Vintage Racing

‘Some people collect art. We race it’ | Journal

Wayne Graham’s 1973 Mazda RS3 leads the Group 8 race at Auto Club Speedway | Howard Koby photos

The last time I had visited Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, was back on June 20, 1997. The track was new, was called California Speedway, and there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony with motorsports icon Roger Penske. 

Penske and Kaiser Steel built the track 50 miles east of Los Angeles, with former professional football star Les “Coach” Richter overseeing the development of a first-class racing facility that featured a 2-mile D-shaped superspeedway oval, where Gil de Ferran turned a lap-record of 241.428 mph in the fall of 2000.

But the first race, for the NASCAR West Series, took place the day after that ribbon cutting and was contested on the 21-turn, 2.88-mile “roval” course that included the oval’s infield.

The track opened its 2020 season recently with the So Cal Historic Sports Car Festival, a vintage racing weekend conducted by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, the largest and one of the oldest vintage racing organizations in the US. 

Formula Atlantic cars on the track
Group 8 features vintage sedans, such as Jim McDavid’s 1970 Datsun 510
Nick Sievin’s 1960 Austin Healey leads the pack
Bill Wilkman’s Group 4 Formula Vee
William Lynn’s Group 1-winning 1957 Porsche 356

SVRA was founded by Ford Heathcock III with a membership of about 25 drivers. It now has more than 2,5000 competitor members. 

In September, 2012, Tony Parella, who raced dirt ovals as a young man, purchased SVRA and transformed it from a club racing group to a full-fledged business with a national platform.   

Its annual schedule includes events at Sebring International Raceway, Auto Club Speedway, Watkins Glen International, Road America, Sonoma Raceway and many more tracks. 

At age 72, Dave Dwoski continues to race in his Toyota Formula Atlantic-class Ralt RT 41
Dave Dwoski and his car

Southern California’s racing roots were honored at the Auto Club Speedway event with vintage stock cars, sports cars, sports racers and formula cars from all periods. Around 110 driver took part under the SVRA banner that proclaims its events are “Safe, Fair and Fun competition for the enjoyment of our competitors, their crews and our fans.” 

Among the great things about such events are spectators being  welcomed in the paddock and garage area to see the cars and talk with the owner and drivers. 

We spoke with 72-year-old Dave Dwoski, who drove a RALT RT 41 that once ran in the Long Beach Grand Prix in 1995 driven by Chuck West. Dave tells us he once raced for Penske, but here he was in Group 9, Toyota Formula Atlantic.

“We’ve had some problems with tires today as they turned out to be ‘lumpy,’ so we put old tires in the front and new tires in the back and we qualified in the top five.”  

When asked how long he will keep on racing, he replied with a big grin.

”When they tell me I can’t fly anymore I’ll stop racing cars. I fly a Turbo Centurion whenever I can. As long as I’m enjoying it, I’m not out to get a contract, I’ve ben retired for 12 years, I just have fun and turn my daughter’s inheritance into a very small inheritance.”

The SVRA recognizes 12 car groups and requires participants to keep the cars as true to their original form as possible but with certain modern safety modifications.

Classic cars invited onto the speedway oval

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Vintage Racing

Skijoring among Austrian ice racing highlights | Journal

Freestyle skier Aksel Lund Svindal catches a tow behind Dakar Rally-winning Porsche during ice racing weekend in Austria | GP Ice Race photos

A record of nearly 16,000 people turned out this past weekend in Zell am See an Kaprun, Austria, for the second GP Ice Race weekend, presented as “Woodstock on Ice” and promoted by Porsche scion Ferdinand Porsche and his Greger Porsche Classic Cars dealership partner, Vinzenz Greger.

While featuring an assortment of vintage racing cars on snow- and ice-covered tracks, one of the highlights is the sport of skijoring, in which a skier is pulled along, once upon a time by a horse but now by automobiles.

