Although the Castle Combe circuit played host to a number of Formula 1 races in the early 1950s, large engined single seaters have largely been absent from the Wiltshire venue for the last 20 years.
That is, apart from the acclaimed Bristol Forklifts Autumn Classic, the circuit’s annual step back in time, where demonstration runs of important F1, F2 and F5000 cars are always a major feature.
This year’s event on October 7 sees Formula 5000 at the centre of the day’s activities, though a host of F1, F2 and F3 cars will also sate the appetites of the circuit’s loyal hoard of spectators, generally denied the thrills of such amazing cars.
Whilst the circuit already has such impressive cars as the McLaren M10B of Peter Gethin, who shared a sensational 27 year lap record with Howden Ganley, it is nevertheless appealing to owners of other large engined single seaters to join in the day.
Rodney Gooch, organiser of the event said, “For various reasons the circuit cannot hold races for these big cars any more, so the ‘Classic’ is an opportunity to see some of these legendary machines in action again, albeit at a reduced pace. We would love to hear from owners of period F1, F5000, F2 or F3 cars, particularly those with an association to Combe. There are opportunities for demonstration laps or static displays.”
The circuit has a Formula 5000 connection with the late Terry Sanger from Bradford on Avon, who built his own F5000 ‘Harrier’ in 1971. Sanger, a talented engineer and works driver was a long standing character of the circuit until his death in 2013. The car is now owned by motorsport memorabilia dealer Spencer Elton. His wife Hazel is expected to drive the car on the day.
Another local connection of the highest quality is the Scarab-Offenhauser F1 car from 1960 of event sponsor Julian Bronson from Bristol. In its day, the American built front engined car was ‘late to the party’ debuting just as the rear engined revolution began.
Despite being outclassed in period, Bronson has evolved it into perhaps the world’s most effective front engined car currently competing and has won numerous races, even against its rear engined opposition. Spectators will delight to its unique sound, and the skills of the highly talented Bronson.
Other unique cars include the ex-James Hunt Lotus 59, the ex-Graham Hill BRM P261, the Alan Jones Williams FW06 of 1977 and the ex-Huub Rothengatter Chevron B40.
Owners of suitable cars interested in the event should contact Rodney Gooch on 01249 782417 or Rodney@castlecombecircuit.co.uk