Competition at the Amelia Island ConcoursBy: conceptcarz.com
Competition has always been a part of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. The core group of 'classes' includes four Race Car groups (Prewar, 1946-57, 1958-66, 1967-83). Additionally, there are four classes reserved for Sports Cars. For those seeking ever more, The Amelia
typically displays one or more 'special' class of race cars. Below are just a few recent examples.
Porsche 962 : 2019 Amelia Island Concours
Developed in late 1981, the intention of Porsche was to run the car in both the World Sportscar Championship and the North American IMSA GTP Championship. However, IMSA GTP regulations differed from Group C and subsequently the 956 was banned in the US series on safety grounds as the driver's feet were ahead of the front axle center line. To make the 956 eligible under the new IMSA regulations, Porsche extended the 956's wheelbase to move the front wheels ahead of the pedal box. A steel roll cage was also integrated into the new aluminum chassis. The Porsche 934-derived Type-935 2.8L flat-6 was used with air cooling and a single Kühnle, Kopp und Kausch AG K36 turbocharger instead of the twin K27 turbochargers of the Group C 956, as twin-turbo systems were not allowed in IMSA's GTP class at the time. Porsche produced 91 962s between 1984 and 1991, with 16 officially used by the factory team and 75 were sold to customers.
For over ten years, the Porsche 962 dominated the racing circuit to include the 24 Hours of LeMans, Daytona, FIA and IMSA racing. Because of such a large customer program every component was available off the shelf direct from Porsche.
Grand Touring Prototype : 2018 Amelia Island Concours
The IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) GT Championship was founded in 1969 by John and Peggy Bishop, and Bill France, Sr. Racing began in 1971 with races primarily in the United States, and occasionally in Canada. The series was aimed at two of FIA's stock car category featuring two classes each: The GT (Groups 3 and 4) and Touring (Group 1 and 2) classes. A new category was introduced in 1975 - the All American Grand Touring (AAGT). In 1977, IMSA permitted turbocharged cars to compete for the first time, and a new category was introduced - GTX based on Group 5 rules.
N.A.R.T. : 2018 Amelia Island Concours
Between 1978 and 1980, Porsche cars won all but six races. In 1981, with the hopes of boosting IMSA's growth and popularity among manufacturers (and sponsors and spectators), the GTP class for sports prototypes was introduced. This allowed purpose-built race cars with no pretense of production-car origin.
The North American Racing Team (NART) was created by Luigi Chinetti and was active from the late 1950s to early 1980s. It raced at the world's premier races, including the 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of LeMans, adn the 12 Hours of Sebring. During their racing career, they participated in more than 200 races with over 100 different drivers. The high of their success came in 1965, when a NART-entered 250 LM became the last Ferrari to win Le Mans outright.
Martini Racing : 2018 Amelia Island Concours
Several motor racing teams were sponsored by the Italian company Martini & Rossi, a distillery that produces Martini vermouth in Turin. The teams that received this sponsorship were known as Martini Racing. Sponsorship began in the late 1950s and over the years would including Sports Car Racing, Formula One, Rallying, and Touring Car. The cars were given the distinctive dark blue, light blue and red stripes on white, red or silver background body cars. The most successful car model for Martini Racing is the Lancia Delta HF Integrale.
Japanese Prototype and Production Racing : 2017 Amelia Island Concours
In 2017, the Amelia Island Concours displayed Japanese Prototype and Japanese Production Racing. In the prototype category were the Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo, Nissan NPT-90, Toyota IMSA GTP Eagle MKIII, and the Mazda 787B.
Although the 787B lacked the single lap pace of competitors such as Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Porsche, as well as Japanese competitors Nissan and Toyota, the Mazda had reliability which paid off after 17 attempts. In 1991, the 787B driven by Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler, and Bertrand Gachot went on to victory in the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans. This remains, as of today, the only victory by an Asian marque as well as the only victory by a car not using a reciprocating engine design at the famed French circuit.
Cars of Brumos : 2017 Amelia Island Concours
The Japanese Production Racing included the Prince R380, Datsun 2000, Datsun 240Z, Datsun 510, Datsun 280ZX, Mazda RX-7, Nissan 300ZX , Toyota Celica, and the Nissan NISMO 370Z. The second Japanese Grand Prix was held in 1966 at Fuji Speedway, and Prince entered the R380. Against the performance of a trio of Porsche 906s, Prince took the victory with the R380 driven by Yoshikazu Sunako in first, just ahead of Hideo Oishi's second place. As a result, the Prince R380, in its first official competition, earned its place in history as a very significant race car.
In 1971, Peter Gregg established the Brumos Racing team in Jacksonville, Florida. With sponsorship by Brumos Porsche, it participated in the IMSA GT Championships. Before their entry in Grand-Am, Brumos used Porsche GT cars supplied by the dealership.