That’s quite a tow vehicle: Freestyle skier Benedikt Mayr competes in the Skijoring event

Featured this year was Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and seven-time World champion, who took turns both trailing behind a 580-horsepower Red Bull-sponsored Audi S1 EKS WRX quattro and also at the car’s steering wheel.

Another skiing star Frank Woerndl, did runs trailing behind a 1955 DKW F91 while using skis nearly as old as the car. Norwegian skier Aksel Lund Svindal also did some runs behind the Porsche 911 Carrera 4×4 (953) that won the Dakar Rally.

Skoda staged an “Ice Race of Champions” pitting 2019 European Junior rally champion Filip Mares of the Czech Republic, Slovakian champion Martin Koci, German champion Fabian Kreim and Austrian runner-up Julian Wagner in identical Skoda Fabia Rally2 evos. After two days of races, Kreim edged Wagner for the overall victory.

Buggy-style vehicle makes a run on the snow-covered track
Tanner Foust drifts a souped-up VW Beetle
This Saab story looks like it’s participants are pretty happy

Another highlight of the weekend was rallycross star Tanner Foust drifting in a Volkswagen Beetle R. Stig Blomqvist, the 1984 World Rally Champion, drove the iconic Audi Sport quattro S1, and Le Mans winner Benoit Treluyer was among those driving an Audi RS5 DTM.

The 1976 Jagermeister Formula 1 March-Cosworth 741 was outfitted with studded dualie Pirelli tires for driver Jans-Joachim Stuck.

The actually racing involved nearly 150 cars in eight classes, from classics to modern rally cars.

The scene at Zell am See

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Vintage Racing

Monterey ‘Reunion’ selection committee expands | Journal

Vintage open-wheeled cars race down the famed ‘Corkscrew” curve at Laguna Seca | Rolex photo

Organizers of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion has expanded the committee that decides who gets to showcase their cars and their talents each August has expanded to 11 people with the 5 new members widening the committee’s historic racing knowledge base.

“Their expertise will be put to the test as members research and evaluate entry requests to ensure that every car meets the high level of provenance, authenticity and period correctness to the day it originally was raced that is demanded in order to be accepted,” the event organizers said in their news release.

The new members of the selection committee are:

  • Scott George, curator of the Miles Collier Collections and vice president of the Revs Institute.
  • Patrick Long, Porsche factory racing driver, member of the Porsche Rennsport Reunion selection committee and co-founder of Luftgekuhlt, an annual showcase of vintage Porsches.
  • Chris MacAllister, member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum board of directors, group steward for vintage racing events and long-time competitor in historic Formula 1 races.
  • Mark Osborne, global director of motorsport for Bonhams and frequent participate in vintage races at Monterey and Goodwood.
  • Darius Sadeghi, car enthusiast and staunch advocate for vehicle authenticity.

In addition, Bruce Canepa is returning to the committee. He was co-organizer of three Porsche Rennsport Reunions, was a professional racer and is a collector, historian and restoration specialist.

Existing members of the committee are Paul Duchene, who has written about classic cars for more than 40 years; John Lamm, author and journalist; Andy Prill, a Porsche restoration specialist and regular competitor at Monterey, Goodwood and elsewhere; Murray Smith, organizer of the Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park; Cris Vandagriff, owner of the Historic Motor Sports Association; and Bill Warner, motorsports journalist, racer and founder of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Can-Am cars again will comprise one of the Reunion racing classes | Rolex Reunion photo

The 2020 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is scheduled for August 13-16 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and will include 14 run groups:

1927-1951/Pre-1940 Sports Racing & Touring
1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT
1955-1961 Sports Racing under & over 2000cc
1955-1962 GT
1961-1966 GT under 2500cc
1963-1966 GT over 2500cc
1963-1968 USRRC
1968-1974 Can-Am
1966-1972 Trans-Am
1970-1984 Sports Racing under 2100cc
1973-1981 FIA, IMSA, GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU
1974-1979 Formula Atlantic
1981-1991 IMSA GTO/GTP
1963-1974 FIA Manufacturers Championship

Entry requests are being accepted through February 22 on the Rolex Reunion page at the raceway website.

