December 2016 Pit Signals

The December 2016 edition of VARAC Pit Signals by Jeremy Sale has been released!

Click here to download your personal copy.

VARAC Pit Signals

Features this month include:

  • VARAC Member Hilights
  • Claude Gagne – Race Restoring a Lotus Elan
  • 2016 Highlights with Cam McRae, Phil Soden, Frank Mount, John Kinnear, Jeremy Sale, Paul Austerbury, Ted Michalos, Ivan Samila
  • Reg Hillary: Canadian Rally-Racing Driver
  • Skuderia Hysteria by John Kinnear
  • 2017 Conduct Committee Procedures
  • … Classifieds and more!

November 2016 Pit Signals

The November 2016 edition of VARAC Pit Signals by Jeremy Sale has been released!

Click here to download your personal copy.

VARAC Pit Signals

Features this month include:

  • Keeping the Al Pease MGB in Canada
  • 2016 VARAC AGM Awards and VARAC Champions
  • In Memory… Peter Jackson, Ralph de Winter
  • VRG at the Glen with Alain Raymond and Gary Allen
  • My Saddest Day of the Year, by Chris Rupnik
  • The 2016 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge with Tim Sanderson
  • 2016 Whiskey Hill Classic: By Alain Raymond
  • In Other News…
  • … Classifieds and more!

October 2016 Pit Signals

The October 2016 edition of VARAC Pit Signals by Jeremy Sale has been released!

Click here to download your personal copy.

VARAC Pit Signals

Features this month include:

  • In Memory of Hans P. Gulde
  • VARAC at the Brantford Airshow
  • VSCDA Grattan 30 or VARAC Table for Three
  • Phil Soden and his half scale Gypsy Moth
  • Limerock Adventures
  • VSCDA Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival
  • Mt Tremblant Fall Classic
  • The Sound of Toolboxes
  • How to Add Telemetry Like A Pro
  • The Brack Classic Hill Climb at Inglis Falls
  • An Autosport at the Goodwood Revival
  • CASC-OR Celebration
  • Doug Elcomb Heads Down Under
  • John DeMaria
  • … and more!

2016 VARAC AGM & Awards To Be Held Sunday November 20, 2016

Please mark Sunday, November 20, on your calendars. At 10:00 am we will hold the club’s Annual General Meeting, followed by a lunch and the 2016 Awards Presentations.These events will take place at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel & Suites, 9005 Leslie Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4B 1B2. (Map it here)

Even as we speak, the Vintage Historic and Classic Directors are tabulating the VARAC Drivers’ Challenge points to determine who won each of our racing classes, as well as the overall club champion. There is already a rumour floating around that the overall championship ended in a tie!  Don’t worry, our Race Director (and club President) will make the process clear before we make the final presentation.

The club has two other trophies that we require the memberships’ assistance on – the Jim McGregor Spirit of Sportsmanship Award and the James Ferguson Challenge Trophy.  To learn more about these awards, including a list of past recipients please visit:http://varac.ca/membership/awards/.

Those persons with business to raise at the AGM, or Motions they would like presented to the membership should contact Gavin Ivory, the club Secretary (gavin.ivory@varac.ca) as soon as possible.  We have specific notice periods that must be met before items may be considered and Gavin will be assembling the official package that will be sent out to the membership before the AGM.

The first event of 2017 is scheduled for May 13 and 14 at CTMP – if you can’t make it to the AGM surely we’ll see you at the track next year…

Proxy Form

Are you a VARAC member that is not able to make it out to the AGM?  Click here to print and send us your proxy!

My Experience As a TV Star

“My Experience As a TV Star”
by Ed Luce’s 1968 Lotus 51A Formula Ford

You know how they always say “the car is the star” in vintage racing, right? Well, this summer I had a chance to be a star off the race track for a change!

No sooner had we returned to Kingston from the double race weekends in Pittsburgh, than Ed Luce (my driver) was contacted by Ted Michalos, who had been in touch with a set decorator who needed to source a ‘vintage F1 race car’ for a commercial being filmed in a week’s time. As if one of those high-maintenance divas could have pulled this off. You know that type, all big noise and fast moves – real ‘Broadway musical’ – while this was going to require some restraint and subtlety for the small screen.

