Auto Briefs

Porsche, the German auto maker known for decades for its vaunted sports cars, will be the honored “marque” (model) at the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance Oct. 25-Nov. 3. This is also the 50th anniversary year of the famed Porsche 911 (Provided).

•Porsche to ‘marque’ Hilton Head motoring festival, concours•

In 1951, a sleek, sporty, racing-like model appeared on the scene in Germany.

The Porsche would go on to change motoring history by bringing out a fast car that wasn’t totally out of the price range of everyone but the rich and famous.

That heritage, and the famed 911 model celebrating 50 years, explains why the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance has selected Porsche as the “honored marque” for its 2013 event Oct. 25-Nov. 3.

“With the focus on Porsche motorsport at the Savannah Speed Classic and Porsche classic cars highlighted at the Concours d’Elegance, we offer unique back-to-back opportunities for Porsche enthusiasts, owners and collectors to immerse themselves in the heritage of their favorite brand,” said Carolyn Vanagel, the festival’s president.

The speed classic takes place early in the festival, while the concours is the final day gala.

According to festival organizers, Porsche’s iconic design, authentic sports car soul and legendary performance “are all reasons the German automaker has produced some of the world’s most collectible and coveted cars.”

Features of the marque will include the story of Porsche’s evolution from its roots as a sports car manufacturer to the half-century anniversary of the 911 this year.

“The Hilton Head Island Concours is a great way for Porsche to continue the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 911, and we look forward to this memorable occasion,” said Michael Bartsch, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Porsche Cars North America.

The Nov. 3 Concours d’Elegance will include two judged classes specific to Porsche: pre-911s and post 356s through 1973. In addition, one Concours class of racers will be judged at the Savannah Speed Classic the weekend prior at Hutchinson Island’s “Grand Prize of America” Race Track.

Other anniversaries to be celebrated are 60 years for Corvette and 110 years for Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Meanwhile, the festival recently disclosed the show’s classes including two full Porsche exhibits, 1916-1948 production cars and a special “Great Gatsby” category. This year’s Concours will be held at Port Royal Golf Club.

“Each year we continue to raise the bar for the quality and diversity of machines that are accepted for the Concours,” said Merry Harlacher, selection committee chairman.

“This year, we’ve also added a world-class backdrop for these exceptional automobiles — the 18th green of the award-winning ocean-side Port Royal Club. We’re looking forward to an unrivaled combination of memorable automobiles and surroundings.”

For more information, visit the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance website at

•Mini’s bigger in Texas•

They weren’t the main show, but the events had fast racing, a 15-year-old winner and a car and driver with Charleston connections on the podium.

And, they may wind up on TV next month.

The races were the first of the 2013 professional season in the Pirelli World Challenge Series. The venue was the Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, Texas, which was built last year and will be the new home of Formula One’s stopover in the United States.

Among the performers in the Touring Car B-Spec class May 18-19 was the Mini of Charleston racing team. Robbie Davis, whose father Brad Davis heads Hendrick Imports in Charleston, drives for the team.

Close to 70,000 spectators turned out in 95-degree heat to watch races last Saturday and Sunday, Brad Davis said.

The challenge events were considered “support races” for the U.S. visit of the Australian V-8 Supercar Series, he said. But there was plenty of action.

In the first race, Robbie Davis, driving the Mini USA/Mini Financial Services B-Spec Mini Cooper, got pushed to the outside of turn one and finished fifth while staying in the lead pack the whole race. Charlie James in the Saferacer Mini placed 2nd behind youngest-ever winner Ernie Francis Jr., age 15, in a Mazda 2.

The second race took off 10 minutes after the first one. Davis “got a much better start in the Mini of Charleston Mini Cooper and established himself as a front runner,” his father said.

At the end of the sprint race, Francis in the Mazda 2 again pulled to a lead. Davis made his first ever podium appearance in Pirelli World Challenge with a third place finish.

A Pirelli World Championship trademark standing-start for the Sunday race found Davis’ 2012 Mini Cooper in the lead group. Joel Lipperini of Pittston, Pa., lead for the first 12 laps “before a car in a faster class made a pass in turn one,” Brad Davis said.

Lipperini slowed entering the turn, and Robbie Davis made contact, with Lipperini falling to fourth. Francis took the lead and would go on to win, besting James in second and Davis, third.

Robbie Davis and the Mini of Charleston team is in third place in the driver’s championship standings. The next races are July 4 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.

NBC Sports Network filmed the Austin races, which will air June 16 at 5 p.m., Brad Davis said.

Earlier in May, the Mini of Charleston racing team dominated two classes in the Sports Car Club of America Majors Tour event at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia, he said. The track is part of the SCCA National Racing Series.

In the B-Spec category, Robbie Davis won from the pole both days, setting a new lap record of a 1:33.033 (just below 90 mph).

Mini of Charleston team manager Brad Davis, who races as an amateur, drove the 2002 Mini of Charleston/Mini Mania/Hoosier Tire/Carbotech Brakes Mini Cooper in the H Production class.

In the first race, Davis, who learned to race at Summit Point Raceway, fell into a pitched battle with Martin Burk in a Honda CRX and Tom Broring driving a Triumph Spitfire.

After a car got stuck in a tire wall, the race came down to a five-lap shootout, Brad Davis said. He pulled ahead on the restart and won by 15 seconds after the pair trailing him hit and spun.

Davis held off Burk for the first few laps on Sunday and went on to win. Broring placed second. Gregg Ginsburg from Arlington, Va., was third in a Honda CRX.

Father and son are in the SCCA National and Majors points lead in their respective classes.

For more information, visit Brad Davis at or call him at 843-402-6551.