Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival Celebrates Corvette

General Racing, Apr 27 2013 - Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival Celebrates Corvette's 60 Years: fast cars fine food and wine highlight May 18-19 weekend; Paul Reinhart is honored guest; popular racing seminar scheduled for second year

The Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival returns to Sonoma Raceway on May 18-19 for the fourth straight year under that title. The program for the 27th annual historic-car event organized by General Racing Ltd. in Sonoma will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the popular Corvette, created by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors in 1953.

Celebrate Corvette's 60 Years at Sonoma Raceway

Photo credit: Dave Friedman/General Racing Collection

"Corvette will be the center of attention as we salute those who have established the marque's place in motorsports history," said Steve Earle, president of General Racing, Ltd., who has organized premier historic car events for four decades. "From its introduction in 1953 and the bold first steps into the road-racing world at the 12 Hours of Sebring (Fla.) in 1956, to the 24 Hours of Le Mans (France) and hundreds of SCCA events across the country, the Corvette has remained 'America's sports car.'"

Among the 400 vintage and historic race cars in 15 race groups expected to take to the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course in the heart of Northern California's wine country will be 32 significant racing Corvettes covering four decades of the iconic brand's racing successes. Designed by Harley Earl and introduced as a concept show car at the New York Auto Show, the six-generation Corvette was named after the type of small, maneuverable warship called a corvette.

Among the Corvettes representing the brand at the Festival will be Paul Reinhart's 1957 Corvette; Vic Edelbrock's 1963 Corvette Sting Ray (the Sting Ray debuted in 1963); Edward Hugo's 1966 Corvette 427, Randy Peterson's 1969 Corvette L88, Larry Bowman's 1963 Grand Sport Corvette, as well as an array of other collector Corvettes from the '50s through the '80s.

The Festival's honored guest will be Paul Reinhart, who raced Corvettes in the early days, competing against Carroll Shelby's Cobras with his Sting Ray coupe. He began racing Corvettes in Northern California in the late '50s and in 1962 was crowned Pacific Coast SCCA B-Production champion. Reinhart restored and continues to race his Union Oil 76 1957 Corvette in vintage events.

"We tip our hats to Paul Reinhart," said Earle, whose 1959 racing Corvette is also entered in the event. "He was a hero of the day in California as he mercilessly harassed the Cobras, introduced in 1962, with his Sting Ray coupe. The Fifties and Sixties in California were magical years, as Corvettes dominated in SCCA racing, and Chevrolet encouraged amateur and professional racers around the country to compete in its product by providing everything they needed at the local Chevrolet dealer."

The second annual racing seminar will be held at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday, May 18. A panel of Corvette racers, historians and team managers will discuss Corvette's history from the early '50s up to the car's modern-day triumphs at the 24 Hours of LeMans and the American LeMans Series. Expected to participate in the seminar are current-day Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan, former Corvette Racing p.r. representative Rick Voegelin, Corvette racers Paul Reinhart, Bill Pollack, Tony DeLorenzo and Dick Guldstrand, among others. A detailed release will be issued in the next week.

The Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival will also feature the popular Wine Country Pavilion, with samples of fine food and wine from the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Fans will also enjoy car club displays and an open garage area to get an up-close look at the historic machines. For more information, visit www.racesonoma.com/historics or www.generalracing.com.

The Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance held at the Marin Civic Center, just 15 miles from Sonoma Raceway, will feature vintage automobiles owned by Hollywood Legends, including Jean Harlow's 1932 Packard Phaeton. The Concours will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Lamborghini and will also feature vintage Italian motorcycles, Woodie station wagons and a vintage camper and trailer display. For more information on the Concours on Sunday, May 19, please visit www.marinsonomaconcours.org.
 
To celebrate the inaugural year of this partnership, the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival and the Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance have created the Wine Country Classics Flex Pass, which allows attendees to attend both events for just $45. It’s the perfect chance to enjoy the power of historic racing machines on track, plus the incomparable beauty of some of the finest vintage automobiles in the country.
 
For more information on these events or to purchase your Wine Country Classics Flex Pass, visit www.racesonoma.com/historics or call 800-870-RACE (7223).

About General Racing, Ltd
General Racing Ltd. (founded by Steven Earle) was formed in 1970 to encourage the restoration, preservation and the use of historic sports and racing cars and envisioned an event that would unite former racing greats with enthusiastic amateurs who owned some of the rare motorcars that once graced road courses worldwide. Earle’s vision forever changed the vintage racing landscape.

In 1974, with the support of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance organizers, he launched the inaugural one-day Monterey (Calif.) Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca Raceway. It was a huge success and attracted a field of 66 cars.

It also sparked the interest and vision for what would become the world’s premier historic auto race. In 1975 it became a two-day affair and the climb to recognition around the world began.

The success of the Monterey Historics spawned additional General Racing events, including the Portland (Ore.) Historic Automobile Races, the Coronado (Calif.) Speed Festival, special events at the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Kansas City Historic Grand Prix, as well as the Wine Country Classic, the forerunner to the current Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival.

In addition, General Racing assisted the organizational team from 2001-2008 at the Lime Rock Park (Conn.) Vintage Festival, held over Labor Day weekend.

Photo by Randy Berg: 1963 Grand Sport Corvette Racer - Corvette 60th Anniversary, Petersen Automotive Museum

1963 Grand Sport Corvette Racer - Corvette 60th Anniversary, Petersen Automotive Museum
1963 Grand Sport Corvette Racer - Corvette 60th Anniversary, Petersen Automotive Museum

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