Porsche 924-The Subtle Sports Coupè

Originally conceived as a Porsche design for a joint venture with Volkswagen, the 924 which celebrated its 40th birthday last year, remains a popular modern classic. Often to be found at meetings and car events such as the Silverstone Classic, the 924 was designed as an entry level model and the first Porsche on the road to have a fully automatic transmission.

Rights to the design of the car were bought by Porsche from Volkswagen after they decided not to proceed with its production. The car was instead produced by Volkswagen as subcontractors to Porsche at the VW factory in Neckarsulm, Germany.

Equipped with an Audi 2 litre, four cylinder engine and rear mounted transaxle, the model was designed with near perfect front/rear weight ratio, with the aim of minimizing oversteer. The European model achieved 125 horsepower while the US model having lower compression and smaller valves, because of emission regulations put out 95 horsepower.

The 924 received its press debut in November 1975,  however the car was criticized for its performance but nonetheless became one of Porsche’s best selling models due to its economy, reliability and build quality.

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The model went through a series of upgrades throughout its production history including a more powerful engine, improved brakes, 5 speed transmission and a number of sports options. Limited Editions were also released such as the Martini(1977) Le Mans(1980) and Sebring(1979). The evolution of the model included the later Turbo, Carrera GT and 924S.

With its own class in the BRSCC Porsche Championships and a busy owners club, the 924 continues to retain a loyal following both on the race track and road. And with prices of the model only set to rise, the 924’s status as a Porsche classic is surely confirmed.

https://porsche924.co.uk/

http://www.porscheracingdrivers.co.uk/

 

 

Allison Remzi                                      All Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

 

40 years of Williams- F1 team celebrated at Autosport International

A major exhibit at the NEC was Williams 40th anniversary feature. The sell out interactive attraction included displays of cars and memorabilia spanning the history of the Grove based team that was founded in 1977 by Sir Frank Williams and Sir Patrick Head .

From one of Willam’s earliest cars the FW07 to Nigel Mansell’s 1992 Championship winning FW14B to the present Williams Martini car, there was a wealth of  British Formula 1 history on display, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the heritage of the team.

Making appearances across the event were a number of Williams figures including deputy team principal Claire Williams , Rob Smedley Head of Race Engineering and new driver Lance Stroll.

Announced this week, joining rookie Stroll for the 2017 season at Williams, is Felipe Massa. Massa who retired from the team and Formula 1 last November has re-signed with Williams allowing outgoing driver Valtteri Bottas to sign with Mercedes after Nico Rosbergs shock retirement announcement at the end of last season.

 

Drivers for the team have included Ayrton Senna, Keke Rosberg, Jenson Button, Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet.

Achieving 9 Constructors Championships and 7 Drivers Championships, the team made their Formula 1 debut at the Spanish Grand Prix in 1977 and have amassed 114 race victories.  To celebrate the 40th year of the team and in an alteration of the current numbering system, the 2017 car has been named FW40.

 

Allison Remzi                                           Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

Guy Martin’s surprise signing to Honda Racing for 2017 road races

The unexpected announcement sees Martin joining 23 times TT winner John McGuiness at Honda Racing for this years North West 200, Southern 100, Ulster Grand Prix and Isle of Man TT. The road race legends will be riding the new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.

2017 will be Martin’s first outing in international road races since his accident at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2015. Following the severe crash, the popular Lincolnshire rider had initially intended to race in 2016 with Tyco BMW but instead competed in the Tour Divide endurance mountain bike race.

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Guy Martin joins John McGuiness at Honda Racing

Martins absence from road races last year was seen as an indicator that he was finished with the sport and was moving on to new ventures. However with multiple TT podium finishes to his name but no win, the move to Honda clearly shows he has a lot more to prove.

 

Allison Remzi                      Images courtesy of Honda Racing CBR

Autosport International Live Action Arena, from classic Rallycross cars to loop the loops

The Live Action Arena at the NEC saw a variety of vehicles from a classic Porsche to a stunt Kawasaki. Each show played to a packed audience who were treated to spectacles such as stunts, the Aston Martin WEC Championship winning car, the beautiful Tesla GT, BriSCA F1 stock cars, Autograss races and a celebration of 50 years of Rallycross.

A popular segment was the British Touring Car Championship Time Trial, where two BTCC stars went head to head in a Ginetta to complete timed laps of the arena stage area.

