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2016 Heacock Classic “Gold Cup” Historic Races Event Summary Captions

2016 Heacock Classic “Gold Cup” Historic Races Event Summary Captions
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1.       One of the highlights of Fall is the Gold Cup at VIR every September. The weather is usually mild with Summer‘s heat gone and The “Witch of November” not having quite arrived.  SVRA’s racers put on a show with exceptional examples of the best vintage racing has to offer.   For our opening slide, we elected to feature the readily recognizable shape of Porsche's 911 and its descendants. At the Gold Cup, they competed in vintage classes, the International GT race and in the Trans Am, held in conjunction with the Gold Cup.

2.       If you squint and turn your head a certain way, this could almost look something like a 1963 Falcon! It started off as a Tommy Riggins car meant to compete in the Trans Am series. To anyone’s knowledge, it never turned a wheel there, but rather competed in SCCA GT1. Its shape uses every aero trick in the book to cheat the wind. Now if Ford had just had one of these in 1963!

3.       Underneath the facsimile skin, there is pure racecar. The taillights may be the only remnant of the car Dearborn intended. A tube frame uses fabricated A-arms in front and a three-link system in the rear for road holding. Power comes from a 358 CID Roush-Yates engine.  In keeping with current practice, the exhaust system is routed through what would be the passenger door. The interior is chock full of electronics and safety equipment.  A driver’s side door eases ingress/egress. Even so, it does look like climbing into this is a young driver’s game!

4.       Lange’s GT40 has racing history in Europe where it was campaigned extensively throughout the continent by a Finnish driver. As with the Falcon on the previous pages, its shape bears tribute to the original Ford GT, but with its own personality. Whereas the originals used aluminum, extensively, the modern car relies on carbon fiber for strength with minimum weight.

5.       The driveline has evolved from the original GT40’s and now relies on a quad cam Ford V8 and a Hewland sequential gear box.  Buried deep in the back of the car and driven off the transaxle is an air conditioning compressor (arrow). The outside rear view mirror doubles as a cockpit air intake.

6.       Bojalad’s immaculately prepared Elva is a frequent vintage racing competitor, not to mention very quick!  Here is a small sampling of the places our paths have crossed. It has racing history in Europe and the U.S. In this country, it was once raced most successfully by Bunny Ribbs, Willy T. Ribbs’ Father. 

7.       Underneath the skin, the Elva harkens back to a simpler time, relying on a tube frame and a Coventry Climax “fire pump” motor. Inside any electronics, you see are secondary to the car's operation.  Updating seems to have been limited for the most part to the safety equipment.

8.       Roberts’ Corvette is steeped in racing history having been converted to track use very early in its life. Since then it has carried a number of drivers to a score of significant results in SCCA and vintage racing. Through all of that it has stayed true to its roots, retaining such period pieces as its drum brakes. Despite its provenance, it isn’t some pampered Concours queen. We saw it in this year’s Pre-Reunion and Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. A month later it made the cross-country trek to VIR. Roberts was kind enough to share the period picture with us, thanks!

9.       As with many long-term racecars, this one has gone through a number of configurations and liveries. Roberts has returned it to its original setup as constructed by a Chicago area shop. Changes were made in the interest of safety and reliability.  Thanks to Dave for all the time he spent with us at the track and later on in helping us better understand this unique car.

10.   Ginetta is another of those British specialty constructors whose work populates our hobby/sport with any number of splendid works. Often crude, lacking any sort of refinement we otherwise expect in our cars, they are always imaginative., often reflecting the victory of imagination over common sense.  Founded by the Walklett brothers in the late 50’s, the company exists today, at least in name. Adelman’s example was converted from a street car imported from the UK. Its diminutive size is evident by the way a BMW 2002 towers over it, and a 2002 is hardly a huge car!

11.   A Lotus-Ford DOHC four cylinder drives through a four-speed transmission mounted in unit with the engine to an IRS. I understand the independent rear suspension differentiates the R model from a “normal” G4. As with numerous other vintage racecars, the preparation on this was meticulous.

12.   You can’t help but think of the Trans-Am series when you see Vogt’s car. Its pinnacle year may have very well been 1970 when factories, teams and drivers slugged it out on tracks across the U.S. and Canada. It turned out to be something of a turning point in the whole industry as well. Think of it, safety regulations, impending emission controls, changing demographics and the yet to come Fuel Crisis would change the automobile forever.

13.   By 1970, a Trans-Am car was a rather sophisticated racecar.  A good illustration of this is the extensive roll cage structure visible in the interior. It serves a safety function, but in addition gives the unibody significant rigidity.  Look in the passenger’s footwell (arrow) and you can see a good example of the triangulation used to tighten things up.  Vogt’s car began life as a genuine Boss 302, although its conversion to a racer is much more recent.

14.   Have to admit to a weakness for the endurance racing Corvettes of the 60’s and 70’s with their flared fenders, raised hoods, side pipes and exposed headlights. Lima’s car is an excellent example of the genre.  His car was a magnificent sight as it boomed around VIR’s 17 turns and undulating straights.

15.   Lima’s car was originally built by Dick Kantrud and Pat Stair in the Midwest and has been actively and successfully raced in vintage events since.  Its big block power-plant wears Edelbrock aluminum heads. The front suspension retains the stamped steel a-arms and period brake calipers.  The interior has been gutted and fitted with a substantial roll-cage.

16.   This hot rod sat in the pits but its owner was nowhere to be found, so these constitute our observations.  Its stance and componentry give a very vintage vibe with “hairpin” radius rods and a shortened touring car body, right down to its engine featuring vintage speed components like a Winfield head.  But it seemed to be designed to be driven judging by its modern front disc brakes, coil-over rear suspension and alternator. The arrow points to how the steering box was raised to keep the drag link parallel to the ground to help bring bump-steer down to manageable levels.

17.   Our coverage of events at VIR usually begins with an early morning trip to the Starbucks in Danville, Virginia. Apparently, we aren’t alone in our Starbucks habit, as we usually run into a group of racers doing very much the same thing. Always nice to start your day with some comradery. Thanks guys for sharing your time with us, see you in the Spring!

18.   A little off subject here, our contact at the Radnor Hunt Concours, Mike Whelan, sent us a note with the dates of next year’s events along with the featured groups.  We’re sharing them here in case anyone has an interest in attending or showing at next year’s Concours. We should mention that the Concours is but one part of the automotive fun happening over the weekend. For more info, please visit their website or let us know and we will put you in touch with the appropriate people.

19.   And even further off-subject, Thanksgiving brought the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We again had the opportunity to participate in what has become a much-loved Thanksgiving tradition. Every year we have a fantastic time and are so very honored each year to be asked back. Mike needs to go into training as our Granddaughter pointed out that GPa’s dance moves are rather pathetic!

20.   Well as usual, sign-off time has come much too quickly. We’ll end with the classic shapes of Ford’s GT40 ‘s. To see how much racing has evolved compare these to those of the GT40 GT3 racer included earlier. We have one more Event Summary to get out with this year’s activity and then it’s into research mode as Winter descends.