Grand Marshal Corky Coker drove his 1911 Mercer Raceabout around the course, with Grand Ambassador Brian Redman running shotgun
photo by Chattanooga Motorcar Festival
Famed race car driver Brian Redman, the Grand Ambassador of the 2021 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, Festival founder Byron DeFoor, and Grand Marshal Corky Coker took laps on the new Pace Grand Prix at the Bend approximate two-mile course for this year’s Festival and offered their comments.
The Inaugural Chattanooga Motorcar Festival was held in 2019. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Recently, the city of Chattanooga completed repaving on sections of the new Pace Grand Prix at the Bend circuit, which will host wheel-to-wheel competition during the second Festival on Oct. 15-17. Full safety barriers surrounding the course will be installed in the coming weeks.
Representatives of sanctioning group Historic Motor Sports Association were on site finalizing the operational structure for the event, which will include class races among a limited number of 12 competitors at a time. The new track replaces the Time Trials course used in 2019.
Class designations for the races to be held on Friday and Saturday, may be found when registering for the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend on chattanoogamotorcar.com/pacegrandprix.
Mr. Redman, a nine-time sports-car racing champion, rode with Mr. Coker in Coker’s 1911 Mercer Raceabout on several reconnaissance laps, while Mr. DeFoor, several days later, took his 1972 BMW CSL on the eight-turn circuit for a few laps as well.
“I drove round the race track with Corky in his magnificent 1911 Mercer Raceabout, capable of 100 mph – but we certainly didn’t go that fast,” said Mr. Redman. “The course winds through an industrial park, tree-lined on one side and down a city street protected by safety barriers. There are fast areas and tighter turns to provide ample overtaking opportunities.
“There will be both hard braking and sweeping turns. Top speed will be around 150 mph in the right car. Second, third and fourth gears (top) will be used but it depends on the cars.”
During Mr. DeFoor’s laps in the BMW CSL, it was reported that his hands were glued to the steering wheel and the experience was so phenomenal that those standing by could not get him to stop. He said he felt like Lee Iacocca in the first Dodge minivan on the company test track.
“The track is nothing like a modern-day track, but suits historic road racing like it originally was – between buildings, industrial plants and parks," said Mr. DeFoor. "I loved the scenery of the river and mountains on the back straightaway. Some streets are freshly paved while some have been around since the turn of the century."
He said this experience gave him a feeling of overall well-being.
"Some of the old buildings are almost entirely cleared away and that will be the hub of the manufacturers and sponsors display area at the track during the Festival,” Mr. DeFoor added.
“The site of Jim Pace’s memorial is in the process of being constructed and will resemble a national park.”
“What an honor for the Chattanooga Motor Car Festival to continue to have worldwide racing champion and hero Brian Redman with us and supporting us here in Chattanooga,” said Mr. Coker. “Brian and I discussed how this year’s wheel-to-wheel racing on the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend is the perfect addition to the events of the Oct. 15-17 Festival.”
Other events during the Festival include fun for both children and adults: games, simulators, Automobilia, Car Club gatherings, specialty displays, celebrities and special guests, panel discussions, and much more. “There will be entertainment available for all from the time the gates open each day,” said event advisor Alexis Bogo.
With additional family-friendly events to be announced later, the 2021 Festival features the Concours d’Elegance, West Village Road Rallye, Mecum Chattanooga 2021 Auctions and The Pace Grand Prix at the Bend.
Additional information may be found at chattanoogamotorcar.com
Tickets are available at chattanaoogamotorcar.com/tickets
VIP tickets are available at chattanoogamotorcar.com/VIPtickets
Byron DeFoor checked out the course in a 1972 BMW 3.0 CSL Turbo, alongside a 1973 Porsche 911, a 1972 BMW 2002, and a 1966 Jaguar XKSS
photo by Chattanooga Motorcar Festival