Friday, September 18, 2009

Gurney Eagle F5000 car returns to Glen

By Ron Levanduski • • Staff Writer Star-Gazette • September 12, 2009

WATKINS GLEN -- Tony Adamowicz never dreamed he'd be racing the same Gurney Eagle today that he won the Continental Formula 5000 Championship with in 1969.

The only American to win a Formula 5000 title in an American-made car did that last year at Watkins Glen International to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the class.

The car had been in storage for 37 years until Doug Magnon purchased it and began restoring it in 2006 at his Riverside (Calif.) International Automotive Museum.

"I never thought in a million years that I would one day be back in this car," Adamowicz said. "We are very pleased to be able to take this project over and bring it back and show people a little bit about the car. It's a championship car and it deserves to be out there."

The historic car, from the top open-wheel road race series of its time, is one of nearly 400 vintage cars taking part in the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at the Glen.

Drivers took part in qualifying and six-lap qualifying races on the Glen's 3.4-mile Grand Prix configuration on Saturday.

The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association-sanctioned event closes out the 2009 season here with 15 vintage races today starting at 8:30 a.m. Among them are four featured races, including a Formula 5000 race at 3 p.m.

Adamowicz, who also won three IMSA GT titles and a Trans-Am championship, retired from professional racing 20 years ago. At 68, the Port Henry, N.Y., native, who now lives in Costa Mesa, Calif., is happy to be back competing in vintage racing. He won his FA-class qualifying race at the Glen.

"It's an honor to be back in the Eagle and it feels good to win again," Adamowicz said. "Forty years later, this is a handful to drive. I don't really remember it that way back then but I was much younger then and a lot braver."

The annual New York Governor's Cup race, which begins at 1:30 p.m., will be an open invitational event with the top 60 cars from five different race groups participating. A Centennial Jubilee race, celebrating 100 years of the featured marque -- the British Morgan -- starts at 2:30 p.m. The 25th anniversary of the first Collier Cup race for MG cars takes the green flag at 11:30 a.m.

Lyn St. James, the events featured guest, spoke during a Fan Forum and signed autographs on Saturday. The former sports car race winner and Indianapolis 500 competitor will return to do both again today.

Another of the significant cars on hand is a 1971 McLaren M8F that Peter Revson won the Can-Am Championship with in 1971. It's only one of three factory cars that were built and was featured during McLaren's 40th Anniversary Can-Am celebration at its base of operations in Livonia, Mich. in July. The M8F was restored last year and is making its first appearance here in more than five years.

"It's a huge a privilege and we are proud to be here and very delighted to show it off to everybody," said Scott Hughes, of Sunset, S.C., who owns and drives the car.


1 comment:

  1. Hughes car is a fake. There was another car built by Commander from spare parts. Its ownership history is as follows: Commander Motors => Nearburg => Crompton => Finn => Bill Wonder=> Scott Hughes (~2010). I appreciate the car but when its misrepresented it makes me upset. Jennifer Revson has been on the warpath trying to (with good cause) protect her brothers good name and the cars associated with his fantastic history. Scott knows that it isnt peters car and has been presented with evidence to prove it. I admin, No one wants to admit that they were hoodwinked by purchasing a car with history, only to find out that the present didnt match the wrapping, but the right thing must be done.