CSRG 2016 David Love Memorial Vintage Races

CSRG events are always great fun, because they lack some of the intense scrutiny and crowd action that you see in Monterey later in the year. CSRG cars are raced hard (but fairly), and I enjoy listening to the owners talk about the long journey many of these cars have made from factory birth to vintage racer. The David Love Memorial Vintage Races at Race Sonoma honor the late vintage racer who was a passionate Ferrari enthusiast.

Below: 1966 Alfa Romeo GTA (Auto Delta); SCCA Formula A/B lineup; 1967 Alfa raced by Nanni Galli; Morgan Plus 4; 1958 Devin SS; Ferrari Lusso; 1967 Porsche 911 TR; 1981 March 821 F1 car; 1962 Lola Mk.5; and, 1962 Lotus 22 FJ.

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Bell bottoms, big tires – F1 in the early 1970s

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As a child of the Seventies, I’m still fascinated by F1 cars of the early part of the decade. Cars like the 1973 McLaren M23 (above and below), decked out in Yardley’s classic livery or Chesterfield branding (in red, below).

Elf brought French blue to the 1970 March 701 (third below), which Tyrrell raced briefly while the team set out to build its first car (in secret!). Like a lot of you, I first heard Jackie Stewart’s voice on ABC’s broadcast of the Indy 500. My respect for Jackie led to an abiding love for Tyrrell and his non-corporate approach to F1.

The 1970 Ferrari 312 (bottom) was fast, with three wins in the hands of Jacky Ickx, but it couldn’t take the title from Lotus. All of these cars were designed at the dawn of the “aero” era, and they don’t look as if they were designed by a computer based on wind tunnel metrics. Think of bell bottoms, Ray Bans, fat rear tires, and wide-open racing. And the drivers: three-time world champion Stewart, six-time Le Mans winner Ickx, and the dashing, doomed Revson.

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Tyrell 007 as driven by Jody Scheckter:

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Postcard from Monterey: TUDOR Championship at Mazda Raceway (Pt. 1 – GT)

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The Monterey debut of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship lived up to the tradition of close GT racing and Corvette dominance at Mazda Raceway. For Corvette, the GTLM win was its second of the season and its third victory in as many years at Laguna Seca.

Corvette’s driver pairing of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen won at Monterey for the second consecutive year, just weeks after delivering Corvette its first TUDOR win in Long Beach. In GTD – which raced separately due to pit lane space constraints – Dane Cameron and Markus Palttala of Turner Motorsport took top honors in their BMW Z4GTE.

The race-long battle in GTLM between BMW and Porsche was a textbook example of hard racing, but it ended with a penalty against Nick Tandy and Porsche.  IMSA has seen three races end with penalties, all of which have caused controversy.  This remains an area of concern for the series, although both Tandy and Edwards are smart drivers who should be allowed to race each other. But with caution-free racing, pristine weather, and a sprint-to-the finish race format, both GT classes delivered the goods at Mazda Raceway.

And for Magnussen and Garcia, who seem to have claimed ownership of the Monterey Peninsula, the California sun shone a little more brightly.

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Magnussen (above) started in the lead Corvette, but Garcia set a lap record in qualifying.

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Krohn Racing returned from the World Endurance Championship to race as the lone privateer in GTLM.  The F458 looks fantastic in Krohn’s traditional green livery.

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Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx scored a podium for BMW, after tussling in the late laps with a factory Porsche driven by Nick Tandy. A post-race penalty against Porsche demoted Tandy’s car to ninth and elevated Giancarlo Fisichella’s Risi Competitzione Ferrari to third place.  The question that wasn’t answered is how much of BMW’s pace comes down to pure performance, and how much is down to performance breaks from IMSA.

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Dodge re-branded its SRT division just as the Viper arrived in Monterey, so this car may look slightly different at the next race.  The TUDOR-spec version features an 8.0 litre V-10 under the hood, putting out somewhere near 490 hp. Mated to a set of paddle shifters, the Viper can reach speeds of up to 185 mph. With its booming exhaust and aggressive styling, the Viper has always been a crowd favorite.

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The 458 Italia is a stunner.  The GTD version, shown below, was prepared by Scuderia Corsa.  The 64 car (below) finished 10th at Mazda Raceway, with its sister car finishing in seventh.

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The Porsche factory effort was cursed at Mazda Raceway; the lead 911 of Nick Tandy was penalized for contact with the BMW of John Edwards, and the 912 survived a few incidents to finish ninth (eighth after Tandy’s penalty).

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Porsche misfortune turned into a bonus for Risi Ferrari, which finished third after the penalty.

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Andy Lally’s Magnus Racing Porsche looked slightly worse for wear after a podium in Race One.

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Crowds continue to pack the grid walk.

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