The inaugural International Historic Motoring Awards in association with EFG International were held before an audience of racing legends, celebrities, collectors and industry heads.
Over 210 people attended the event at the stunning St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, for drinks reception, sit-down meal and awards presentation, brilliantly hosted by ex-F1 driver and current F1 TV commentator Martin Brundle, a great fan of historic racing following his drives in Ferrari 250GTO and Jaguar E-type Lightweight at Goodwood Revival. His comments on the dangers of racing Nick Mason’s £20 million GTO were met with a wry smile from Nick, sat in the audience.
The first award of the evening was Museum or Collection of the Year, won by the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum on the east coast of America. The collection’s founder, Dr Frederick Simeone, collected the award, saying ‘the collection tells the story of the competition and shows the evolution of the competition car through that. When asked by Martin Brundle if there are plans to expand the collection he replied, ‘I’m kinda tapped out now!’
Next up was Club of the Year, sponsored by Ellis Clowes, and won by the Historic Sports Car Club, the long-established historic race series organisers. Executive director Graham White collected the award, explaining that ‘for the first time we’ve topped 1000 members this year’.
The Innovation of the Year award followed and was won by 3D Engineers, the company that successfully mapped every component of a Bugatti Type 35, not just to analyse the design but to allow the parts to be more easily recreated when necessary. Stuart Brown of 3D Engineers described how ‘it took three years to digitise the Bugatti. Every part was a piece of engineering beauty. Now the only limit to what we can do with this is our own imaginations.’
The next award was for Industry Champion of the Year, sponsored by the Historic Sports Car Club. The winner was the Revs Program at Stanford University, USA, and executive director Dr Sven Beiker explained what had prompted the study: ‘Everyone has a tale to tell about the automobile, and that’s what Stanford is good at.’
For the Book of the year Award, it seemed appropriate that Philip Porter’s authoritative work Ultimate E-type – The Competition Cars was voted the winner in this, the 50th year of the E-type. ‘It was a great big detective story,’ said Philip, ‘and I was lucky enough to interview great people and some true heroes.’
The high-profile Restoration of the Year award was next, sponsored by EFG International, and won to great applause by Classic Motor Cars for the restoration of the Lindner Nöcker E-type. CMC’s Peter Neumark explained ‘the restoration took 7000 hours, over 5000 of which were in the body alone. It was the last ever competition car to be prepared in Coventry – it [the restoration] just had to be done!’
This was followed by the Personal Achievement of the Year award, sponsored by The Sunday Times InGear supplement. The worthy winner was Kevin Wheatcroft, who took over from his late father to rescue Donington Park circuit after the disastrous attempt by an outside company to prepare it for Formula 1. ‘There was nothing to think about, I just had to get it done,’ said Kevin, though he later admitted that the work had entirely taken over his life.
The winner of the Historic Race Series of the Year award, supported by BRM watches, was the Pre-’63 GT series, organised by Carol Spagg and Ben Collins, who collected the award together. ‘It’s all thanks to having the right people with the right cars and the right attitude,’ said Ben.
The Motorsport Event of the Year came next, with the award won by the Goodwood Revival and collected by Goodwood’s motorsport director Lloyd McNeill. When talking with Martin Brundle on how the team manages to improve the Revival year on year, Lloyd revealed that for 2012 the Revival would celebrate 50 years of the Cobra and would also include a special Silver Arrows feature.
This was followed by the Motoring Event of the Year, sponsored by Classic Motor Cars, and won by the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which not only leads the world in concours events but has also raised over million for charity. Nic Waller from the organising team said ‘we have the most fantastic cars but people are what this event is about’, before turning to Classic Motor Cars’ Peter Neumark and saying ‘Next year we want the Lindner Nöcker!’
The penultimate award was for the Car of the Year, sponsored by Octane. It was won by the Porsche Type 64 Rekordwagen, which was destroyed by American soldiers after World War Two. Years later the remaining parts were tracked down and restored to enable the legendary forerunner to the 356 to be recreated by Hamburg’s Prototyp museum. Prototyp founders Thomas König and Oliver Schmidt explained how the Type 64 was ‘the car of our dreams. We are very grateful to have won this award – [the restoration] was big fun and the next project awaits!’
And then the last one, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Tony Brooks, who competed in 38 Grand Prix races between 1956 and ’61, joined Brundle on stage to welcome the winner, Sir Stirling Moss OBE, who retired from racing this year.
‘I’ve had the most fantastic life,’ he told the audience. ‘It’s been dangerous, exciting and very exhilarating. The danger of motor racing was one of the reasons why you wanted to do it as a kid, and they were great times.’
Tony Brooks explained that their careers had overlapped by seven seasons and that the two had been teammates for some of that time. ‘Stirling was absolutely magnificent, the skills he had were incredible. We didn’t have a single argument, just the occasional mumble, while we were teammates.’
Martin Brundle asked ‘Are you jealous of the F1 drivers of today?’ to which Stirling replied ‘How could I be! If Lewis wins something he has to go to talk to Vodafone, while I just went out chasing crumpet!' He received a standing ovation from the crowd, as the 2011 International Historic Motorsport Awards drew to a close.