Grand Prix Cars


Updates and race reports

 Championship Details  gms: motorsport Brands Hatch  Donington  Rockingham Pau   Spa



A circuit with a difference, to say the least. When we arrived, the security guy asked us to put on our hazard flashers as we drove through.
"Why the hell did he want us to do that?" mused Terry. I took one look around where we were driving.
"That's easy mate, it's a building site" And it was. Everywhere you looked men were cementing, assembling wooden structures to take more cement, flattening earth, unrolling fencing. Yes folks, they weren't ready for us.

Even the grand stands with a unique cantilever structure looked like the ribs of some long forgotten dead animal left to decay. (Some unsporting competitors suggested that before too long that will be Rockingham's fate) My own view is that if the CART race isn't a success, there is no way they can make the amount of money needed to payback the immense outlay which has been made.

However, all that aside, we sat on the top row the stands after everyone had gone on the Friday night and it does look stunning. The Champ cars will be mighty round here and may even be worth the asking price!

Our own weekend went badly. We had a good free practice and the car ran well. Even down to the warm up prior to qualifying, it was fine. I warmed it up to 5000 rpm and it sounded faultless. Mark climbed in for qualifying, started it up and the 18 sounded like a bag of nails! Well, not quite but it didn't sound pretty. He did 3 laps just in case we could sort and pulled in. However, the "tell tale" for the oil catch tank was looking distinctly emulsified and creamy. Head gasket gone. Nothing to be done, pack up, get pissed, go home tomorrow. That's motor racing.

Donington Park - Auto Union Return

On a clear day we ran well and having qualified a good 4th in class, improved on that slightly to end up 3rd in class and 11th overall after a very good race in traffic. Chris Smith once again won the class with his Lotus 21 One or two of the guys need bigger mirrors and this coupled with an over subscribed grid, meant that overtaking was not always easy. At the front Frank Sytner just edged a win in his Brabham BT4 Tasman car over Robert Hall to reverse the Brands result. Sadly, I forgot my camera so no pictures I'm afraid, however I've included a couple out of the programme for those of you who didn't manage to get there.

I must say that the AU's themselves were disappointing, being driven as they were, in a very sedate manner. They have the look of kits having been built up from spares with new bodywork, but genuine they are and let's not forget that, but to see them puttering round was trifle frustrating to say the least. As Willie Green said on the pit wall, "Come on, get your bloody foot down!"

The same cannot be said of the IMSA and tarmac rally Quattros who treated us to some stupendous lappery. The IMSA car on the pit straight in particular, spitting flame from the exhaust every time the waste gate opened on the turbo with that characteristic squeal.

Nuvolari with the C type at the Belgrade GP, 1939









Cresting the Melbourne Loop on the original circuit.

Nuvolari during practice for the 1938 Pescara Coppa Acerbo.









Brands Hatch Easter

Disaster strikes Fine Print Department!

Quel jour, we find we have the incorrect licence appendix and cannot race. This causes serious chair kicking and much sorrow drowning as we attempt to put a brave face on the removal of an almost certain win (Says Mark)



Brian Jolliffe's superb Cooper. Brian and Bob were the highlight of our weekend. Looking forward to more of the same at Donington guys!!





But, after much running back and forth we ascertain there is nothing we can do and are forced to sit out the coldest race day I have ever attended. (Yes it was Easter and it was in the (supposedly) balmy South.)

None of his detracted from a superb HGPCA race in which Hall ran away with the race in Phillip Walker's car trailing Frank Sytner behind him. Spencer Flack had a nasty off as he suffered (we think) some kind of brake failure catapulting him and the BRM into the barriers at Paddock Hill Bend. Bit of a rebuild job there.


So, its Donington next on the 19th May and at least we will get a start then.

Looking pretty sorry for herself. All dressed up and nowhere to go!







This Tipo 35b wouldn't have won any Concours events but the motor was as sweet as a nut. Once it's owner got it going !!





March 2001

We conducted a successful test at Silverstone, which was good as the proposed test at Donington the previous day was snowed out!.

The car ran very well without any problems although our fuel pump ( to pump fuel into the car from the drums) packed up and we were faced with the prospect of some very dicey "decanting" until Tony Merrick's crew weighed in and leant us their's.

So as a thank you, here is a picture of Tony's magnificent Alfa. I used to have one of these as a Dinky toy when I was young and I understand it is now the only privately owned Alfa of its type. Unfortunately it proved very recalcitrant and they managed to run only a handful of laps all day.




Walking around the garages was a real eye opener and there was some lovely stuff about. Nick Mason was out with a few cars for himself and his daughter, including of course the magnificent 250F. I also came across this ERA which I suspect is the ex Michael Steele ERA which he has campaigned so successfully of late. I understand that it has now been sold on. A beauty nonetheless. Note the Ferraris in the background! The red one is a 330 GTO




I can't pretend it was the best of days; only in the latter part of the day did the track dry out enabling us to start to set some reasonable times. In the end it was a dry track ,but this seemed to prompt a further rash of red flags as "red mist " came down. Here is a nice shot of the pits waiting to go after an early red flag. You can see it wasn't exactly Monaco!!




February 2001

We had a successful first test at Donington during a very cold February. The car went very well until a small water leak said, "It's time to go boys" So we did. Still, the shake down went very well and we set what we consider to be some competitive times. Can't say what they are at the moment, we 'll let the others find out at Silverstone at the official HGPCA test.


gms: motorsport

This is our team and the car with which we will contend the HGPCA Championship. We have now purchased a new transporter which is being fettled, ready for the first race in April at Brands Hatch. Although in good condition and well maintained, we need to re livery it and re furbish the living accommodation for the life on the road this summer. You gotta have a fridge for the beer! The 18 has now been built up and is ready to go


As can be seen, Mark can't wait to get his hands on it, now the wheels are on. Merv, in the background did a lot of the rebuild work.






Here's a shot of the engine, during the build up by Andrew. As can be seen it was a very extensive rebuild which has culminated in a car which is now correct as it ran in 1961, as driven by Jo Bonnier.


January 2001

The HGPCA runs two classes of Grand Prix cars, the pre 61 which of course features such beasts as the Maersati 250F and ERA and the pre 66 which features more modern rear engined cars, mainly from the 1.5 litre era.

This year we are contesting the pre-66 Championship in our Lotus 18. The organisers have just issued their provisional Championship and it's a mouth watering prospect:

March 22nd Test Day at Donington

15th / 18th April Brands Hatch

20/21st April Test day and race Silverstone

19th / 20th May Power and the Passion Meeting Donington

25th / 28th May Coy's Festival Rockingham

8th / 10th June Pau France

23rd / 24th June Zolder, Belgium

10th / 12th August Nurburgring, Germany

24th / 27th August Historic Festival, Silverstone

14th / 16th September Goodwood Revival Meeting (Invitation Only)

29th / 30th September Imola, Italy

20th / 21st October Lime Rock, Conn, USA

 Obviously, the last one is very provisional and, I guess, dependent on enough owners biting the bullet and going. If it come off it will be a heck of a prospect and I hope my US readers will come visit, whilst we're there!

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