Historic racing veteran Andy Newall gets dream come true of driving hero Gerry Marshall's 5-litre V8-engined Vauxhall Firenza

Experienced historic racer and engineer Andy Newall says the chance to race Gerry Marshall’s Baby Bertha super saloon is a dream come true.

Newall will race the 5-litre V8-powered Vauxhall Firenza in the Special Saloons and Modsports races at Brands Hatch this weekend. The unique 1974 car will be on loan from its owner Joe Ward.

'Gerry was always my hero and to drive Baby Bertha is a dream: it’s a big life tick,' said Newall, who has raced sports and GT cars, including a Can-Am McLaren M8F, across Europe and in Australia. 'I used to do BMW customer days with Gerry at Donington Park. He was such a character.'

Newall got the chance to race the iconic Vauxhall after sharing the driving of Ward’s TVR Grantura in the GT and Sports Car Cup race at the Donington Historic Festival in May. 'I’ve tested it at Donington and I’ve watched all the videos to see how Gerry drove it,' said Newall. 'It is such an unbelievable car to drive.'

Baby Bertha was built for the 1974 season after a V8-engined Ventora super saloon, nicknamed Big Bertha, was badly damaged at Silverstone. Key parts were built into the Firenza project and in Marshall’s hands the car became one of the UK’s best-loved race cars.

In three years and more than 40 races, Baby Bertha retired only twice and was beaten once. The project was curtailed at the end of 1978 and Baby Bertha had various owners before Ward bought it and restored it to immaculate period trim.

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Historic Motorsport: Newall gets chance in Baby Bertha

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Historic Motorsport: Newall gets chance in Baby Bertha

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Pictures courtesy of Paul Lawrence