The Mitty Speedfest 2015 was held April 24-26 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia. Sanctioned by Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) and featuring the BMW marque, the 38th running of the Mitty saw nearly 400 entrants enjoy the demanding 12-turn, 2.54 mile road course.
The rolling hills of the fantastic Road Atlanta road course were the perfect setting for the diverse field of historic cars including Formula 1, GTP and Group C, NASCAR, CART / IndyCar, Le Mans Prototypes and many more. Race cars for every taste from 1959 to 2014 running engines from under 1000 cc’s to over 7000 cc’s plied the very challenging circuit. Road Atlanta is one of the best spectator circuits in existence, with beautifully manicured grounds and excellent vantage points all around the circuit. Several areas allow the spectators to be mere yards from the action – ear protection is a must!
Atop the hill overlooking the paddocks and the main straight was the vendor village, a pedestrian-only area where fans could eat, drink and peruse the wares of any and all racing related merchandisers.
BMW was the featured marque in 2015 and the German manufacturer brought out some very tasty metal for the fans. Also on hand were some big name drivers from BMW’s past — Brian Redman and Boris Said. Redman of course is well known to racing fans and BMW aficionados for his 1975 12 Hours of Sebring and 1976 24 Hours of Daytona wins at the wheel of the BMW CSL. Mitty fans were able to get up close to the actual car and see Redman drive it for several parade laps.
In addition to his NASCAR and Craftsman Truck Series successes, Bruno Said had numerous class wins for BMW at Sebring and Daytona in the late nineties. In 2005, at the wheel of a BMW M3 GTR, he became the first American to win the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring. Examples of some of Said’s cars and BMW’s latest Z4 Tudor Series race car were also in action and available for fans to explore.
Thursday was test/practice day and several competitors were making their first run at Road Atlanta so this was time well spent. Official qualifying began Friday with all 10 groups getting out for the first of several qualifying chances. Friday’s busy qualifying schedule ended with an HSR staple, the Bob Woodman Tires International / American Challenge race. This first race of the Mitty got things started with a bang as 65 race cars crammed onto the circuit to duke it out. Age and beauty prevailed as Larry Ligas took the flag in his gorgeous 1961 Jaguar E-Type Roadster followed by Curt Vogt’s 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 and the Jachthuber / Spence 1972 Porsche 911 ST.
Saturday morning began with biblical rain flooding the track with rivers of red Georgia soil. A few brave souls tried their luck with varying degrees of success. Evidently Porsche 935 K3s and hard rain don’t play well together! Contrary to the forecast the rain stopped and the track began to dry mid-morning. This allowed the BMW M Performance Parts feature race to go off without a hitch just after lunch. Most groups had their sprint races out of the way in time for the 6:00 pm start of the one hour B.R.M. H/P Enduro Challenge. A diverse field including Audi and Oreca LMPs, Porsches, Lolas, Radicals, Swifts, Chevrons and more gave the fans the type of excitement the Mitty is known for. Travis Engen kept the field at bay in his 2005 Audi R8, still a stunning race car 10 years on. Jim Booth took 2nd in his 2013 Radical SR8 and 3rd was the Lopez / Santini 2008 Porsche 997 Cup.
HSR added two night sprint races this year and it really gave the spectators a new and unique spectacle. Blazing headlights, glowing brake discs and fire-belching exhausts entertained even the most jaded race fan.
The final day dawned in spectacular sunshine for the 8:20 am start of the one-hour B.R.M. Vintage Enduro Challenge. Another very large 49-car field provided cracking racing in absolute perfect conditions. The win went to the Ziegleman 1973 Porsche 914/6 ahead of Sean Brown’s 1975 Ford Escort RS and the 1966 Porsche 911 driven by Lee Giannone. After a two-hour Sunday “quiet time” the action resumed, with the Masters Historic F1 cars out first and the wail of Cosworth DFVs was unforgettable.
Just before 1:00 pm the grid assembled for the last big enduro of the 2015 Mitty. The sixty-minute B.R.M. GT/GTM Enduro Challenge brought 39 cars into action. In a fitting nod to the featured marque, Dave Thorman crossed the line first in his 2004 BMW M3. An impressive second was Fritz Seidel driving his 1973 Porsche 911 IROC beating out another Porsche fully four decades newer. That was Bill Riddell aboard a 2012 Porsche Cayman S.
The HSR Mitty Speedfest 2015 filled the balance of Sunday with hard fought class sprint races that entertained to the very end.
Photographer Peter Falkner documented the HSR Speedfest Mitty Historic Races 2015 with the following great selection of images from Road Atlanta. We split up Peter’s 341 pictures into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, all displayed in the full-width view of Sports Car Digest, while the second gallery can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs.
The Mitty at Road Atlanta 2015 – Featured Photo Gallery
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