The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) is the largest and one of the oldest Vintage racing organizations in the United States. The association has evolved since it was founded in 1978 by Ford Heacock III. It was originally called the Southeast Vintage Racing Association with a membership of approximately 25 drivers and supporters. Today, the organization host events for over 2,500 licensed competitors.

Race weekends are held throughout North America. The SVRA visits Sebring International Raceway, Road Atlanta, Charlotte Motor Speedway, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Portland International Raceway, Utah Motorsports Campus, Circuit of the Americas, Road America, The Ridge Motorsports Park, Sonoma Raceway, Watkins Glen International, NOLA Motorsports Park, New Jersey Motorsports Park, Auto Club Speedway and Virginia International Raceway. But their best-subscribed event is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

To accommodate the wide range of vehicles owned by members of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Assocation, there are twelve race groups.

  • Group 1 – is for small displacement production sports cars and sedans such as the Mini Cooper and MG Midget.
  • Group 2 – this group is for pre-1973 Formula cars conforming to the association’s classic formula car rules.
  • Group 3 - sports cars and sedans manufactured prior to 1972 compete in this class.
  • Group 4 – sports cars built before 1960, such as ‘specials’ and sports cars with a limited production run, participate in this group.
  • Group 5 – this category was created for small-bore World Sports Car Championship and prototypes that were raced between 1960 and 1972 but also includes Sports 2000 cars, Spec Racer Fords and World Sports Racers.
  • Group 6 – Corvettes, Camaros, Mustangs and other selected big-bore production sports cars and sedans built up to and including 1972 are in Group 6.
  • Group 7 – this class accommodates a wide range of cars referred to as sports racers - World Championship of Makes sports cars on slicks, under 2 Liter sports cars as raced after 1972, Can Am cars as raced after 1967 and center-seat Can Am cars. Also, cars that competed in the Sports Car Club of America’s A and B Sports Racer classes are eligible.
  • Group 8 - Sports cars and sedans manufactured before 1979 are placed in this division.
  • Group 9 – this group is for the quickest open-wheel cars. It includes Indy Lights, Formula 1, Formula 5000, Formula Atlantic and Super Vees.
  • Group 10 – this is an exciting category that includes everything from NASCAR Cup and Busch Series stock cars to Trans-Am and production-based cars that raced from 1999 to 5 years from today’s date.
  • Group 11 – in this class are sports racer machinery that raced from 1981 to 5-years from today’s date. The cars are very quick and previously competed in GTP/Group C, American Le Mans Series, Professional Sports Car Racing, World Sports Car and Grand Am prototype classes.
  • Group 12 – this division accepts GT sports cars and sedans raced between 1973 and 5 years before today’s date. These are Production-based cars such as Motorola Cup or any other stock / prepared racing series.

Across these very different race groups, the objective is to provide – safe, fair and fun competition for drivers, crews and fans.

The fifteenth race weekend of the 2023 SVRA season was conducted at Watkins Glen International and called the Watkins Glen SpeedTour. The weekend included two races for each SVRA group, as well as International GT, Trans Am, the Collier Cup and the Govenor’s Cup for Corvettes.

