The Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival returns to Sonoma Raceway on May 18-19 for the fourth straight year under that title. The program for the 27th annual historic-car event organized by General Racing Ltd. in Sonoma will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Chevrolet's iconic Corvette.
"Corvette will be the center of attention as we salute those who have established the marque's place in motorsports history," said Steve Earle, president of General Racing, Ltd. "From its introduction in 1953 and the bold first steps into the road-racing world at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1956, to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and hundreds of SCCA events across the country, the Corvette has remained 'America's sports car.'"
Among the 400 vintage and historic race cars in 15 race groups expected to take to the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course in the heart of Northern California's wine country will be 32 significant racing Corvettes covering four decades of the iconic brand's racing successes. Designed by Harley Earl and introduced as a concept show car at the New York Auto Show, the six-generation Corvette was named after the type of small, maneuverable warship called a corvette.
Among the Corvettes representing the brand at the Festival will be Paul Reinhart's 1957 Corvette; Vic Edelbrock's 1963 Corvette Sting Ray (the Sting Ray debuted in 1963); Edward Hugo's 1966 Corvette 427, Randy Peterson's 1969 Corvette L88, Larry Bowman's 1963 Grand Sport Corvette, as well as an array of other collector Corvettes from the '50s through the '80s.
The Festival's honored guest will be Paul Reinhart, who raced Corvettes in the early days, competing against Carroll Shelby's Cobras with his Sting Ray coupe. He began racing Corvettes in Northern California in the late '50s and in 1962 was crowned Pacific Coast SCCA B-Production champion. Reinhart restored and continues to race his Union Oil 76 1957 Corvette in vintage events.
"We tip our hats to Paul Reinhart," said Earle, whose 1959 racing Corvette is also entered in the event. "He was a hero of the day in California as he mercilessly harassed the Cobras, introduced in 1962, with his Sting Ray coupe. The Fifties and Sixties in California were magical years, as Corvettes dominated in SCCA racing, and Chevrolet encouraged amateur and professional racers around the country to compete in its product by providing everything they needed at the local Chevrolet dealer."
The second annual racing seminar will be held at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday, May 18. A panel of Corvette racers, historians and team managers will discuss Corvette's history from the early '50s up to the car's modern-day triumphs at the 24 Hours of LeMans and the American LeMans Series. Expected to participate in the seminar are current-day Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan, former Corvette Racing p.r. representative Rick Voegelin, Corvette racers Paul Reinhart, Bill Pollack, Tony DeLorenzo and Dick Guldstrand, among others. A detailed release will be issued in the next week.
The Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival will also feature the popular Wine Country Pavilion, with samples of fine food and wine from the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Fans will also enjoy car club displays and an open garage area to get an up-close look at the historic machines. For more information, visit www.racesonoma.com/historics <http://www.racesonoma.com/historics
> or www.generalracing.com <http://www.generalracing.com
The Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance held at the Marin Civic Center, just 15 miles from Sonoma Raceway, will feature vintage automobiles owned by Hollywood Legends, including Jean Harlow's 1932 Packard Phaeton. The Concours will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Lamborghini and will also feature vintage Italian motorcycles, Woodie station wagons and a vintage camper and trailer display. For more information on the Concours on Sunday, May 19, please visit www.marinsonomaconcours.org <http://www.marinsonomaconcours.org