Watson, BMW and Bugatti Will Be Honored During Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix
Versatile and distinguished driver, John Watson, will be the special guest for this year's Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, September 7-9. He will be honored along with famed German automaker BMW, which will be the featured marque for both the Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Festival presented by Chemung Canal Trust Co. in the village of Watkins Glen on September 7th. Watson has a connection with BMW as he drove a BMW GTP at The Glen twice during the 1986 season.
Watson challenged the twists and turns of The Soul of American Road Racing numerous times during his career in Formula 1 and the IMSA Sports Car World Championship Series. He will be making several appearances throughout the weekend and will say the most famous words in motorsports, the command to start the engines, before the BMW Feature Race on Sunday at the track and the race reenactment in the village on Friday evening. The green flag will drop at 2:40 PM on Sunday.
Watson competed in Formula 1 for over 12 years and claimed five victories on the prestigious series. He raced in every U.S. Grand Prix held at The Glen from 1973-1980, and claimed four Top-10 finishes including a top finish of 5th in 1974. Following his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the 1983 season, Watson turned to racing sports cars. He made a total of three appearances at The Glen driving sports cars. In 1973, he teamed with Mike Hailwood and Derek Bell to claim 5th place in the Watkins Glen 6 Hours. He later returned twice in 1986 to race in the Camel Continental and Kodak Copier 500. Watson claimed a total of 4 victories on the IMSA Sports Car World Championship Series between 1983 and 1990. He also competed in the 24 Hours at LeMans seven times over the course of his career, finishing 11th, a career best, in 1990.
BMW has a long and storied history at The Glen that dates back to the original street race in 1948. A BMW driven by Paul Ceresole was entered but did not run in 1948, but driver Robert Grier did guide a BMW to a 28th place finish in the 1949 Grand Prix race. Since then, BMW cars have taken part in a large variety of races at The Glen including The Glen 500, New York 500, Camel Continental and Six Hours endurance races. Ray Korman and Davy Jones drove a BMW M3 to victory in BMW's final appearance in a major race at The Glen during the Six Hours in 1987. Aside from Watson, famous drivers such as Jones, David Hobbs, John Andretti and Hans Stuck have challenged the legendary race track in a BMW.
Don't miss the Chemung Canal Trust Co. Antique Auto Show on Saturday, where fans can display their antique cars in friendly competition and take a parade lap around the historic track on Saturday afternoon. Tickets for the auto show are $65 and include one (1) three-day general admission ticket, vehicle entry into the show, a parade lap, and a special gift.
Tickets are still available for the Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, September 7-9. Weekend adult tickets are only $45.00 and children ages 6-12 can get in for $5.00. Sunday admission is only $30.00 for adults. Children 5 and under are free. All tickets provide access to the grandstands, the garage and paddock areas and participation in the autograph sessions, fan forum and Q&A sessions with John Watson. For tickets fans can call 866-461-RACE, or purchase online at www.racetickets.com.