HomeNews and EventsNo spectators but plenty of Ford GT40s at Donington Historic Festival

No spectators but plenty of Ford GT40s at Donington Historic Festival

Our weekly roundup of car show, tours and vintage racing news and notes


One of the world’s largest vintage car racing events is the Donington Historic Festival, and this year it included a race for Ford GT40s. But because of a last-minute change in British pandemic regulations, the event was held earlier this month without spectators. 

However, the races could (and still can) be seen free on Historic Motorsport TV, billed as the world’s first dedicated (YouTube) video channel for history racing. 

“There was a palpable sense of excitement and ‘we’re back’ in the socially distanced paddock as the cars, competitors and preparers began to arrive at Donington Park on the Friday before the Festival,” organizers said in a news release. 

“And, while no motorsport event is ever quite the same without spectators, the 10th running of the Donington Historic Festival was a superb classic motor racing meeting, with the enthusiasm to be a part of it evident in over-subscribed grids of very special racing cars, and highlights including a race exclusively for Ford GT40s.”

Among other featured event was a race with a starting grid of 32 Jaguar E-types and a full grid for the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association event for pre-1966 F1 racers.

As for the GT40 race, 11 were entered in a race won by a relatively new (2012 continuation-car production) GT40 driven by Gordon Shedden and Miles Griffiths. At least three of the 11 entries were cars from the 1960s.

car show, No spectators but plenty of Ford GT40s at Donington Historic Festival, ClassicCars.com Journal
The Royal Automobile Club Pall Mall Cup – a new series of three-hour races for GT, Sports Racing and Touring Cars built before 1966 — made its debut at Donington

Amelia honors Lyn St. James 

car show, No spectators but plenty of Ford GT40s at Donington Historic Festival, ClassicCars.com Journal
Lyn St. James | Concours photo

Among other things, Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney, Carroll Shelby, Parnelli Jones and Roger Penske are among the stars of motorsports who have been featured as honorees at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. But there’s something else they have in common; they are all males. 

That men’s monopoly ends this weekend when, for the first time in the event’s history, the honoree will be a woman: Lyn St. James.

“Lyn has been an integral part of the racing community for years and followed in the steps of the likes of Elizabeth Junek, Janet Guthrie, and Lella Lombardi who won races, set records and broke barriers,” concours founder Bill Warner said in announcing the selection “Her incredible career, compassionate spirit and powerful presence are an inspiration to us all.”

St. James went from racing a Ford Pinto in SCCA regional competition to winning rookie of the year honors at Indianapolis, where she drove in the 500-mile race seven times. She has driven in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, twice won the GTO category in the 24 Hours of Daytona, and held women’s closed-course speed records.

She also has been a champion for women athletes away from the race tracks, working to expand opportunities for women not only in motorsports but as president of the Women’s Sports Foundation from 1990-1993.

Atlanta show joins Amelia event

Caffeine and Octane, the Atlanta-based car show and television program, has announced it will co-host the Amelia Island cars & coffee event scheduled for May 22. 

“We’re excited and honored to be partnered with the Amelia Concours d’Elegance organization and involved in one of the week’s signature events,” Caffeine and Octane founder Bruce Piefke is quoted.

“Amelia is a high-octane candy store for car aficionados and enthusiasts… It’s also a terrific chance to find those special stories to share with our Caffeine and Octane fans.”

Who needs a trophy when you can win a pie?

If you’re anywhere near Kansas this Memorial Day weekend, you might want to head to Gypsum to partake in the annual Pie Festival and Car Show on May 30.

As the story goes, and as recounted by Ron Wilson of Kansas State University in theSalina Post, several years ago, Sandy Kruse and her family — she’s a semi-retired nurse who now serves as Gypsum’s mayor — hosted a Memorial Day picnic and invited friends to arrive in their classic cars. 

The event has evolved into the official Gypsum Pie Festival and Car Show and is held on the town’s main street, where as many as 200 collector cars have been displayed.

Many community groups sell pies and the festival’s proceeds are used for community beautification. 

Oh, and instead of trophies, award-winning cars drive home with pies as their prizes.

Rally ‘round the lake 

The inaugural North East Motor Sports Museum rally-tour Around the Lake is scheduled for July 31. The event begins at the museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, and will take scenic roads to the Vintage Racing Stables car collection in Sanbornton. the event is limited to 1972 or earlier vehicles.

Retro Rides returns to Goodwood

The first Retro Rides Weekender since the UK locked down last year for the coronavirus pandemic is scheduled for May 29-30 at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. The event features curated display paddocks that serve as “temporary museums” showcasing cars from the 1980s, stock vs. custom, retro supercars and 2021 builds just being unveiled. Also to be featured are resto-mods, rally cars and drift cars. 

There also will be laps around the racing circuit and a solo-style agility circuit. 

Retro Rides was founded in 2004 as an online car community and held its first show in 2007. It annually stages an event in May at Goodwood and another in August at Shelsley Walsh.

FIVA urges attention to vintage vehicles

The Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens says it is lobbying the European Parliament to recognize “a threat to our cultural heritage.”

