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Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
August 16-18, 2002
Laguna Seca Raceway
50th anniversary of Corvette at Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002

  Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002 in Laguna Seca
Chevrolet Corvettes at the 2002 Monterey Historic Automobile Races

For the 29th time, the Laguna Seca Raceway hosted the annual Monterey Historic Automobile Races. This years' honored marque and model was Chevrolet Corvette, having the 50th anniversary in 2002. More than 60 Corvettes competed in 6 of the 14 races. Famous drivers like Phil Hill - piloting a 1953 Alfa Romeo 3000 CM - and Brian Redman - driving a 1975 BMW 3.5 CSL - were among the participants.

Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
Phil Hill in the 1953 Alfa Romeo 3000 CM (#75).
Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1954 Corvette with the appropriate number 54 in race 3A on Saturday.
Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
Brian Redman in the 1975 BMW 3.5 CSL (#25).

Saturday - GROUP 1A - Pre-1931 Sports Touring Cars
Race length 22.380 miles, 10 laps

1922 Ford, 1915 Ford and 1916 National at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1922 Ford Model T with driver Bruce Hudkins in front of 1915 Ford Model T with driver Gary Lucas and 1916 National with driver Brian Blain.
1913 Deltal, 1928 Alfa Romeo and 1932 Aston Martin at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1913 Deltal with driver George Wingard in front of 1928 Alfa Romeo 6C with driver Martin Swig and 1932 Aston Martin with driver Eckart Wagner, who also participated in the Pebble Beach Concours.
1928 Stutz, 1915 Ford and 1934 MG NE at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1928 Stutz Black Hawk with driver George Holman, followed by 1915 Ford with driver Ed Archer and 1934 MG NE with driver Pete Thelander.

Saturday - GROUP 2A - 1927-1946 Racing Cars
Race length 22.380 miles, 10 laps

 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1950 Talbot T-26 C with driver Peter Mullin in front of 1948 Talbot T-26 C with driver Brian Mullin, followed by 1930 Ford Gilmore Indy Special with driver Pat Phinny.
 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1932 Chrysler Rigante with driver Camillo Steuer followed by 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C with driver Charles Wegner and 1926 Bugatti T-37 with driver Mike Gertner.
 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1932 Alfa Romeo with driver Charles Wegner, 1926 Bugatti T-37 with driver Mike Gertner, 1936 Bugatti T-57 with driver Mike Cleary and 1928 Bugatti T-37 with driver Rick Rawlins.

Saturday - GROUP 3A - 1947-1955 Sports Racing Cars over 2000cc
Race length 22.380 miles, 10 laps

 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1955 Chevrolet Corvette with driver Noel Park (#16), 1951 Jaguar XK 120 with driver Dick Skipworth, 1953 Aston Martin DB3S with driver Martin McGlone (#12), and 1954 Jaguar XK 120 with driver Mike Heffernan (#541).
 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1949 Jaguar-Parkinson Special with driver John Buddenbaum (#3), 1954 Lancia D24-R with driver Charles Nearburg (#80), 1949 Baldwin-Mercury Special with driver Jim Herlinger (#77), and 1955 Hagemann-Chrysler Special with driver Steve Schuler (#44). In the top left Phil Hill in the 1953 Alfa Romeo 3000 CM
 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1950 Talbot-Lago T26 GS with driver Rick Hall (#5), 1953 Jaguar C-Type with driver Greg Johnson (#35), and 1955 Hagemann-Jaguar with driver Bernard Juchli (#86).

Saturday - GROUP 4A - 1955-1959 Sports Racing Cars over 2500cc
Race length 22.380 miles, 10 laps

 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1957 Maserati 300S with driver Steven Read (#4), 1956 Mercedes-Benz SLS Special with driver Klaus Lehr (#181), and 1958 Lister-Chevy with driver John Mozart (#90).
 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1954 Jaguar D-Type with driver Terry Larson (#12), 1958 Ferrari 250 TR with driver David Love (#9), 1958 Scarab with driver Brian Redman (#5), and 1962 Chaparral 1 with driver Paul Brown (#24).
 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1955 Kurtis 500X with driver Myron Cottrell (#149), 1958 Devin SS with driver Andy Porterfield (#49), and 1958 Lister-Jaguar with driver John McCaw (#2).

