Why You Need To Visit The Masters Historic Race Series


Established in 2004, the Masters Historic Racing series is not yet a household name in the Motorsports world. A racing series created to celebrate the historic aspect, it has made its name as a battleground for former Formula 1, Sportscars and Touring Cars.

McLaren MP4/1

McLaren MP4/1 – Chassis raced by John Watson, driven by Steve Hartley.

Based in both Europe and North America, the Masters Historic Racing series features many categories of competition, including 1966 to 1985 Formula One, Le Mans-style and Group 4 sports cars from 1962 to 1974 and Touring Cars such as the mighty Ford Falcon or the BMC Mini from before 1966!

Filled with historic action, if you want to dip your toes in the Historic Racing field more than once a year at the Goodwood Revival, the Masters Historic is the next best thing. Short of the period dress and a lack of a truly untouched and historic circuit, it is a tremendous alternative.

Earlier this year, we visited the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch for a day in the sun with some classic fun. On the itinerary for the day was the Gentlemen Driver’s series, a race for World Endurance Series cars competition cars pre-1966. The likes of the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato can be seen sliding around the circuit among Porsches, Jaguars, Lotuses, TVRs and more!

Following this, you get the tremendous Pre-66 Touring Car series, where swarms of Minis will hunt down mighty Mustangs like a pack of wasps attacking chasing after a roaring bear! This is the perfect way to relive the glory days you will always hear about outside of an expensive trip to the Goodwood Revival.

Thundering out of the pits and onto the GP layout of Brands Hatch is one of the two most visually stunning fields at the Masters Historic: The Sports Car Championship round. A bustling field of Lolas, Chevrons, Ligiers and Porsche 911s leads to a great multi-class race with a combination of open-top cars that expose drivers to the elements, and monstrous aerodynamic weapons.

Watching the Chevron B8s load with pure gravitational energy as they downshift through Clearways corner at Brands Hatch, spitting flames as they downshift before the apex; is truly an intoxicating experience.

McLaren MP4/1 and Theodore Racing Formula One Car

The true “pièce de résistance” of the Masters Historic series is the Historic Formula One World Championship, a battlefield for the Formula 1 cars of the past. Due to the intense technological advancements that can happen between each passing season of Formula One, they split the series into four categories: 

  • The Jackie Stewart class: F1 cars built and raced before the 31st of December 1972.
  • The Emerson Fittipaldi class: Post-1972 non-ground effect Formula One cars.
  • The Patrick Head class: Post-1972 ground effect Formula One cars.
  • The Niki Lauda class: Post-1972 flat bottomed Formula One cars.

An additional regulation specifically for engines is that all cars running the mighty Cosworth DFV engine, winner of 12 Driver’s Championships, 10 Constructor’s Championships and numerous Le Mans 24hrs must be restricted to 10,000rpm to give others a fighting chance.

When you can finally put a sense of smell, sound and feel the vibrations to the amazing cars that your parents may bang on about from the glory days, you finally get an understanding of how special they are. The raw, engineered speed of a modern Formula 1 car is still nothing to scoff at, and if I had to pick one to drive I’d pick a modern V8 car, but you have such respect when you can see the drivers working at the wheel, shoulders exposed as they get showered in hot rubber whilst in pursuit of the position ahead.

It was a sombre weekend at the festival during the Historic Formula One race, as just a week beforehand we had lost legendary world champion Niki Lauda after complications from a lung transplant the previous year and tributes were out in full force at Brands Hatch. The BRM that he started his Formula One career in was present on the starting grid for a parade lap. Unfortunately not the specific chassis that Lauda had raced, the McLaren MP4/1 raced by John Watson was invited as a special entry to commemorate Niki Lauda, which dominated the F1 races it completed over the weekend with Steve Hartley at the wheel.

Williams FW07D Crash

These drivers don’t trot around the circuit, as you can see by the unfortunate end of this FW07s race after it came off and hit the barriers going into the Clark Curve, having to be recovered under the safety car with the driver thankfully ok.

If you’re unable to get to Chichester for the Goodwood Motor Circuit, especially if you are based in the South East of England, then the Masters Historic Festival might be the next best thing to experience the crescendo of classic cars as they go wheel to wheel with each other until the chequered flag.

For Masters Historic dates, see their online calendar:

Masters Historic 2020 Calendar

Jared Hodges

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