Following the close of another successful racing season, Masters Historic Racing has confirmed the winners of its FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship and FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship, as well as the popular Gentlemen Drivers Pre-66 GT series and Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars.
Michael Lyons and Max Smith-Hilliard were crowned champions in the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship. Lyons won the Post-’78 Head and Lauda Class championship in his RAM-Williams FW07, a car that started life as a Longhorn Indycar (above, Pere Nubile photo courtesy of Masters Historic Racing). The young Brit won six races outright, took seven class wins and turned the fastest lap in every race in which he competed, an extraordinary season for a driver who excels in both historic and modern machinery. Belgian ace Loic Deman tackled only part of the season in his Tyrrell 010, but still secured 2nd place in the Post-’78 category with race wins at Magny Cours, Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps, while Steve Hartley took third in his Arrows A4 after a class win at Brands Hatch in May.
Smith-Hilliard was the man to beat in the Pre-’78 Stewart and Fittipaldi Classes Championship, splitting his season between his Shadow DN5 and Fittipaldi F5A while securing five class wins and setting two fastest laps. Nick Padmore also raced Max’s cars, driving whichever chassis Max didn’t, so he too took six class wins in the Shadow and eight fastest laps! Nick also returned to the Post-’78 class to race at Silverstone aboard Max’s Williams FW07 and he ended the season just nine points down on Smith-Hilliard. Greg Thornton guided his Lotus 77 to third place, with class wins at Magny Cours and Silverstone, but by electing to race his later Lotus 91/5 in Barcelona he abandoned the possibility of more Pre-’78 points.
On the sports car side, the experienced duo of Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger repeated as FIA Masters Historic Sports Car champions, taking their Cooper Monaco to five wins from eight races to secure the crown by just eight points. Championship runner-up Graham Wilson raced both a Chevron B8 and a Lola T70 Spyder on his way to runner-up honors, winning his class at Barcelona, Magny Cours, Silverstone and Zandvoort. His championship bid was, however, derailed in Spain when insufficient starters in the class meant he couldn’t score full points. Even so, Wilson shone throughout, sharing on most occasions with David Pittard. Third place went to Italian-based American Jason Wright, a consistent points-scorer in his Lola T70 Mk3B who claimed class wins at the Nürburgring and Estoril.
In the Gentlemen Drivers class it was Graham Wilson who shared his Lotus Elan 26R with young gun David Pittard to earn Pre-’66 GT honors with five class wins from eight races. Andrew Haddon took runner-up honors, co-driving the Lotus Elan of Mark Martin on most occasions but also taking a 3rd overall in his own Cobra at the Silverstone Classic. A non-finish at Barcelona blunted Haddon’s hopes but, that aside, he was a model of consistency. Third were Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger who guided their Morgan SLR to maximum success in the Gentlemen Drivers races but struggled in the three-hour contests and thus falling down the outright order.
The popular Masters Pre-66 Touring Car series provided great action all season with Jonathan Lewis crowned champion after winning three races in his Mini Cooper S, sharing all but once with runner-up Rene de Vries. Henry Mann was the best of the rest, taking 3rd in his Ford Mustang with wins at Brands Hatch and the Silverstone MG Live event in June.
“We have enjoyed a superb season of racing,” said Masters Historic Racing Event Director Rachel Bailey. “We have witnessed busy grids, seen some new drivers throughout all our races and the on-track action has wowed fans across Europe all season with some superb racing. Our congratulations go to all our 2017 winners and a big thank you to everyone who has raced with us for their support.”
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