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Ex-Mario Andretti Lotus 79 at Historic Grand Prix 2012
1978 Lotus 79

HGP at United States Grand Prix 2012 – Report and Photos

Photos by Mark Coughlin

Historic Grand Prix race cars made their first trip to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on November 16-17, 2012. The race, held in support of the inaugural Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, was staged on the same challenging 20-turn, 3.427-mile road course contested by the modern F1 racers.

American Dan Marvin won the Historic Grand Prix race in a 1974 Brabham BT44 once raced by Brazilian Carlos Pace.Marvin, from Larkspur, California, left the 30-string field in his wake as he won by three and a half seconds from the 1980 Arrows A3 in the hands of Monterrey, Mexico native David Martinez.

Martinez, whose car was originally campaigned by Italian three-time Grand Prix winner Riccardo Patrese, had been quickest in both free practice and qualifying but the pole-sitter, grappling with an electrical problem, had no answer to Marvin’s early speed in the 10-lap race.

Third place went to Dallas driver Charles Nearburg in a 1980 Williams FW07, one of the cars that kick-started Sir Frank Williams’ team’s great years with cars designed by Patrick Head. It was first raced by Australian Alan Jones, who went on to win the world championship with Williams in 1980.

Marvin took the win with a time of 21 minutes 14.34 seconds and was quick to praise America’s newest race-track. “It was the most difficult I may have ever driven, very demanding, quirky and technical,” he said. “It’s a terrific facility and I’m astonished at the quality. I hope it will wake people in the US to F1.”

Historic Grand Prix is an American series that brings back memories of some of Formula 1’s vintage years, the period from 1966 to 1983 when the cars ran to a three-liter engine formula and developments included the famous “ground effect” cars of the early Eighties.

The HGP organization is comprised of more than 50 owner-drivers of authentic vintage 3-litre models with a goal to preserve the historically correct presentation and performance of the cars, some of them originally driven by racing legends such as Mario Andretti, Gilles Villeneuve, Niki Lauda and more.

As Marvin, a former Daytona driver, said: “It’s interesting for the spectator to be able to see where the cars they see Sunday came from – and they came from the cars we were driving today. You can see them at their birthplace and where they are now.”

Historic Grand Prix at United States Grand Prix 2012 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)

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[Source: Circuit of the Americas; photos: Mark Coughlin]