By Martha Maglone
Photography by Moore Good Ink, April 28, 2014
Road Atlanta race circuit is the spiritual home of the Walter Mitty. An annual adventure, it has been this way since the mid-1970s, when a group of Atlanta enthusiasts organized an occasion that is now the largest and oldest event for Historic race cars on the East Coast.
Over the years the “Mitty” has become as much a state of mind, pardon the pun, as a race, and as you drive through north Georgia its approaching awareness puts you in the atmosphere that can only be the Walter Mitty. A favorite point in the season, it’s a reward for those who enjoy historically interesting racing cars.
In our youth we recall with much affection the stirring lyrics of Roy Orbison but in spring none more so than, “Golden days that never end,” for they are rarely more appropriate than in the northern reaches of Georgia. From April 20 to May 20 these golden days present mornings that are cool and crisp and bright, the days are warm, the humidity low, and the azalea and mountain laurel stunning. And into this mix you add the 37th successive running of the Walter Mitty.
Organized by HSR (Historic Sportscar Racing) the Walter Mitty is the third event of their 2014 seven-race series. This year’s order began in mid-February at the Palm Beach International Raceway, visiting Sebring one month later. Following the Mitty, racing resumes at Mid-Ohio in September 19-21 followed by events at Savannah, Daytona and Sebring in October, November and December respectively.
Sponsored by Classic Motorsports magazine and Hagerty, the insurance people, the Mitty typically attracts 250 to 400 competitors. Though both competitors and spectators alike enjoy the festive atmosphere—and why not for there’s almost unfettered freedom to roam—it’s the diversity of cars that put the icing on the cake. Ranging from the nineteen-fifties MGA that might reach 120mph to a modern-day Audi R8 with speeds approaching 240mph, the cars present delightfully striking contrasts. Here in the following sequence of photographs is a brief display carrying some of the most vivid memories of this year’s Walter Mitty.
Click on any image to enlarge.
On Sunday, David Porter won the Hawk Performance one-hour endurance race in his Le Mans Prototype Pescarola
Talented race driver Dr. Mark Brannon from Scottsdale, AZ, claimed second place in his Riley & Scott
Third-place man Daniel Curry’s 1985 Porsche 962 ran a fastest lap time of 1:20.383 and immersed us in nostalgia
Former chairman and CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan, Travis Engen can lead a successful executive force and lap Road Atlanta in the 1:20s: Audi R8
Rumson, NJ racers, John and Connor Burke, ran a best lap of 1:22.467 in their Riley & Scott finishing fifth
In sixth, Don Soenen’s 1995 Mustang was the first front-engine machine home with a best lap time of 1:26.428
Jody O’Donnell won Saturday’s Group 5 race in his 1969 Chevrolet Corvette with Reher-Morrison power. Best lap 1:34.1
Charles Rayhall’s remarkably swift Porsche 914, which lapped two-tenths faster than O’Donnell, claimed second
From Norman, Oklahoma, Mike Donohue brought his 1963 Chevrolet 6.3 liter Corvette home in third. Best lap 1:34.5
Larry Ligas, Largo, Florida broke a throttle cable during qualifying, but ran his ’61 XKE within four-tenths of leader’s lap time.
First Porsche home in Saturday’s Group 5 race was the 1973 three-liter IROC 911 of Milwaukee’s Fritz Seidel
From Wallingford, CT, Curt Vogt recorded a best lap of 1:35.5, elevating his 1970 Ford Boss 302 to sixth place
From Nashville, TN, Group 5 racer John McCormick in his 5-liter 1985 Autocraft Cobra
Don Soenen, Saline, MI, ran his 1994 Ford Cobra Mustang to a best lap time of 1:43.9
From Los Angeles, CA: observe the exquisite lines of Melvin Andrews’ 1964 Porsche 904
From Marietta, Georgia, Jim Hudson’s 1969 5.7-liter Chevrolet Corvette roadster
Fire in the hole! From Venice, Florida, Phil Lasco’s swift 5.8 liter 2000 Ford Mustang
Debbie Cloud, 2000 Mustang, Wellington, OH, finished 7th in Saturday’s Group 9 race
Created in 1965, success for the Lola T70 was immediate. Shown here is David Jacob’s 1966 Mk2
Also from 1966 the McLaren M1B of Farrell Preston from Vero Beach, Florida
From Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the amicable Tom Shelton regaled us with his illustrious 1965 Lola T70
Of the Group 7 machines, Chris MacAllister’s 1971 McLaren M8F proved fastest
Mac McCombs of Mooresville, NC, in his GT40 at Road Atlanta’s Turn 7 on Sunday
GT40s won the 24 Hours of Le Mans on four consecutive occasions from 1966-1969
The Mitty also provides an abundance of motorcycle action
The 1,600cc Swift Formula Atlantic of John Burke from Rumson, NJ
Winston Cup and Busch cars from 1980-’06 were out in force
Local racer Doc Bundy triumphed in his 1964 Lotus 23B
Ilinois racer James Jackson 1964 Porsche 356SC 1,600cc coupe
Indianapolis racer, Chris MacAllister driving a 1964 4.7L AC Cobra
Endurance racer Scott Spencer of Kissimmee, FL, driving 1993 Kudzu
Voluptuous lines of Tom Shelton’s 1965 Lola T70
The nostalgic interior of a nineteen-fifties Cooper Bristol