Classic cars line up in Historic Grand Prix


Sebastien Bourdais isn't the only competitor in this weekend's Vegas Grand Prix who has won a major race in Las Vegas.

Bourdais won Champ Car World Series races in 2004 and 2005 on the 1.5-mile oval at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

It's also where Arie Luyendyk won the 1998 Indy Racing League IndyCar race.

Danny Sullivan won CanAm races on the temporary circuits set up at Caesars near the Strip when Formula One raced there in 1981-82, and CART (now Champ Car) followed with races the next two years.

This weekend, Luyendyk and Sullivan will be joined by fellow Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal in the Historic Grand Prix. Sullivan won Indy in 1985, Rahal the following year and Luyendyk in 1997.

But three of the country's top all-time racers will be upstaged by the cars in which they drive, along with other cars entered in Sunday's race.

The HGP features former Formula One and IndyCars, some dating to the 1960s.

And these machines, which are worthy of any auto museum, are raced.

"There are a few things we do differently when we race these cars," said Sullivan, who won the 1985 Indy 500 with the now famous "spin to win," when his car spun 360 degrees but he never lost a step toward the checkered flag.

"When we start our races, we settle down for a lap or two. But after that, these guys race."

He said many of the classics, some valued at well over $1 million, are driven by their owners.

Sullivan, who is scheduled to be in the race, said, "They didn't buy them not to drive them."

Sullivan is a consultant with the Highcroft Racing sports car team in the American Le Mans Series. The Connecticut-based team's Acura finished third Saturday in the ALMS LMP2 street race in St. Petersburg, Fla., and was the fourth overall finisher.

Highcroft owner Duncan Dayton will spend this weekend racing on Vegas streets in a priceless car.

He will compete in the Historic race, which opens with practice Friday, in the legendary No. 5 "John Player Special" Lotus 79 Formula One car in which Mario Andretti won the 1978 F1 World Driving Championship. The car won six races from 1978-79.

Duncan is a four-time winner of the Monaco Historic Grand Prix (1997, 2000, 2002, 2004).

His company owns and maintains several historic race cars, but he gets to drive the crown jewel.

 

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