With a successful opening race meeting of 2017 at Goodwood Members Meeting in March, JD Classics are hoping to emulate with similar results at this weekend’s Donington Historic Festival. Their four car line-up will see the 1951 Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar XK120 and 1959 Costin Lister compete in the Stirling Moss Trophy while the powerful ex-Tom Walkinshaw Racing XJS and 1986 Bastos Rover will hope to make their mark on the ever competitive Historic Touring Car Championship race in what hopes to be another successful weekend of on-track action.
Former touring car driver Steve Soper started off qualifying in the powerful Bastos Rover with JD Classics’ resident driver Chris Ward behind the wheel of the XJS. The first outing since Silverstone Classic in 2015 for the Rover, the team were keen to see how it would run. Having completed three laps, the Rover made an unscheduled return to the pits with a breather tank issue which was quickly rectified by the JD engineers and returned to the track for the remaining 15 minutes now with Chris Ward commanding the drive. John Young was now in charge of the powerful XJS and with both cars continuing to improve on their times with every lap, the Bastos Rover achieved its fastest lap of 1:16.267 to qualify in pole position ahead of Saturday afternoon’s 60 minute race. The XJS completed the session in a respectable 11th place.
A busy weekend lay ahead for JD Classics’ Chris Ward as no sooner had he completed qualifying for the Historic Touring Car Challenge race, but was now behind the wheel of the Costin Lister in the Stirling Moss Trophy. Having competed in the Motor Racing Legends series in 2016, the father- son duo of Steve and Josh Ward were back behind the wheel of their distinctive blue Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar XK120 for another season. Comprising of a variety of pre-1961 sports cars, the grid began to filter out onto the track as the session got underway. Steve Ward was first to drive and consistently improved his times with every lap before coming in to hand over to Josh Ward. With a fastest lap time of 1:19.38, the Costin Lister had far surpassed the fastest lap of the session and having completed just six laps, the team made the decision to bring the car into the pits. As the session grew to a close, the second placed Lister Knobbly failed to beat the JD Lister’s fastest time despite having completed a further 11 laps as Chris Ward achieved another well-deserved pole position. The XK120 continued to run well throughout the remainder of the session to finish in 26th place and an impressive 3 seconds faster than the car's 2016 qualifying time at Donington Historic Festival.
A variety of Ford Capri’s, Mustang’s and Chevrolet’s were just a few of the power house cars making up the 30 car grid for the Historic Touring Car Challenge race. Driving the first stint of the race, Steve Soper led the field over the line for a rolling start in the pole sitting JD Classics Rover while Chris Ward sat on the grid in 11th place in the Tom Walkinshaw Racing XJS.
Leading down into the first corner, the Rover faced pressure from the Ford RS1800 of David Tomlin as it battled the JD car for position, however by the end of the first lap, the Rover was firmly back at the front of the field and already beginning to pull away. The XJS was also making an early impression as Chris Ward steadily moved up through the field and into 5th place by lap 5 alone. An electrical gremlin meant the XJS made an unscheduled pit stop on lap 13 however was quickly rectified by the JD engineers and re-joined the race in 8th place.
As the pit window opened for mandatory driver changeovers, the Bastos Rover continued to dominate the race producing a fastest lap time of 1:16.58 as the Jaguar XJS received orders to pit early in the window. Having completed the 60 second stationary stop and now with John Young behind the wheel, the XJS returned to the race now running in 17th place. With increasingly quicker lap times as the race progressed it was only another 8 laps before John Young had driven the XJS back up into 10th. With an impressive 45 second lead, the Bastos Rover came into the pits for its stop and with Chris Ward once again in the driver’s seat re-joined the race in 2nd place with just over 20 minutes of the race remaining. Within two laps, the Rover was soon back into its former front running position where it continued to extend its lead throughout the latter stages of the race to take the chequered flag with an impressive 39 second lead over the second placed Ford RS1800 of David Tomlin. Despite handling issues in qualifying, the XJS worked its way through the field to finish the race in an impressive 6th place.
The final race of the weekend for JD Classics, the Stirling Moss Trophy was led through its rolling start by the ever-dominant Chris Ward in the pole sitting JD Classics Costin Lister and made good his advantage as he maintained position into the races early stages. The Jaguar XK120 of Steve and Josh Ward also produced consistent lap times early in the race with Steve Ward running an average of three seconds a lap faster than in 2016’s Donington Historic Festival.
By lap 8 and still in the lead, the Costin Lister began catching the backmarkers subsequently losing time as Chris Ward negotiated the car through the field yet still managing to keep the pursuing Lister Knobbly at an arms-length. With the pit window now open, the Lister was instructed into the pits first. A solo drive for the ever-experienced Chris Ward, the team checked the car over while it sat for its 60 second stationary stop before re-joining the race in 5th. On lap 21 and now running in 22nd, the Ecurie Ecosse XK120 was brought into the pits and the drive passed to Josh Ward.
With the race now into its final stages, the Costin Lister was now back up into the lead but with the ever persistent Knobbly just 0.4 seconds behind. Whilst progressing into the last few laps, Chris Ward gradually began edging away from second placed car and came over the finish line with a 1.1 second gap to claim the second victory of the afternoon for Chris Ward and JD Classics.
Continuing the momentum, Josh Ward and the Jaguar XK120 progressed through the field and up into 19th place. By the time the chequered flag fell, the father-son driving duo of Steve and Josh Ward had claimed a well-deserved 1st in class and another great race result for JD Classics.