2017 Jaguar Classic challenge season gets off to dramatic start in action-packed race at Donington

A quality grid of race-prepared pre-1966 racing machines and a Who’s Who of historic motorsport competitors ensured the first Jaguar Classic Challenge race of the 2017 season starred at the Donington Historic Festival.

The third season of the Jaguar Classic Challenge began in perfect conditions at the Leicestershire circuit, with the front runners locked in combat from the off. Championship newcomer Ben Short forced pole-sitter Gary Pearson to push on the ragged edge for the first 10 minutes of the 40-minute race, before Pearson settled into a rhythm and pulled out a 14-second lead to win the 29-lap encounter. 

The mandatory Jaguar Classic Challenge pit stops served up their usual mix of drama, with Pearson and Short both opting to drive the whole race solo. Short was taking part in his first proper historic meet and subsequently won the Jaguar Classic ‘Driver of the Day’ Trophy, for his close and clean racing throughout. He is one to watch throughout the rest of the 2017 Jaguar Classic Challenge season.

Graeme and James Dodd completed the podium, the experienced father and son pairing racing in the Jaguar Classic Challenge for the first time after recently buying their E-type. The duo’s impressive debut performance and strong race craft is sure to be one of the stories of the 2017 season, as they continue in the Jaguar Classic Challenge as a father and son team.

I am absolutely delighted to win the first event of the season in what was a great race and the perfect start to the season. I pushed hard for the opening laps, which paid dividends at the end. It was truly exciting racing against Ben Short, he is an excellent driver and is learning how to race E-types very quickly. He will no doubt be a threat throughout the rest of the Jaguar Classic Challenge season. GARY PEARSON


There were some epic battles throughout the field at the Donington Historic Festival, which was a fantastic event for us. All our drivers put on a thoroughly entertaining show for spectators and I’d like to congratulate our top three on a superb result. The strong field of drivers shows how prestigious the Jaguar Classic Challenge has become in its third season. We look forward to welcoming yet another fantastic line-up of historic Jaguar racing machines at the next race: the HSCC Legends of Brands Hatch Superprix in July. TIM HANNIG