Connaught celebrates 70 years at Race Retro, powered by Motor Sport
The celebrations start right in the entrance hall at Race Retro, powered by Motor Sport, as visitors will be welcomed to Warwickshire’s Stoneleigh Park by a 1948 Connaught, the car that started the manufacturer on the road that would bring them a Grand Prix win some 70 years ago.
Held from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 February, the Connaught made its debut at Poole Speed Trials, built for Kenneth McAlpine, and then went to Prescott in 1949, winning the up to 3litre Sports Car Class.
It was raced extensively by McApline from 1949-1951, winning at Ibsley, Blandford Camp, Boreham and Goodwood amongst other places. The car also went to Chimay and came fourth in the first heat of the 1950 Grand Prix des Frontiers.
Based on a shortened Lea Francis frame and using a highly modified version of the Lea Francis 1800 cc engine, these L2 Connaught were good for 100mph + and gave up to 115 brake horse power.
Noted in period for superb handling, this car is noted as ‘The Car to Beat’ in Charles Mortimer's book Racing a Sports Car from the era and has been campaigned throughout its history, apart from a 15-year spell in an Australian Motoring Museum.
Connaught cars participated in 18 Grands Prix, entering a total of 52 races with its A, B, and C Type Formula 2 and Formula 1 Grand Prix Cars. Only achieving one podium, the team scored 17 championship points. The name Connaught was taken from a pun on Continental Autos, the garage in Send, Surrey, which specialised in sales and repair of European sports cars such as Bugatti, and where the cars were built.