The Longstone Light Car Race

On 10th July 2021 the Light Car Race was re-established at the VSCC's Oulton Park race meeting. It was a 40-minute endurance race, contested by an amazing array of weird and wonderful light cars and cycle cars – a race the likes of which has not been seen this century.

Back in the early days of motoring, small capacity light-weight cars and cycle cars were the order of the day. Cotton and bobbin steering, air-cooled engines, with just one or two cylinders powering cars whose transmission was often dealt with by belt or chain drive. If you have the time, google some of the cars that are entering the race:
  • Trojan Utility car – in the 20s it was cheaper to drive a Trojan on its solid tyres than walk and spend your money on shoe leather.
  • The AV Monocar – you will find lots of pictures of it at Brooklands, but very few with it still on its wheels, because when you steer the go-cart front axle makes the track of the car thinner in the bends.
  • A Bedelia – the driver sits behind his passenger, and the hand lever moves the back axle backwards to tighten the belt drive, which operates as a clutch.
  • A Bébé Peugeot – one of the first cars designed by Ettore Bugatti.
Some of the cars that will be on the track make the chain-driven GN and 3-wheeler Morgan look like commonplace cars.

The current pantheon of fabulous cars, such as a Ferrari 250 GTO fetching astronomical sums and Bugatti Veyrons being capable of 200 mph, are all fabulous and fascinating, but at the other end of the scale we still want to celebrate the quirky and the proletariat development of cars over the years. Though we may drool over a Monza Alfa Romeo, there is still a fascination in seeing an Austin 7 Chummy, a belt-driven Bedelia, a chain-driven GN and a 3-wheel Morgan with air-cooled V-twin engine all abreast, dawdling into Oulton Park's Cascades corner at a thrilling 50 miles an hour. A sight that has not been witnessed this millennium!

To qualify as a Light Car it must be built before 1931 and have an engine capacity of less than 1500cc. It must also be standard and un-modified; as the factory built it. The VSCC's Oulton Park will have the usual array of fabulous vintage cars such as Bugattis, Frazer Nashes, ERAs, Altas, Rileys, MGs, Lea Francis, Bentleys, etc. But for 2021 with Longstone Tyres' sponsorship there will also be an amazing array of Vintage Light Cars ready to race!

VSCC Light Car Race History

Trojan, Peugeot Quadrillette, Calthorpe, Gwynne, Lagonda 11.9hp, Sima-Violet, Horstman, AC Empire, AJS, Star Scorpio and Swift are not names you might normally associate with motor racing, but all of these have raced in the long-term absent 'Light Car Race'.

The VSCC was formed in 1934 and over the years has had a number of sections; the one that has been going the longest is the Light Car Section which was formed in 1951. Racing for this section was soon to follow and the first Light Car Race was at Silverstone on 2nd May 1953, a three-lap race which was won by Frank Lockhart in his Bébé Peugeot from Nigel Arnold-Forster's Trojan (which was later timed at 38mph top speed on the straight!) and Peter Binns in his Riley Nine Saloon.

1954 saw an oversubscribed race which was won by Leslie Winder in his Humber 8/18, who also got the fastest lap at 51.5 mph. An A.V. Monocar was a brave entry that year but was a non-starter. 1958 saw the first win for an Austin Seven, with Barry Clarke's winning speeds in Chummys and Saloons over this period just under 50 mph!

In 1975 the section expanded to allow Edwardian cars too. For a number of years the LC&ES race was part of a 5-lap handicap race at Silverstone. In 1990 the VSCC held the first Edwardian race for some years at Oulton Park, and a race for Edwardian cars has been held almost annually since. Apart from the first few, this has been held at Mallory Park. Its success and spectacle has seen a similar race take place at Goodwood Members Meeting as the S.F. Edge Trophy. So, one half of the LC&ES is well catered for on the racing scene, the other part of that group and the original half, the Light Cars, are now ready to resume their racing activities with the Longstone Light Car Race.