Historic Racers Out in Force, Recession or Not

The historic racing world has been waiting with some trepidation: how will the recession affect Europe’s most prestigious events? Well, the early evidence from one of the sport’s top race organisers, Motor Racing Legends, is that historic racers ‘still want to go racing, recession or not’.

According to Chairman Duncan Wiltshire, “Rather than selling off their period machinery, or putting it into storage until the economy improves, owners of high-value historic race cars seem keener than ever to get out on track and compete in the most prestigious events… we’ve seen a wave of fresh new entries to our three historic series this year, including some very special cars we’ve not had racing with us before” – and he names the ex-Ecurie Ecosse D-type ‘MWS 303’ as an example.

Wiltshire goes on to say that within a week of publishing entry forms for the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy, the series for genuine, period-spec, pre-1956 sports-racers, the grids were half-filled. And the Le Mans Legend, the historic support race to the Le Mans 24 Hours also organised by Motor Racing Legends, has likewise welcomed unprecedented interest from owners and racers – including an entry from Sir Stirling Moss in his own Osca FS372.

Moss bought the Osca two years ago and first ran it in the Woodcote Trophy race at Spa, last autumn – when he won his class. At the time, the Osca raced unpainted because Sir Stirling and the car’s restorer, Rick Hall, couldn’t agree on the colour. Moss wanted it green; Hall wanted it red. Sir Stirling might have won the race but there is one battle he lost. The car will be racing in the Le Mans Legend, and this year’s Woodcote Trophy, resplendent in its fresh, new, red paint.

The Le Mans Legend race this year celebrates the Le Mans era of 1949-65, and welcomes entries from Le Mans-type cars which raced in the 24 Hours during that period. On Saturday 13th June 2009, shortly before Aston Martin contests the modern 24 Hours on this, the 50th anniversary of the marque’s legendary victory, the actual Le Mans-winning Aston Martin DBR1 from 1959 will be competing in the Le Mans Legend support race – as will the DBR1 which came second.

The 1959 winner has been entered by Tim Samways Sporting & Historic Cars, along with two Ferraris from his stable. Samways is in full agreement with Duncan Wiltshire’s views on the state of historic racing: “Historic motorsport is extremely buoyant. There seems to be more interest than ever.”

As well as the Le Mans Legend, Motor Racing Legends runs three historic race series, each focusing on genuine historic cars running to period specification: the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy, the BRDC Historic Sportscars, and the Motor Racing Legends Pre-War Sports Car Series.

Further information can be found at www.motorracinglegends.com.

Text - Classic Driver
Photos - Motor Racing Legends

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