The list of vehicles on the 2017 Amelia Island Concours show field included a Porsche 911 ST, Porsche 911S, Porsche 914/6, Porsche 917/10, Porsche 934 RSR, Porsche 934.5, Porsche 935, Porsche 924, Porsche 962, Porsche 996 GT3, Porsche Riley MKXI, and a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Greenwood Corvettes : 2016 Amelia Island Concours
Trans Am : 2016 Amelia Island Concours
In 1974, John Greenwood - along with GM and their wind tunnel facilities - developed a new aerodynamic wide body for the Chevy Corvette. The wide body design would later evolve into the fast back design. The new aero design was instrumental in helping Corvette achieve their racing success during the 1970s in both IMSA and TransAm Competition.
One of the features at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours was the Trans Am Racing series. The display included A Mercury Cougar, a 1968 and 1969 Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Mustang Boss 302, Plymouth Barracuda, and the AMC Javelin.
1970 was the pinnacle of the SCCA TransAm Series. The series made its debut in 1966 and had been building in popularity and participation every year thereafter. But 1970 was the first and only year in which every American automobile manufacturer had a factory backed team competing in the series. The racing was truly fast and furious in this glory year of Trans Am, or T/A as it's sometimes written.
NASCAR : 2016 Amelia Island Concours
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), best known for stock-car racing, has a vast history. The origins are tied to bootlegging during Prohibition, where bootleggers used fast cars to evade the police. The cars were often modified for speed and handling, which naturally led to racing.
The 2017 Amelia Island Concours gave a glimpse of the NASCAR history, beginning with the 1963 Ford Galaxie. Ford racing had taken a drubbing during the 1962 NASCAR season and Henry Ford II announced he was withdrawing from a manufacturer's ban on auto racing. A slippery fastback and a powerful 427 cubic-inch engine were introduced and Ford's racing arm, Holman and Moody, hired a 'galaxy' of superstars; among them were Fred Lorenzen and Glenn 'Fireball' Roberts, both of whom piloted this car during the 1963 season. The pair won half of the major superspeedway races that year and Ford won the NASCAR Championship.
Also on display was a 1964 Mercury Monterey, 1971 Mercury Montego Cyclone, 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass, and the high-wing 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and 1970 Plymouth Road Runner. The Dodge Charger Dayton was the first cars to exceed 200 mph on a closed course due to their aerodynamics and 426 Hemi engine. They were banned from NASCAR due to their extreme speed and wins in 1970. The Plymouth Road Runner on display was the #43 Superbird that Richard Petty raced throughout the 1970 season. In addition to posting 13 top 10 finishes in the 19 races it competed in during 1970, Superbird #43 took five NASCAR Grand National race titles.
World Rally Cars : 2015 Amelia Island Concours
The World Rally Car display at The Amelia included the 1969 Lancia Fulvia, 1971 Porsche 911 ST/GT, 1975 Lancia Stratos HF, 1980 Mercedes-Benz 500 SL, 1983 Lancia 037, 1984 Porsche 911, 1985 Porsche 959, and the 1988 Lancia Delta S4.
Ferrari Formula 1 : 2015 Amelia Island Concours
The Ferrari F1 display at Amelia Island showed a basic evolution of Ferrari F1 cars, beginning with the 1952 Ferrari 375 and culminating with the 1991 Ferrari 642. The 312 was one of the dominant forces in Grand Prix at the end of the 1960s and well into the 1970s - three examples were on display at Amelia including the 1968 Ferrari 312F, 1975 Ferrari 312 T, and the 1976 Ferrari 312 T2.
Gainesville History : 2019 Amelia Island Concours
Gainesville Dragway (now called Gainesville Raceway) opened in 1969, making 2019 its golden anniversary. Over the years it earned a reputation as a naturally fast track, partly because it is at sea level, and has moist and naturally dense air, allowing more oxygen and molecules for the engines. Located just outside Gainesville, Florida, the quarter-mile dragstrip has hosted the NHRA's Gatornationals event since 1970. In 1992, Kenny Bernstein became the first drag racer to break the 300 mile-per-hour barrier at the track during that year's Gatornationals.
Indy Innovation : 2019 Amelia Island Concours
The 24th annual Amelia Island Concours celebrated the 110th anniversary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by showcasing several of the groundbreaking cars that altered the course of Indy 500 history and technology. The earliest example was the 4.5-liter Peugeot L45 that altered racing engine design forever. Since 1912 nearly all Grand Prix and Indy racing engines have followed Peugeot's double overhead-cam, four-valve design. Other examples included a 1926 Miller 91 front-wheel drive car, a Cummins Diesel powered Duesenberg, the mid-engine Cooper-Climax T54, and the gas turbine-powered four-wheel drive Lotus 56.