Huff traverses continents and decades as he goes from Silverstone to Argentina
Rob Huff traverses continents and decades as he swaps iconic historics at the Silverstone Classic (29-31 July) for his Castrol Honda Racing Civic Type-R in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) Race of Argentina at Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo (6-7 August).
Huff is a regular at historic events and he was due to race three different cars in the 2016 edition of the Silverstone Classic, including an evocative Bastos-liveried Ford Capri 3.0S, a Lola T70 sports prototype and a Ford Falcon from the swinging Sixties.
Unfortunately, the weekend started on a downer when an engine failure sidelined the newly rebuilt Lola before the on-track action began, so Huff was left to focus on his touring car commitments in the Historic Touring Car Challenge and the Big Engined Touring Cars (pre ’66) race for mighty US muscle cars and giant-killing Lotus Cortinas and Mini Coopers.
Huge crowds turned out at the Formula 1 British Grand Prix venue for what is recognised as the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival and Huff’s appearances were both held on what was unofficially named ‘Tin Top Sunday’ (31 August).
The Historic Touring Car Challenge proved to be “a cracking race”, Richard Meins starting his Capri from P2 in class and quickly taking the lead. The Briton recovered ground lost in a minor half-spin after a Safety Car restart and Huff continued the push to conclude the 40-minute race first in class.
Then came the Big Engined Touring Cars. Huff was drafted in to drive a spectacular Ford Falcon owned by triple British Banger Champion Trevor Buckley and, while the newly-acquired Sixties racer was somewhat down on pace, the pair battled through setup and balance issues and avoided a sizeable crash at Turn 1 to translate a lowly grid position into a solid top ten result.
“The Silverstone Classic was a typical up and down motorsport weekend,” said Huff. “The wonderful Lola T70, which I raced and led with last year, went bang so I started on a real downer, but we went on to have a cracking race with the Bastos Ford Capri, winning our class to receive the biggest trophy I’ve ever had in my life! It’s about 3ft tall!
“I then switched gear for the Ford Falcon, which is owned by Trevor Buckley. There were no problems with the car, but it’s new to Trevor and the setup is yet to be optimised and a good balance found. We were slightly off the pace and qualified outside of the top ten, so to finish ninth in only the car’s third race is respectable. It’s always a pleasure to race at the Silverstone Classic.”
Huff’s attention now turns to the WTCC and the championship’s first race outside of Europe in Argentina. Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo is the setting and, having been had his fair share of misfortune this season, Huff is now solely interested in race wins, rather than collecting points.
“I’m very much looking forward to the WTCC Race of Argentina, as Autodromo Termas de Rio Honda is a track I’ve always done well at, having been competitive in the SEAT and achieved LADA’s first ever victory there two years ago. It’s a nice, but difficult circuit with fast and flowing sections, but the 60kgs of ballast will hurt. Nevertheless, I do expect the Honda Civic Type-R to be very good this weekend and I’m just out to win. I don’t care about simply scoring points.”