Historic Motorsport: Sebring Ginetta ready to race again

A rediscovered and restored Ginetta G4 originally built for the 1965 Sebring 12 Hours is set to return to racing this weekend in the Guards Trophy at Oulton Park

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The most significant Ginetta G4 will return to racing this weekend after spending nearly all of its life in the USA.

The G4R racing version of the production G4 was built for the Sebring 12 Hours in 1965 and has recently been shipped back to the UK and restored for new owner Mark Halstead. Dan Eagling from Lifetime Racing has been heavily involved in the project and will race the car in Sunday’s Guards Trophy race at Oulton Park.

This important car in the Ginetta story was a built by the factory as a one-off prototype for the 1965 race, and was numbered chassis 4/0195. It was raced by three Americans but retired with a blown engine. More than 30 years ago Ed Valpey bought the car at a farm sale in the US, knowing it was a Ginetta G4R but not that it was the original 1965 Sebring car.

More recently, British racer Halstead was in discussion with Tony Ingram in the States over purchasing another G4 when Tony heard that the Sebring car might be available for sale. It took more than two years before a deal could be agreed with Valpey.

Trevor Pyman, registrar for the Ginetta Owners Club, was able to confirm the full history after seeing photographs of certain unique features of the car.

'The car needed restoration to bring it up to current race standards,' said Halstead. 'This was started as soon as possible because there are no off the shelf parts suppliers available for this model. The car was finally ready in March.'

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David Stokes to be remembered

The memory of historic rally driver David Stokes will be honoured on this November’s Wyedean Stages by the instigation of the David Stokes Historic Challenge.

Four-time British Historic Rally BHRC winner Stokes died in February 2016 and his local forest rally will now celebrate his life with a special award. Each historic crew entered on the rally will be entered into a draw and the winning crew will get a free entry to the 2019 Rallye Salamandre in Belgium.

'David was one of the old school who rallied in the golden era. Even when he wasn't competing he’d be down to watch the Wyedean and when we started Wyedean press days he would bring his car to give passenger rides. He was a very good friend to the Forest of Dean Motor Club,' said Paul Willetts from FoDMC.

BTCC aces gather for Goodwood

Six BTCC champions, with 11 titles between them, will race at the Goodwood Revival next month.

Current champion Ash Sutton will make his Revival debut in a Lotus Cortina, going head-to-head with 2013 champion and Goodwood regular Andrew Jordan. As a previous Goodwood winner, Jordan will again race the Jordan Racing Team-prepared Cortina of ‘Take That’ singer Howard Donald.

Three-time BTCC champion Matt Neal will join former BTCC competitor Nick Whale in the latter’s Studebaker Lark Daytona in the St Mary’s Trophy, while three-time champion Gordon Shedden will race on British soil for the first time since graduating to the World Championship. Jason Plato and 1994 BTCC champion Gabriele Tarquini complete the gang of six.

Morris back on track

Formula Ford veteran Rick Morris made a successful comeback to the Classic Formula Ford Championship after a car-destroying accident at Silverstone in May.

Morris, 71, raced his fresh Royale RP29 at Snetterton on Saturday and was immediately on the pace. He was third in the first race and then a very close second behind Benn Tilley. He traded the lead with Tilley, 53 years his junior, for the whole of the second race.

'We couldn’t find another RP26 so we found a 29, which Don Hardman managed to put together in record time,' said Morris. 'It first ran yesterday. We’ve still got a few things to do to it but it’s not going too badly.'

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Sprites and Midgets get new package

A new initiative within the 70s Road Sports Championship has been launched for Austin Healey Sprites and MG Midgets.

The Austin Healey and MG Cup should encourage more of these cars to compete at an affordable level, particularly with racing newcomers. Both 1275cc and 1493cc cars are eligible. Base cars, particularly 1493cc versions, are available at reasonable prices.

The Cup will be a sub-class within the small-engined category of 70s Road Sports. The majority of the regulations are in line with the main championship, with some modifications aimed at reducing potential costs to competitors and simplifying the build process.

House joins Escort races

Former VW racer and current Lotus Cortina pacesetter Philip House plans to tackle the Ford Escort 50th anniversary celebration races at Brands Hatch on Sunday September 23. House will race the Escort Mk1 that his father Peter raced for the first time at Croft recently. Peter’s second race at his home track ended on the grid with gearbox issues.

Shields gets inaugural trophy

Tony Shields has been awarded the main trophy for this season’s inaugural Ralli22 competition of three hillclimb events for rally cars from 1982 to 2004. Shields was consistently quick across summer events at Prescott, Chateau Impney and Shelsley Walsh in his Group A Vauxhall Astra.

Kubota tackles Oulton Park

Leading Japanese historic racer Katsu Kubota will tackle the challenge of Oulton Park for the second time at this weekend’s Gold Cup. Lotus enthusiast Kubota will share a Lotus 30 with Andy Middlehurst in the Guards Trophy and race both a Formula Junior Lotus 20/22 and a Lotus Cortina in Historic Touring Cars, taking in four races over the weekend.

Field of Chevrons in Gold Cup

A field of 20 Chevron B6s and B8s will contest the unique 50th anniversary race at the Oulton Park Gold Cup on Monday. Three B6s are due and there is a rare B4 coming from Sweden with marque enthusiast Kent Abrahamsson to show the earliest iteration of the classic sports-racing design from Derek Bennett, the founder of Chevron. The two class winners will share the major Gold Cup trophy.

Castle Combe wartime role marked

Castle Combe circuit’s former wartime role will be marked by the unveiling of a memorial marker stone during the venue’s Autumn Classic meeting on Saturday October 6. The stones are being erected by the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust to recognize the importance of former airfields. RAF Castle Combe opened in 1940, a decade before the perimeter road was first used as a race track.

Davison on course to retain Guards Trophy

Lotus Elan 26R racer John Davison is on target to retain his Guards Trophy title during the penultimate round of the season at the Oulton Park Gold Cup on Sunday. If Davison takes another class victory he will complete a hat-trick of titles. Davison shared the 2016 title with MGB racer Martin Richardson and then won on his own last year, despite a non-finish at the Gold Cup.

Sierra and M3 trios lead Historic Touring Car field

Three Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworths and three BMW M3s will head an excellent 25-car entry for the Motor Racing Legends Historic Touring Car Challenge at Oulton Park on Monday. As well as the Group A cars, a strong field of earlier cars will contest the concurrent Tony Dron Trophy for Group 1 racing saloon cars, including six Ford Capris and three Rover SD1s.

Pictures courtesy of Paul Lawrence

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