The 2018 edition of the Put-in-Bay Sports Car Races will take place on a new date, September 24-27, honoring 60 years of the Austin-Healey “Bugeye” Sprite (introduced in 1958) and Porsche (above, Daniel Mainzer photo courtesy of Put-In-Bay Sports Car Races), which in 2018 will be celebrating 70 years of building some of the world’s most desirable cars. Strong turnouts of racing and road-going examples from both marques are expected, as well the usual array of vintage sports cars from Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Austin, Mini, MG, Lotus, Morgan, Triumph and others, plus a growing list of vintage open-wheel cars.
Put-in-Bay is a nostalgic enclave on South Bass Island, a short ferry ride off the shore of Lake Erie near Sandusky, Ohio. A resort community little changed from the ‘50s, it is one of the few places in North America where post-war sports cars raced through towns and countryside on public roads, and where those roads exist today virtually unchanged.
Following a record entry for the 2017 event — where owner-drivers of more than 100 racecars and some 60 roadcars came to play — organizers are expecting a comparable turnout in 2018 despite the date change.
“Bugeye Sprites were highly represented in the original ’58 and later races at Put-in-Bay, and a variety of Porsches were significant competitors at the original races,” said event founder and race director Jack Woehrle. “Both marques represent their own brand of durability and competitiveness, so we think it’s quite fitting to honor them for our 10th annual event.”
The modern-day Put-in-Bay sports car races began with a small reunion in 2009. That event marked the beginning of an effort to celebrate the history of small-bore sports car races that were held from 1952 to 1959 and once in 1963 at historic Put-in-Bay. The event has steadily grown and evolved into a substantial annual sports car happening focused around vintage races at the Put-in-Bay Airport featuring the same types of cars that raced on the island “back in the day.”
Uniquely offering entry options for both racing and non-racing participants, today’s Put-in-Bay Sports Car Races generally welcome vintage race-prepared pre-1973 production cars up to three liters of engine displacement, sports racers up to 1.5 liters and vintage Formula Vees, Formula Juniors and Formula Fords. Entry exceptions are not uncommon, so interested racers of cars outside the normal entry guidelines should reach out to Race Director Jack Woehrle at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 463-5388.
The tentative Schedule of Events for Registered Participants begins on Monday, September 24, Arrival Day for most participants, with registration, racecar tech inspection, an afternoon car show and a tour of the original course, followed by an early-evening wine and cheese reception and “recollections roundtable” presentation. On Tuesday, September 25, there will be track orientation for racers followed by practice sessions and group-race qualifying, followed by early evening rocker cover races at The Goat restaurant.
Wednesday, September 26, will bring the official opening ceremonies, followed by two rounds of group races, track touring and the Put-in-Bay Cup race, with food, drink and awards following at Joe’s Bar. The farewell morning brunch and departure will take place on Thursday, September 27. Spectating at many Put-in-Bay Road Races events is free to the public, including the actual races, the car show, the viewing the original course tour and the rocker cover races — which anyone including non-participants can enter).
Registration for the 2018 event should be available by mid-January. For further information please visit www.pibroadrace.com