Unfortunately for the set decorator, the weekend scheduled for filming was also the BARC race weekend at Mosport and most of the more local cars were thus unavailable or uninterested. As we weren’t going to be competing that weekend, Ted wondered if we might be interested in appearing in a TV commercial!

After a lot of next-to-last-minute calls, it was decided that we would go to Toronto for a two-day ‘shoot’, where I was to be driven by a professional driver in a Nissan commercial. (You know how the fine print under those TV commercial scenes always says ‘professional driver on closed course’? Well, this was one of those scenarios.) I was to lead a parade of unusual vehicles up a suburban street, where a new Nissan would avoid backing into us thanks to its ‘driver assistance’ aids…

Ed Luce for VARAC Vintage Racing

Of course, I’m no F1 race car but, as I said, a high-strung performer like that would not have suited this task at all. Fortunately, at a glance I look a lot like pretty much every other competition car that Lotus made in the mid 60’s, and I can idle along as low as 20 mph.

I spent a couple of days in make-up, first having my usual suite of CASC-OR, VARAC, etc. decals removed and my badges covered. (When making a commercial they don’t like having any other company’s logo’s, trademarks, names, etc. in shot. I suppose it’s a combination of not having license to use those insignia and not wanting to give anyone else free advertising.) Then I had a ‘flame job’ applied to accentuate my nose – already one of my best features.

Ed Luce for VARAC Vintage Racing

Ed’s concerns about the noise levels of my un-muffled exhaust were rendered moot by the appearance on-set of an immense Peterbilt 389, a ’34 Chevy rat rod with straight pipes, and an honest to goodness M60-A3 ‘Patton’ main battle tank. 12 cylinders of barely muffled, air-cooled, twin turbo Detroit diesel make quite a racket on a city street. But a little three-wheeled Italian ‘Piaggio Ape’ delivery scooter probably made the most noise/bhp of anybody there. How can a single-cylinder air-cooled engine make so much noise? By revving flat-out to keep up with the blistering 29 mph (top speed!) pace dictated by the M60, that’s how.

The low speed of the filmed parade was a problem, as expected. By the end of a few takes, my fluid temperatures were soaring due to a lack of air through my heat exchangers, and my clutch was aching from being slipped pretty much constantly to keep speeds down so that the tank could keep up. Thanks goodness for my relatively high ground clearance, as there was construction on the route around the block and we had to maneuver over some of those 1-1/2” steel plates they use to cover open tank traps in the street. (The tank just backed down the set after each take anyway. Those babies don’t corner well!)

The film crew did camera shots from the front, camera shots from the rear, camera shots from on top of the tank, camera shots from down low on a golf cart driving up the sidewalk beside us, and camera shots from the perspective of the stunt kitten playing in the street. We must have stampeded up the street over a dozen times each day before the director was happy.

In between takes, every little kid in the neighborhood wanted to sit in the driver’s seat and have their picture taken. Lots of happy locals may have helped to smooth things over and make up for the noise and dust. And Ed got to talk to quite a few people about VARAC, vintage racing, how wonderful Formula Fords are, etc.

Ed Luce for VARAC Vintage Racing

“Aaaaand – ACTION!”

As part of the crew for this experience my driver Ed got to learn a bit, helping with what my regular crew Dorothy does routinely – helping the driver into the car, steering wheel on, belts on, connect battery (wait for the director to say “camera rolling” to start my engine), switch over to internal battery. Then grab the starting battery and run into the bushes or down a driveway to get the heck out of shot while we stampeded up the street on cue.

After two days of shooting, it was back into my trailer (every film star has a trailer, don’t ya know). While this was all fun, I can’t wait until the next race weekend for a chance to blow the carbon out of my cylinders and to stretch my legs!

September 2016 Pit Signals

The September 2016 edition of VARAC Pit Signals by Jeremy Sale has been released!

