partner Bowe in what will be an emotional return.
May 23-24 sees the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch, which has a most impressive line-up of Historic touring car classes, ranging from the booming pre-1966 cars up to the burgeoning ‘historic’ Super Tourers, from the BTCC’s post-1990 era. This class is going from strength to strength. Its popularity, combined with a strong Pound Sterling, is absorbing most of the world’s supply of the twolitre screamers. While we are in the UK, July 24-26 sees the biggest Historic race meeting in the world: the Silverstone Classic. It’s the event’s 25th anniversary so promoters are going all out, with over 10,000 classic cars being displayed.
Across the Atlantic, a large posse of Australians and Kiwis will be converging on the Monterey peninsula over September 25-27 for the Porsche-only festival known as the Rennsport Reunion. Last held in 2011, it will be everything to do with Porsche and motorsport, with historic racing stalwarts Geoff Morgan, David Withers and Chris Stannard all taking suitable cars to Laguna Seca, California to show the Americans how we do things.
Closer to home, the Historic Sports & Racing Car Association/ ARDC’s Retro Speedfest will be held over June 6-7. The sportscar entry is particularly impressive with two 962 Porsches set to battle it out with a BMW M1 Procar and a Can Am McLaren or two. The Heritage Touring Cars in be there in force with many using the event as practice for the big one, the Muscle Car Masters. Before then there’s Queensland’s Lakeside Touring Car Classic, with Group N sharing the spotlight at the event which is inevitably (touch wood) held in perfect Queensland winter sunshine.