Retro Vatanen

Race Retro 2017


At Race Retro 2017, the motorsport world's cobwebs are well and truly dusted off

The 2017 edition of Race Retro roared into Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, helping British motorsport fans banish their winter blues.

As a pre-season opener the event allows motorsport competitors and preparers to seek new suppliers and in turn offers a fantastic opportunity for the public to tap directly into the world of both historic and current racing.

Retro Renault turbo

This year’s show was the 15th anniversary of the event and the organisers had put on a feast over four gigantic halls. Sponsors Motor Sport hosted their live stage with a line-up of interviews and Q & A sessions with the likes of Cosworth Engineering founder Mike Costin, World Endurance racing legend Tom Kristensen, ‘Fast’ Freddie Spencer from the world of Motorbike racing and World Rally / Paris-Dakar star Ari Vatanen.

Outdoors, “Rallying with Group B” hosted live motorsport action bringing together over 80 Group A, B and C cars, with guest star Ari Vatanen driving one of the most iconic cars of his career – the Rothmans Ford Escort; he later took to the wheel of an E30 BMW M3. Some eardrums were burst with Terry Maynard’s fantastically loud Lotus Esprit rally version and Jess Watts was seriously impressive in her stunning Renault 5 Turbo. Commentary was provided by the ever jovial Tony Mason.

Jess Watts Renault

Silverstone Auctions set up base at Stoneleigh to auction 39 historic race cars and 95 classic cars, as well as automobilia and luxury watches. It was interesting the note that the price of Ferrari Dino’s is still on the rise with a 1974 246 GT selling at the hammer for £391,000. However, the star lot had to be a 2005 Ford GT, one of 101 European cars, which was originally ordered by ex-Formula 1 driver Jenson Button MBE – with only 8,300 miles on the clock it hammered down for £235,000.

Button Ford GT

Silverstone Auctions always run their sales with great humour and a fantastic battle between two buyers, one from Belgium and the other from the Czech Republic, over a Porsche 911 SC caused the room to erupt into applause when the car was finally hammered down to Belgium. It almost sounded like a football commentary rather than an auction…

The Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (HERO) gave visitors to Race Retro an opportunity to drive a classic car and offered a fantastic selection to choose from. They also hosted a Retro-Classic tour and Driver and Navigator training for beginners on the Sunday, such as following Tulip Maps and using Tripmeters. The coffee on their stand in the halls was also pretty amazing!

If all of this takes your fancy the dates for Race Retro 2018 have already been announced as the 23rd to the 25th February; I can hugely recommend the event to get the blood flowing and as a way to help plan for a great motoring year.

Tom Kristensen