BRASELTON, GA. MAY 12. Conflicts with other events such as the Mille Miglia, the "Mother's Day" holiday and only two weeks to repair cars from the Virginia round combined to produce a smaller than normal field for the first day of the Shell...
BRASELTON, GA. MAY 12. Conflicts with other events such as the Mille Miglia, the "Mother's Day" holiday and only two weeks to repair cars from the Virginia round combined to produce a smaller than normal field for the first day of the Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge at Road Atlanta. Racing among the historics at the Georgia track was first rate, though, and battles for the lead kept the crowd entertained in both races.
Front-engined cars were combined with 250s for the first race of the day, and while Charlie Arnott (365 GTB/4 Comp) led every lap, John Giordano in a similar car was never more than a few lengths behind. The pair of ex-NART Daytonas battled for the entire race, and while Giordano was able to attempt to pass on more than one occasion, Arnott never lost the lead, and took both the overall and class wins. Other class winners were Peter Giddings (Alfa Romeo 8C/35), Allie Ash (250 SWB Comp), and Bill Noon (250 LM). Noon, originally entered in his own 308 Michelotto, thought his weekend was finished with the car broke an axle shaft, and no replacement could be found. Arnott offered his 250 LM to Noon for the race, and was presented the "Sportsmanship Award" for the gesture. Notable non-starters after mechanical problems in practice included Lawrence Stroll's 250 TR, and Tom Hollfelder's Maserati 450S.
In the rear-engined race Chuck Wegner, driving his newly acquired 512S, took pole position in qualifying. Wegner led every lap, but Tom Hollfelder in a 512 M /Filipinetti turned the fastest race lap to finish second. The sounds from the 512s of Wegner and Hollfelder provided a sharp contrast to the 355 and 360 Challenge cars at the track, and brought spectators and crews alike to the fences to watch the race-long battle. Both Wegner's and Hollfelder's fastest race laps were quicker than any of the later 360s.
Rich Liebhaber initially challenged the pair of 512 V-12s with his 512 BB/LM, but a pair of spins allowed defending Disc Champion Todd Morici into third, and the lead of the 512 BB/LMs -- six were racing. Wegner and Morici were the class winners.
Both groups will race again on Sunday, to complete the event's historic activities.