V8s REVVED UP FOR TOUR BRITANNIA As entries for Tour Britannia continue to roll in, a quite unprecedented number of V8-engined cars look set to fill the three 26-car grids in the Competition category. With three months to the entry closing...
V8s REVVED UP FOR TOUR BRITANNIA
As entries for Tour Britannia continue to roll in, a quite unprecedented number of V8-engined cars look set to fill the three 26-car grids in the Competition category. With three months to the entry closing date of 4 July, 12 of these thunderous American machines have been entered and the astonishing variety is sure to provide a stunning spectacle in the inaugural running of this unique event on the British motor sport calendar.
"Every day we continue to be surprised and delighted by the quality of entries," commented Sporting Director Fred Gallagher. "Two of the Competition grids are virtually full and the variety of machinery, in their age, beauty and power, is astonishing. We have cars ranging in age from 1929 to 1972 and, with our Index of Performance, it means our smallest engined car - the 1275cc Mini Clubman - can square up against the American V8 machinery. It really does look set to be a quite unique sight."
Currently, Tour Britannia has three of the all-conquering mid-60s Ford GT40s entered. Former Group C2 World Champion Ray Bellm, McLaren Technical boss Adrian Newey and the experienced Richard Meins - who is in the enviable position of having two of these magnificent cars to chose from - will all be fighting for honours in similar machinery.
They are however sure to come up against tough competition from the Shelby GT350, a car rarely seen on British circuits. Unusually, no fewer than three have already been entered for Tour Britannia by Howard Redhouse, David Betts and the vastly-experienced three-time winner of Tour Auto, John Hugenholtz. The Dutchman, who is a regular competitor in both modern and historic events, has more than 35 years of competition experience in a great variety of machinery and is sure to be gunning for outright victory.
Continuing the V8 theme, American Doug Allen will be competing in a 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe he has campaigned extensively in Europe, while Philippe Olczyk will bring the ex-factory test Bizzarini P538 from Belgium. And Englishman Ted Williams has bought the spectacular 1965 Chevrolet Stingray that appeared at Goodwood last year especially for the event. An exotic Group 4 De Tomaso Pantera will appear on the grid in the hands of Italy's Pietro Silva, and a particularly famous Allard J2 will be piloted by Don Shead, from Hampshire. This 1951 V8 Cadillac-engined car is the same one driven by the eponymous Sydney Allard in the 1951 Mille Miglia and Targa Florio.
However, crews in some of the smaller engined cars will not want the American engined-machines having it all their own way. The experienced and very quick Michael Schryver is sure to mount a challenge in his Chevron B6, while two-time Tour Auto and Tour España winner Chris Chiles exchanges his Ford GT40 for a Chevron B8 BMW. He too is high on the list of contenders for outright victory. And, sure to prove a crowd-pleaser is Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams, who will be driving Alan Newton's MGB bought especially for Tour Britannia.
Porsche machinery also features on the grid and MSA Director Nick Whale will be competing in his 1972 Francis Tuthill-prepared 911 Carrera RS, a car more usually seen on the British rally stages. Campaigning similar machinery is Robi Bernberg in a 1965 2-litre example. Kevin Zwolinski, a regular one-make championship contender, has entered his 1955 Broadsport-prepared Jaguar XK140.
Tour Britannia is based in Stratford-upon-Avon and takes place between 5-8 September.