I watched the Formula 1 a couple of weeks ago. My timing was spot on. It was an absolutely thrilling battle, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg having a titanic tussle for the lead. But as thrilling as their fight was, the spectacle of Formula 1 still doesn’t grab me. It hasn’t really done so for years. The problem is the noise. No, not that the cars are too quiet – these latest ones have a nice V6 growl and pleasant turbo whine – but that the noise just isn’t that nice.
This is where historic racing comes in.
You get a lot more variety with historic racing for a start. Here, a TVR does battle with an Austin-Healey and a Triumph TR4 at the Goodwood Revival. Not that you need to stump up the frankly scary prices for admission at the frankly incredible Revival. Historic Racing takes place all over the UK and indeed the world. The Silverstone Classic lacks the atmosphere of the Revival, but features much of the same metal. There’s the Donington Historic coming up soon too – first weekend of May. There’s stuff going on all over the place, creating the sort of noises that racing cars should make. Hearing exotic V12s pumping out sweet music, joined in chorus by straight-sixes and tuned V8s makes for a true motoring spectacle. It creates the sort of soundtrack that modern F1 completely lacks.
It creates moments like this too. An extremely well-driven Ford GT40 at a soggy Goodwood. Remarkable car control.
You won’t see cars squirming around in Formula 1 like that. It really is astonishing stuff.
Prefer a V12? I bet you didn’t even know that a Jaguar XJ-S could make this sort of noise. The road car is rather more refined.
Those are the sorts of noises that set my blood curdling. There is an increasing interest in historic racing, and rightly so! Modern racers may be quicker, but like modern cars, they seem overly sanitised and some of the fun has gone out of it. It’s not just track racing either. Here’s perhaps one of my favourite motorsport videos. The late, great Colin McRae giving it some serious beans in a Metro 6R4, and losing it completely at one stage!
This sort of thing generates a level of excitement that modern racing just can’t match. Whether it’s 2CVs or Ferrari GTOs, historic racing has a massive range of interesting tin in action. I bloomin’ love it!