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Race Retro Show ... one of the celebrations was the 40th anniversary of the first F1 win by a turbocharged car

Williams FW11B F1

Williams FW11B F1


Stoneleigh Park, 22-24 February, 2019

The annual Race Retro Show, which covers virtually every facet of motor sport took place at its regular venue of Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, a short distance south of Coventry, over the weekend of 22-24 February. The diversity of the show is its main attribute, ranging from celebrations of anniversaries, feature displays, live interviews, to the always immensely popular rally stage. In fact, this year there were two rally stages, which was brought about by part of Stoneleigh Park being affected by construction of the new HS2 high speed rail link. This, combined with an ever increasing number of participants, which this year was circa 120 cars, brought about the twin stage idea. This had twofold benefits, it gave participants more stage time and at the same time provided a greater variety of action for spectators. This worked even better, because, unusually for February, the weather for the weekend was decidedly clement, with bright sunshine in cloudless skies and no wind, providing pleasant ambient temperatures, increasing the crowds in the rally stages spectator areas to such an extent, that an additional area near the commentary box was incorporated from Saturday lunchtime onwards. There was plenty of time to watch the action, as there were 2.5 hours sessions on the Saturday and Sunday mornings, plus 2 hours long sessions on the respective afternoons. 

The array of machinery taking part in the rally stages was truly diverse, with both classic and modern machinery taking part, led each day by one of the legendary names in the rally world. This was the 1965 European Rally Champion, Rauno Aaltonen, driving the original Mini Cooper in which he won the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally partnered by Henry Liddon. Apart from driving the rally stages, he also took part in question and answer sessions on the Motor Sport Live Stage, along with other well known names from the world of rallying, like Rosemary Smith, Russell Brookes, and Jimmy McCrae, together with ex-F1 driver John Watson, saloon and sports car exponent John Fitzpatrick, and renowned Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis. The Live Stage was also the venue for a tribute to the late and much loved Barrie “Whizzo” Williams, whose ebullient driving style captured the hearts of many thousands, both during his contemporary and later historic driving careers. 

The main feature displays were in the Motor Sport Magazine Hall of Fame, which was in Hall 3 of the exhibition complex either side of the Live Stage. Here one of the celebrations was the 40th anniversary of the first F1 win by a turbocharged car, with a quartet of cars from that era. These included the last F1 car produced by Toleman Group Motorsport, the Rory Byrne designed TG185 model, as for the 1986 season they were bought by title sponsor Benetton, and the cars then carried that name. There was a tribute to Great Britain’s first F1 World Champion, Mike Hawthorn, to mark the 60th anniversary of his passing in a road accident in January 1959, just a short time after having become World Champion. The tribute included cars from his racing career, together with a display of a number of artefacts from his racing and personal life. A display relative to another lost hero, was the first public showing of the recently restore Van Diemen RF81 Formula Ford car in which Ayrton Senna made his UK racing debut in 1981. The car has been lovingly restored to its former glory by Van Diemen founder Ralph Firman. The Bentley Centenary was another feature, with a trio of twenties models as run at Le Mans flying the flag. Mention of Le Mans leads into another feature, the Legacy of Le Mans, with a display of cars that have raced in the famous race over the years, albeit the GT40 was a GTD replica, but looked the part in its Gulf livery, and they were honest about its provenance. The display also featured an Audi R8C, the marque’s first model to appear at Le Mans in 1999, a prelude to an impressive run of wins there. 

Aside from the feature displays there were plenty of other interesting cars and motorcycles spread around the stands in the various halls, together with a wide selection of motor sport orientated accessories and memorabilia. There was also a Silverstone Auction in the Warwick Suite, situated between the main hall complex and the rally stages, where there was a diverse array of competition led machinery and memorabilia up for grabs. If you still had some time on your hands, then there was the opportunity to purchase either a ride or drive in a selection of classic cars through the HERO (Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation) stand, these included a Lancia Delta Integrale and a Jaguar E-Type. 

Ferraris in the Silverstone Auction

Dino 246 GT, Blue, Chassis # 03048
Mondial QV Coupé, Yellow, Chassis # 55087 (one owner from new)
456 GT, Silver, Chassis # 102293
F355 Berlinetta F1, Red, Chassis # 114419
575 M F1, Pale Blue Met’, Chassis # 129723
F430 Berlinetta, Red, Chassis # 142089

Keith Bluemel