After a memorable start to the historic racing season at 72MM at the end of March, the action in April turned to Silverstone for the Vintage Sports-Car Club’s traditional season opener for pre-war and historic racers, the GP Itala Trophy.
There were not quite as many daffodils in evidence as we had at 72MM, but with the VSCC celebrating its 80th anniversary this year there was no shortage of spectacular machinery including a sensational line-up of ERAs, a marque similarly founded 80 years ago.
Three hundred historic racers in action
Three hundred pre- and post-war racing and sports cars from many of the greatest racing marques competed over the weekend on Silverstone’s national circuit for an impressive array of silverware in the 20-race card.
A highlight on Sunday was an ERA-only race to mark the big ERA anniversary. Ten of the revered voiturettes took to the track for the most spine-tingling and historic 10 minutes of action.
Mark Gillies in Dick Skipworth’s recently reacquired R3A led from start to finish and set the fastest lap (86.76mph). It was a good weekend for Gillies: on the Saturday he took ERA R3A to his ninth win in the Patrick Lindsay Memorial Trophy race.
Other highlights of the weekend included a thrilling victory for Jon Fairley in his Brabham BT11 in the HGPCA Race for Pre-1966 Grand Prix Cars, and a racing masterclass put on by Calum Lockie in Sean Danaher’s Maserati 6CM to dominate the VSCC’s Pre-1941 Racing Cars race.
In the George Abecassis Trophy Race for 1950s GT and production cars the Maserati 200SI shared by Steve Hart/Gordon McCulloch pulled off a convincing victory, beating the Jaguar C-type of Nick Finburgh by some 13 seconds.
A couple of racing incidents marred the action and we wish the GN driver, Garry Whyte – as this is written in Coventry Hospital in an induced coma – a full and speedy recovery.
Away from the circuit, spectators enjoyed a special 80th anniversary display of ERAs while Bonhams brought along a selection of cars to feature in its summer sales – including the legendary ex-Gold Leaf Team F1 Lotus 49B raced by Graham Hill to be auctioned at FoS on 27 June.
The next VSCC outing will be the Curborough Sprint on 4 May.
(Event images courtesy of Phil Jones)