One prominent historic racer recently said: “If you ask 200 people in the paddock what historic racing should be, you’ll get 200 answers.”
The question of how original a historic car should be is a controversial one. Cars used regularly have to be maintained, and crashed cars need to be rebuilt. Which parts and materials should be used can be a complex debate.
Too puritanical about it and some cars will never run reliably, while others will be left in the garage due to a scarcity of parts. Too liberal and it can turn into an arms race that results in cars that look like historic cars but are essentially modern machines. As Historic Sports Car Club CEO Grahame White says: “There are people with vast amounts of money who are desperate to win and explore every avenue.”
Most would agree that the latter isn’t what historic racing should be about – if you want to push the technological boundaries, you should probably be in contemporary motorsport.
Getting that balance right is the job of the many clubs and race promoters, but the FIA has its own answer in the form of Appendix K. In basic terms, Appendix K requires things to be as authentic to the period as possible, with sympathetic safety enhancements thrown in – seatbelts, fire extinguishers, safety tanks. Even where items are listed as ‘free’, that is in relation to the parts and materials that would have been available at t