They say nostalgia isn’t what it used to be – but Britain’s race tracks certainly have the retro look these days.
A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to attend a media day organised by BriSCA Heritage, the folk who revive and race old-style stock cars – some preserved from decades past, others modern reproductions of oval track machines from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
The event at Northampton International Raceway provided an excellent showcase for the dedicated enthusiasts who race these classic machines, and it got us thinking about the whole motorsport nostalgia scene.
Leaving aside the many wonderful historic car competitions, there are also race series for modern cars with the classic look. So here – in no particular order because we love them all – are our favourites, the famous five retro racers:
- Legends Cars – 5/8-scale replicas of American classics with punchy Yamaha engines, these cars originated on the US ovals, but are now equally at home on road courses around the world. The UK has the televised CPC championship on the circuits and a separate series on the short tracks. There is a separate series in Scotland too, and major international races.
- Trofeo Abarth 500 – Fiat’s new 500 captures the charm of the original Italian microcar, but with more comfort, space and power. The new Trofeo Abarth 500 GB series for the fastest 500 variant has been a real hit as a support feature to major events and with regular TV coverage.
- Fun Cup – they look like classic VW Beetles, but these are actually single-seat race cars with replica shells, and mid-mounted petrol or TDI diesel engines, competing in team-based endurance contests around the UK and more widely. They even have a 25-hour race at Spa. Fun is the word.
- MINI in WRC – not a race series, we know, but we were delighted to hear that the new-style Mini would be following its legendary ancestor into top-flight rallying. Remember the Cooper S winning the Monte? Now Prodrive is developing the Mini Countryman WRC, which should be ready for testing this autumn.
- Rebels Racing – Like the Legends, these are more scaled-down classic look-a-likes, but modelled on the old Ford Popular. These 5/8-scale oval racers compete on UK short oval tracks and occasionally in mainland Europe too. As the big bumpers suggest, contact is all part of the game.