HGP 2006 YEAR END NEWSLETTER
Greetings one and all!
With the 2006 Historic Grand Prix season ended and the holidays rapidly approaching, we thought it important to get the 2007 HGP program on your agenda. We have an exciting new race in Las Vegas as well as some time-honored favorites at familiar venues. Also, we have initiated a new entry procedure which we hope will improve things for everyone.
2006 SEASON REVIEW
The HGP season opened in February at Fundidora Parque, Monterrey Mexico with the A1GP. The first time event proved to be one of the very best in our history. A1GP and the race organizers immediately recognized the unique appeal of HGP and provided an entrant’s package second to none. Each entrant received $2,500 as well as two top-rate hotel rooms at the circuit. This, of course, proved to be a bonus as the circuit was very good, the organization first rate, the Mexican hospitality was simply wonderful and the “simpatico” feeling of being an important component of the event was quite special. An unexpected bonus was the many former drivers of our cars who were present and very excited to see their old cars. Alan Jones, John Watson, John Surtees, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jan Lammers and Jo Rameriez were among the visitors to our paddock. HGP member Rudi Junco, publisher of El Norte, Mexico’s largest newspaper, hosted a party Thursday evening which will likely never be equaled. The term, “gracious host” was never more appropriate. The generous track time included races Saturday and Sunday. James scored one for the older cars with a convincing win on Saturday. Sunday, King, Paul Edwards, driving Doug Mockett’s newly acquired Wolf WR-6, were leaders early on but fell to mechanical woes. Hamish Somerville was right there to take the win in his Williams FW-07B. Rick Knoop brought his immaculate Tyrrell in for second, ahead of Craig Bennett. Of special note was David Springett’s BRM P-160 driven to 6 th place by John Anderson. This former Pedro Rodriguez car was revered by the Mexican fans and many tears were shed in the paddock remembering Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez.
Our event with CSRG at Thunderhill is usually the season opener, billed as “Spring Training”. Because of the Mexico race and the draw of cars going to Europe for Monaco, Thunderhill was lightly subscribed, which is too bad as the event and circuit are ideally suited to HGP with plenty of track time on the 3.4 mile, wide open circuit.
In June HGP again partnered with Zippo and the IRL to race at Watkins Glen Grand Prix circuit. In 2005, we raced there in September and never saw a rain drop; this year, June was a gulley-washer, and COLD . . . real cold! The crummy weather notwithstanding, the HGP stalwarts acquitted themselves far better than the IRL stars. In the very wet sessions, everyone stayed on the track and generally pointed the right direction, something the pros seemed to have a real problem with. Mike Fitzgerald, Peter Gulick, Hamish Somerville, Rick Knoop and Duncan Dayton put on a great show on the soggy day and what had developed into a great race was cut short by the IRL TV gods who ended our race prematurely to meet TV schedules.
This fine event at America’s best racetrack ended up being somewhat unsatisfying. However, we were genuinely appreciated by the fans and by Craig Rust and his Watkins Glen International Team. The weather was beyond their control, but we will have better scheduling of sessions and a premier race time in 2007.
As cold and wet as the Glen was, Road America at Elkhart Lake was hot, hot, hot and dripping with Wisconsin humidity. So, you roll with it and enjoy the peerless social scene, the wonderful food and the outstanding hospitality of George Bruggentheis and his Road America team. The incredible RA four-mile circuit is just an added bonus. The green and white Williams gang again dominated the front positions to no ones surprise, but after Hamish tripped himself out, Rick Knoop snuck a blue Tyrrell in behind Peter Gulick and Michael Fitzgerald. Deane Tank, Charlie Warner, Ed Swart and Sean Allen all had excellent races.
HGP was proud to present a moving tribute to a fallen comrade, Frank Jellinek, who tragically died in a plane crash in January. An engaging personality, Frank was an enthusiastic participant with HGP and a wonderful character we will sincerely miss. Frank’s Shadow DN-8 and McLaren M-8C made an honorary lap of the RA circuit prior to the HGP race, the cars driven by Frank’s son, Peter Max and Dave Vegher. Judy and the Jellinek family were with us all weekend and were genuinely moved by the tribute.
