• Warren Olson, who was a key figure in the early days of sports car road racing in Southern California, has passed away at the age of 91. A South Dakota native, Olson arrived in Southern California just after World War II, and became part of the motor racing revolution transpiring there at the time. From a small shop in Hollywood, he began a career that would find him working with racing pioneers like John von Neumann, Lance Reventlow and Carroll Shelby, building a Porsche-powered special for von Neumann, Scarabs alongside Reventlow and Cobras with Shelby, for whom he handled that car’s FIA homologation while he was Shelby American’s general manager. Upon leaving the racing scene he gravitated to his other passion, aviation. To his family and friends in the sport, Vintage Racecar extends its sincerest sympathies.
• The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 was selected as 2016’s Event of the Year at the 2017 Sports Business Awards, presented by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily, in New York in late April. The other nominees included Major League Baseball’s 2016 World Series, 2016 Ryder Cup, 2016 Copa America Centenario Knockout Round, World Cup of Hockey 2016 and Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol.
• On the weekend of June 17-18, Brooklands, the first motor racing circuit in the world, celebrated the 110th anniversary of its first race meeting. The most significant element of the celebration was the official opening of the restored Start-Finish Straight, which had been beneath a building since World War II. Following an official opening by Lord March, a sparkling array of cars from an 1897 Leon Bollee to the lap record-holding Napier Railton gave spirited demonstration runs. Other notable cars on hand included the 1921 Bluebird recreation, Babs, the Beast of Turin Fiat S76 and two 1927 Delage Grand Prix cars. Other events on the weekend docket included a VSCC sprint, a concours and a driving test.
• Another Southern California racer from the late ’50s and early ’60s, Joe Playan, passed away in mid-April, the day after his 95th birthday. Playan raced primarily a Porsche 550 Spyder, but also drove Oscas, Corvettes, MGs and a Maserati. He made 35 starts over the decade between 1956 and 1965, winning overall once and class victories on three occasions, while finishing on the podium after more than a third of his races. To his family and friends in the sport, Vintage Racecar extends its deepest condolences.