A great weekend working with SZ Motorsport after some winter development on the 1965 Chevrolet Corvette. The Car was invited to the 73rd members meeting to contest in arguably the big race of the weekend the Graham Hill Trophy. The race is for pre 1965 GT cars, and the competition would come from iconic cars such as The Shelby Cobra, The Lightweight E type, Iso Grifo / Bizzerine, Maserati Tipo 151/3, Lotus 26R’s, Ferrari GTO’s and SWB’s, and in my view the ultimate front engine GT car the Shelby Daytona Cobra of which 2 were entered.
Qualifying was midmorning Saturday and the race late evening the same day. The weather started bright, but soon clouded over and the wind was bitterly cold, with Track temperature similar.
Craig started qualifying building temperature in the car and engine, however the session was cut short with various oil spills around the circuit shortening proceedings. The session was then red flagged and the big clean up began. The big grid and small pit lane made for a busy scene!
After a 20 minute or so Delay Jason Plato of Touring Car and TV fame was dispatched in the car, having just thrown a 1970’s Austin mini around the same track the Corvette was going to come as a bit of a culture shock! The track was still slippery and there was a lot of traffic, but Jason did a great job in planting the car 10th on the grid with a low 1:29 lap before unfortunately another oil spill ended proceedings.
The car was checked over and given a clean bill of health, but with the Baltic conditions we were struggling to get temperature in the tyres, an unusual situation given the power and weight of the car!
The race was scheduled for early evening with the start time of 17:30, unfortunately though a few incidents throughout the day had delayed proceedings which led to a shortening of the race and a start in near darkness. Craig drove the first leg and made a great start finishing the first lap in 8th position using the power of the big Chevy to out drag the lightweight e type and moving up into 7th. And keeping in the hunt with the faster AC Cobras. Around 15 minutes into the SZ boys pulled off a great pit stop and driver change and when it all shook out Jason was sitting in 8th position still in touch with the bitterling Cobras of John Young and Nigel Greensall.
Up Front it was a similar story with Alex Lynns AC Cobra and the Twyman Daytona cobra trading places for the lead with the Macintyre Iso chasing hard as the race went into the night.
The Iso now in the hands of Bobby Verdon Row would get within half a second of the Twyman Daytona Cobra, but the flag came out and that’s how it would finish with the Corvette in a creditable 8th place keeping the Cobras honest!
A happy but very cold crew celebrate their result. The trusty Corvette faired very well in this tough encounter with only a leaky gearbox seal causing any cause for alarm.
Thanks to Craig and the SZ Motorsport team for their hospitality at this blue ribbon event.
We shall see how the Heavy Chevy fairs on the fast sweeps of Thruxton over Easter weekend, let’s hope it warms up a bit!