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  •   Stephen Prior reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    WOMAN & MACHINE #Roz-Shaw and her #Alfa-GT / #Alfa-Romeo-Giulia-GT / #Alfa-Romeo / #BWRDC

    The #2015-BWRDC Gold Star winner still pedals the #Alfa-Romeo-Giulia GT in which she started, 11 years ago. Words Paul Hardiman. Photography John Gaisford.

    Roz Shaw admits it was her brother who got her into racing. Sibling Richard founded Laranca Engineering in 1988, which now manufactures high-precision CNC-machined parts for the motor sport industry, and is noted for its front-running BMW saloons in Historics. Of course Roz, who rides huge motorcycles and used to off-road Land Rovers for leisure, wanted a go, too. But she very much treads her own path. ‘I’d always wanted a ’60s Alfa – I think BMWs are ugly. I bought this one 11 years ago from H&H Auctions. It had been a rally car, with wins in the Safety Devices Historic Rally Challenge, and it’s now prepped to Appendix K by GTS Motorsport in Solihull.’

    Roz started racing in the Top Hat series and with the Classic Sports Car Club and now competes at home in HRDC and Masters, as well as internationally. Successes soon began to build with many class wins, plus outright victory in the 2013 Alfa Romeo Championship and the Victor Ludorum Trophy. There have also been wins and class awards in the Alfashop Challenge, the Peroni Race Series in Italy (in a Porsche 911 as well as Alfas), the Alfa Revival Cup in Italy and the Coppa Intereuropa (Monza). And most recently her successes in racing and promoting women in motor sport led to the award of the 2015 British Women Racing Drivers Club Gold Star on the MSA stand at Autosport.

    And all pretty much on her own: ‘I wanted to be independent from my brother. Hence I have my own truck and Class 1 HGV, and I load, unload, spanner and help do set-up on the car. Tom at GTS Motorsport has always prepped my cars. The Alfa has done me proud for 10 years with hardly any failures, the engine is refreshed as and when required, and only the odd little bit of bodywork has needed to be done. GTS builds the engines for me.’

    Roz has been a member of Scuderia del Portello, which numbers Alfa legend Arturo Merzario among its alumni, for more than 10 years, and has also been privileged to pedal cars from the Alfa Romeo Museum around its Balocco test track. ‘There is a great spirit of Alfa in the Portello family – I am very proud to be part of it. Even better when you get to beat F1 racer Merzario around Monza…’

    There’s also been U2TC, and a GTAm, and despite not being keen on BMWs she has raced brother Richard’s TiSAs at Donington, Silverstone and Castle Combe. ‘I must admit I prefer the Alfa – the BMW engine is very cammy and a lot harder to keep alight. But they each weigh 1000kg so physically it’s about the same.’

    The red GT has even appeared on the Daytona banking, taking a class win in the Rolex Historic Challenge. ‘When I went in 2007 with CSCC we had so much track time, with four or five races. Unfortunately in the last race the prop doughnut let go on the exit of Turn 4 while I was up the banking. It was like a bomb going off in the car and the tunnel opened up like a banana, with hot metal parts flying up past my leg and head – all quite dramatic.’
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  •   Matt Petrie reacted to this post about 4 years ago


    Let’s face it, we all like an underdog, especially here in Britain. I suppose you can apply the idea of an underdog to motor vehicles. Without wanting to anthropomorphise inanimate motor cars, human beings have had a long and illogical relationship with their motors. A car is a strong reflection of its owner’s personality and position in society and there is no brand stronger than a motor vehicle. #Audi , #Bentley , #BMW , #Ferrari , #Mercedes-Benz , #Jaguar , #Porsche , #Rolls-Royce and so on spend a fortune burnishing their brand credentials and it works. Aston Martin was recently the coolest brand in Britain, ahead of #Apple , #Nike and #Rolex .

    People very seldom just purchase a ‘car’. They buy a product that reflects themselves. As the doyen of advertising David Ogilvy said: ‘You have to decide what "image" you want for your brand. Image means personality.
    Products, like people, have personalities.’ Sure, people buy cars based on price, but the mid-market 3-Series has long outsold the perfectly good #Ford-Mondeo - because it has a BMW badge on the front. And why do so many urban dwellers want a 4x4?

    Because a soft-roader is a lot cooler than a sensible saloon.

    Of course, those of us who are ‘into’ classic or historic cars have a real attachment: we actually love our old cars, which is faintly ridiculous, though also great fun and rewarding. Apart from the engineering and performance, classic car types are acutely aware about what their cars say about them. Both an E-type Jaguar and Mini are cool icons of the 1960s but are totally different, only having the fact that they are motor vehicles with four wheels in common, unlike a Morgan three-wheeler. Classic cars offer a wide canvas for tweedy types and Teddy Boys alike.

    But because classic car enthusiasts actually have a bond with their cars, they can see beyond just the brand image in a way drivers of modern cars don’t. Of course, modern cars are built to hammer down endless motorways and sit in traffic, whereas classics are for enjoyment. That’s why many classic car owners will often have an underdog in their garage along with a more recognised classic. As well as his C-type Jaguar and #Rolls-Royce-Silver-Ghost , the late Alan Clark MP also enjoyed A #Citroen-2CV and a #VW-Beetle (the latter admittedly with a #Porsche-356 engine shoehorned into the rear).

    Americans call these ‘trinket’ cars. Fiat 500 Jollys used to be trinkets but, now that owners of superyachts want them as tenders, they are priced like expensive jewels. I’m sure, like me, you have a soft spot for the automotive underdog, a classic that is not about the smart badge on the bonnet. The first time I drove a classic Mini I was shocked at how good it was on a tight road. It made the Porsche 356 I was driving at the time seem a bit numb. And years ago my father had an immaculate #Lancia-Aurelia-B20GT . To be fair it was the last of the line, a heavy sixth-series example. But when I raced him in my boxy, four-door #Alfa-Romeo-Giulia saloon, I’d blow his (two) doors off every time.

    As a member of the #Drive-My team I’m fortunate to get to drive some pretty impressive pieces of kit. And it is interesting to see quite how good some cars are - often the underdogs - and quite how lousy some of the supposed great classics can be. My good friend Ray Jones of Sydney, Australia, invited me to take part in the #Mille-Miglia with him in #1999 . We were to drive his #Chrysler-75 .

    Some in the vintage world look down on these Americans. Halfway through, #Bentley specialist Stanley Mann wandered over. ‘What sort of supercharger do you have fitted to the Chrysler?’ he asked (we’d overtaken his vintage Bentley a number of times). Ray opened the bonnet. Its two huge SUs and banana-branch exhaust header would have given your average VSCC scrute heart failure but there was no blower. Stanley was amazed. And the #Chrysler had excellent, original hydraulic brakes.

    In 2007, deputy editor Mark Dixon and I competed in the #Mille-Migila in a bog-standard #Triumph-TR2 , mustering just about 90bhp. Not powerful, but it handled well. In the mountains this light car was ace because of its overdrive gearbox, which operated on second, third and top. The #Triumph really annoyed a number of drivers of heavy Mercedes-Benz Gullwings with their wide-ratio gearing. Up the steep mountain roads we indulged in some of the most impertinent overtaking ever.

    Yes, it was a proper underdog.


    Robert grew up with classic cars, and has owned a #Lancia-Aurelia-B20GT , Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Porsche 356C. He currently uses his properly sorted #1955 #Jaguar-XK140 as his daily driver, and is a founding editor of this magazine.
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