Historic - HRDC To Launch Race Series For GP2 Touring Cars
London, May 19, 2011: The Historic Racing Drivers Club is to launch a race series for early Gp2 historic touring cars of the type which formed the nucleus of the European Touring Car Championship in 1963.
HRDC Founder and Race Director, Julius Thurgood, comments: "For many years, I have rued the fact we no longer see the eclectic mix of historic touring cars that created the variety and spectacle which hallmarked the ETCC in its formative years.
"It is clear that certain models have now become 'the weapon of choice' in pre-'66 historic touring car races, so much so that hardly any true-to-period variety is to be seen in this arena. Nowadays, where can you see a proper Jaguar Mk2 running competitively, or, for that matter, a Lancia Flavia or Flaminia coupe, Alfa Romeo 2600 or early Giulia Ti, Vauxhall VX4/90, Mercedes-Benz 300SE, MG 1100, Mini 850, Ford Zodiac Mk3 or even an early model Ford Cortina GT? I know that many of these cars exist in historic race form, but most have been mothballed by disheartened owners, who have given up any hope of competing on a level playing field against over-developed homologation specials. I truly feel that there is a strong demand for these early, less-developed, cars to make a dynamic return to historic racing within a well managed series."
1963 saw the formation of the FIA-sanctioned ETCC, the brainchild of German Willy Stenger, who enlisted the help of John Aley to coordinate the UK rounds. One particular race inspired Julius Thurgood to launch the new series was the 'The Motor' 6-Hours race at Brands Hatch, held on 6 July 1963.
"Here we had the sight of the then mighty Jaguar Mk2s of Mike Salmon and Peter Sutcliffe, Roy Salvadori and Denny Hulme, Peter Linder and Peter Nocker, battling against Jack Sears and Bo Ljungfeldt in the Willment Cortina GT, while the mighty Galaxies had yet to find their potential.
"John Aley and Rauno Aaltonen were in a Mini Cooper (not an 'S'), as were Edward Lewis and Julien Vernaeve in a Westover Racing version. Bill Blydenstein fielded a Vauxhall VX4/90, Dick Jacobs was in an MG 1100, Anita Taylor hustled the Willment Ford Anglia 1200, while the HF Squadra Corse team fielded both Lancia Flavia and Flaminia coupes. Add a sprinkling of Sunbeam Rapiers, Volvo Amazons, a brace of Zodiac Mk3s, a Fiat Abarth, Riley 1.5 and a Mercedes-Benz 220SE and you can see the colourful palate that made up this evocative grid - with not a single Lotus-powered homologation special in view!"
Therefore, the HRDC will be running a dedicated series for FIA-compliant historic touring cars which ran in 1963 - with the exclusion of 'homologation specials'. This series will run alongside the established HRDC 'Touring Greats' (for pre-1960 touring cars) and 'Grand Touring Greats' (for sub-1500cc, pre-1966 GTs). The new series will be called HRDC 'TC63 Touring Greats'.