Massive Gathering of Datsun Racing Heritage Highlights 41st Annual Speedfest at the Classic Motorsports Mitty Presented by Hagerty

Date Apr 29, 2018

Written by David S. Wallens

John Morton’s 1970 championship in a red, white and blue 240Z helped put a then-fledgling Nissan on the American map. And 48 years later, that same driver and car returned to Road Atlanta to recreate history. Welcome to Speedfest at the Classic Motorsports Mitty Presented by Hagerty, a chance to relive motorsports memories while creating new ones.

Nissan, the featured marque of this flagship HSR historic race weekend, has long ties to this famed Georgia track. Road Atlanta hosted the SCCA’s Club Racing championships from 1970s through 1993, and Nissan won more titles than any other manufacturer. Three of those titles came courtesy of Paul Newman–yes, that Paul Newman. More recently at this same facility, a Nissan-powered prototype claimed the overall win during last fall’s Petit LeMans, the final stop on the IMSA schedule.

Nissan fans flocked to Road Atlanta from all corners to celebrate their favorite marque. One of those fans was Adam Carolla–author, comedian, driver, podcast host and Nissan collector. A showing of “Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman,” Carolla’s documentary about the famed Hollywood icon, played before a full house Saturday evening.

While some 350 Historic Sportscar Racing members circled the famed 2.52-mile track in everything from ’60s icons to recently retired professional race cars, the Classic Motorsports magazine staff filled the infield with a full slate of activities. The Concours d’Lemons, a celebration of the offbeat, unloved and misunderstood, kicked off Sunday morning. Jim Eby drove his 1919 Franklin all the way from St. Petersburg, Florida–a two-day, 500-plus-mile trip–to win what show officials jokingly dub the Worst in Show award.

The Kennesaw State University Formula SAE team toped 100 entries in the Grassroots Motorsports Skidpad Challenge Presented by Lucas Oil and #GRIDLIFE. this event challenged participants to see how well their cars gripped the pavement.

BFGoodrich Tires invited all at the track to sample the brand’s latest tires on a rather spirited test track. The BFGoodrich Garage was open all weekend in case anyone at the track needed some mechanical assistance.

Speedfest at the Classic Motorsports Mitty Presented by Hagerty comes together thanks to several supporters: Hagerty, BFGoodrich, Nissan, Covercraft, G-Force, Bring-A-Trailer, Koni, Lucas Oil, BBS, Flyin’ Miata., #GRIDLIFE and Élan Motorsport Technologies. The event will return to Road Atlanta next spring. Check out themitty.com for more photos and details.

About Classic Motorsports: The Classic Motorsports staff has been taking enthusiasts behind the scenes of the classic sports car world for more than 30 years. If you grew up reading Sports Car Graphic and Road & Track, then you’ll feel at home within the pages of Classic Motorsports magazine. Request a free copy and learn more at www.classicmotorsports.com.

About HSR: Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) was formed in the mid-1970s with an event at Road Atlanta. There was one goal then and it remains true today: to celebrate the race cars from our past. HSR provides a venue for competitors and spectators alike to share in the wonderful history and excitement created by the cars that competed at race tracks around the world. News, schedule and full event information can be found on at www.hsrrace.com.

About Hagerty: Hagerty is the world’s leading insurance provider for classic vehicles and host to the largest network of classic car owners. Hagerty offers insurance for classic cars, trucks, motorcycles and motorcycle safety equipment, tractors, automotive tools and spare parts, and even “automobilia” (any historic or collectible item linked with motor vehicles). For more information, call (800) 922-4050 or visit www.hagerty.com or www.hagerty.com/valuationtools.


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