Sportscar Vintage Racing Association celebrated its 2021 vintage racing national champions at Circuit of The Americas last Sunday. An annual tradition at this point, SVRA’s U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship has been held at COTA every fall since 2013. With Sunday’s races designated as the “Gold Helmet” races, the winning driver in each group was awarded with a limited-edition commemorative Bell Racing gold helmet.
“To be able to present our racers with a trophy like the Bell Racing gold helmet is such a big deal to me,” said Tony Parella, CEO of SVRA and parent-company Parella Motorsports Holding. “I was an SVRA competitor myself. I used to bring my Corvette out to have fun and race. A lot of vintage racing is about showing off the cars and celebrating their heritage, but as a racer, it sure is cool when you can do that and also win a unique trophy.
“The Gold Helmets are about more than just that race — it’s about all the years, the time, the dedication that it takes to get to that point. Some competitors have worked years to get their car and their race craft to where it is today to be able to win that gold helmet. I’ve heard of racers who have taped a picture of it to their bathroom mirror so they would look at it every day and know that’s the goal. We had over 400 cars here this weekend—over 300 with SVRA competing for the gold helmets. To be in a race with 40, 50 cars and know that you’re the one that won that helmet—that’s a big deal.”
Twenty-five helmets were awarded throughout the course of the weekend, starting with the Historic and Vintage Enduro races on Sunday morning. Lisa Hansen took the helmet for the Vintage Enduro driving her 1969 Porsche 911S, while Joel Quadracci took the gold helmet for the Historic Enduro in his 2013 ORECA 03.
In Group 1, Andrew McLean secured the Bell Racing gold helmet driving his 1958 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite in the Vintage F-Production class. Meanwhile, in Group 1b, McKenzie Wolff won a helmet driving his 1969 Formula V in the 1bFV class, while Hunter Barron won a gold helmet driving his 1969 Kellison Mac 1 in the 1bFV1 class.
Three helmets were awarded across the different classes of Group 2. Matt Brabham won the gold helmet in the Formula B class driving his 1971 Brabham BT35-26, while beating out his father, four-time IMSA GTP champion and winner of the 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans, Geoff Brabham. In the Formula Ford class, the gold helmet went to Dan Cowdrey, racing his 1970 Titan MK6, while in the Club Ford class, Glenn Taylor secured the gold helmet while driving his 1979 Club Ford PRS.
Group 3 saw two gold helmet winners. John Nash secured the helmet for the Vintage C-Production class, racing his 1962 Lotus Super Seven, while Stefan Schluter won the helmet in the Vintage D-Production class with his 1972 Porsche 914-4.
In Group 5A, Jeremy Treadway secured the gold helmet racing his 1986 Lola 86/90 in the helmet feature race. Meanwhile, the Enduro also had enough cars from 5A entered to make the winner of that group eligible for a gold helmet. Kevin Leparksy took home that honor while racing his 2004 Carbir S2.
Four helmets were available across the various eligible classes in Group 6. In the 6GT class, Scott Borchetta secured the gold helmet while racing his 1969 Chevrolet Corvette. Jim Sandberg won the gold helmet in the 6AP class while racing his 1969 Chevrolet Corvette, and Scott Holley won the helmet in the 6BP class with his 1963 Jaguar XKE. In 6TAS competition, it was Peter Dolan who won the golden Bell helmet while racing a 1966 Ford Mustang GT350.
Group 8 had two gold helmet winners. George F. Balbach won the Group 8 A-Production class in his 1966 Porsche 911, while Troy Ermish won the Group 8 BS Historic Sedan class racing his 1971 Datsun 510.
In Group 9, three gold helmets were awarded. In his 1997 Lola 97/20, Justin Frick took home the gold helmet for the 9F1 class, which includes Formula Libre cars over 2.0L from 1980+. The 9F2 Class is comprised of Formula Libre under 2.0L from 1980 until 1999, and included the 1998 Swift .008 that John Norton drove to a gold helmet win. Stuart Crow earned a gold helmet by driving his 1992 Ralt RT40 to a Class 9F3 win; the 9F3 class covers contemporary open wheel and four-cylinder cars from 2000+.
Two-time Trans Am champion Wally Dallenbach raced his 2000 Ford Mustang Cobra to a gold helmet in Group 10 competition. Meanwhile, Joel Quadracci won a second gold helmet on the weekend winning the Group 11 helmet race in his 2013 ORECA 03.
Group 12 awarded two Bell Racing gold helmets. Thor Johnson earned a gold helmet with the overall Group 12B win, while driving his 1974 BMW Schnitzer 2800CSL. Meanwhile, Drake Dittman made the trek from Spearfish, SD to win his first gold helmet racing his 1991 BMW 318is in the 12MP2 class.
SVRA will return to the track one last time to close out its 2021 race season with the SoCal SpeedTour at Auto Club Speedway, November 19-21. For more details on SVRA, including information on the 19 event weekends planned for 2022, visit SVRA.com.