The 2017 Jaguar Classic Challenge season concluded at the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium during the Six Hours of Spa race weekend, with the father and son pairing of Graeme and James Dodd taking their third victory of the five-race season in their 1963 E-type.
A strong 33-car entry competed in the Belgian event, all pre-1966 Appendix K specification Jaguars. Andy Newall and Rhea Sautter put their 1961 E-type on pole during qualifying, more than two seconds ahead of Chris Milner and Nigel Greensall’s car. The Dodds started third, with Marcus Oeynhausen lined up alongside them on the second row of the grid.
The start was frenetic as Oeynhausen drove straight into the lead and started pulling away, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap two. His leading E-type looked set to dominate, before succumbing to a gearbox issue and falling back through the field. That left Sautter, Graeme Dodd and Nick Riley battling for the top spot before the pitstop window opened.
Once all drivers had conducted their mandatory stops, some with driver changes, James Dodd came out ahead in first place by a comfortable 16 seconds and pulled away consistently lap after lap before taking the chequered flag a more than a minute ahead of the field. Second was the pole-sitting E-type of Newall and Sautter, followed by Niklas and Lukas Halusa’s E-type in third.
The race was a great success and the car fortunately stayed strong. Dad had a good start and kept up the pace until the pitstops. When I took over, we had such a big lead that I could back off and save the car. It’s our first season racing the E-type and overall it has gone very well, we’re delighted.
— James Dodd, Race Winner
Every race throughout the 2017 Jaguar Classic Challenge season has seen ‘Driver of the Day’ and ‘Most Improved Driver’ awards presented, which went to Tim Mogridge and Paul Castaldini respectively for their superb driving and gentlemanly conduct throughout the race.
“To see so many classic Jaguar cars lapping around this prestigious circuit, which has played host to some of the most exciting motorsport events across the decades, was a sight to behold. This has been a fantastic Jaguar Classic Challenge season and has concluded in a magnificent way.”
— Calum McKechnie, General Manager of Jaguar Land Rover Classic Parts and Accessories
Note: Press release courtesy of Jaguar Classic.