Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival - Concours at Top Speed
Sonoma CA, May 18-19 2013 - California is home to year round automotive attractions - there are enough local classic and race cars to fill a steady parade of car shows, auctions, tracks and drive-ins. Just when you think you've seen it all, your automotive buddies in the know tell you to head up to Sonoma CA for an annual vintage racing event. Next event May 30-31 2015.
Steve Earle - organizer of the Sonoma Historic Racing Festival, says "In California we're a bit spoiled out here . It's awfully nice; the weather; the track; the cars. What more could we ask for? We run cars from 1914 to the mid-90s. It's pretty fascinating to see all this stuff working out there."
If you enjoy strolling through fields of Concours cars, you are in for a higher level buzz with historic motorsports racing. This is Concours on steroids; just say YES to this drug! Imagine racing your pretty $5m car around the track at top speed. These cars were made to race, so race they do.
No one was out for a Sunday drive - flat out but respectful driving meant nobody left the track, hit the wall or turned over. Of the 350+ cars present for the festival, we hardly saw a paint scratch. The owners of these kind of cars put endless love, care, attention to detail, and obviously money into their metal mettle.
Racing legend Doug Fehan stated "This is my first [historic racing festival] - it won't be my last. They've done such a marvelous job here. You go through the decades, I mean there is 80 or 90 years of road racing represented with the vehicles that have been brought along. It's truly been a remarkable experience for me."
If the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival can stir emotions and move a guy that's been at the center of the racing world, imagine the overwhelming experience of a vintage racing rookie. Picture yourself at next year's event, and plan also for the Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance across town on the same weekend. Just remember to book a hotel long in advance - rooms are hard to come by this time of year. Bring your racing goggles and gloves...
by Randy Berg
1957 Ford Thunderbird “Battlebird” - This car and another like it were specially prepared and entered by Ford in the 1957 Daytona Speed Weeks competition. The highlight of these contests was the “flying mile” which was run on the hard-packed sand of Dayton Beach. These well-prepared, lightweight and aerodynamic T-birds were amazingly fast, and this car was clocked at over 200 mph on one pass. Mechanical problems prevented a second run, eliminating the mandatory averaging of two runs to determine the official time. The sister car, whereabouts now unknown, is in the Daytona record books showing a speed of 106+ mph.
The "Clemens" Trans Am Camaro - The car started life as a 1970 Camaro Rally Sport street car that Bob Clemens purchased directly from General Motors. After using the car as a “daily driver”, it was turned into a Trans Am race car adding a roll cage and fender flares and other modifications. The car raced at the Trans-Am races at Watkins Glen and Road America and a SCCA National event at Michigan International Speedway in 1972. The car raced at the 1973 Trans Am race at Road Atlanta and in SCCA regional events in the south eastern United States through the late 1970s.
1968 McLaren M6B
1956 Lotus 11
1972 Ford Torino
1959 Peerless GT
1961 Aston Martin DB4-GTZ
1939 Maserati 4 CL
1959 Elva MKII
1939 Lagonda V12