For many, the love for cars is born out of passion for witnessing cars pushed to their limits by skilled racing drivers. Maybe your passion was kick-started by seeing Ayrton Senna’s mastery in the wet at the 1993 European Grand Prix in Donnington, Sébastien Loeb doing the ‘Scandanavian flick’ to seal one of his nine FIA World Rally Drivers’ titles, or any other of the many unforgettable moments from over 100 years of motorsports. At The Classic Motor Hub, racing is in our blood; indeed a number of the staff here have competed in racing events over the years. We were recently invited to Blyton Park Race Track to test out two of the cars in our collection in their preferred habitat – on the track.
On a rather cold and ice-laden day in mid November, Three of the Classic Motor Hub team made their way some three hours northward to Blyton Park Race Track in Lincolnshire, to put two rather special vehicles through their paces: a 1955 Jowett Jupiter ‘Rochdale’, and a 1974 Porsche 911 Carerra 2.7 ‘Outlaw’. Whilst both cars are perfectly suited to lapping Ginetta’s proving grounds, they’re incredibly different machines.
This particular Jowett Jupiter has been raced its entire life, and has some incredible racing provenance to its name. Although it hasn’t raced competitively for a few years, previous outings include club-level hillclimbs, autocross and the 2000-mile continental Pirelli Marathon in 1989 where it competed against the likes of Stirling Moss.
Whilst Jowett’s official production run ended in 1955, this Jowett Jupiter was bought from the factory in component form and hand-built using a body made by Rochdale Motor Panels & Engineering, who at that time produced glass fibre bodies to fit a variety or cars – more usually Austin 7 or the Ford 10.
The 1974 Porsche we took along is quite a different animal. This 2.7 litre Carrera was built in late 1973 but not registered to its first owner until February 1974 near Pisa, Tuscany. After a couple of ownership changes the car ended up in Bologna in December 1998. In 2001 the Porsche came into the UK and was owned by the Features Editor for 911 & Porsche World. During his ownership a number of modifications were carried out including the conversion to a S/T style bonnet and fuel filler, Bilstein racing suspension, fitting of a 911S front valance and Carrera RS rear valance as well as the conversion to the sport style silencer fitted today.
The next owner didn’t waste any time in making the car as perfect as he could. He undertook a full strip down and bare metal respray. In late 2011 the next owner instructed Paul Stephens to strip the interior and fit a roll cage, fit protective plates under the front and rear of the car and carry out a full service – modifications that make this particular 911 an ideal track car.
By mid morning safety briefings had been absorbed, Mars Bars had been consumed and both cars were ready to go out on track, and the Porsche – or rather the drivers – were raring to go. Ben bravely took to the track first and coaxed the Porshe happily through its first few laps, gaining confidence with each lap that passed. Blyton Park’s combination of tight chicanes and 90-degree right-handers make it a track that rather accentuates the tale-happy behaviour of a Porsche, but after a few laps were under his belt, Ben came back in with huge grin upon his face.
Next up, it was Richard’s turn to give it a go. After a somewhat tentative start, he was soon up to pace too, and was lapping fast enough to not considerably hold up the speedier 997 concurrently on track.
After some last-minute tweaks to the brakes, it was then the Jowett Jupiter’s turn to get out on track. Masterfully maneuvered by The Classic Motor Hub’s resident racing driver – Eddie Williams – the Jowett quickly started turning heads out on the track. Whilst it may not be the prettiest car ever to lap Blyton Park, it certainly made an impact, with a small crowd gathered around the car after Eddie returned from his first few laps.
Happy that the Jowett was performing properly, he handed over the keys to Richard, who had a little trouble fitting his 6ft frame into the car at first, but fortunately managed to squeeze himself into the seat in such a way that he felt fully in control of the car. After a slightly anxious wait to go out on track (some hooligan had knackered their BMW and needed rescuing), Richard was away.
It was pretty clear that by the second or third lap, Richard had found his confidence and was able to ‘lean’ on the Jowett considerably more than he was willing to do so in the Porsche. After what seemed like a dozen laps, Richard finally returned to the pits with a humongous smile on his face – we started to wonder whether he’d already found a buyer for the Jowett – himself!
Richard was waxing lyrical about how well the Jowett went round the circuit, inspiring him with considerably more confidence than the rather pricey Porsche had done.
The rest of the afternoon was spent switching between the Porsche and the Jowett, with a few passenger rides thrown in for good measure. All three of the team had a fantastic time at Blyton Park and we’re very grateful to the folk at Longstone Tyres for putting on the event and inviting us along.
Both of the cars performed admirably on track, and the Porsche even handled the 7-hour round trip there and back without any worries whatsoever.
If you fancy your very own track-ready Porsche, or are looking for a unique vehicle to compete in historic racing, these are two superb (but entirely different) racing machines that must be seen. Why not visit The Classic Motor Hub to take a closer look? Alternatively, you can find out more details about both in our online showroom.