CHATEAU IMPNEY HILL CLIMB
DROITWICH SPA, WORCS WR9 0BN, 9-10 JULY
A pre-war-style racing car that’s taken its owner 23 years to build is making its competition debut at Chateau Impney’s two-day hill climb event.
The re-creation of John Parry Thomas’ 1922 Leyland-Thomas (pictured above at Brooklands) can trace its roots back to owner David Haywood buying a 7.3-litre engine – which he later discovered was the engineer’s first race engine – back in 1992. He’s taken the car on demonstration runs at the Kop Hill Climb and other events since its completion, but the grounds of the luxury hotel in Worcestershire will be the first venue where it’ll be driven competitively.
David says he’s looking forward to making his debut at Chateau Impney and is enjoying the car to the full after the painstaking job of getting the re-creation as close to the original as possible.
‘All sorts of things didn’t work during the project and there was a lot of heartache. But now it’s running, it’s going, and it’s a lot of fun! While the engine won’t rev much more than 3000rpm, there’s massive torque thanks to the back axle.’
It’ll be joined by the 1905 White ‘Whistling Billy’, which is also being driven competitively for the first time in a century after its owner persuaded the Motor Sport Association to repeal a ban on steam cars taking part in historic motorsport. Roger Fowler’s Lola T60, which took part in the original Chateau Impney events in the mid-1960s and hasn’t been raced in the UK in half a century, is also making its debut.
Tickets are priced from £20 per person, and under-16s will be admitted free with a ticketholding adult. The 200-strong entry list of pre1967 cars also includes plenty of vehicles entered by drivers who took part in last year’s revival of the event, including Mark Riley, who set a class record in the Creamer Special single-seater.
‘If I had to compete in only one event in England, I would want to come back to Chateau Impney,’ he says. ‘I’ve walked it and planned it out, but when you drive it, I know it’s going to be very different. It’s a technical hill – and the setting is absolutely gorgeous.’