Believe it or not, up until a few days ago, I'd never gone to the US Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. Even up to 2 or 3 years ago, I had never even gone to the Grand Prix Festival the Friday before! For a "fan" or racing, that's kind of shameful. This year though... I got in as much as I could.
I haven't posted anything about the Friday Festival yet, but here are some thoughts of the Vintage Grand Prix.
If there's one thing I'd complain about in going to the Vintage Grand Prix (USVGP), it's the price. It was $50 for the weekend. That's more than Grand Am weekend! Sure, not outrageous or anything, but damn. If I recall, that may have been one of the factors that prevented me from going in previous years. But cars like this #29 TVR Tuscan above are just one of the reasons to keep going back. I think I kept calling it an Opel GT though... probably because it was the only odd thing I could think of considering I had never actually seen a TVR Tuscan.
There were quite a few cars there besides the TVR that I had never actually seen. Like this #40 BMW M1. There were actually TWO of these there. And they were as awesome as you'd imagine.
Speaking of awesome, when was the last time you saw a Shelby Daytona Coupe? Ya, I got nothing. This thing sounded as good as it looked. And these are the things that I'm so happy to see on the track. I can understand the hesitation, but it's such a shame when things like this sit in a climate controlled garage somewhere waiting to be looked at. THIS is what they were made for.
Some people are definitely more brave than others in this regard though. This guy... a Peter Giddings was driving around his #31 1930 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 like he was fighting for a driver's championship! This was an inline 8 cylinder engine (actually two inline 4s next to each other) and sounded amazing. You'd almost think you were listing to a throaty V8 from a more modern time.
Oh, you want throaty V8s? We had those too. There were plenty of old Trans Am series cars on hand all weekend. This "Sunoco Camaro" was one of a large group of them out on track a few times. These are all supposedly restored to original spec and run as they were back in the day. The group consisted of some Mustangs, a Dodge Charger, an AMC Javelin, some more Camaros, and even a Ford Falcon.
Another rare beast you don't see much of is the BMW 3.0 CSL... which goes by the Batmobile name in some circles. This was a very good looking example - but I'm not sure it was pushed very hard on the track. And that's OK.
There were two other cars hanging out in the garage area that I never did see go out on track, and it made me sad. There was a very nice looking Toyota 2000GT (another car I never thought I'd see in person) and a Porsche 917 that I have actually seen before in person. Neither one made it out on track for one reason or another, but there was a Porsche 962 that did take some laps.
If you'd like to check out my full gallery of the 2013 US Vintage Grand Prix, I think it's well worth a look for the variety of machinery. I know I'll certainly be going back next year for more... even at $50 a ticket.