April 26, 2007 Over 200 Grand Prix cars spanning a century of motor racing are set to grace UK’s Donington Park for the GPlive event on the weekend of May 18, 19 and 20, 2007. The cars will range from Edwardian monsters to the latest Formula One machinery and will include cars driven by over a dozen Formula One World Champions.
Some of the cars will be on static display, allowing a unique close-up view in special themed areas in the Donington Park paddock and in the world-famous Donington Grand Prix Collection. Meanwhile, more than a hundred of the Grand Prix cars are set to take to the track.
A number will participate in special demonstrations, a few with their original drivers.
Many more will take part in a packed racing programme, including two rounds of the FIA Historic Formula One World Championship, the Euroboss racing series for cars of the 1980s and 1990s, plus special invitation races for Cosworth-powered cars of the 1970s and a Sir Stirling Moss Trophy Race for cars of the 1950s and early 1960s.
Among the stars of the show are set to be four cars from the private collection of Jody Scheckter, rarely if ever, seen in public before. They include a Yardley McLaren M19, of the type in which the South African made his Formula One debut in 1972, the following year’s McLaren M23 and a 1977 Wolf WR1, a car which Scheckter took to victory on its – and the team’s – Grand Prix debut. However the star of the Scheckter collection is undoubtedly the Ferrari 312T4 in which Jody became 1979 Formula One World Champion.
Other Champion’s cars include the McLaren M23 driven to victory in 1976 by James Hunt, Alan Jones’ 1978 title-winning Williams and a Lotus 49 driven by Jim Clark. The 1978 World Champion for Lotus, Mario Andretti will demonstrate a 1971 Ferrari 312B identical to the car in which he won his first Grand Prix.
Both the 1971 ‘flat-12” Ferrari and the 1953, ex-Alberto Ascari Ferrari 500 racer, are among cars from the Donington Collection which will be demonstrated on the track during the weekend-long celebration of the sport.
The smallest car at the GPlive event will be the tiny 1936 Austin 7 Grand Prix car from the Donington Collection. The ‘baby’ Austin uses an engine of just 747cc, yet with a supercharger and an advanced, twin cam cylinder head it could develop no less than 116bhp! With a top speed of close to 120mph, the Austins scored many victories pre-war, while post-war Austin ‘specials’ developed on similar lines started the careers of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, Bruce McLaren and Mini designer Alec Issigonis.
The most powerful car at GPlive is almost certainly the Lotus-Renault 98T raced by Ayrton Senna in the 1986 season. The last-ever car to carry the iconic JPS black and gold livery had over 1,000 horsepower in race trim and a calculated output of over 1,300 for “banzai” qualifying laps, when the turbochargers would survive just three laps of the track! “We’ll have everything from Adler, Alfa and Arrows, to Williams, Wolf and Yamaha. Not quite a full A to Z but very close” said Richard Morgan of GPlive. “And the amazing thing is that such a high proportion of these cars will be seen and heard in the natural environment on the track. It’s going to be a sight and a sound to savour.”