A regular highlight in the Live Action Arena of Autosport International are classes of the National Autograss Sports Association. Cars on display range from Super Saloon to steel tube spaceframed chassis cars. Three classes competed in three races plus a time trial between Huw Jones and Ben Gadsby.

An eagerly awaited segment was the stunts of renown driver Terry Grant and rider Lee Bowers. Multi record holding Terry Grant wowed audiences by completing  a 5G pulling loop-the-loop in a buggy and performed in his TVR alongside Lee Bowers. Lee who is also a multiple world record holder, UK freestyle champion and Kawasaki Team Green ambassador displayed an amazing array of tricks including drifting and acrobatics.

Celebrating 50 years of Rallycross was a stunning display of cars from all 5 decades driven by legends of the sport such as Martin Schanche, six times European Champion, Vic Elford in the Porsche 911  in which he won the first Rallycross event in 1967 and John Taylor, the first European Rallycross Champion in his Ford Escort.

The Live Arena Show hosted by F1 commentator David Croft and  WTCC presenter Alexandra Legouix was a huge and unique draw for the thousands who attended Autosport International across the 4 days, showcasing just a small section of the excitement of motorsport.

 

Allison Remzi                  Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

 

 

 

 

Valtteri Bottas confirmed for Mercedes, Massa to Williams

Confirmed today, after weeks of rumours, was the signing of Valtteri Bottas to Mercedes and the return of Felipe Massa to Williams.

Speaking at Mercedes Brackley HQ, Bottas said “We did the contract today and obviously I’ve been dreaming for a long time to drive for a team like this, a team of champions,”

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Valtteri Bottas

“So I’m really proud to be part of this and proud of what you’ve achieved in the last few years but also in the whole history of Formula 1. It’s mega to be driving a Silver Arrow myself this year.”

Bottas went on to say he was sure he and Lewis Hamilton would make a strong pairing.

To avoid conflict of interest Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has stepped down from Bottas’ management team following the signing. Whilst Nico Rosberg will maintain links to the team via an ambassadorial role at Mercedes for 2017.

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Felipe Massa

It was Williams that confirmed the Bottas signing news after first announcing Felipe Massa would be rejoining the team partnering Lance Stroll. Massa who bid an emotional farewell to Williams in November, has stated that he intended to race in 2017 and Williams is a team close to his heart, he then went on to wish Valtteri all the best at Mercedes.

Also confirmed today was the signing of Pascal Wehrlein to Sauber for 2017. 22 year old Wehrlein, part of Mercedes’ young driver programme missed out on Nico Rosberg’s seat at Mercedes but joins Marcus Ericsson at the Swiss team.

 

Allison Remzi                Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

 

 

Drag racing team Brad Jackson Racing reveal 2017 livery at Autosport International

Unveiled for the York based team by 4 times FIA Top Fuel European Championship winner Andy Carter, was the new Lucas Oil/Brad Jackson livery, jointly designed by Crew Chief Wayne Jackson and Pete Walters Race Design.
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Lucas Oil/Brad Jackson Racing 2017 livery

The Worthy Dragster’s V8 Chevrolet engine and gearbox  has undergone a rebuild ahead of the 2017 season, with the 940 HP engine achieving 0-60 in 0.87 seconds.

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Team driver Brad Jackson

The team hope to equal the success of last season when driver in the Super Pro class Brad Jackson, took his second consecutive APIRA/Shakespeare County Raceway Champion title and European Finals meeting Super Pro ET win within 21 days.

20 year old Brad, who also won the Open Sports Nationals of 2016, comes from a racing pedigree with his father and Crew Chief Wayne Jackson having competed in karting, trial riding and Porsche championships.

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Father & son team Brad & Wayne Jackson

The FIA European Drag Racing Championships opening round takes place at Santa Pod Raceway, Northamptonshire 26th to 29th May 2017.

http://www.santapod.co.uk

 

Allison Remzi                 Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

 

Dario Franchitti reveals he was set for Porsche LMP1 at 2015 Le Mans

The four times IndyCar Champ revealed at Autosport International, that he had been set to drive a Porsche in the 24 hour endurance event before his accident at the IndyCar series Grand Prix of Houston in 2013 ruled him out.

Franchitti had met with Porsche and had settled on finishing with Indy Car after the 2014 season, before embarking with the LMP1 Porsche team for their second return season in the WEC.B45G0162

However his horrific crash following contact with Takuma Sato’s car left Franchitti with fractured vertebrae, a broken ankle and concussion, losing 5 weeks of memory.  The shunt resulted in his doctors telling him he couldn’t race again.