Click here to download your personal copy.

VARAC Pit Signals

Features this month include:

  • Celebrity Chris Rupnik at the CHGP
  • My Experience as a TV Star by Ed Luce
  • Pittsburgh Double-Header by Ed Luce
  • More from the Pittsburgh Grand Prix
  • MGs at Waterford
  • Brits on the Lake Classic Motoring Revival
  • Jack Boxstrom on Accidents & Mishaps
  • Ted Powell Races at Calabogie
  • … and more!

CHGP Wraps Up for 2016

We can’t thank you enough for coming to the 2016 VARAC Canadian Historic Grand Prix!

The feature for the 2016 CHGP was “Flat 6 vs V-8”, Porsche versus American muscle so VARAC welcomed Trans-Am Champion Ludwig Heimrath as Grand Marshall for the 2016 Canadian Historic Grand Prix. In addition to the Canadians the CHGP was well supported by US based racing clubs such as Friends of Triumph and MG Vintage Racers. Three full days of exciting racing involving packed grids for all Vintage and Historic racing machines from Minis to Mustangs, Canada Class to Formula cars. There were nice big fields for six groups of cars including the F1600 and Formula Vee Spectacular , Monoposto, Small Bore Vintage & Historic Cars (under 1.3 litres), Big Bore Vintage & Historic Cars (over 1.3 litres), Wings & Slicks (purpose-built racing cars running on slick tires), and a big field of more than 60 of the Canadian “Classic Group 70-90 cars, (cars from 1973 to 1989 including Alfas, Corvettes, Porsches, Mustangs and many others.)

See this story and the accompanying pictures & highlights here:

2016 CHGP Wrap Up

Friday opened with practice, qualifying and races for all grids and finished not with the previously traditional VARAC “Pot Luck Dinner” but with a new wrinkle, the Steam Whistle Brewing Paddock Tour. This independent Canadian beer company is justly proud of producing a Premium Pilsner and the tour involved three Whistle Stops. The concept is simply to move people around the paddock, to get them to mingle and meet, talk about their cars, and eat some dinner. Competitors, crew, and volunteers were all welcomed. The first Whistle Stop was hosted by club members Tom and Carol Burge, assisted by the MG and Triumph folks, serving chicken wings from Simply BBQ. Black Prince Winery offerings were also available. Whistle Stop Two was hosted by the good folks at Move Motorsports, assisted by the F1600 and Monoposto competitors, serving up Subway Sandwiches. Then it was on to Whistle Stop Three for dessert and coffee hosted by the VARAC board. There are wrinkles to be smoothed out to be sure, but it was a great move forward, well done to all concerned.

On Saturday racing continued with more great weather and some really full grids, breaking at lunch for Can-Am demonstration laps. “Mini Meet North”, the largest assembly of Mini’s in Canada, provided an avenue for owners of this popular marque to gather together and show off their cars all weekend, and they also had an opportunity to lap the track on Saturday.

Awarded on Sunday afternoon after the last session of the weekend, the Group 44 Inc. Award was presented to Jeff Govert (Spitfire #12) by last year’s recipient, Henry Frye. The fastest large bore Triumph went to Henry Frye with his TR-250. Fastest small bore Triumph was Russ Moore in Spitfire #49. Fastest small bore MG was Nick Pratt in his very fast Midget. The fastest large bore MG was Joe Lightfoot, MGB.

The Victory Lane Magazine “Spirit of Vintage Racing” trophy was awarded to Dr. Lee Talbot. Many thanks to Doug Kurtin for again giving us really beautiful trophies to take home. Much appreciated, Doug!

It was a superb weekend all round, blessed by great weather and tons of track time. Many, many congrats to VARAC’s CHGP Director Ted Michalos and his great team of volunteers! There were tons of people who pitched in, far too many to name, thank you all!

We tried a number of new things this year and we’d appreciate hearing back from you how we did – the good and the not so good – it is only with your feedback that we can make improvements for next year. Send your comments to CHGP@varac.ca – thanks in advance for taking the time to let us know how things went.