Just Another Racer on the Grid: James Dean at Santa Barbara

James Dean would hate that I’m posting this film featuring him as a celebrity participating in a weekend at the track. I don’t doubt that James Dean or Steve McQueen or Paul Newman had a genuine love for the sport, but I can’t help but think that part of the allure was that they weren’t catered to; weren’t ushered to the best table—they were just another competitor on the track that would be given no preferential treatment by their fellow racers. Being just another one of the guys must have been refreshing. That they were each of them skilled drivers and fierce competitors only helps solidify their respect and legend within the racing community.

Jags and Ferraris at LeMans, 1962

Charade 1958

This video could have stopped at the handheld footage of the corners from an airplane passing slowly overhead and it still would have been worth sharing. But then the tours of the pits with some of the most beautiful cars ever made, including a whole suite of various Ferrari 250s and their shirtless pilots. Then they prepared for the LeMans start… and I’m hooked—all before the action even starts. Somehow even though I have such a deep love for vintage racing, the atmosphere of the pits and spectators in these old films draws me in just as much.

Racing with the Porsche Spyders 1955

Always shocking to see the stark contrast between the glitzy see-and-be-seen fanfare of today’s pits and the casual atmosphere of races of the past. Even a race like LeMans looks more like a club race weekend at your local track than the paramount international endurance event.

Lots of good footage of the LeMans race itself. Rare to see color film from this event. Even with all of the 1955 LeMans disaster documentaries and media analysis, almost everything I’ve ever seen of the race has been in black and white.

British Pathé: Jim Clark Wins Again

I feel like British Pathé could have used this title for dozens of their recaps of races in the 1960s. This time though, “Jim Clark Wins Again” is referring to the 1964 International Trophy race at Goodwood. Bad luck for Graham Hill that year, but always good for us to see historic footage of Goodwood that we can compare with the miraculous effort they’ve made preserving it for the modern age. What better way to ease into next weekend’s Goodwood 74th Members Meeting, which this year will be live streamed. Thanks for that, Goodwood.

Ride Along in the Jerry Seinfeld 718 RSK

By now we’ve already done all the drooling we can over the impending sale of several of Jerry’s Porsches at the upcoming Gooding Amelia Island auction. But let’s at least take a moment to listen to the man himself introducing us to his 1959 Porsche 718 RSK in the style he’s made famous on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I’d be happy to join him for a cup if we can take this there.

Out and About in Porsche 906

The team at Canepa says, “The last of Porsche’s “street legal” racecars was the 906. With dealer plate in hand we went out to test that theory.”

I wonder what the other drivers on the road thought of this blood orange beauty appearing in their rear-view mirror.

Slip Sliding Away on the 1954 Minnesota Ice Races

Ice racing still happens on the frozen waters near St. Paul, Minnesota. But seeing Siatas and 356s and Allards wheel to slipping wheel is no less a tremendous sight out on the ice in this film of the St. Paul Winter Carnival Winter Ice Races of 1954.

As with many of the races of the period, I’m always astonished to see the variety of machines out there mixing it up. Not just sportscars of various sizes, but several American hot rodders joining the race as well

Worth watching just for the onboard from director Tom Countryman—who was a fixture in the upper-midwest vintage racing scene for decades. It really shows the delicate balance required for this very different kind of off-road racing. Glorious.

Thanks for sending this in, Paul!

Tonino Lamborghini On His Father’s Legend

Taking a Lotus 49 For a Spin in the Living Room

Classic Race Simulators racing sim booth

Classic Race Simulators rents out a variety of handmade replica mid-late 60s Formula 1 cockpits for use with racing simulators for what looks to be an incredibly immersive experience. I’ve long fantasized about crafting a racing simulator station for my home gaming needs but the boy-racer aesthetic of most of the rigs has never appealed… I don’t know why I didn’t think of something like this earlier.

Classic Race Simulators racing sim booth

It’s a shame that they only rent them out, because there is almost certainly a market for these on a sales basis. They look to be quite gorgeously executed but there would probably be opportunities for improvement that the incredibly crafty race sim community would leap on—that flappy paddle shifter on the Logitech G27 sticks out like a sore thumb. But the idea of the tube itself as a bare rig… it definitely gets the mental wheels turning. The racing sim community’s demands for realism are unlimited and steering hubs like those made by Fanatec (and I’m sure there are others) will allow you to modify the inputs to match the era and add any steering wheel. Equipped with a quick-release hub, you could even swap your Momo Prototipo or Nardi Classic right out of the sim racing rig and pop it into your car in the garage.

Check out a video of one in action at Race Retro a couple of years back.