Six Formula 1 classics from Europe highlight Australia’s 2023 Phillip Island Classic

VHRR Phillip Island Classic

Six Formula 1 classics from Europe highlight Australia’s 2023 Phillip Island Classic

Vintage Racing

Six Formula 1 classics from Europe highlight Australia’s 2023 Phillip Island Classic


The 2023 Phillip Island Classic – Festival of Motorsport will host a number of historic F1 cars from Europe along with nine international drivers competing at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on 10 – 12 March. Regarded as the largest historic motor race in the Southern Hemisphere, the Phillip Island Classic ‘Festival of Motor Sport’ is renowned for attracting some of the finest historic race cars in the world and this year will certainly not disappoint local and international fans.

Among the imported entries is the 1974 SurteesTS16/02. Designed and built by the legendary John Surtees, this car raced in the Argentinian, British, South African, Spanish, Belgian, Swedish, Monaco and French Grand Prix’s over the 1974/ 1975 seasons. Now owned by Marc Devis a prolific-historic racer and a regular participant in the Master Racing Legends for 1966-1985 F1 cars, the Surtees TS16 car has continued to be raced in historic events in Britain and Europe.

Drivers of the TS16/02 included Derek Bell, Jose Dolhem, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Leo Kinnunen, Helmut Koinigg, Jochen Mass, Carlos Pace, Dieter Quester and John Watson. Carlos Pace placed the Surtees TS16 in the points once in 1974 but left the team in mid-season, John Watson finished well in three Non-Championship F1 races.

Racing at Phillip Island will also be the Tyrrell 012 (main image) in the original Benetton sponsored livery as driven by Michele Alboreto in 1983. Designed by Maurice Phillippe and Brian Lisles the chassis was used by the factory team between the 1983 Dutch Grand Prix and the 1985 Australian Grand Prix. Now owned by Ian Simmonds in the UK, Chassis 012-1 has raced in the historic Masters in the UK and Europe over the last ten years. Drivers included Michele Alboreto, Stefan Bellof, Martin Brundle, Stefan Johansson, and Danny Sullivan.

Rebuilt in 2016/17 to the specifications and colour scheme in which it appeared in the Monaco Grand Prix, the car has raced regularly around the world in the FIA Masters F1 Championship.

Another addition, the Lotus 81 of Steve Boultbee-Brooks, was built around a basic sheet aluminium structure derived from the Lotus 80 and a mid-season replacement monocoque led to the Lotus 81B designation. Driver Elio de Angelis scored a second and third early in the season along with other encouraging performances. Other drivers during the season included subsequent World Champions Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell. Former test driver Mansell was given a first GP drive in the first 81B in Austria and performed well despite considerable problems. The Lotus 81 continued racing over a number of years in different colours often racing without nose fins which made it look even more stubbie.

The sixth international F1 car racing at Phillip Island is the Hesketh 308-1 of regular visitor James Hagan. This was the car that gave World Champion James Hunt, racing at Silverstone International Trophy in 1974, his first overall race victory in a Formula One car. The car made a total of 12 race starts, 9 of which were Grand Prix starts between James Hunt, Alan Jones and Harald Ertl between 1974 and 1975. Drivers included Guy Edwards, Harald Ertl, James Hunt, Alan Jones, Brett Lunger, Torsten Palm, Alex Ribeiro and Rolf Stommelen.

The six international cars will be competing against some of Australia’s top drivers including Guido Belgiorno-Nettis in the 1985 Ferrari 156/85, Ian Buddery in the 1986 March 86C, Ian Ross in the 1985 Lola THL1-F1 plus two other F1 cars not previously raced here, Formula 5000’s and Formula Holden’s in a grid of 40 cars.. With some of the largest crowds expected, the Phillip Island Classic–‘Festival of Motorsport’ will be held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit over the long weekend of 10 – 12 March 2023 with one, two and three day tickets available at the gate.

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