The heavy toll on people and machinery over the summer months resulted in a somewhat thinner entry than hoped for, and smaller crowds, at the VSCC’s SeeRed Donington event on September 11-12th. The promised “terrible weather” failed to materialize but the predictions of pouring rain seemed to keep some people at home watching Monza on the “box” rather than on the large screen at Donington. The addition of two rounds of the Lansdowne Series for vintage motorcycles filled the program, though many spectators used the bike race period to scrutinize the paddock. The Corse Clienti hospitality area was a good draw and the knowledgeable found long-time Ferrari mechanic Giulio Borsari happy to chat in Italian and sign autographs. Borsari acts as a consultant to the Clienti team and its modern F1 Ferraris.
The highlight of the weekend’s Ferrari activities was a series of races for the Shell Historic Ferrari Maserati Challenge. Split into three run groups based on the age and type of car, the 11-car “Group C” featured a great battle at the front between the 512BB LMs of Paul Knapfield and Massimo Sordi, the tiny Dino 206 of Peter Hardman and the mighty 412P of Harry Leventis.
The Corse Clienti Ferraris made several appearances throughout the weekend. Factory test driver Andrea Bertolini was in fine form and very fast, but Frank Mountain was having trouble finding revs, while one of the ex–Prost cars stopped on the circuit after a few laps, leaving Paul Osborn in his ex–Berger/Alesi F93A and another ex–Prost 642 to do the entertaining.
Races for the Shell Historic Grid A and B saw 18 cars take the green flag with the Maserati 6CM of pole-sitter Stefan Schollwock enjoying a hammer-and-tongs battle with the Ferrari 625 of Alexander Boswell. This pair drove superbly, swapping places at the entry and exit of the chicane with wheels interlocked. However, they were well aware of each other, and there was no barging as had happened so often the previous week between competitors at Goodwood. Willie Green, in Vogele’s Alfetta, could only manage to keep them in sight until a fuel pipe problem saw Boswell stutter and Schollwock regained the lead. Eventually Green got past Boswell, only to have the Alfetta’s radiator start to leak, forcing his retirement. Further down the field, there was another tremendous race going on between the three Ferraris of Christian Traber (1954 250 GT), Thomas Studer (1958 250 GT LWB) and Plinio Haas (1959 250 GT LWB). These cars were being hurled around like single-seaters within inches of each other for every one of the 12 laps.
Besides the Ferrari/Maserati races, there was also a full slate of VSCC races, including an all-ERA race won by Ludovic Lindsay’s R5B, so by Sunday afternoon the spectators went home after seeing a very mixed series of races and demos. The hope is that Donington can host an even redder See Red in the future.