“I miss driving, not IndyCars, what used to seem normal to do everyday is not normal, especially in IndyCar with the dangers, what those guys do is not normal.

“I now look at it and think, ‘what the hell was I thinking?’, so I don’t miss that bit. I miss the chance to race historic cars. I was lucky to do what I did”

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Dario Franchitti opening this years Autosport International Live

Franchitti, who opened Autosport International Live, is currently a team advisor for IndyCar, and Nascar team Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. He also commentates on Formula E TV and It was recently announced that Franchetti will be performing the Grand Marshal duties at this years Rolex 24 event in Daytona, a race won by Franchitti and co-drivers Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Juan Pablo Montoya in 2008.

 

Allison Remzi                  Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

 

BTCC News from Autosport International Live

A raft of British Touring Car Championship announcements were made at the opening day of Autosport International at the NEC.

First up was triple Championship winner Matt Neal and reigning BTCC Champ Gordon Shedden to unveil their stunning new Honda Civics Halfords Yuasa Racing livery.

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Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden unveil the new Halfords Yuasa Racing livery.

Team Dynamics  other unveiling was their newest partnership with Matt Simpson Racing.  Simpson, a former Hot Rod champ debuted in BTCC with Speedworks Motorsport in 2016.

A new name to the BTCC grid is Ant Whorton-Eales who will be driving AmDTuning’s second Audi S3. The Renault UK Clio Cup champion joins Ollie Jackson at the Essex based team. Ant, 22, a BRDC Rising Star and former 750 Motor Club Sax Max Champion, is aiming for the Jack Sears Trophy. Team boss Shaun Hollamby is confident the duo will make a strong partnership next season.

Rob Austin confirmed he is to continue with Handy Motorsport and revealed Northgate plc as their new sponsor. Also announced was Handy Motorsports generous prize package in the Legends Cars National Championship’s. Winner of the first prize will run 10 laps in the Handy Motorsports Toyota Avensis following 15 laps of instruction with Rob Austin.  Undoubtedly one of the best prize packages in club racing.

Motorbase Performance were on hand to announce the addition of Luke Davenport, who has previously raced in British GT, along with long standing BTCC driver Martin Depper, the pair join Mat Jackson helming the Shredded Wheat Ford Focus. A later announcement was Dunlop Tyres prize of a test drive in the Motorbase Ford Focus for the overall winner of the 2017 Fiesta Championship.

Also unveiled was the eagerly awaited West Surrey Racing, Pirtek Racing backed, BMW 125i M Sport. Standing by to do the honours was West Surrey Racing boss Dick Bennett and driver Andrew Jordan. Jordan signed a two year deal with West Surrey Racing in November after leaving Motorbase Performance at the end of last season.

Allison Remzi      Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

Colin Turkington talks plans for the future at Autosport International

Colin Turkington announced on Friday his split with Team BMR. Speaking at Autosport International on Saturday, Turkington stated he “needed time to absorb the news and work out the next path”.
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Colin Turkington’s 2014 Championship winning BMW

It’s been rumoured that the two times BTCC champ could be joining Andrew Jordan at West Surrey Racing with whom he raced in 2006-2009 and 2013-2014.

 

Colin went on to say “Number one in any driver’s mind is putting yourself in the most-competitive car, the best team – you have to give yourself the best chance to win. That’s my focus right now. I’ll continue to work hard over the next few weeks to make something happen.”

“I want to definitely stay in BTCC, I love the championship, I grew up watching it. I still want to be there competing and winning, I’ve still got the hunger for it.”

 

Allison Remzi           Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble

Bicester Heritage hosted it’s ever popular Sunday Scramble last weekend, the event which draws very large crowds, is a mecca for vintage car and aviation enthusiasts. Car owner groups and clubs such as Porsche Club GB, The Abarth Owners Club, Morgan Sports Car Club and G4 Challenge Owners Club  were out in force as well as a local Home Guard reenactment group.

But the highlight was probably the wealth of classic British cars on display such as Gilbern, Alvis, Bristol and Jaguar. Many of which were available to view in the conserved redbrick buildings of the former RAF bomber base, now used as workshops by the specialist motoring  and aviation companies on site.

Also in attendance was a huge number of cars from Ford Escorts to René Bonnet, Ferraris to Renaults and McLarens to Mini’s.

