School to Run in Conjunction With Bob Williams Heritage Cup Tribute Weekend of Races
The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) announced today plans to host – for the first time ever – its own accredited race driver’s school to provide prospective vintage racers an accelerated, cost effective path to competing in America’s premier vintage racing. The school is part of a special race event weekend at the 2.02-mile Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah in Bloomingdale, Georgia on February 17-19, 2017.
The entire weekend is homage to the early culture of vintage racing with throwback entry fees for the races and a general old school, low-pressure “club racing” feel. The capstone of the weekend will be the Bob Williams Heritage Cup to be presented by Williams, a recently retired SVRA Hall of Fame official, to the winner of the Group 1 race for small-bore sports cars. Group 1 was selected because the small-bore racers exemplify the early heritage of sports car club racing. Both the school and the races will be limited to Group 1 through Group 8 entries.
SVRA plans call for the weekend to celebrate the heritage and culture of vintage racing. The “throwback” theme of the events even applies to entry fees for the races set at $295 per car, a reduced rate not seen for nearly a generation. Other features will include a 1970’s themed party on Saturday night and awards for the use of old school open trailers and period dress. The event is a return to Roebling Road Raceway for the SVRA, who last presented races there in 2011.
“Our goal for the school is to remove barriers to entry into our sport and, frankly, by shortening the licensing process, make it a lot more affordable,” said Tony Parella, SVRA president and CEO. “In the past prospective drivers were required to attend outside driving schools and expected to compete with other vintage groups and then undergo observation with selected SVRA veteran drivers before being fully certified. This way rookies can get it all done in one weekend if they succeed with both written and on-track examinations.”
The SVRA school program is fully accredited and focuses on safety, driving skill and the etiquette of vintage racing. Anyone with a vintage racecar that meets all the SVRA safety requirements that are spelled out on the organization’s Web site can register for the school. The fee is $550 and includes a certification ceremony at the end of the weekend.
Peter Krause, who serves as the SVRA’s chief driving instructor, will oversee the school. Krause is widely recognized in vintage racing circles as an outstanding instructor and recently proved his race-craft mettle yet again by taking a victory in the ultra-competitive Sports 2000 race at Virginia International Raceway on September 24.
“This school gives the aspiring vintage racer the opportunity to come away from the track ready to go wheel-to-wheel racing,” said Krause. “This is an entertaining, affordable and efficient licensing path. The full-featured and complete curriculum will equip drivers with everything they need to race with the SVRA. On-track sessions, observation and classroom instruction with a written exam will be part of the weekend. Our goal is to help new drivers learn the skills and understand the proper attitude to race with the SVRA. Roebling Road is one of the best high-speed, long-cornered school and testing tracks in the country.”
By coupling the school with a special race event weekend the overall experience will give new drivers a glimpse at the foundations of vintage racing culture. Hall-of-Famer Williams will serve as event grand marshal and will perform ceremonial duties including the presentation of the special Group 1 race trophy in his name.
Appropriately enough, Williams will, in 2017, mark his 30th anniversary of joining the SVRA staff in 1987. Williams is well respected for his contributions in building the organization’s safety and technical inspection staff. He is especially well known at Watkins Glen and their Grand Prix Festival where he has, since 1992, been instrumental in organizing and conducting reenactments of that community’s original public roads grand prix in 1948.
“I am delighted to serve as grand marshal of this event,” said Williams. “Everything Tony tells me about it indicates this will be a back-to-basics return to the heritage and culture of vintage racing. The sport is evolving with the times but it is hugely important that we never forget our roots.”
The Buccaneer Region SCCA Region will share the Roebling Road Raceway with the SVRA on this weekend, also conducting a driving school and a slate of race events. Aside from sharing the facility, the two organizations’ on-track events will be fully distinct and separate from one another.
“The SVRA appreciates the Buccaneer Region SCCA Region for sharing the weekend with us,” Parella added. “The social aspects of the weekend will provide a unique opportunity for SVRA and SCCA participants to enjoy some wonderful racing fellowship.”