The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) announced today a collaboration with Hagerty, a company for people who love cars, and the Blain Motorsports Foundation to produce a new, strictly exhibition series of three races dedicated to cars up to and through World War I. The events will be staged at SVRA weekends at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, and Watkins Glen International Raceway.
“These cars are important and deserve a showcase,” said Tony Parella, SVRA president and CEO. “Not only will these historic cars be stretching their legs on the track, but with the work of Brian Blain and his foundation along with Hagerty there will also be educational and informative displays of tools, spares, period clothing that capture the feel of life in 1920 and before. This is rich content that adds to our automobile-themed festivals at SVRA events.”
The exhibition concept calls for fields of 15-20 at the IMS Brickyard Invitational, the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at The Glen, and the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival. Drivers and their supporters will be dressed in period attire and use the tools and equipment of those times. A prominent display of the cars and accessories will be in each of the event paddocks, allowing spectators to get up close to the equipment and take in all the sights, smells, and sounds of what some motorsports historians refer to as, “The Heroic Age.” Plans call for opportunities for fans to win track laps sitting in the riding mechanic’s seat.
“Our long term vision is to create traveling road show that will extend beyond SVRA weekends and out to other automobile celebrations, such as Concours events,” said Brian Blain, president of the Blain Motorsports Foundation. “We believe that doing justice to these rare vehicles by giving them their own run group will attract spectator interest as well as sponsors. These cars and displays offer wonderful educational value to youngsters.”
Blain, who owns the National Motor Vehicle Company racer that Charlie Merz drove to seventh place in the first Indianapolis 500, has set a goal for a nationwide membership roster of 40 to 50 cars. The organizers are working with prospective sponsors to assist car owners with travel and living expenses and these arrangements will be announced as they are confirmed.
The Pre-1920 exhibition three-race series is another example of SVRA’s commitment to sponsors and fans to produce high entertainment value racing festival weekends. Sponsors such as Jaguar, Harley-Davidson, and Mazda support the overall festival concept approach with hands-on fan experiences. The historic exhibition reaffirms SVRA’s delivery of cars spanning more than 100 years of history with machines from the sport’s earliest days to ultra-fast contemporary formula, prototype and GT racers.