Classic Alfa Race at Donington

Exciting news doing the rounds since our last ”Friday Fix” is that Julius Thurgood’s Historic Racing Drivers Club is planning a Classic Alfa Race to be held at the BRSCC Finals Meeting on Sunday 14th October. The 30 minute race will be for 101 Giuliettas, any Giulia 105 model, 116 Series Alfettas and Giuliettas and some Alfasuds. Qualifying will be over 15 minutes. The grid will be split into three classes – Production, Track Modified and Full Race. The entry fee is £495. When we were at Snetterton a couple of weeks ago, talking to Julius and the owners of several eligible cars including Micky Bolton, Richard Drake, Jonathan and James Wright, Gavin Watson, Steve Potts and Stephen Chase, it was clear that a very large grid is a possibility. Julius has protected himself by saying that entry is “by invitation”! We have some entry packs for anyone with a suitable car. E-mail [email protected]

The Championship has been involved in several classic Alfa races in the past, some more successful than others with events at Snetterton, Donington and Mallory Park coming to mind. If the HRDC Donington race is a success it could be the springboard for three or four similar races in 2019.

Sauber F1 continues to progress

Photo: Alfa Romeo Sauber F1

Three Grand Prix on three consecutive weekends – Paul Ricard (France), Red Bull Ring (Austria) and Silverstone (British GP) was a test of stamina for all the Formula 1 teams, let alone journalists, TV crews and those involved in team hospitality. And then, of course, there were the drivers! During this marathon, the Sauber team has continued to impress, as has its lead driver Charles Leclerc. For him there was 1 championship point in France 2 more in Austria, giving him 13 in total and 14th place in the table. Marcus Ericsson also earned a well deserved point in Austria but Silverstone was a disaster, as Leclerc suffered a loose wheel after a botched pit stop and Ericsson crashed. Rumours are strong though that Leclerc has already signed a two year deal to join Ferrari alongside Vettel with Kimi Raikkonen, on the podium at all three recent races moving across to Sauber where he started his career. However, Antonio Giovanazzi will be at the wheel of a Sauber in FP1 at Hockenheim this coming weekend. To keep up with all Alfa Sauber-Ferrari news visit sauberf1team.com

BTCC – Croft

Watching the start of the first race at Croft, courtesy of ITV4, it was easy as ever to see where Rob Austin’s Giulietta was, coming down the outside into Clearvaux. Sadly that was not the place to be as he was then eased off onto the gravel and into the barrier. Race over! The car was repaired for race 2, finishing 15th, and was then running well  in the reversed grid race 3 later in the day before retiring. Following Croft, the Giulietta has not been left sitting idly in the HMS Racing worklshop, having gone on show at the National Alfa Day, taken part in the Dunlop test at Snetterton where BTCC boss Alan Gow also drove it, and then going on to the Goodwood Festival of Speed where it ran up the hill on all three days. The next BTCC meeting is at Snetterton on June 28th/29th

World TCR Cup

Photo: tcr-series.com

The Vila Real round of the WTRC Cup was almost a disaster for everybody, a multi-car crash on the opening lap bringing out the red flag and causing a 2 hour delay while the wreckage was cleared. There was no miracle for the Mulsanne Racing Alfa team but Fabrizio Giovanardi showed that the car’s performance had improved by coming close to a top 10 finish. Sadly, soon after, Gianni Morbidelli left the team, being replaced for the Slovakia rounds by Kevin Ceccon who had tested the Giulietta at Monza during the winter. Peversely the Slovakia races produced a big leap in form for the Romeo Ferraris prepared cars and Giovanardi took their best results of the year with a 5th place in race 1 and 7th in race 3. World TCR, as its name implies, goes worldwide in September with the next round being in China at the end of September.

TCR UK at Castle Combe

Photo: tcr-series.com

After the two non starts at Brands Hatch, the engines from the DPE Giuliettas were taken back to Romeo Ferraris in Italy where a batch of faulty parts was diagnosed and it was hope that all would be well for the Castle Combe rounds over the weekend July 14th/15th. Derek Palmer Jnr enjoyed a slightly better weekend with a 5th place in race 2 but new driver Robert Gilmour was again out of luck as his ECU fried itself and a replacement could be programmed to the team’s satisfaction so the car was withdrawn before qualifying. Interestingly Palmer’s fastest lap was some 5” quicker than Tim Lewis’s Alfa lap record with his supercharged Alfasud Sprint.The next TCR rounds are at Brands Hatch on August 4th/5th.

TCR Italy at Mugello

Photo: tcr-series.com

The V Action Alfa Giulietta with Luigi Ferrara at the wheel has enjoyed wins already this year and went to the latest rounds at Mugello on July 14th/15th leading the Italian Championship. This was not to be his lucky weekend, however, as a damaged radiator and brake problems in race 1 left him out of contention while starting from the back in race 2 he could only manage 14th. Fortunately, a second Giulietta, run by Ottomotorsport with 44 year old Edoardo Cappello at the wheel, was able to take a splendid win in race 2 from the Cupra of Salvatore Tavano who has now taken over the championship lead from Ferrara.

Ted Pearson’s Alfasud Trofeo and Historic Formula Ford

I have enjoyed an exchange of e-mails with Ted Pearson recently. His Trofeo Sud is now finished and he will be taking it to Cadwell Park for a test session on July 25th accompanied by Tom Shrubb (“Who else? he says”). “Really don’t know where I will be running it as yet – possibly the Festival Italia but, to be honest, some of the Ferraris were very fast but not very accommodating with slower stuff, so pondering that. I have definitely entered it in Julius Thurgood’s Classic Alfa Challenge race. I am really looking forward to that one!

