The famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana hosted the third annual Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational on June 16-19, 2016. Over 300 entries showed up for the vintage car races sanctioned by Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA).
The Brickyard Invitational is one of the most unique events in the vintage racing world. Races are run in the 2.43-mile, 14-turn road course, yet there are also sessions run on the classic 2.5-mile oval where the 100th running of the Indy 500 took place only three weeks ago. This requires configuring the track from a clockwise to a counter clockwise rotation, which takes about 30 minutes. Though the oval runs are not competitive, it’s a real thrill for the drivers (and spectators) to experience.
Another event unique to the Brickyard Invitational is the Indy Legends Charity Vintage Pro-Am race, where Indy 500 veterans are teamed with SVRA competitors in sixties vintage American cars, mostly Trans-Am Camaros and Mustangs, with some Corvettes and Cobras thrown into the mix. Among the Indy veterans were Roberto Guerrero, Al Unser Jr., Paul Tracy, Max Papis, Willie T. Ribbs, Josele Garza, Geoff Brabham, Dick Simon and Bob Lazier. Bill Elliott, winner of the 2002 NASCAR Brickyard 400 also participated. This year Robby Unser and Andre Ahrle won the Pro-Am driving Ahrle’s 1965 Cobra CompR.
The SVRA Indy Brickyard Invitational 2016 also had a car auction, put on by Motostalgia, and the Saturday event party provided the rock band Three Dog Night for entertainment. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum is in the track’s infield, and is a must-see for anybody interested in auto racing.
SVRA divides the cars entered into 11 groups ranging from pre-war racers to modern-era GT, prototype and open wheel racers. This year, there was a 103 year range from the oldest to the newest car, and there were cars from every decade from the 1910s to the 2010s. There were two 1911 Nationals, including one that participated in the first Indy 500. Jacek Mucha in a 2007 Panoz DP01 Champ car had the fastest lap of the weekend at 1:22.6 seconds, while some of the older pre-war entries were hard pressed to lap the road course in under three minutes. All this provides spectators with a wonderful sense of how race cars have evolved.
There were two enduros at the SVRA Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational 2016. The Historic GT-GTP was won by Travis Engen in his 2005 Audi R8 LMP and the Vintage-Classic race was won by Scott Kissinger in a 1971 Datsun 240Z.
This year’s Grand Marshal was Donald Davidson, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian. Readers old enough to remember listening to the Indy 500 on the radio know how much the English-born Davidson contributed to developing the mystique that the race enjoys. It was an inspired choice for Grand Marshal. Davidson, ever the historian, fully appreciated the honor bestowed on him, and his emotions overwhelmed him when he gave the command to start engines.
Racing events are usually a partnership between a sanctioning body and a race track. The Brickyard Invitational blends two very diverse cultures of the racing world into one event, the sports car crowd and the Indy oval crowd. What comes through in this event is the mutual respect and admiration Indianapolis Motor Speedway and SVRA seem to have for each other, which helps make for a memorable weekend.
Similar to 2014 and 2015, Sports Car Digest also documented the SVRA Indy Brickyard Invitational 2016, with David Ferguson offering the following great selection of images from the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We split up David’s pictures into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, while the second gallery can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs.
SVRA Indy Brickyard Invitational 2016 – Featured Photo Gallery
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