Historic Formula 1 cars headline Imola festival

The former Italian Grand Prix venue will host two races of the FIA Masters Historic Formula 1 Championship this weekend

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Formula 1 cars will return to Imola this weekend for the Historic Formula 1 Grand Prix of San Marino.

Two races for the Masters Historic Formula 1 Championship, run for the Elio de Angelis Trophy, will headline the first edition of MotorLegendFestival, which is supported by the Republic of San Marino.

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The weekend will include tributes to Jim Clark, Martini Racing with Ricardo Patrese and AutoDelta, Alfa Romeo's competition department.

On hand as part of the celebration of Clark's life on Saturday will be the Lotus 25 with which he won the non-championship Imola Grand Prix exactly 55 years earlier on April 21, 1963.

The lives and careers of grand prix racers Ayrton Senna and de Angelis will also be honoured.

Imola has a history dating back to 1953 and hosted the Italian Grand Prix in '80 in place of Monza, which was being re-developed at the time.

Following the success of that race, Italy was granted a second F1 race in 1981 under the tag of the San Marino Grand Prix, the nearby independent republic.

The San Marino Grand Prix ran 26 times until 2006, but is remembered for its 1994 race weekend during which both Senna and Roland Ratzenberger died.

After an abortive recent attempt to win the contract for Italian Grand Prix, Imola will now host a major celebration of racing history and plans to build the MotorLegendFestival in parallel to the locally-held RallyLegend event.

As well as the 27-strong Historic F1 entry, the race element of the weekend also includes Masters Historic Sports Cars, Gentleman Drivers for pre '66 GT cars, Masters Pre '66 Touring Cars and the opening race of the season for the new Masters Endurance Legends series for recent GT and sports-prototypes. American racer Travis Engen heads the entry in his Audi R8 LMP1.

'I've been struck by the passion, because I'm convinced that, in a similar way to RallyLegend, the speed sector, both cars and bikes, can involve and attract a large number of enthusiasts,' said Vito Piarulli, organiser of the MotorLegendFestival.

'For this first edition, we have tried to plan three days that will entertain and transmit the culture of motorsport.

'We are honoured to have immediately received the support of both the Republic of San Marino, which has hosted RallyLegend right from its first edition, and the Imola race track.'

Images courtesy of LAT

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