Historic Motorsport: Niki Lauda's F2 car to return

The March 722 that Lauda raced alongside Ronnie Peterson and Francois Cevert will return to the circuit at Thruxton this weekend

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The Formula 2 March 722 raced by Niki Lauda in 1972 will return to racing in Europe this weekend during the historic single-seater races at Thruxton.

Chassis 5 has spent many years in Australia but has been brought back to the UK by ex-pat Stephen Weller. He will race it at Thruxton, 46 years after Lauda finished third behind the similar cars of Ronnie Peterson and Francois Cevert in the Easter Monday European F2 race at the Hampshire track. Three days earlier, on Good Friday, Lauda won a round of the British F2 Championship in the rain at Oulton Park.

After Lauda raced the car in 1972 it spent some time hillclimbing and was later believed to have been part of James Hunt’s estate when he died in 1993. It went to Australia nearly 20 years ago and has been raced from time to time.

'It got covered up and put in the back of a workshop, four doors up from me in Sydney, so I knew it was there,' said Weller who acquired it in time for the Philip Island Classic in March. 'I’ve never raced at Thruxton before.'

The March, running in period STP livery, arrived in the UK last week after two months at sea and Weller is now re-preparing it for this weekend. He then plans to race it on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit two weeks later.

'We are only the custodians of these cars,' said Weller. 'They shouldn’t be in museums, they should be on track.'

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New series aimed at period Alfa Romeos

An invitation race for classic and historic Alfa Romeos from the 1950s, 60s and 70s will be run at Donington Park in October and could be the catalyst for a series of races in 2019.

The Historic Racing Drivers Club will promote the 30-minute race on October 14, and entries will be by invitation only. It will be staged as a scratch race, with classes for production, track-modified and full race cars.  

HRDC founder Julius Thurgood said: 'The ethos behind this invitation race is to promote a possible series in 2019, which will champion close racing within a proper historic format for classic Alfa Romeos from three decades.'

The series is open to all Alfa Romeo 750, 101, 105 and 116-series cars, spanning an early Giulietta Berlina to a four-cylinder Alfetta GTV or an AlfaSud, competing alongside Bertone GT coupes in all racing variants.

Pearson makes single-seater debut

Former Stock Hatch and Ginetta racer Stuart Pearson has switched to Historic Formula Ford 2000 and made his single-seater debut recently at Cadwell Park.

'I’ve been racing cars since 2001 and before that I raced bikes,' said the Holmfirth racer. He now has the ex-Seamus Doyle Lola T580 and has spent the last two years rebuilding the car.

'We haven’t tested it much and it is very different: the people in the championship are very friendly,' said Pearson after taking a pre-’79 class win in his first race.

Pearson has finished the car in the colours of Audio Sonic, a period Lola T580 livery from Holland that he spotted on the internet.

Rare Italian F3 car emerges

The sole remaining Delta Corse Formula 3 car from 1977 is now UK-owned and destined for restoration after lying unused for 40 years.

British enthusiast Thomas Hall spotted the project for sale in Denmark and has entrusted it to Edginton Racing for restoration with an eventual plan of getting it race-ready.

The car was built by Italian F3 racer Cesare Dorado for the 1977 season with an Alloni-tuned Toyota engine. Two chassis were thought to have been built, but only one is believed to have survived.

'It didn’t do much in period and hasn’t raced since 1978,' said Hall. 'It’s probably going to take a couple of years to restore it.'

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Salonen to star at Eifel

The 1985 World Rally Champion Timo Salonen will be back in a Peugeot 205 T16 for the Eifel Rallye Festival (July 19-21). Salonen will join 1984 champion Stig Blomqvist as one of the stars of the German event.

The Finn will drive a 205 T16 E2 replica built by Erich Muller and Muller will also take part in a newly-built Pikes Peak version of the 205 T16.
 Salonen first went to the Eifel event in 2015 and was suitably impressed.

'This is like a class trip,' he said. 'It is great to experience how many young people are interested in our cars and stories though they weren't even born back then.'

Single-seater ''Spirit of Thruxton' grid announced

A non-championship ‘Spirit of Thruxton’ single-seater grid will be part of the circuit’s 50th anniversary meeting this weekend. This race for up to two-litre single-seaters takes in Classic F3, Historic F2, Classic and Historic FF2000s and Formula Atlantics. Steve Worrad’s F2 Chevron B49 could set the pace, while Scott Blakeney, son of circuit manager Pat, will have a first race in dad’s FF2000 Delta T81.

Woodcote and Stirling Moss Trophy races combine

The Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy will join together at Thruxton this weekend to provide a stunning grid of more than 30 cars for two half-hour races. The earlier cars contest the Woodcote Trophy where the Jaguar D-type of the Pearson brothers takes on Chris Ward’s Cooper Jaguar. The Bryant Lotus 15 goes up against various Listers in the Moss series for late 1950s sports-racers.

Ulster rally winner returns with Porsche 911

Ireland’s famous rallying brothers Derek and Adrian Boyd will be back on familiar special stages when they take part in the Titanic Déjà Vu Ulster retrospective event on September 1. Derek, the Ulster Rally winner in 1977, will drive a 1980 Porsche 911 and Adrian his 1971 Alpine Renault A110, in the cavalcade of cars on the 140-mile route through the Antrim Glens and along the Causeway Costal Route.

Williams F1 cars set for hillclimb

Two significant Williams F1 cars will be on show at this year's Shelsley Walsh Classic Nostalgia (July 28/29). Nigel Mansell's F1 World Championship winning FW14B from 1992 and last year's FW40, as driven by Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, will be displayed in the F1 Paddock as the event celebrates Formula 1 history through the years.

Super Touring shelved

The Super Touring races planned for Thruxton this weekend have been shelved due to lack of entries. A dozen cars contested the season-opening races at the Donington Historic Festival and the series will now re-group before the Legends of Brands Hatch meeting and the high-profile Silverstone Classic races in July.

Ex-Vee racer turns to Lotus Elan

Former Formula Vee racer Jeremy Clark is mounting an assault on the 70s Road Sports Championship this season after acquiring the ex-Howard Bentham Lotus Elan. 'We spent nine months rebuilding it and I love it,' said Clark, who took a double win at his home track of Snetterton. After four rounds, he now lies joint third in the points’ table.

BTCC star Morgan joins historic racing grids

After leaving Thruxton 10 days ago as the points’ leader in the British Touring Car Championship, Adam Morgan will return to the Hampshire track this weekend to share the 1980 Ford Capri of Ric Wood in the pair of Historic Touring Car Challenge races. Former BTCC racers Patrick Watts (Ford Capri) and Steve Soper (Rover Vitesse) are also in the entry.

Images courtesy of Paul Lawrence

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