The first event weekend saw a field of approximately 75 entrants grouped into six races, including Historic Grand Prix, Can-Am/USRRC, IMSA GT/FIA Championship of Makes/2 Liter Sports Cars, Classic Monoposto/Formula Libre/F5000, Trans Am/Thunder and Lightning and the Lotus Invitational feature race.
In addition to the on-track vintage car racing action, participants and fans enjoyed the Thursday road rally to nearby Mountain Brook Village, a Saturday night charity gala, informal visits with Bobby Rahal and Grand Marshal Mario Andretti, as well as racing-themed movies, wine tastings and live music.
“I’m thrilled to hear the feedback from this weekend,” series co-founder and 1986 Indianapolis 500 Winner Bobby Rahal said. “From the moment competitors signed in at registration to the champagne spray at winner’s circle, Legends of Motorsports aimed to make this an entertaining and memorable weekend. I think it was the small things, like our educational fan guide or our Paddock Club hospitality that made a big difference. My hat’s off to everyone who made this weekend a success.”
Mario Andretti was Grand Marshal of the event and the guest of honor at Saturday evening’s Motorsports Gala, set on the top floor of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and hosted by SPEED TV commentator Bob Varsha. Andretti, who flew directly from Indianapolis 500 qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to attend the Gala, enjoyed the ambience of the museum and the opportunity to interact with a crowd of historic racing enthusiasts.
“I feel very privileged to be invited to attend this event,” Andretti said. “This series has legs and I think we’ll look back with fondness on the very first one. I am honored to be a part of this weekend.”
After being honored at Saturday evening’s gala, the beloved racer was on hand Sunday to lead a fan forum, sign autographs and take part in opening ceremonies. Andretti also waved the green flag for the all-Lotus Invitational race, a special feature of the weekend in honor of the event’s featured marque, Lotus.
Photographer Al Wolford was at Barber Motorsports Park to document the inaugural Legends of Motorsports event. Wolford reported the organization was excellent, particularly for a first time event, with everything that had a set time running at the advertised time. Autograph sessions and other events took place as announced. The paddock was laid out by group and spectators had full access to walk around, making it easy to find the group of cars you wanted to see and get up close to them.
Wolford said the only weak point to the weekend was the low car count. While the cars in the field were of strong quality and raced hard, he said it would have been nice to have several more cars in each of the groups since at times there were long periods of space between cars passing by any point on the circuit.
Racer Robert Newman Jr., driver of the 1974 Porsche 911 RSR, stated, “[Bobby Rahal] said in the drivers’ meeting ‘nothing’s perfect,’ well from this participant’s viewpoint the weekend was perfect.”
With a mission to elevate the stature of historic racing in North America, Legends of Motorsports made sure it pulled out all the stops for its very first event. With Lotus as the featured marque, Andretti as the Grand Marshal and the solid facilities at Barber Motorsports Park, the series made a solid first impression on participants and fans alike.
The next Legends of Motorsport event takes place at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York, June 11 – 13, where Porsche will be the featured marque and celebrated driver Vic Elford will be the Grand Marshal.
Legends of Motorsports at Barber Motorsports – Feature Race Results and Photos Gallery
Historic Grand Prix – Feature Race Results
1. Chris Bender – March 821-011
2. Michael Fitzgerald – Williams FW08C
3. James King – March 761-08
4. Steve Cook – March 741
5. Bobby Rahal – Hesketh 308C
Can-Am/USRRC – Feature Race Results
1. Peter Stoneberg – Lotus 23B
2. Dave Olson – Lotus 23C
3. Bobby Rahal – McLaren M1B
4. Nick Longhi – Lola T163
5. Lotus 23B – Sandra McNeil
IMSA GT/FIA Championship of Makes/2 Liter Sports Cars – Feature Race Results
1. Lola T290 – Keith Frieser
2. Chevron B16 Spyder – Roy Walzer
3. Lola T212 – Jeffrey Anderson
4. Porsche 911 RSR – Robert Newman Jr
5. Lola T294 – Peter Read
Lotus Invitational – Feature Race Results
1. Dave Olson – Lotus 23C
2. Roy Walzer – Lotus 23B
3. Chris Locke – Lotus 23B
4. Jim Roberts – Lotus Europa 47
5. Bob Leitzinger – Lotus Elan 26R
Classic Monoposto/Formula Libre/F5000 – Feature Race Results
1. Andy Gilberg – Royale RP-20
2. Michael Snowdon – GRD 272 F2
3. Tom Malloy – Lola T332
4. Ted Wentz – Brabham BT23C
5. Steve Smith – Ralt RT-1
Trans Am/Thunder and Lightning – Feature Race Results
1. Sean Ryan – Chevrolet Camaro
2. Patrick Ryan – Chevrolet Camaro
3. Bob Leitzinger – Lotus Elan 26R
4. Glenn Stephens – Lotus Eleven
5. Peter Schultz – Lotus Elan
Legends of Motorsports at Barber Motorsports Park – Photo Gallery (click image for larger photo and description)
[Source: Legends of Motorsport; photo credit: Al Wolford]