Rally Preparation Services (RPS) made its debut at Race Retro, the international historic motorsport show, as it celebrated its 15th anniversary at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.
With plenty of motorsport action, both inside the halls and out on the Live Rally Stage, the bumper crowd were treated to appearances by Le Mans endurance hero Tom Kristensen, and former Motorcycle World Champion ‘Fast’ Freddie Spencer.
But the highlight for RPS Director Simon Ayris was the attendance of rally legend Ari Vatanen, especially when he turned up on the RPS Stand. Ari has been a hero of Simon’s since he first discovered rallying so to get an audience with Ari was amazing.
Ari chatted to Team RPS and posed for photos before heading to the Live Rally Stage where around 80 Group A, B and C cars provided spectators with thrill after thrill especially when Ari got back behind the wheel of the Rothmans Ford Escort and Subaru Legacy he drove in period.
The RPS stand featured four cars, the first two being the 1939 Chevrolet Coupe that took part in the Sahara Challenge and the most recent Peking to Paris, and David Ring’s Datsun 240Z, fresh from the Monte Carlo Historique.
The other two cars came from the RPS sales room – a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, which had sold that weekend and still kept getting offers, and the 1963 Triumph TR4 rally car that is currently available.
Simon Ayris said: “We had a great time at Race Retro, seeing plenty of fellow rally goers as well as matting some newcomers to the sport. The obvious highlight was meeting Ari Vatanen who was the absolute legend I always thought he would be.”
One of the Race Retro’s many highlights was the new Motor Sport Hall of Fame Live, featuring around £30million of stunning motoring history from the 1957 British Grand Prix winning Vanwall, raced to victory by Sir Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks, to the latest Bentley GT3 racer that had come straight from pre-season testing.
Hall of Fame inductee Tom Kristensen thrilled the crowds as he climbed back into his Bentley overalls and the Speed 8 in which he won the Le Mans 24-hour race in 2003, before taking to the Motor Sport Live Stage to be interviewed and taking questions from a packed audience.
A huge crowd gathered as Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 R11 was unveiled for the first time in public for over 40 years as part of a launch for the Jim Clark Trust’s crowdfunding appeal. Jim’s cousin Doug Niven spoke of the plans to open a new Jim Clark Museum in 2018, asking for support to make the fantastic new development a reality.
Race Retro’s 50th anniversary celebration of the Cosworth DFV certainly turn heads with a display curated by engine designer Mike Costin, who founded Cosworth with Keith Duckworth, both Hall of Fame nominees for 2017. Cars featured in the tribute included the incredibly rare Tyrell P34 six-wheeler, the Cosworth 4WD, the Lotus 49B, and James Hunt’s McLaren M23.
It was a huge weekend for Silverstone Auctions with its best Race Retro sale ever as 76 per cent of the lots were hammered away to the tune of £5.7million, over £1 million more than 2016. Notable Competition Car sales included the 1989 Aston Martin AMR1 Group C race car that went to a new home for £530,000, and the 1961 Emeryson F1 Climax FPF that saw the hammer down at £174,380.
There were also big numbers being spent in the Classic Car sale with a 1974 Ferrari Dino 246GT selling at £439,875, Jensen Button’s 2005 Ford GT at £264,375, and a 1983 Lamborghini Countach LP500S at £378,950.
Motorcycle racing fans were entertained by Fast Freddie Spencer, also a Hall of Fame nominee for 2017, who gave a preview of his forthcoming book in his interviews as well as announcing the winners of the Retro & Café Racer competition. Ken Perch and his 1964 Aermacchi Ala D’Oro was the runner up to Phil Knapton’s 1974 Suzuki GT750 two-stroke Café Racer.
The winner of the inaugural Pride of the Paddock award couldn’t have been more fitting, given it was presented by Ari Vatanen. Ian Thompson’s exceptional replica of the Peugeot 205 T16 rally car that Vatanen drove in period was chosen by the visitors and even signed by the man himself. The runner up was Marcus Ridley’s 1966 Ford Mustang.
The next Race Retro will be held on 23-25 February 2018, visit www.raceretro.com for updates.