The SVRA Circus made its first 2015 appearance in Southern California last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana–its superspeedway second stop in a fortnight. Highlights of the weekend included the Two-Five Challenge cars (above) and the group of vintage Indycars.
Formerly the HSR West June meeting, The SVRA Southern California Vintage Festival has had ups and downs in its history, but for participants, is always fun racing on the 2.8-mile road course that combines a third of the banked oval with the tight infield circuit. As at the Brickyard Invitational at Indianapolis a week prior, the two-mile oval was also used for exhibition laps by a regular group of Indycars comprised of roadsters, junkyard formula racers and rear engined machinery from the ‘60s to the ‘90s. The group will reunite at Auto Club again this coming weekend as a support attraction for the MavTV 500 IndyCar race.
The Festival celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Chevron Cars, with several examples of the coveted marque making an appearance at the event, among them Todd Gerstenberger’s B24 F5000 racer and a couple of FIA Sports Racers. Event director Ed Swart made his name in international competition driving the famed B19 Chevrons, and it was a treat to have the former champion on hand to celebrate the anniversary.
The Group 3 Two-Five Challenge always provides a spectacle as the former 2.5-liter Trans-Am racers — Datsun 510s, Alfa GTVs and BMW 2002s — provide good pack racing and dices. The series, made popular by John Morton driving the famed BRE 510s for Peter Brock, rarely disappoints, even in vintage form. The group enjoys a fanatic following by its participants and usually is the largest class in most places they appear. Approaching like a group of angry bees, the 2.5-liter fours are nearly as much fun to watch as they are to drive. The race was won by Troy Ermish in a Datsun 510.
Group 4 featured entertainer Adam Carolla in his ex-Paul Newman ’90 Olds Cutlass-turned-Camaro. The GT-1 machine, which kept the late actor/racer active in SCCA, remains one of Carolla’s most prized possessions. The burly sound of the race-prepped 3.5 liter six-cylinder brought back memories of the competitiveness of the popular SCCA class.
SVRA continues its busy 19-race 2015 schedule with a visit to the picturesque Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend before moving on to the Pacific Northwest in Portland for the July 9-12 weekend.