August was devoted to California races. While not HGP events, many of our members participated in the Monterey Historics and Pre-Historics. Steve Earle, Monterey organizer again presented a great event and the HGP drivers applied themselves and put on great races. Our leader, James King won the big race from Doug Mockett and Dave Olson. The featured marque, Cooper, was fabulously represented and provided an excellent counter point to our 1970’s era cars. Formula One, in any era, is the highest development of the sport at that time and the Coopers demonstrated a superiority for their time every bit the equal Ferrari, Tyrrell, Brabham, McLaren or Williams.
The week after Monterey, HGP was with the IRL at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Unlike the IRL drivers, we got to run the full 2.51 mile course and we made the most of it. Dan Marvin, guest driving Kathy Reilly’s Brabham BT-44, again demonstrated how much the space between the steering wheel and the seat back matters. It was a good day for well-driven older cars as Dan paced Bud Moeller, Danny Baker and Nick Colyvas to the flag. The weekend was special for Ferrari fans with Brad Hoyt, Chris MacAllister and Bud Moeller mixing it up with DFVs in their 312/69 F1, 312 T-2 and 312 T-5 Ferraris respectively.
The Infineon weekend was also noteworthy for the DNS of our director-general, James King. An hour after the Saturday morning session he collapsed while talking to friends. Fortunately, the track emergency team were immediately on the spot and Nick Colyvas, a real MD, took charge and James’ arrhythmia was addressed successfully. A full recovery has been accomplished with the fitting of a pacemaker – a special version, we’re told, with an adjustable rev-limiter. James wishes to add a sincere appreciation to everyone who sent their best wishes and notes of encouragement, many of which were laced with wit and wisdom for the soul.
We closed the 2006 season, as in years past, with the CSRG Charity Challenge at Infineon. This remarkable event raises tens of thousands of dollars for area children’s charities. HGP has always been a leading contributor, our members ready to raise a bid at the auction, make that special donation or buy the extra ticket. The racing was excellent as well, dominated by newcomer, 18 year old J.R. Hildebrand, guest driving Doug Mockett’s Penske PC-3. Winner of 12 of the 14 SCCA Pro Ford 2000 races in 2006. J.R. is a great talent and a wonderful young man. In a few years, we will be able to say, “we knew him when . . .”. Bud Moeller had a great weekend in his Ensign to lead the fully recovered J. King home for second.
2006 was a year of great racing at some of America’s greatest tracks. The Monterrey Mexico event was very special and will be missed in 2007, the organizers having moved the event to Mexico City. However, the Glen, Road America and Infineon were excellent and will see us again in 07.
Of special note was the incredible 12-cylinder turn out during 2006. Always a harder way to go, the owner-drivers of these cars are true enthusiasts among us. Their cars are among the all-time favorites. Special mention to Bud Moeller, Ferrari 312 T-5, Brad Krause, BRM P-180, Brad Hoyt, Ferrari 312/69, David Springett, BRM P-160 and BRM P-207 (!), Chris MacAllister, Ferrari 312 T-2, Bob Baker, Ferrari 312 T-4 and Dave Rugh, Alfa Romeo V-12.
HGP was thrilled to welcome several new members during 2006, all of whom added considerably to the quality of our events. New members include Peter Gulick, Williams FW-08; Craig Bennett, Lotus 81; Lee Brahin, Tyrrell 009 & Theodore TY-01 Brad Hoyt, Ferrari 312/69 F1; Paul Flowers, Tyrrell 011; Rick Carlino, Surtees TS9B; Phil Maugers, McLaren M-23; Scott Beath, Shadow DN-8
6-8 April – Vegas Grand Prix with ChampCar
6-8 July – Watkins Glen Grand Prix Course with IRL
13-15 July – Mt. Tremblant Le Sommet des Legendes
20-22 July – Road America, Kohler Int’l Challenge
24-26 August – Infineon Raceway with IRL
12-14 October – Infineon Raceway, CSRG Charity Challenge
2007 SCHEDULE DETAILS
6-8 April - Vegas Grand Prix with Champ Car World Series
This will be a street race in the old “original strip” section of Las Vegas. Vegas GP CEO Jim Freudenberg has requested and HGP has agreed to provide up to six HGP cars to pair up with his group of six Formula One/Indy Car Legends drivers who will be entered in the HGP race. Vegas GP will pay each of the six HGP car owners $12-15k toward operating costs, and provide On-Track Insurance and liability indemnification. As the newsletter goes to press, we have five HGP cars volunteered for the Legends drivers. Our goal is to provide a pool of up to 8 cars from which they can choose. Your consideration is appreciated. The owner-drivers of the volunteered cars will also receive a second full set of credentials for their use, in addition to those issued to the car and crew. The committed Legend drivers are: Danny Sullivan, Emerson Fittipaldi, Arie Luyendyk, Al Unser Jr. and Bobby Rahal. An invitation has been extended to Mario Andretti with a decision expected shortly.
