Long before Sports Car Digest and the digital age, television shows such as Bud Lindemann’s Car and Track and ABC’s Wide World of Sports served as early mediums for racing coverage. We all take video for granted these days. Back then, footage was recorded and viewed at a later date. In-car cameras, helicopter fly-overs and the real-time results were unheard of. Regardless, many of us enjoyed our first exposure to Can Am, Trans Am, Formula One and other series from these shows. While vintage NASCAR and Indy Racing video is readily available, early SCCA road racing footage is in short supply. Fans might find a few grainy clips of cars whizzing by one or two fixed camera positions. Available coverage is rarely more than three to four minutes in length and the groovy 60’s music more entertaining than the racing action. With the demise of the Speed channel, one wonders about the future of vintage race coverage on TV.
With the aid of digital technology, Sports-Car Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) is taking matters into its own hands. Recently, thirty-one Historic Trans Am race cars gathered in Watkins Glen, New York for the Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix presented by Welliver. (See Full Report). While it’s not uncommon to see that many Trans Am cars at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, it’s a sight to see on the East Coast. The SVRA took advantage of the milestone by rigging many cars with in-car and surface mount equipment. What’s more, they employed a variety of camera perspectives around the track. Directed by Ben Cissell, the end result is an excellent video of nearly 25 minutes in length, an extraordinary effort for a sanctioning body. Though the race itself was momentous, SVRA and Historic Trans Am deserve credit for recognizing the importance of capturing the action and sharing it with us all — all without the backing of a major TV broadcasting company.
Flag to flag digital video should be an integral part of vintage racing. In the words of SVRA owner Tony Parella, “We’re setting the stage for a much bigger viewing audience.” Tony promises more feature-length video coverage from the U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, October 25-27th. For event tickets and more information, visit SVRA.com.
Historic Trans Am at 2013 SVRA Watkins Glen – Race Video