The U.S. Vintage Grand Prix 2012 was held September 5-9 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. Sanctioned by SVRA, the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix is historically one of the largest vintage car races in North America and the 2012 races proved to be no different. While the races were yet again plagued by wet weather, a field of more than 300 entrants still turned out to battle on the 3.67 mile, 11-turn road circuit.
Leading the F5000 group and finishing in first place in Class B was Jim Stengel in a 1973 McRae GM1. Jim took the lead at the start from pole seater Rick Parsons. Parsons fought hard to regain the lead but ended in second place in his 1976 ex-Brian Redman Championship Lola T332. Third place went to Tom Malloy in his 1974 ex-John Gunn Lola T332.
Seb Coppola took first place in Class A in a 1970 Lola T192. With a strong start, Coppola gained three positions and tussled with Kurt Englemann in another Lola T192 and Ray Boissoneau in his 1972 McRae GM1 to retain first place in class
Second place in Class A went to Tony Adamowicz driving the 1969 Gurney Eagle in which he won the 1969 F5000 Championship. Tony seemed a bit handicapped by starting at the back of the grid due to a rain out of the Saturday qualifying race and inability to participate in practice sessions. Third place went to Kurt Englemann in his 1971 ex-Ron Dykes Justice Brothers Lola T192.
The Watkins Glen event also was the final round of the 2012 F5000 Revival Race Series. Tony A2Z, who came to the Glen leading in the points standing, was crowned Class A and overall 2012 Formula 5000 Champion. Adamowicz is a repeat Champion following his 2011 and 1969 Championships.
Jim Stengel also was crowned 2012 Champion in Class B coming to the Glen with a lead in points in his class. Stengel is also a repeat Champion in the F5000 Revival Race Series following his 2009 Championship.
The Historic Grand Prix Group were featured on Sunday, marking the first time the screaming historic F1 cars have visited Watkins Glen since 2008 and also serving as a tribute to the twenty year history of United States Grand Prix at the Glen from 1960 to 1979. Doc Bundy took home the checkered flag in his 1979 John Player Special Lotus 79.
In addition to the Formula 5000 and Historic Formula 1 racers, notable entrants at the 2012 U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen included the Talbot-Lago T26C of Dennis Bigioni; Martini Porsche 917K and Tyrrell 009 of Greg Galdi; Peter Giddings’ Maserati 250F and Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3; Alfa Romeo 8C-35 of Peter Greenfield; Bill Hawe’s Porsche 962; Alfa Romeo TZ1 and T33/2 Daytona of Jay Iliohan; Chris MacAllister’s McLaren M21 Can-Am; Abarth Scorpion SS of Mark Maehling and Tom Malloy’s Lister Jaguar Knobbly.
Similar to the 2010 and 2011 races, photographer Michael DiPleco also documented the racing action from the 2012 U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen with the following images that show the strong field (and damp conditions) at the Glen. To see more from Michael, visit michaeldipleco.com.
U.S. Vintage Grand Prix Watkins Glen 2012 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)
[Source: SVRA; F5000 Association; photo: Michael DiPleco]