Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Your father’s Ferrari - Vintage racing at Road America

Ford Mustangs dual at the Kohler International Challenge vintage road races at Road America - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2010



To those of us old enough to recognize a carburetor, there’s a powerful attraction to cars that possess these old mixing pots for fuel and air.

The cars of the post WWII era through the mid-seventies hold a spell on gearheads, especially racing cars.



Ford GT40 at the Kohler International Challenge vintage road races at Road America - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2010




While a modern race car is pretty much a computer lab on wheels, leaving a wake of data that’s analyzed and acted upon in real-time by a crew of engineers along the pit wall, these cars were generally designed without the aid of wind tunnels or computer simulators. Many are simply modified road cars that were never intended for competition.



1958 Corvette vintage race car at Road America copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2010




Causey P6 Special at the Kohler International Challenge vintage road races at Road America - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2010




Road car or purpose-built racer, they represent a team’s or sometimes a single man’s best guess at what would be fast at a given point in time. In the absence of actual data, there is wonderful and endless variety in their forms, dominated by the sure knowledge that lighter is better and a part is only too light if it breaks.



Mark Donohue's Porsche 917 at Road America copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2010




Mark Donohue's Lola T70 Spyder at Road America copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2010



The purpose-built race cars are hand-made by experts at casting, machining and bending metals and other more exotic materials, and the intricacy of their construction is mind boggling. Full attention to the smallest part is required, or that part becomes the one that is not able to withstand the stress and the heat, and gives way, taking the entire operation out of the race.

All excess material having been shaved off, parts are frequently polished to various levels of reflectivity, sometimes just to show off the beauty of their forms.




Porsche 956 s dual at Kohler International Challenge vintage sports car races at Road America - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2010



The Kohler International Challenge at Wisconsin’s Road America is an annual gathering of aficionados of old race cars from all over the world. They come to celebrate the sounds and sights of these vintage machines. They represent a high point in optimizing an internal combustion engine and a set of four wheels to carry a single person as fast as possible around a given stretch of road.

The lucky ones even get to race them.


All contents copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2010

jefferyblackwell.com
Real Wheels - my True/Slant blog

2 comments:

  1. Do you have any more shots of the 58 Vette?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, Sam. Sorry for the delayed response. I do have more frames of that beautiful Corvette. One of the nicest cars I saw that day.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting! Double clutch!!