Bicester Heritage’s first Sunday Scramble of 2018 was held at the beginning of January, with large crowds enjoying the huge variety of vehicles on display at the former RAF Bicester. Porsche Club GB had a huge presence, taking over an entire hangar with a variety of models.
Arriving at Bicester just the day before was the 1972 BMW 1602 owned by the Historic Endurance Racing Organisation, the car is part of their “Arrive & Drive” programme, which puts you in the driving seat of some of the finest classic cars from a 1962 Ford Cortina GT to a 1930 Riley Brooklands.
The BMW 1602 made its debut in Geneva in 1966 and was manufactured until 1975, this example was recently raced by Tony Jardine, and has been used at many events from Le Jog to Summer Trial with plans for similar outings this year.
One of the biggest draws of the day for many was the addition of the stunning Leyton House CG901B. The Adrian Newey designed car was driven by Ivan Capelli in 1990.
It was a return home in sorts for the car as the short lived Leyton House team were based in Bicester having been previously the March F1 team, until 1989 saw them bought out by Akira Akagi, a Japanese property entrepreneur, who then raced the team in 1990 and ‘91 under the Leyton House name. However financial problems hit and after a series of buyouts the team were no more.
A car also receiving a lot of attention was a Porsche 911 in a stunning wrap designed by the artist Tim Layzell and completed by the livery team at Mission Motorsport, the armed forces motorsport charity.
The limited edition wraps are available through the charity with proceeds aiding wounded soldiers to retrain in the field of motorsport.
Also on display were the beautiful bi-planes owned by Finest Hour Experiences.
Bicester Heritage has many events throughout the year and really is a must visit for any classic car or vintage enthusiast.
Autosport International returned to the NEC with a packed programme of features, showcasing the best and latest in the world of motorsport.
The F1 Racing feature included the 2017 Ferrari Formula 1 car SF70H as well as the 2004 title winning F2004 and the 2017 World Endurance Championship winning GTE-Pro AF Corse 488 GTE.
They appeared as part of Ferrari’s Corse Clienti showcase, Ferrari’s ultra exclusive programme which puts those with the means in the driving seat of Ferrari’s retired F1 cars.
Over the years Autosport International has seen the launch of many anniversaries and this year was no exception with Cosworth marking their 60th year as does the British Touring Car Championship.
With an array of historic touring cars on display it was a great way to launch the Diamond Anniversary of one of the UK’s most popular Championships. The new Alfa Romeo Giulietta of HMS Racing, formerly Handy Motorsport was a highlight. Team principal Simon Belcher and driver Rob Austin were on hand to do the honours, Austin stated: “We are so proud to finally be unveiling the new Alfa, everyone in our team has put in an incredible amount of work to keep the project on schedule while maintaining an impressive attention to detail.” he went on to say “All in all, we are in a very good place. We have a great team of guys here who have built a beautiful BTCC car which, on paper, looks to be a notable step forward from our previous car. We have great support from some fantastic partners, we have reintroduced a truly iconic brand back into top level UK motorsport…all this and it’s only January 11th!”
Belcher added: “It’s very emotional to see the response to the Alfa Romeo we have designed and built ourselves from the ground up. I did a very hard thing in stepping out of the driving seat myself in the BTCC to spend more time overseeing the team’s progress and then developing such a stunning car. Our engineer Matt Taylor and the rest of the team have done an incredible job and I am extremely proud of what we have achieved. However, a beautiful car is only part of the journey – now we need to make it win!”
Meanwhile Power Maxed Racing announced that Josh Cook, will join them at the wheel of their Vauxhall Astra for their 2018 campaign. AMDTuning also made the announcement that they would be concentrating fully on BTCC adding a further two cars to their line up, the team which currently runs two Audi S3’s to be helmed by Sam Smelt and Ollie Jackson, will also be adding two MG’s, with drivers to be announced over the next few weeks. The team will also not now be running teams in British GT and the Le Mans Cup.
A much anticipated feature was the unveiling of the Ginetta LMP1 and it didn’t disappoint. The company which also celebrates its 60th anniversary unveiled the G60-LT-P1. With the big changes ahead in the World Endurance Championships this was a very exciting look ahead to the new super season.
Lawrence Tomlinson, Chairman of Ginetta, said: “I’m delighted to finally be able to unveil our latest machine to the motorsport industry, and what better time than at the start of our 60th year of manufacturing. Ginetta has a long history of international success in with the G55 GT4, LMP3 and G57. The LMP1 will be a strong contender in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and at Le Mans. We have a great team of Design Engineers in Leeds, have worked with some excellent partners on the project, and can’t wait to show you what the LMP1 is made of out on track.”
In British GT the big news was the return of Jaguar to the Championship after an eleven year absence. Invictus Games Racing, a collaboration between Invictus Games and James Holder, Superdry co-founder and former British GT driver, will run the bespoke F-TYPE SVR GT4’s, to be driven by wounded, injured and sick British Armed Services personnel veterans.
The team have worked closely with Mission Motorsport to help select and train drivers. Each driver will be teamed with a Pro driver, with two Am drivers per car, they will alternate on a race by race basis. The Am drivers are Steve McCulley and Paul Vice who will be partnered by Matthew George, while Ben Norfolk and Basil Rawlinson will be partnered by Jason Wolfe.
The World Rally Championship launched the 2018 season at the show ahead of the January season opener at Monte Carlo, with World champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia opening the show alongside M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson. It was announced that Ford were extending support to M-Sport, winner of both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in 2017. The renamed M-Sport Ford World Rally Team will receive additional technical help from Ford Performance in USA, as well as extra financial backing. While Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja made their first official appearance as Toyota Gazoo Racing drivers after joining the team for the 2018 season.
In the live action arena Billy Monger partnered stunt driver Terry Grant after working closely with Mission Motorsport, the armed forces motorsport charity who helped in his rehabilitation process.
The traditional Plum Pudding Races returned to Mallory Park on Boxing Day. A popular event with spectators looking for a post Christmas Day racing fix, the event features motorcycle and car races, although sadly this year there was no sidecar racing, but there was still plenty of on track action for any petrolhead. Both Sports and Saloon car races attracted a variety of marques from the Radical Exige of Paul Woolfit, to the Lotus Elise raced by Miles Hodgson, to a Martini liveried Lancia Delta Integrale owned and driven by Richard Thurbin.
Just some of our shots from the Plum Pudding Races 2017…..
A bitterly cold Mallory Park, played host to the annual Plum Pudding Races on Boxing Day. The popular event now in its 44th year sees bikes and car races, with the grid position decided by when the race entry is received. The earlier you enter, the higher your position on the grid!
Unfortunately there were no sidecar entries this year, but a healthy entry list in the East Midlands Racing Association bike races meant there was plenty of action for the many spectators who attended. The cold weather gave the solo motorcyclists a challenging few races, with a few spills taking place but despite the cold the weather remained breezy but dry allowing for some great racing to take place.
A rider who took a podium position in all three races including first place in the first Solo Motorcycle race was Aaron Staniforth on his Honda CBR 600. Staniforth from Sheffield has had an amazing season contesting in the Auto 66 Club Championship, with plans to continue next season as well as competing in the European Classic Endurance Series at Donington, Staniforth is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Also frequenting the podium with a dominant performance was Andrew Wilkinson who took the win in race two and three as well as second place in race one. While Richard Blunt completed the podium in race one and Martin Clare took third place in race two and three.