A veritable treasure trove for motoring enthusiasts, this year’s Race Retro saw over 23,100 attendees over the course of the three day event. Held in Stoneleigh Park near Coventry, the event saw a wide range of classic and racing cars on display, live rally stages and appearances by legends from the car world.
The Motor Sport Hall of Fame Live event brought together a mix of rare racing and rally cars including the McLaren M14a, Dan Gurney’s last Formula One car, and a tribute to 40 years of ground effects event with a display including the Lotus 79, Williams FW07, a Porsche 956, and a freshly restored Chevron B48 – this was being put up on public display for the first time in 30 years. There was also tributes to 30 years of Jaguar’s success at Le Mans with the winning XKR9 and discussions with Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis. Also, four cars from Prodrive were present to encapsulate the career of Hall of Fame inductee David Richards.
On the short demonstration track a live rally stage was set up which saw over 80 cars participate, including 20 Group B era cars. These included the Lancia O37, Ford Sierra Sapphire, Audi Quattro, Peugeot 205 T16 and a rare Ford Escort RS1700T (this car was replaced by the RS200 for Group B duties). Celebrating the 30th anniversary of his first race, Miki Biasion, world rally champion with the Lancia Delta in 1988 and 1989, was present to drive a Lancia Fulvia (after his Integrale developed issues). Other notable attendees were Jimmy McRae and his son Alister (respectively father and brother of the late Colin McRae) who were found at the wheel of a Subaru Legacy and a BMW M3 (E30) Prodrive. Visitors voted Jim Angliss’ modified 1967 Ford Anglia 105E as the winner of this year’s Pride of the Paddock award, with Mike Mayfield’s 1986 Lada Samara a close second.
The auction event held by Silverstone Auctions was also a major success with £3,581,974 changing hands. Highlights of the Competition Car Sale included the 1990 BTCC winning Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 ‘Group A’ which saw the hammer go down at £182,250, and the ex-Colin McRae 1999 Ford Focus WRC Rally Car selling at £126,500. In the other Classic Car Sale, the ‘Bullitt’ spec 1969 Dodge Charger that was previously owned by Bruce Willis and Jay Kay sold for £94,500, while the rare manual 1997 Aston Martin V8 Vantage V550 formerly owned by Sir Elton John sold at an unbelievable £219,375.
Motorcycles and motorcycling legend were also well represented in the Retro & Café Racer competition, last year’s runner up Ken Perch took the win with his 1962 Honda CB92 with Steve Taylor’s 1963 BSA Rocket Goldstar café racer in second place. Steve Parrish, former motorcycle and truck racer turned pundit, celebrated his 65th birthday on Saturday with two of his own racing Suzuki bikes on display.
This year’s Race Retro was a motorsport show which tried to cover all bases of the motoring world. This is no mean feat given how wide ranging this industry can be and showed this event to be unique from other such events of this type around Europe. Antoine Dellenbach was present between the 23rd and 25th February to cover this and you can see the event through his lenses below. Words by Tuhin Guha with inputs from Antoine Dellenbach.