Motor Legend Festival at Imola

Keith Bluemel Words by Keith Bluemel
Robert Blain's ex-Vittorio Brambilla Beta March tried out a period-correct "Brambilla" move

The Inaugural Motor Legend Festival took place over the weekend of 20th to 22nd April at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, and was heralded as “Un Viaggio tra Passato, Presente e Futuro”, loosely translated as a journey through past, present and future, and it certainly encompassed all those elements. The organisers brought together an enormous array of machinery of both the two and four wheeled variety, along with a host of famous names from both genres of the sport.

“Smoked Screen”—A Shelby Mustang GT350 navigates through somebody else’s cloud
“Yesterday Once More”—Jacky Ickx donned same helmet colours and drove the 1970 Ferrari 312B for the fans

They included the likes of Giacomo Agostini, Freddie Spencer and Phil Read from the motorcycle world, together with Jacky Ickx, Riccardo Patrese, Arturo Merzario and Nanni Galli amongst those from the four wheel brigade. As a bonus the whole weekend was bathed in glorious sunshine, with high ambient temperatures, making the experience all the more pleasant.

ATS HS01 from the 1978 Formula One season
Striking black & gold 2011 Lola-Lotus LMP2 car

The race programme featured the first 2018 season rounds of the FIA Masters Historic series championships, including Formula One, Historic Sports Cars, Gentlemen Drivers Pre-66 GT and Pre-66 Touring Cars, and the newly formed Endurance Legends series, featuring more recent Sports prototypes and GT cars, like the Audi R8 and the Aston Martin DBR9.

Mike Donovan's 1969 Lola T70 MK3B in Sunoco livery always a treat
Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ looked too good for racing

In all there was a seven race programme, the Pre-66 Touring Cars and Historic Sports Car races being of one hour duration, and the Pre-66 GT Cars race was of 90 minutes duration. There were also track sessions for the Ferrari Corse Clienti participants in the F1 Clienti and  programmes, plus display runs celebrating the motorcycle greats, the 50th Anniversary of Martini motor racing sponsorship, the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33, and other special cars.

Another legendary guest Ricardo Patrese reunited with the Martini Lancia LC1 Group 6 he drove against the Porsche 956 during the 1982 World Endurance season
“On The Flip Side”—Morgan Plus 4 SLR “258 TOK” that mirrored the Le Mans class-winning Plus 4 “TOK 258” also took part

Although none of the original Ferrari 156 “Shark Nose” F1 cars remain in existence, arch enthusiast Jason Wright has had two extremely accurate replicas constructed, using original engine numbers 0002 and 0006, 120deg and 65deg V6s respectively, coupled to original transmissions.

Brilliant Ferrari 156 "Sharknose" recreations driven by Arturo Merzario and Derek Hill
“Arthur’s Own”—Merzario still looking absolutely cool with or without his Stetson

He started by buying the 156 replica built for Jan Biekens some years ago, but because this had been constructed in England using modern welding techniques and a body formed on an English wheel, he restarted the project again from scratch, employing traditional oxy-acetylene welding for the chassis, and hand beaten body panels. As he had two engines, he thought that whilst building one car, it was just as easy to make two! Hence, at Imola both were present, with one being driven by Arturo Merzario, and the other fittingly by Derek John Hill, as it was the model in which his late father, Phil Hill, won the 1961 World Drivers’ Championship.

Austin-Healey 3000 found a shortcut in the Gentlemen Drivers Pre-'66 GT race
“Three Wheels Good”—A GTA pops a wheelie through a curb

With a wide variety of different genres of motorsport featured both on the track and in paddock displays, together with a convivial and relaxed atmosphere, the event can be hailed a great success. If this first gathering is anything to judge it by, then it should be assured a great future.

All Photos by Keith Bluemel

Jason Wright's 1978 Shadow DN8 still looks stunning
Tasty AC Cobra Daytona Coupe wore Ecurie Ford France stripes as raced in '64 Tour de France

Race Podiums

FIA Masters Historic Formula One Race 1.

1st – #7, Williams FW07, Mike Cantillon

2nd – #37, Williams FW07C, Christophe D’Ansembourg

3rd – #5, Lotus 77, Gregory Thornton

Christophe D’Ansembourg's Williams FW07C leads Greg Thornton's JPS Lotus 77 towards second and third place podium finishes in Race 1

Gentlemen Drivers Pre-66 GT Cars Inc. NKHTGT

1st – #111, Ferrari 250 GTO/64 Replica, Nicky Pastorelli

2nd – #94, AC Cobra, Michael Gans/Andy Wolfe

3rd – #92, Jaguar E-Type, Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie

The Nicky Pastorelli Ferrari 250 GTO Series II tribute found some grip outside the track

FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars

1st – #13, Chevron B8, Graham Wilson/David Pittard

2nd – #3, Lola T70 Mk IIIB, Jason Wright

3rd – # 140, Lola T212, Goncalo Gomes/James Claridge

Masters Endurance Legends Race 1.

1st – #34, Oreca 03 LMP2, Alex Kapadia

2nd – #18, Lola B12/60, Steve Tandy

3rd – #15, Creation, Gareth Evans

“Created Equal”—Gareth Evans’ Creation had to be content with Third Place in the first Masters Endurance Legends race, then won outright in Race 2

Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars Inc. NKHTGT.

1st – #37, Ford Falcon Sprint, Mike Gardiner/Andy Wolfe

2nd – #76, Ford Mustang, Olivier Hart

3rd – #192, Ford Falcon, Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie

FIA Masters Historic Formula One Race 2.

1st – #13, ATS D4, Martin O’Connell

2nd – #12, Lotus 81, Steve Brooks

3rd – #37, Williams FW07C, Christophe D’Ansembourg

Masters Endurance Legends Race 2.

1st – #15, Creation, Gareth Evans

2nd – #2, Audi R8 LMP1, Travis Engen

3rd – #68, Oreca 03 LMP2, Tommy Dreelan

“Ground Effect”—Lotus 81 of Steve Brooks testing out the side skirts with one of Imola’s many corners