Racing and Rally legends will once again gather at Race Retro, powered by Motor Sport, as racing drivers John Watson and John Fitzpatrick make their show debut alongside returning rally legend Rauno Aaltonen.
Held at Stoneleigh Park from 22-24 February, Race Retro welcomes Formula One driver turned pundit John Watson, who won five Grands Prix and was third in the 1982 championship.
Born in Belfast, John’s F1 career started in 1972 at Goldie Hexagon Racing but his first World Champion event wasn’t until the following year when he drove a Brabham-Ford BT37. Moving on to the BT42, John scored his first championship point in the 1974 Monaco Grand Prix. Drives with Team Surtees, Lotus and Penske followed.
John’s first World Championship podium came in 1976 coming third in the French Grand Prix with a victory to follow in the Austrian Grand Prix driving the Penske.
In 1979, Watson moved to McLaren where he gave them their first victory in over three years by winning the 1981 British Grand Prix and also securing the first victory for a carbon fibre composite monocoque F1 car, the McLaren MP4/1.
His most successful year was 1982, when he finished third in the Drivers' Championship, winning two Grands Prix before he retired from F1 at the end of the 1983 season, turning to sports car racing. John partnered Stefan Bellof to victory in the Fuji 1000km and drove a Jaguar XJR-5 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans seven times over the course of his career between 1973 and 1990 and came second in the World Sports Car Championship in 1987.
John Fitzpatrick raced professionally for over 20 years in Touring Cars, Sports Cars and GTs and was considered one of the best Porsche drivers of his era. He began his career driving Touring cars in the BSCC and ETCC, winning the British Saloon Car Championship in 1966. First it was Minis, then Ford Anglias and Escorts; BMW CSs and then Porsche 911s. He then became renowned for his expertise at driving the German machines.
John was crowned European GT Champion in 1972, and then again in 1974. He moved to the United States in 1980, driving for Dick Barbour Racing, capturing the IMSA Camel GT Championship in the process. He won the prestigious Porsche Cup in 1972, 1974 and 1980. His most prestigious wins were the Daytona 24-hours, Sebring 12-hours and the Bathurst 1000kms in Australia.
In 1981, he moved from driver to team owner-driver, with some success and spent eight years as Secretary of the British Racing Drivers Club and Director of Silverstone Circuit.
Joining these legendary racers is Finnish rally legend Rauno Aaltonen. Known as one of the Flying Finns of rallying, Rauno started his career on speed boats and later moved on to motorcycles competing in road racing, speedway and motocross. He was the first Finn to win a Grand Prix motorcycle racing competition.
Before the World Rally Championship was established, Rauno competed in the European Rally Championship, winning in 1965 with co-driver Tony Ambrose. He also won the Finnish Rally Championship in 1961 and 1965.
In 1966, he partnered Bob Holden in Australia to win the premier touring car race, the Gallaher 500, in a Mini Cooper S at Mount Panorama in New South Wales.
Aaltonen finished second on six occasions in the Safari Rally, which is considered one of the most difficult courses in rallying earning him the nickname of ‘The Rally Professor’.
This amazing trio will all be interviewed on the Motor Sport Live Stage on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 February as well as taking part in Q&A sessions and autograph signings.
Tickets are now on sale for Race Retro, powered by Motor Sport, held from February 22-24, 2019 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, with free parking for all visitors. For the latest updates and ticket information, visit www.raceretro.com
(Rauno Aalternon image courtesy of Rene Rossmann)