Tony Southgate designed the No. 7 Theodore TY02 for Teddy Yip’s team to compete in the 1982 Formula One World Championship. The car was unsuccessful despite numerous updates by Southgate. Bill Tempero eventually acquired the Theodore. Tempero installed a 5.0-liter Chevrolet engine and fitted sports car bodywork for the Can-Am series. The car was converted to F5000 specs and is owned by Eddie Claridge.
One of the quickest cars in Groups 1, 3 and 4 was this 1955 Chevrolet Corvette (C1). The No. 55 Corvette was driven by Bill Schwacke. Now in its third year of production, Chevrolet introduced some new features. The six-cylinder engine was replaced by a 265 V8, which produced 195-hp. Also new for 1955 was a three-speed manual transmission. Production of the 1955 model was 700 units.
The No. 243 1964 Morgan 4+4 was driven by Kenneth Greenberg in the 3DP class. The first Morgan 4/4 was built in 1936 by the Morgan Motor Company. Production of the model continued until 2018. Over the years, the car has been equipped with different powertrains. Models constructed from 1963 to 1968 are the Series V and used the 1498cc Ford Cortina 116Eengine with a Ford four-speed transmission.
Lola Cars International was founded in 1958 by Eric Broadley. The company designed and built open-wheel race cars for competition in Formula Junior, Formula 3, Formula 2 and Formula 1. With the growing popularity of Formula Ford in the late 60s, the company began producing cars. The No. 189 is Lola T642, constructed in 1983 and driven by Rod Bolhous. This T642 model won the 1983 Formula Ford Festival.
Bob Neapole was entered in the No. 7 BMW powered Riley XXVI. The Riley XXVI was constructed to the third generation Daytona Prototype regulations and was a popular chassis choice during the 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series season. The car was built to accept engines from Chevrolet, BMW, Porsche and Ford engine, which was more common. The chassis collected the most wins at five of twelve races.
There were a couple of Lotus Super 7s on hand at Watkins Glen. The No. 11 is a 1961 Series 2 model driven by Chris DeMinco. This Super 7 is a rear-wheel drive with a four-speed manual transmission. Many old cars have had their engines replaced with larger-capacity motors. However, the original powerplant was a four-cylinder 948cc producing 46 hp. DeMinco won the 8CP category on Sunday.
March Engineering was founded in 1969 and has produced successful open-wheel and sports racing cars since then. Jim Kelleher’s No. 80 March 80A was constructed for the Formula Atlantic category. This model won the 1980 North American Formula Atlantic Championship with Jacques Villeneuve behind the wheel. The 80A uses an aluminum monocoque chassis powered by a Cosworth BDD engine.
The car shown is a 1977 TIG FFA-77 Formula Ford driven by Dan Rhodes. Tiga Race Cars was founded by Formula One drivers Tim Schenken and Howden Ganley. The company’s name was derived from using the first two letters of Tim and Ganley – TIGA. Formula Fords was one of the company’s first entries into the racing market. TIGA later produced Formula 2000, Sports 2000, Group 2, Formula Atlantic and IMSA Lights race cars.
The No. 07 Cadillac Daytona Prototype was driven by Jacek Mucha. Mucha’s racing resume begins in the early 90s behind the wheel of Formula Fords. Later, his focus changed to the Sports Car Club of America’s amateur Sports Racing category, where he collected five C Sports Racing runner-up results. Mucha even did a short stint in the Professional Sportscar Racing series. The Cadillac was initially campaigned by Wayne Taylor Racing.
The No. 65 Ralt RT-5 was constructed to compete in the Super Vee class. There were two series for this category in North America – the 1971-1990 SCCA Super Vee Gold Cup and the 1977-1980 USAC Mini-Indy. The first Ralt RT-5 was designed and built in 1980. Production continued until 1988, when only three cars were produced. The Ralt RT-5 has an aluminum monocoque chassis with full ground effects and a 1.6-liter Volkswagen engine.
This 1980 TIGA FFA-80 was piloted by Hector MacDonald at Watkins Glen. Like all the cars competing in the Formula Ford category, the FFA-80 is powered by a 1600cc four-cylinder Ford engine that produces just over 100 hp at 6,000 rpm. The power is transferred to a four-speed Hewland MK9 gearbox. In race one, MacDonald finished seventh in class. Heavy rain prevented him from competing in the second contest.
From 1953 to 1962, Chevrolet built the first generation Corvette, referred to as the C1. These early models used a solid axle with the independent rear suspension introduced in the 1963 Sting Ray. The car pictured is a 1961 model raced by Frank Morelli. These models were powered by a 283 V8 motor, introduced in 1957, but various induction systems were available. 1961 was the last year for contrasting paint schemes.
1960s and 70s muscle cars accounted for a majority of the entries in Groups 6 and 12a, but there were some exceptions. One such exception was Peter Heffring’s No. 56 Ginetta G56 GTA. The GTA model was built by Ginetta to be a ‘track day car’ as opposed to the GT4 version, which is for racing. The cars have a 3.7-liter V6 Ford engine, which produces 270 hp. The motor also includes a 60-hour engine warranty.
Also on the card at the Watkins Glen was the International GT series, which includes three championships for Porsche and Ferrari competitors. The quickest category is the Mission Foods GT3 Cup Championship. There were two entries from Ultra Performance - Tom Pank in the No. 42 Porsche GT3R Cup and the No. 40 Porsche GT3 Cup driven by Lukas Pank. Tom was the class of the field, collecting two victories and a fourth-place result.
As always, several unique cars were entered for the SVRA event at Watkins Glen International. One such car was Steven Lisa’s No. 19 1973 De Tomaso Pantera. Lisa also races a Norma M20F in the 11GTP4 class. This mid-engine sports car was built by De Tomaso from 1971 to 1992. De Tomaso is an Italian car company founded by Alejandro de Tomaso. The Pantera used a 5.8-liter Ford V8 and was sold through Lincoln and Mercury dealers.
At Watkins Glen International, Kenneth Arters was the only competitor in the 7CA3 class. Arters drove the No. 51 1965 Ford GT40. 1965 was the second season for the GT40s, which were now prepared by Shelby American after a disastrous first year. The team’s first outing was the Daytona 2000KM, which Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby won. A month later, Bruce McLaren joined Miles, and the pair finished second at the Sebring 12-Hour race.
The only entry in the 7BSR category was this No. 47 1971 Chevron B19 driven by Bob Lima. Chevron Cars was founded by Derek Bennett in 1965. The B19, of which thirty-five cars were built, was produced from 1970 to 1971. The vehicle was constructed to FIA Group 6 regulations, primarily for endurance races. Most of the B19s were powered by a 1.8-liter Ford Cosworth FVC and used a Hewland FT200 gearbox.
The No. 5 Ferrari 430 was driven by Bernard Turi. The 430s were available from 2005 to 2010. The design of the Ferrari was a joint effort between Frank Stephenson and Pininfarina. The powertrain is a 4.3-liter V8 engine that produces 483 hp. It is bolted to a six-speed manual transmission. The car has unique features, such as a computer-controlled differential and steering wheel control knob to modify settings.
Ginetta was founded in the late 1950s by the four Walklett brothers. Their business was structural engineering. However, a decade later, their main focus was race cars. At Watkins Glen, a 1965 Ginetta G4R was entered for Sharon Adelman. The G4 debuted in 1961, but by 1965, a new model called the Ginetta G4R was introduced. This model uses a tube frame chassis equipped with a 1600cc Ford Twin Cam engine producing 180 hp.
The No. 33 Coyote Corvette Daytona Prototype was entered by Marsh Racing in the 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship. The team’s primary driver was Eric Curran. Curran was joined by Max Papis, Boris Said, Guy Cosmo, Bradley Smith and Burt Frisselle during the season. The team’s best results during the year were fifth-place finishes at Road America and Petit Le Mans. John Reisman drove the car at Watkins Glen.

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