Ted went on to say “Historic Formula Ford is tremendous – I think the quality and speed of the top 6 is the best I have ever encountered in club racing and effectively getting into the top 10 is quite an achievement. The Silverstone International Trophy meeting was the first time I drove the car and I qualified 15th and got up to 10th in race 1 when a stub axle failed thus making me start race 2 in 35th! My team reckoned I climbed to 11th (I’m not so sure) but I had to pull out as the oil pressure light came on, so I switched off. The Brands meeting was better – qualifying 14th and finishing 11th and 14th in the races. I’d like to think I’ll be in the top 10 soon but there’s 40 other people trying to stop me!! My car is a Merlyn Mk11a/17 and is prepared by Nigel Grant Engineers.” The pictures show a happy Ted in his Alfa championship winning days and in the Merlyn in 2018.

A question that someone out there might be able to answer. There is an Antony Ross racing a Lola T200 in Historic Formula Ford. Is it the same Antony Ross who used to race a roundtail Spider with us in 1995 and then later in HSCC 70s Roadsports?

Brief Notes

Goodwood Festival of Speed

There wasn’t the usual influx of Alfas from the Museum at Goodwood this year but there were still Alfas to be seen as Rob Austin was running his BTCC Giulietta on the hill, as was Tom Andrew with his ex Italian Championship 155. While watching the excellent Live TV coverage, I also caught a glimpse of a 75 in action on the rally stage.

Shuttleworth P3 sold at auction – The P3 Alfa raced extensively by Richard Shuttleworth in 1935, winning the Donington Grand Prix in October that year, before he crashed it in a near fatal accident in South Africa the following January, has just been sold at auction for £4.3 million. Seems a bit of a bargain when you compare it with the prices achieved for Ferrari GTOs or one of the Project 212/214/215 Aston Martins. This particular P3 had a chequered career after it was rebuilt, being transformed into a sports car with wings and lights, before being returned to its single seater state and being raced in many VSCC events.

Threat of VNUK Returns – A year ago there was much talk of the threat from the proposed VNUK  legislation that would require all off road vehicles to have third party insurance, the result of which would be the imposition of impossible extra costs on motorsport, in addition to popular activities such as gardening where motorised lawn mowers would have to be insured. This is a very real threat but information had been sparse until this week when the European Commission confirmed that the legislation was going through. This had pushed the FIA, MSA and other governing bodies into action and we wait with some trepidation to hear if their efforts to quash the new rules as far as they affect motorsport have been successful.

Silverstone Classic – This coming weekend’s Silverstone Classic will have much to interest Alfa enthuasists both on and off the track. AROC will be mounting its usual display while those racing will include Neil Smith with the Superturismo 156 and the Banks brothers, Max and Andrew with their already very successful GTA. If that wasn’t enough, they will also be sharing the ex Jo Bonnier McLaren M6B that they acquired a year or so ago. Also in action should be the Group 2 Alfasud Sprint of Geoff Gordon, the preparation of which has been serialised recently in “Motor Sport” and for which the engine was built by Dave Ashford at Brunswick Motorsport. Peter Smart and Ian Brookfield will also be there looking after Mike Neumann’s 2000 GTV.

HRDC Coys Trophy at Snetterton – Gavin Watson (Giulietta 1600) and Steve Potts/Pip Hammond (Giulia Ti) were in action in the HRDC Coys Trophy race on July 8th, battling for almost all the race to finish a fine 5th and 6th in that order.

Alfa Names from the past back to racing – Riccardo Patrese (now 64) and Loic Depailler, son of Alfa Grand Prix driver Patrick Depailler who died in a testing accident at Hockenheim in 1980, will be part of a team racing a JAS prepared Honda NSX GT3 in the Spa 24 Hours. Meanwhile Nicola Larini (now 54) and Alex Caffi drove a Bentley Continental in the Italian GT Championship at Mugello last weekend, finishing 7th and 9th in the two races.

“Alfa Romeo in Formula 1” – a new book from Giorgio Nada – Just arrived as I was starting to put my contributions to Friday Fix 72 to bed is a new book from the well known Italian publisher of all things motoring, Giorgio Nada Editore. “Alfa Romeo in Formula 1” by Enrico Mapelli covers the marque’s involvement that started again after the end of WW2 but is mainly concerned with the period from 1979 onwards, through the Autodelta and Carlo Chiti period, to the years when the team was run by Euroracing under Paolo Pavanello, sponsored by both Marlboro and then Benetton.

It also includes the years when Alfa was the supplier of engines to formula 1 teams such as McLaren, March, Brabham and Osella with the intention of keeping such home grown talent such as Andrea de Adamich and Nanni Galli on the Grand Prix scene. Although there are some valuable nuggets of information in the text (in both English and Italian) it is the photographic content that makes the most impact with a large percentage that have not been published before. A good examples are pictures of De Adamich’s McLaren Alfa in the pits at Monza, carrying a large white Biscione just ahead of the windscreen and some splendid images of the Marlboro era.  There is also mention of the Ligier Alfa that never made it to a race. The Alfa sponsored Sauber Ferrari appears in the final chapter under the heading “The Stuff of Dreams” and the book is completed by a full list of results from 1946 to the last appearance of Nicola Larini with the Osella FA1 in 1988.

Michael Lindsay



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