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Vintage Racing

Austrian ice racing program expands into ‘Ice Week 2020’ | Journal

Ice race
With dually studded tires, this Formula One will run on ice | GP Ice Race photos

A year ago, Porsche scion Ferdinand Porsche and his business partner Vinzenz Greger revived a weekend of auto racing on ice in Zell am See, Austria. They’re back, and now it’s “Ice Week 2020,” with events running from January 27 to February 2. 

Porsche will showcase 1984 Dakar Rally-winning car

In addition to vehicles previously announced, the organizers say that cars to be featured include the Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 4×4 (953) that won the 1984 Rally Dakar, and not only will the car participate on the ice track with Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister taking turns at the steering wheel, they will use the car to tow skier Aksel Lund Svindahl in a sport called “skijoring,” in which a horse or a motor vehicle pulls a skier along.

Also added to the program, which this year carries sponsorship from Pirelli, are the Porsche 919 Hybird Evo that holds the lap record at the Nuburgbring Nordschlief, the Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo, and famed racing driver Hans-Joachim Stuck plans to “show off” the 1976 Jagermeister Formula One March-Cosworth equipped with dually studded tires on its rear axles.

The organizers expect around 150 cars to participate in the events on ice- and snow-covered circuits.

Porsche will put its electric racing car on ice

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the Web and becoming the author of more than 15 books. In addition to being Editorial Director at, Larry has written for The New York Times, writes a weekly automotive feature for The Detroit News and is an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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Vintage Racing

Want to exercise your inner Senna? British company makes it easier to own an F1 car | Journal

There are resto-mods and electra-mods and now we appear to need a name for what TDF is doing, taking Formula One racing chassis and installing its own powertrain with the promise of providing customers with “a package that is more reliable, useable and affordable to maintain.”

That package is is TDF-1, which uses a 2011 Marussia or 2012 Sauber chassis as its basis. The TDF powertrain comprises a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that puts out 600 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and a 6-speed semi-automatic transmission.

In the garage

“The result is a car that delivers 95 percent of the on-track performance of an equivalent F1 car, with all of the visceral driving dynamics felt by the Marussia and Sauber drivers during the 2011/2 seasons,” TDF said in its news release. 

“In qualifying setup, the TDF-1 will generate 4.0g in a high-speed corner and 4.5g under braking. 

“However, TDF’s powertrain is exceptionally robust and far more reliable, providing owners with a highly usable package that is affordable to run and maintain. It can be started at the press of a button on the steering wheel and only needs to be serviced annually.”

British press reports say the cars will cost £1.5 million ($1.96 million) each.

“As a core part of our business is maintaining modern-classic F1 cars, we know the complexities of keeping these cars on the track,” Matt Faulks TDF director, says in the company’s news release. “With TDF-1, we wanted to create a package that allows driving enthusiasts the ability to have a genuine F1 experience that is more accessible and cost-effective.”

On the track

“Driving a TDF-1 is like no experience I’ve had before; the responsiveness, balance and agility is second to none, and the raw speed is incredible,” added Jessica Hawkins, the TDF-1 development driver. “As a professional racing driver, I’ve been behind the wheel of some impressive cars in my career, but nothing comes close to the TDF-1. We’ve worked hard to develop a range of set-ups that suit all levels of experience and ability. The end result is a package that helps drivers build confidence and start to push the limits of TDF-1.”

TDF said it has removed some of the complexity from driving a modern F1 car so customers can concentrate on the driving experience rather than the various onboard systems.

TDF is short for Tour de Force Power Engineering and, according to its news release, the British company has a staff of former F1 engineers who do the restoration, maintenance and at-track support for many people who have come to own F1 cars after their season on the circuit.

A TDR-1 racer, a re-worked Formula One car with revised powertrain and simplified controls, undergoes development work on a race track | TDF photos

In addition to vehicle and spare parts provision, TDF will host several driving days at European race tracks for TDF-1 owners.

For more information, visit the TDF website.

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