We will have two 30 minute sessions per day on Friday and Saturday. The HGP race will be on Sunday afternoon prior to the Champ Car race. A Test Day is planned for the Wednesday prior to the event at the road racing course of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Visit www.vegasgrandprix.com for street circuit map.
HGP headquarter hotel is The Nugget. We have a group rate negotiated at a cost of $159 per room, per night. To make your reservation, contact Dottie Haas on 800-828-6206 or 702-386-8303 after December 15. We have 100 rooms allotted for HGP. Reference Historic Grand Prix Group when making your reservation to receive the negotiated rate.
A black tie charity ball for all ChampCar + HGP participants is planned, complete with charity auction, and concert by Bon Jovi during the race weekend. More details to follow.
6-8 July - Watkins Glen Historic Grand Prix, w/ IRL
Watkins Glen International is committed to provide HGP with two 25 minute sessions per day on Friday and Saturday at civilized hours. For the first time, this will be a two-race event for HGP. We will be the feature race on Saturday afternoon, with a second race on Sunday before the IRL feature.
13-15 July - Mont-Tremblant, "Le Sommet des Legendes"
Murray Smith has arranged their Le Sommet to work with our other events and have invited HGP to their stellar weekend. New this year will be a paved paddock, which is due to be completed for the Champ Car event scheduled 28 June-1 July, prior to our visit. HGP will be the feature of the weekend with races on Saturday and Sunday and the usual amount of track time to devour this fantastic circuit. Information will be forthcoming on the hotel arrangements at the Fairmont Tremblant.
20-22 July - Road America,
Kohler International Challenge with Brian Redman
Porsche is the featured marque, but promoter George Bruggentheis is keen to have HGP back in our usual premier position. Our race will be early Sunday afternoon, with more track time than any other event. There will be facilities available for entrants coming directly from Watkins Glen & Mont Tremblant to unload and service their cars when they arrive at Road America.
24-26 August – Infineon Raceways, w/ IRL
Steve Page and his Infineon team are committed to providing more track time and a more attractive schedule. We will again race on Sunday either before or immediately after the IRL race.
This year we used the full 2.51 mile course and HGP will advocate using the full track again in 2007.
12-14 October – CSRG Charity Challenge
Our new traditional season closer, this is always a great event with a fun social component. CSRG is planning something quite different for next year for the auction party and the racing is always some of the best of the year.
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will not be part of our 2007 schedule, but 2008 is already being talked about.
Steve Earle has indicated the 1970’s F1 category will NOT be part of the 2007 Monterey Historics.
CSRG and HGP have agreed to not have an HGP race at the May Thunderhill “Spring Training” event. However CSRG will have a Formula Libre group of similar performance cars which they encourage F1 drivers to enter. This is always a fine event at a track very well-suited to F1. Contact Dan Radowicz via e-mail for more information – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Vintage Automobile Assn of Canada is hosting a Formula One Reunion at Mosport June 22-24. This celebration is part of their Vintage Racing Festival. The first Canadian Grand Prix was at Mosport 40 years ago. Contact John Greenwood at 905-723-9334 for details.
ANNUAL ENTRY PROGRAM
HGP has decided to alter the race entry procedure for 2007 to offer a meaningful discount to members who enter all the races and do so early in the year. Our goal is to increase the grids to nearer 30 cars per event. This will ensure the variety HGP is expected to present. When selling our events to organizers we are unique for our range of cars and the ability to present them safely. We also think it will help everyone in HGP plan and commit to the dates if they sort that all out in February. So, here’s the plan:
The annual entry is for five events:
Las Vegas Grand Prix $ 950.00
Watkins Glen w/IRL 950.00
Mt. Tremblant “Le Sommet” 650.00
Kohler International at Road America 650.00
Infineon w/IRL 950.00
Enter all five by March 10 and receive a 40% discount ($2,490 / five events)
Enter any four by March 10 and receive 30% discount from the four chosen events listed fees.
Enter any three by March 10 and receive 20% from the three chosen events listed fees.
