The inaugural Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) United States Vintage Racing National Championship was held October 25-27, 2013 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The 20-turn, 3.4 mile road course welcomed over 500 entries to run in 12 groups and two enduros.
The facility itself was a big part of the story of the event. It opened last year, hosting the United States Grand Prix. Big, modern and impressive, it is designed to meet 21st century needs and the major requirements of Formula 1. The track itself is very technical with diverse curves and elevation changes that reward driving talent.
The SVRA U.S Vintage Racing Nationals was an equally impressive event. The quality of cars was very good and the diversity broad enough to fit any automotive taste. The prize for the winners was a Bell Helmet painted gold with black horizontal stripes. With the large number of participants, the track had to add two more paddock areas to the well-sized permanent one. An interesting peek into the world of Formula 1 was seeing part of the permanent paddock fenced off as construction was underway to build the hospitality structures for the F1 teams that will be there in a few weeks.
Perhaps the most interesting car at the event was Brian Blain’s 1911 National Indy. This centenarian vehicle actually participated in the first Indy 500 race. The car was a real crowd pleaser, and when pre-gridded it was surrounded by a large number of people just to watch it start. SVRA even posted a video of this scene.
Among other cars of interest included Paddins Dowling’s 1939 Maserati 4CL, two pre-war Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Prix cars, Jim Stranberg’s 1925 Bugatti Type 35, two Morgan 3-wheelers and Tom Malloy’s lovely 1935 Miller-Ford Indy car. For those with a taste for the more modern cars were the team Regogo Lotus 79; Randy Johnson’s Ford GT40; Cameron Healy’s Cooper Porsche “Pooper” and Porsche 908/3; Stephen Steers’ beautiful Echidna; John Furlow’s Kurtis 500KK; Christian Zugel’s 2006 Porsche RS Spyder; Craig Bennett’s 1974 Shadow DN4 Can-Am and many more.
The closest margin of victory was in group 7 where Lee Brahin in a Ralt beat Howard Katz in his Toj by 0.316 seconds. The fastest lap of the weekend was turned in by George Robinson in his 2007 Lola B07/18, averaging almost 103 mph.
The last race of the weekend encapsulates what it was all about. It was the group 5 race. The cars included a GT40, Chevron B16, Lola T70, Porsche 908/3, Genie Mk10, Brabham BT-8 and several Lotus 23s. Doc Bundy in a Lotus 23B started from pole and lead after lap one with Gray Gregory right on his tail in his Chevron B16. Cameron Healy started poorly in his Porsche 908/3, but after a few laps had used his car’s superior speed to work his way to the the lead and win. Bundy and Gregory continued their fight, now for second. Both gave everything they and their cars had. Bundy drifting through turn 18. Gregory tenaciously on his tail, but never able to make the pass. It was a great show. Meanwhile, Graham Adelman in a Lotus 23B finished lap one solidly in last place. He methodically worked his way through the field to finish a respectable 6th. When all is said and done, that is what the first SVRA U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship was all about.
Photographer David Ferguson documented SVRA’s debut United States Vintage Racing National Championship, offering the following picture gallery that highlights the strong field of entrants and the Circuit of the Americas road course. We split up David’s 220 pictures into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, all displayed in the full-width view of Sports Car Digest, while the second gallery and race winners can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs.
SVRA US Vintage Racing National Championship 2013 – Featured Photo Gallery
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