Road America, The Hawk, 2015 - Part 1

Vintage Racing Interested Parties, rejoice! People Who Don't Give a Shit, many apologies! Last weekend, we were at Road America's The Hawk. that's the high water mark of the vintage racing season near-ish Chicago, and our cameras were there. So, it's like your eyeballs were there! This time, it's also like we tore your ears off and took them with us as well. Why's that? Here's why that. Notably added to this year's coverage is some video... not so much for actual race coverage, but more to let you hear the fantastic noise of the event. The sound is like an angry swarm of trombones locked in battle with a regiment of gassy walruses, and it's pretty much non-stop all day. First, the noise. Then, a bunch of pictures.

Here's some more glorious racket, where cars come down a long straight and go under a Johnsonville Brats bridge, presumably discovered by Colonel Stonewall Johnsonville and his Bratwurst. This was the Friday of the race weekend, so the teams were all doing practice runs in the morning, with qualifying in the afternoon.

This was the first MGB GT I've seen in the flesh. It's one more reason that there's no excuse for so many current cars to look so awful. It's not like we don't know how to get it right.

This is a 1969 Lotus formula B. Like pretty much any Lotus you come across, it's very very pretty. Those wheels are really cool.

Many race cars have a tube frame chassis with an integrated roll bar. This means that you don't bother towing it when it needs moving. You just lift it up by the roll bar. Seeing a car moved like this is never good news. Any car in this state is almost always being carried back to its paddock from the track after having a bad time.

Taking pictures of someone's wrecked car is kind of a dick move. You either always ask permission or just stay away if the team seems upset in any kind of way. Here, the car was just going by, and I quickly took the photo from some distance because it's interesting to show a car just dangling from a race recovery truck's boom like that. The car didn't look to messed up, anyway.

Another eye-wateringly pretty lotus.

This is a Volvo P1800, which was a supporting character in The Saint, a popular TV show of the late Sixties. The main character, played by Roger Moore, drove around in a P1800. How could Volvo go from this to the clunky shoeboxes of the Seventies and Eighties? Volvo must have had several simultaneous strokes around 1971, forgetting everything they knew about styling.

I forgot to look what this is, but the colors are nice a weird. Pea green with gold wheels. I think the car is some kind of Austin-Healey or something.

This pretty thing is a 1967 Lola T70 Mark III B. As Zaphod Beeblebrox would describe it, it's "really bad for the eyes". Swoopy, with lots of cool intakes and weird pods hanging off of it, big fat wheels and a cool wing. A quick search of Hemmings shows a few roughly similar Lola T70s on sale for $500 000 to $600,000. Others don't have a price and just say "inquire". I shan't.

The show card for this car said:
"1968 McLaren M6B Chassis #50-07. The Can-Am championship, officially known as the Canadian-American Challenge Cup, existed from 1966 to 1974. The Can-Am era still stands as the penultimate Golden Era of Road Racing, with Group 7 sports racing cars of virtually unrestricted design, resulting in the quickest cars in the world at the time - quicker than any F1 or sportscars running in the World Championship. This unrestricted environment resulted in many technological advances in motorsports, such as aerodynamic elements, turbocharged engines, and the use of 'exotic' materials such as titanium.

The McLaren M6A, with Bruce McLaren driving, won the Can Am Championship in 1967. This represents the beginning of the dominance of McLaren in the Can-Am series for the next four years.

The customer version, the M6B became the weapon of choice in 1968. Chassis #50-07 is one of 17 cars built by McLaren and Trojan. This particular car was originally driven by Dick Brown, and then sold to Gordon Barrett and driven by Tom Dutton. Barrett Racing was the typical privateer operation that gave the Can-Am series such personality. Chassis #50-07 competed effectively from 1968 through 1972. During this time, the powerplant was changed from a small block Chevy to a 427 big block Chevy. Currently, it is actively campaigned by RaceKraft&Design, in US and Canadian vintage racing."
Stainless suspension and drive shaft components usually indicate a car from the Sixties or early Seventies. Much later than that, and these shiny stainless parts would be black anodized aluminum. Later still, and they'd just be carbon fiber.

No one was freaking out about this, so, apparently it was not catastrophic.

Ooooo, inboard suspension. You can improve handling by getting all the heavy stuff moved off of the floating suspension components and onto the chassis. The shocks are mounted on the chassis of the car, but still manage to dampen suspension movement through a system of rods and pivots.

It kind of looks like a Formula Vee, but since the engine is clearly not from a Beetle, it's probably a Formula Ford.

Never heard of Bandini before. It looks like it's from The Fifties or very early Sixties and all cars were sausage shaped.

Don't know, but nice colors.


Jim D. said...


Michelle_Randy said...

1. If you want some ridiculous good noise, try a tractor pull sometime at your local county fair. Here's a YouTube, which honestly doesn't do it justice: https://youtu.be/yPoz3fNIWjc. These are the modified class. I am NOT a monster truck/corn fed/farm girl AT ALL, but there is something so over-the-top and ridiculous about these, they make me laugh every time we go see them. The ones in the vid I think are supercharged turbine something something mechanical lingo.

2. That green and yellow lotus looks like a whale shark. I may have noted this before.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Believe it or not, thanks to one of my old jobs in a past life, I am passing familiar with the sound of tractor pulls, monster trucks, and mud dragsters. I worked at a post house that edited all of the TV commercials for the U.S. promoter of those events. So, yep, I sometimes spent several full workdays in an edit suite cutting together the footage! Thanks, Michelle!


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