Journal: Here’s To The Privateers Who Just Wanted To Race

Here’s To The Privateers Who Just Wanted To Race

Michael Banovsky By Michael Banovsky
April 7, 2016
5 comments

Stories abound of drivers taking delivery of a car in Europe, before driving to and entering it into—oh, I don’t know—the Targa Florio. Or the Mille Miglia, Le Mans, Monte Carlo Rallye… The story is no different in the U.S. or Canada: enthusiasts want to see how fast their car will go, and how far their skills will take them.

Before the legions of managers, personal sponsors, and driver coaches entered the sport as racing became more professional and demanding, the best way to get noticed was to beat a factory-entered machine using whatever you’d been able to scare up. These days, privateer teams and drivers haven’t gone away, not by a long shot, but gone are the days where it was possible to show up somewhere, paint on a number, and race—sometimes over hundreds of miles of public roads.

Smaller events like hill climbs and rallies had privateer entrants in droves, while larger contests like the 24 Hours of Le Mans often featured semi-professional, or rather, sort-of-factory-backed operations. When the big factory teams equipped with (usually) the most advanced technology and strongest driver line-ups didn’t make the finish or had problems, others like the North American Racing Team (NART), Penske, Ecurie Francorchamps, Scuderia Filipinetti, and Alan Mann Racing were there to take home trophies and prove themselves against the incumbents.

And sometimes, the incumbents entered as privateers under a nom de plume—an assumed name—to hide their identity from fans. For instance, when Kimi Räikkönen crosses over to race snowmobiles and wants to go unnoticed, he’s previously entered himself under the name “James Hunt”. Subtle.

What’s your favorite story of a privateer essentially just showing up and going racing?

Image sources: Jack Gordon, 8w.forix.comgoodwood.com
wikipedia.orgErwin Jelinek/Technisches Museum Wien
racingicons.comscale143.comclassicfordmag.co.uk

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B Bop
B Bop

Interesting OSCA #54 at the bottom, however the Ferrari sticker on the side is a tad baffling as these cars were basically Maseratis in everything but name. A Ferrari engined OSCA perhaps ? mmmmmm

GoLikeHellMachine
GoLikeHellMachine

Could possibly be an OSCA being raced by NART. NART used a variation on the Ferrari logo, but didn’t always run Ferraris. I think I saw photos somewhere of a Corvette that was run by NART, and Ferrari’s prancing horse looked very out-of-place on the side of a Corvette.

GoLikeHellMachine
GoLikeHellMachine
B Bop
B Bop

Thanks so much for the info !

KevinCamp
KevinCamp

Max and Ina Balchowsky’s “Backyard Special” Old Yeller II is an old fave of mine

http://oldyeller2.com/