“While FIVA fully supports the move to a greener and more sustainable future,” FIVA president Tiddo Bresters is quoted, “forthcoming changes to mobility regulations across Europe could unintentionally threaten the use of historic vehicles on public roads. FIVA works hard to protect this ‘mobile museum’ for future generations to enjoy.”

FIVA notes the European Commission Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy published at the end of 2020 and its recent “Roadmap” for a new Europe-wide urban mobility framework that anticipates at least 100 climate-neutral cities in Europe by 2030. 

“In many countries (including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Romania and Sweden), historic vehicles are exempt from low emission zone (LEZ) regulations because such vehicles are typically well-maintained, rarely used, and part of our motoring heritage,” FIVA reports.

“However, there is no consistency in LEZ rules across Europe – indeed, in some countries, vehicle access and pricing conditions vary even between towns and cities. As the number of LEZs (and ZEZs – zero emission zones) grows rapidly, this patchwork of local rules is causing increased consumer confusion; hence FIVA urges the European Commission to publish LEZ guidance for member states and urban authorities – guidance that recognizes the unique role of historic vehicles in our cultural heritage.

“To quote UNESCO: ‘Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration’.”

FIVA added that it “fully acknowledges the need to reduce urban emissions, but a distinction should be made between an old (and potentially poorly maintained) means of transport and a vehicle that is ‘historic’.”

2021 car show and concours calendar

The following are dates currently set (but subject to change) for a variety of concours d’elegance, car shows and driving tours scheduled during 2021:


20-23 – Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Amelia Island, Florida; AACA Founders Tour, Davis, West Virginia; 21-23 – Goodguys Salt Lake Nationals, Utah; 23 – Simply Electric, Beaulieu, UK; 28-30 – Goodguys Nashville Nationals, Tennessee; Retro Rides, Goodwood, UK


2 – GM on Display, Macungie, Pennsylvania; 2-6, Retromobile, Paris, France, AACA Eastern Divisional Tour, Cambridge, Maryland; 4-6 – Carlisle Ford Nationals, Pennsylvania; Street Machine Nationals, DuQuoin, Illinois; 

Goodguys All Star Get-Together, Fort Worth, Texas; 5-6, Friends of Steve McQueen, Chino Hills, California; 6, Albuquerque Lowrider Super Show, New Mexico, Simply Porsche, Beaulieu, UK; 8-10 – London Concours, UK; 12 – Drop Top Showcase, Seal Cove, Maine; Heritage Auto Show, Cape Cod; Oddballs & Obscurities, KC Auto Museum, Olathe; Catskill Conquest Covered Bridge Rally, Saratoga, New York; 12-13 – Cincinnati concours, Ohio; E-type 60 years, Shelsley Walsh, UK; 13 – Fabulous Ford Forever, Irwindale, California; Mini Cooper Day, Beaulieu, UK; 17-19, AACA Eastern Spring Nationals, Saratoga, New York; Simply VW, Beaulieu, UK; 18-19 – Micro-Mini Car World, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 19 – All Air-Cooled Gathering, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 20 – Father’s Day, KC Auto Museum, Olathe; Blackhawk Museum, Danville, California; Hot Rod & Custom cars, Beaulieu, UK; 25-26 – Carlisle GM Nationals, Pennsylvania; 25-26 – Congress of Motorcars, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 26 – Miles through Time, Clarkesville, Georgia; Community Car Show, Barrington, Illinois; 27 – Oldsmobiles & Orphans, Hickory Corners, Michigan; Simply Jaguar, Beaulieu, UK


1-3 – AACA Central Spring Nationals, Auburn, Indiana; 2-4 Goodguys Heartland Nationals, Iowa; 3-4 – Austin 7 Rally, Beaulieu, UK; 8-10, Iola Car Show, Wisconsin; 8-11, Goodwood Festival of Speed, UK, 9-11 – Carlisle Chrysler Nationals, Pennsylvania; Goodguys, Columbus, Ohio; 10 – Steam Day, Seal Cove, Maine; DeutscheMarques, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 11 – Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Hickory Corners, Michigan; Simply Land Rover, Beaulieu, UK; 11-16 – AACA Vintage Tour, Lock Haven/Wellsboro, Pennsylvania; 16-17 – Horseless Carriage Club, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 16-18 – Street Machine Nationals, St. Paul, Minnesota; Auto Royale, Aylesbury, UK; 17 — Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance, Pennsylvania; Albaugh Classic Car Show, Ankeny, Iowa; 17-18 – Classic Nostalgia, Shelsley Walsh, UK; 18, The Great Car Show, Kansas City; Simply Ford, Beaulieu, UK; Corvette Envy, Hickory Corners, Michigan; ; 22-24 – AACA Grand Nationals, New Ulm, Minnesota; 23-25 – Concours d’Elegance of America, Michigan; Goodguys Pacific Northwest, Payallup, Washington; 24 – Mopars At the Red Barns, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 25 – Simply Japanese, Beaulieu, UK; Ultimate Truck Show, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 31 – Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional, Linconshire, UK.

Have an event to add? Email details to [email protected]

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
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.


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