October 4, 2010
Watkins Glen Vintage Races - 2010
Written by Ian Rothwell
I've been attending the vintage races at Watkins Glen every September for many years now, and it's always an event to end the summer on a good note. There are always a nice assortment of both race and show cars on display, not only on track, but throughout the entire town of Watkins Glen, NY.
This year, in celebration of Alfa Romeo's 100th birthday, the Milanese machines were the featured marque. There were many varieties to be found from 1920s Ferrari team 8C Grand Prix cars to 1970s Can-Am racers, and even a few GT type Milano / 75s.
The Alfas were by far not the only vehicles to see, hear, and smell at the event. As the Glen's vintage event is one of the largest (if not THE largest) in the United States, there's always something for everyone.
Friday afternoon features the annual parade laps around the original race circuit through the streets of Watkins Glen. There's a concours d'elegance for road-going cars near Watkins Glen State Park followed by a street precession. Then, many of the race cars come out and offer a unique treat to viewers as they blast through the small town streets.
When the day wraps-up around 7pm, there are several good places to get a drink and dinner right down town, though I personally suggest visiting the Seneca Lodge a mile or so up the road.
Back at the track, the main event(s) are held. The Glen played host to some fantastic professional racing in its heyday from the 1960s through the 80s with the United States Grand Prix, Six Hours of Watkins Glen, and also the Can-Am series. Many of the cars that raced there in anger 30 or more years ago return to this spiritual home of road racing in the States for a delightfully nostalgic time.
Classes vary from small displacement sports cars to extremely fast endurance racing prototypes and Formula One cars. Practice and qualifying races last most of the day on Saturday and the final standings are decided in Sunday's races. While many of the vehicles are far too valuable to race hard, it's still great to see them out on track driving fast and getting used.
Hard-core fans (myself and company included) typically drive their own classic and sports cars to the event and camp track side for the weekend. Below, is friend Pat's Caterham 7, next to our 914 and the trusty old Golf "support vehicle" at the campgrounds.
There are far too many unique and interesting cars to post all of them here, but to give you an idea, here are a few. Check out the full set of photos on Facebook here:
Above: A couple Can-Am McLarens, Below: Carlos Reutemann's Brabham Formula 1 car.
Below: Sports racers old and new. Alfa Romeo T33 and Audi R8.
Below: One of the oldest cars at the event, a 1908 Ford Model K.
Below: Not many tracks offer the sort of view that allows photos this close to be taken from your camp site...
Below: Some of the more outstanding Italian cars on display in the Kendall tech center.
In contrast, a Peugeot 505 Turbo racing car:
And in case all those European cars left you longing for more visual audacity, there were a few American cars as well:
And finally, we must not forget one of the most successful vintage race cars around today, the Porsche 914:
For a digital copy or use of any large-sized photos shown here or on the Facebook pages, contact Ian at ranwhenparked -at- hotmail -dot- com