Gerry BirrellForty-two years after it was last held, the Historic Sports Car Club and the 1000cc F3 Historic Racing Association are reviving the Nations’ Cup. The event will be held at the Circuit Dijon-Prenois (France) over the weekend of 6/7 October.

Run five times from 1966 to 1970 the annual Nations’ Cup for 1000cc F3 ‘screamers’ featured national teams of three drivers from across Europe. The event was a highlight of the F3 calendar and period race winners included Chris Irwin (GB), Clay Regazzoni (Switzerland) and Ronnie Peterson (Sweden).

The Nations’ Cup was motor racing’s closest equivalent to the Olympic Games and with no teams expected from the USA or China, the GB team has a good chance of maintaining the winning form that Britain has come to expect in the London Olympics.

HSCC Executive Director Grahame White was involved in the Nations Cup more than 40 years ago. “I was Clerk of the Course for the 1970 event at Thruxton and well remember Gerry Birrell winning the race followed by three Swedish drivers,” said White. “Sweden took the team prize. The team element made it much more exciting for the drivers and that is what we want to recreate at Dijon.”

The HF3 Association’s Keith Messer is also excited about the event: “In 1970 there were seven national teams competing and for the 2012 re-run I already have teams from Great Britain, Sweden, Germany, France and Switzerland,” said Messer. “I’m looking for drivers from Italy and Monaco and of course I have space for A, B and C teams, just as they did in period.”

In 1970, the GB (A) team comprised James Hunt, Bev Bond and Mike Beuttler and Bond will be at Dijon to see the event revived. He has come back to racing in the last two seasons and is now membership secretary for the 1000cc F3 Historic Racing Association.

Photo by Ferret Fotographics.