Dan Marvin, from California, driving Kathy Reilly's 1974 Brabham BT-44 started fourth, sliced into the lead on lap four and led the field home in the 10-lap race in front of a crowd for more than 50,000 fans.
Pole-sitter, David Martinez, from Monterrey, Mexico driving Rudi Junco's 1980 Arrows A3 just squeaked into second place, the car stopping just the other side of the chequered flag. David was clearly the quick combination at the very challenging COTA track, but an intermittent misfire levelled the field with Marvin's older, non-ground effect Brabham and produced a fantastic race.
Texas native, Charles Nearburg, driving his 1980 Williams FW-07B was a very close third, followed by Erich Joiner (Williams FW-08C), Chris Bender (March 821) and Arie Luyendyk (1979 McLaren M-29). Nearburg, along with all the HGP drivers, was full of praise for the circuit and the entire event. "This is truly a world-class facility, maybe the best in F1," he said.
The HGP race was as much a celebration of the greatest years of F1 as a closely fought race. In the field was a Chris Amon Ferrari 312-69, a Jacky Ickx Ferrari 312-B2, a Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 312-B4, Jackie Oliver's Shadow DN-1, James Hunt's McLaren M-23, Niki Lauda's Ferrari 312 T2, Jody Scheckter's Tyrrell P-34 6-wheeler, a pair of Mario Andretti's iconic "Black Beauty" Lotus 79s, as well as Mario Andretti's VPJ/4 and Lotus 77, Alan Jones' Williams FW-07B, Keke's Williams FW-08 and Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari 312 T5.
The race was remarkable for the high quality of the 30-car field and the fact that all 30 started the race after two 30-minute qualifying sessions, all without incident of any description. There were two mechanical DNFs in the race, 28 finishers and 21 on the lead lap.
HGP Director, James King had a fine race in his 1976 March 761, running as high as fifth until a fuel feed problem dropped him to eighth. He had only praise for the event. "I am so proud of our HGP group to have raced so well and produced an event worthy of a full FIA Wolrd Championship venue. The performance of the drivers and teams was ample reward for the comprehensive organisational efforts required. It was a fantastic event," he said.
With the field limited to 30 cars, HGP had the difficult task of declining 12 entries from the 42 received. It was a strong vote of confidence for Historic F1 racing in the US and for the depth of enthusiasm of the car owners.
Historic Grand Prix is a 12 year-old organisation that produces race events for cars of the colourful 3-litre era of 1966-1983. As the programme said, "It was the time of the Cosworth DFV V-8, the Ferrari, Matra and BRM V-12s and the Ferrari flat 12-cylinder engines. It was the time of manufacturers like Lotus, McLaren, Brabham, Ferrari, March, Williams, Shadow, Tyrrell and many others. It was a time of cars with no wings, high wings, and "normal" wings, of treaded tires and slicks, of cars with four wheels and six wheels, of engines of four, six, eight and twelve cylinders but all to the same 3-litre formula." The historically correct presentation of the cars and disciplined, fast, on-track performance is the organisation's hallmark. HGP directors include Rebecca Evans, James King, who can often be seen racing in Europe, and Phil Reilly.
See www.historicgrandprix.com for information about the organisation and details of their 2013 calendar.