Sam Posey to talk about forgotten racing series

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The Le Grand Mk7 raced by Sam Posey in the F5000 series in 1968 | IMRRC photo
The Le Grand Mk7 raced by Sam Posey in the F5000 series in 1968 | IMRRC photo
The Le Grand Mk7 raced by Sam Posey in the F5000 series in 1968 | IMRRC photo

The car he initially raced may have been among his least favorites, and the series in which he raced may have been motorsports’ best-kept secret, but that won’t stop Sam Posey from sharing stories about the F5000 series at the International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen, New York.

Posey — racer, architect and television commentator — will speak at 1 p.m. May 10 about the racing series that, as he wrote several years ago in an article in Road & Track magazine, “no one outside the racing world seemed to know F5000 existed.”

Writing about the series in that article, Posey noted that, “Although I never won the championship, some of the achievements I’m most proud of as a driver came in F5000. The cars were fast, challenging and evenly matched because so many teams could afford the components you needed to win. The racing was terrific, and the opposition included some of the top drivers of the period.The F5000 was the professional version of the Sports Car Club of America’s Formula A category and featured open-wheel, Grand Prix-style cars powered by stock block American V8 engines. Cars came from McLaren, Eagle, Lola, Chevron and others and were driven by the likes of Posey, Mario Andretti, the Unsers, Jody Scheckter, Brian Redman, David Hobbs, Tony Adamowicz and others.

Posey was series runner-up in 1971 and 1972. But in 1968 he drove the Le Grand Mk7 that J.C. Argetsinger, president of the research center, called “one of Posey’s least favorite race cars.”

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However, Argetsinger added, “The Le Grand was an early and important step in the development of Formula 5000 race cars. The reunion between Sam and the Le Grand is certain to be a memorable experience for all.”

In addition to Posey and the car itself, Bob Mayer and Jacques Dresang (Mayer and Dresang’s father, Rick, own the Le Grand) will talk about the car’s place in American racing history and the story of its restoration.

Also participating in the program is James Stengel, who is researching the Formula 5000 series and who drives an F5000 in vintage races.

The presentation featuring Posey is part of the Center Conversation series, which on June 21 will feature vintage car-event organizer Murray Smith. Others giving talks in coming months include Cary Agajanian, son of famed team owner J.C. Agajanian, Steve Zautke of the Milwauke Mile track, and Michael Martin, who will discuss the U.S. Road Racing Championship race series of the 1960s.

The Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials. For more information visit the www.racingarchives.org website.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.