Enter one or two events and pay list price; enter after March 15 and forfeit discount eligibility.
If you have to cancel (requires a note from your doctor – NOT Dr. Nick!), you will receive a refund pro-rated to the next lower discount level.
Entry forms will be available to download from the HGP website in late January. Paid and signed entry forms must be received by March 10 to Rebecca in North Salem, NY
There will be slightly different procedures for Mt. Tremblant and Road America to accommodate additional entries from an HGP member and their other event entry options. This will be explained on the entry forms.
Entry for the CSRG Thunderhill event in May and the Charity Challenge in October will be handled, as usual, by CSRG. Contact Dan Radowicz for details (email@example.com).
Any HGP member in good standing can enter any event at any time, subject to usual deadlines. You will just not be eligible for the discount program.
After careful review, the 2007 annual membership fee will increase to US $1,200, which is due by 15 February 2007. This is the first increase since our inception in 2000. Please send your 2007 membership fee payable to HGP, Inc. in the amount of $1,200 to Rebecca Hale at the HGP East Coast Office, 4 Finch Road, North Salem, NY 10560.
HGP EAST COAST OFFICE
Most of you are aware that Rebecca has become engaged and moved to New York with her fiancé, Bill Evans, where she staffs the HGP office from the East Coast and continues as an HGP Director. Her contact information is:
HISTORIC GRAND PRIX
4 Finch Road, North Salem, NY 10560
Call for FAX number and instructions; this is not a dedicated line yet
Our partner VRMM LLC continues to work on capturing footage, editing and marketing the 2005 and 2006 seasons. They have concluded a distribution arrangement with RDA, an established London-based company that has contracted to place the series on one of the major UK channels as well as in the EU. They will again join us for most, if not all of our 2007 events.
The pilot show is nearing completion and focuses on Mario Andretti and the Grand Prix cars he drove that are part of HGP, including the Parnelli VPJ-4, Lotus 77 and Lotus 79. It incorporates interviews with Mario and HGP owner-drivers Dave Olson, Chris Locke and Duncan Dayton as well as some terrific dialog between Phil Denny, his crew chief on the Lotus 79 in the day, and Mario. At this time there are seven 30-minute shows to produce following the pilot.
Larry, Linda, Dave and Jen continue to be most enthusiastic about the project as shown by their indefatigable efforts and considerable investment.
KONI HERITAGE AWARD
Sponsored by Jim Vance of Koni NA and Phil Harris of Truechoice, it is presented annually to the owner-driver who in their judgment most exemplifies the spirit of the era. Mario Andretti and Lee Grimes from Koni NA presented the award at the drivers briefing at Infineon Raceway to HGP loyalist Doug Mockett to the avid support of the membership. The award this year was a beautiful oil painting of Dan Gurney in his Eagle-Westlake at the 1967 Nurburging German GP.
BETA UTENSILI + GG MECHANICA
Brian Gale, president of GG Mechanica the North American Agent for Beta Utensili of Italy continued his four year association with HGP by providing five drawer tool boxes to all the active HGP teams. Most of these were delivered at Road America, with the balance to be issued in 2007.
GG Mechanica will begin its e-commerce website this winter and HGP members and their associates will receive a 20% discount on the extensive range of Beta Utensili Products when ordered direct from GG Mechanica. There is a direct link on the HGP website and each of the HGP members will be issued a ‘pass-code’ which will activate the 20% discount when ordering.
WINE COUNTRY MOTORSPORTS
Wine Country Motor Sports again weighed in to support HGP with the contribution of the stylish workbench covers we have used since Watkins Glen. Always ready to provide the very best race gear and equipment, as well as a remarkable array of books, models and automotive art, Wine Country Motor Sports will give you the very best deal from their locations at Infineon Raceway and in Jupiter, Florida. Our thanks to owner, Dave Lipsky, for the enthusiastic backing. and maybe throw in their website www.winecountrymotorsports.com
We thank you again for your participation and thoughtful commentary. The results have been shared with the CEO’s and promoters of the circuits where we race. They have responded with some stimulating comments as well as a commitment to make some requested improvements. More importantly, we have used your input in our planning and event scheduling efforts for 2007 and beyond. Your input has already been met with a measure of success!
Thank you for your continued support and most of all your participation which is the fuel that powers this craft.
Happy Holidays & see you on the grid in 2007.
Rebecca - Phil - James