Unfortunately poor weather early on hampered flying plans but a static display of bi planes including a Plumb BGP-1, Piper J-3 Cub, Beagle A61 Terrier and a Tiger Moth by Finest Hour Experiences looked great on the airfield.

Bicester Heritage is based at the former RAF Bicester, although the sites history predates WWII by 28 years, when in 1911 a Bristol Boxkite landed at the airfield. In 1916 the Royal Flying Corps began training there and in 1925 the development of the site as a bomber base began. Several bomber squadrons were based at Bicester throughout WWII but by 1944 the base became a non-flying unit. Although the RAF stopped using Bicester as a military base in 1976 there was a continued presence in the form of glider training.  Glider clubs have operated from the airfield since 1956 and continue to do so today.

In 2013 Bicester Airfield was obtained from the MOD by Bicester Heritage who aim to create a home for vintage cars, motorcycles and aircraft and all the supporting specialist industries that entails, in one historic hub.  Some of the companies already on site include Atalanta Motors, Kingsbury Racing Shop & The MG Automobile Company.

Students from Banbury and Bicester College who are participating in the Classic Vehicle Restoration Apprenticeship, work on site on many vehicles including a Formula Vee car.

A recent addition to the specialists is Mission Motorsport, the Forces motorsport charity who have taken a unit specifically for instrument repair, alongside the likes of Ryan Edwards Exhaust Fabrications Ltd, who has worked with many sports cars such ERA’s, Ferrari 250’s and is currently working on a Lotus Exige for Guglielmi Motorsport. Also on site is SWB Motorsport who run track days and driving experiences in many vehicles from Formula Ford to large military vehicles, the team who have raced in Formula Ford , Formula Renault and British F4 have taken a year out but are set to return to FIA F4 in 2017.

Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble Gallery Link  http://www.finishlinesports.net/2017/01/11/bicester-heritage-sunday-scramble-gallery/

 

www.bicesterheritage.co.uk

Allison Remzi            All images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

 

Rod Birley – 600th Race Win Milestone

Rod Birley recently achieved this remarkable milestone at the Plum Pudding Races at Mallory Park on Boxing Day.The race entry, which was a surprise Christmas present from Rods wife, topped off a year that saw him take 15 wins 10 of which were outright.

Rod’s lengthy career started in 1973 when before his 18th Birthday he raced at Silverstone in Production Saloon’s taking 3rd in class. By the end of that season Rod had won his first Championship and 9 class wins in his Hillman Imp.

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For the bulk of his career Rod has driven Saloons, although for a solid 5 years he successfully raced Hot Rods.  Rod has driven many cars throughout his career but 303 of  his wins have been at the wheel of a Ford Escort WRC.

Rod has twice been a past recipient of the Autosport Golden Helmet, listed in Motorsport News in their Top 100 Drivers List and achieved 57 Championship titles. Rod was also recently awarded a certificate of recognition by the Motorsport Awards Association in the category of Volunteer of the Year.

By anybody’s standards Rod has had an incredible racing career and we wish him many more wins in the future.

 

 

Allison Remzi          All Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick

Plum Pudding Races at Mallory Park

Boxing Day saw the racing event in its 42nd year at the Leicestershire circuit.  The field saw an eclectic mix of Saloon and Sports cars, solo motorcycles and side cars. The Plum Pudding races differ from most events in that there is no qualifying on the day, instead place on the grid is determined by order of entry into the event.

 

In the sports car races there was a small but interesting array of cars from Caterhams to a Radical. The Radical SR3 RS driven by Dave Porter went on to win the final sports race of the afternoon.

The saloon cars was no exception in interest, the first race of the day being won by Rod Birley in his Ford Escort WRC, his 600th win across a lengthy career.

The second Saloon race was not without high drama, the race being pulled after only two laps with many shunts  and a crash involving Nikolas Barton in his VW Golf.

The sidecar races only saw a small field of four entries but was a firm crowd pleaser.

The Solo motorcycles saw a far larger entry, and was great to see a Lambretta  competing against the sportsbikes. Jesse Trayler the National Superstocks 1000 rider won the first race with Jay Matthews going on to win the final race on his Yamaha R6.

The Plum Pudding Races is a great crowd puller with a huge amount of spectators coming out to enjoy the racing over a cold but sunny Boxing Day. We’ll be sure to return next year.

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Allison Remzi          All images ©Andy Fitzpatrick