50th anniversary of Corvette at Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002 50 years of the Chevrolet Corvette

The Project Opel - how the Corvette project was code-named originally - had it's beginning in a small studio with only a handful of people working on it. Harley Earle - the first design chief of GM - dreamed up what would become an American icon and the strongest competitor in the sports car market, which was dominated by the European manufacturers at that point.

The Corvette debuted in January of 1953 at the GM Motorama, held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. At this very show, a widely unknown European engineer and race car driver by the name of Zora Arkus-Duntov would see the first prototype of the car which would define his further life and career and which he would transform into the American race car par excellence.

50th anniversary of the Corvette at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1957 Corvette SS on the test track
50th anniversary of the Corvette at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
Zora Arkus-Duntov with the Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle in an official GM photograph

When Zora Arkus-Duntov first saw the EX-122 - how the prototype was named at the GM Motorama- he realised the potential of design and became determined to become part of the further development. Having a solid background as an engineer with Talbot, Allard and Ilo, as well a having raced Porsche, Cisitalia, Veritas, Talbot, Ardun, and Allard, he was delighted by the elegance and understatement of the body, but found the weak six-cylinder engine and the two-speed automatic transmission far from being a match or a threat for the European models. After plenty of effort on his part to convince GM that he would be valuable to the project, he started his new job in Detroit on May 1st, 1953.

His first assignment was to increase the output of the small block 265 cubic inches V8 engine. Even so an eight-cylinder engine and three-speed manual transmission were available since the '55 model year, the Corvette could still not compete with the imports. The Arkus-Duntov camshaft would do the trick - boosting the output from 195 to 240 on the '56 model. Later that year, he did the Daytona Flying Mile at 150.583 mph behind the wheel of an 'improved' Corvette. Next, he worked on developing a suitable fuel injection system to increase the horsepower even more. The Fuely debuted in the '57 model as an American automobile industry first.

50th anniversary of the Corvette at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1957 Corvette SS featuring fuel injection
as an American industry first
50th anniversary of the Corvette at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 200250th anniversary of the Corvette at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
Two of the drivers making the Corvette a successful race car - John Fitch and Betty Skelton

In 1963 - again under Zora Arkus-Duntov influence - the Grand Sport program was launched. The objective was to develop an 1,800 pounds lightweight Corvette to compete on the international circuits. Already since 1956, divers like Betty Skelton, John Fitch, Roger Penske and Zora Arkus-Duntov himself took the Corvette racing - with remarkable success. The Grand Sport were meant to compete with Carroll Shelby's lightweight Cobras at a time when manufacturers were discouraged by the AMA to participate in racing. Officially, these developments were labeled research or testing - pausing for just one or two years would haven given all other manufacturers - especially the Europeans - an unreachable lead. The actual racing was then done by the customers - like Dr. Dick Thompson.

The two Corvette Grand Sport debuted at the Nassau Speed Week, where the finished fourth - with Dr. Dick Thompson - and eight - with John Cannon.

50th anniversary of the Corvette at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1963 Corvette Grand Sport at the
Speed Week in Nassau

Saturday - GROUP 5A - 1956-1962 GT / Production Cars over 2500cc
Race length 22.380 miles, 10 laps

 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1954 Corvette with driver Mark Mountanos (#56), 1957 Corvette with driver Art Redford (#57), 1956 Austin-Healey 100 with driver Dan Klenke (#100) and 1959 Corvette with driver Steve Earle (#614).
 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1960 Ferrari 250 SWB with driver Jerry Lynch (#32), 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT with driver Len Auerbach (#54), 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta with driver Brooke Betz (#307), and 1960 Corvette with driver Linda Mountanos (#60).
 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2002
1957 Corvette with driver Joe Freitas (#77), 1957 Corvette with driver Ken Epsman (#43), and 1958 Corvette with driver Noel Park (#58).



To be continued...


Please don't miss our reports about the Concorso Italiano 2002, the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance and the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2002.

Previous Classics.com Features :

Monterey Historic Automobiles Races 2001
Monterey Historic Automobiles Races 2000
Monterey Historic Automobiles Races 1999



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