Cavallino 27: Track Days at Palm Beach International Raceway

The first track day of the 27th iteration of the Cavallino Classic finally arrived.  As with every year, I felt great anticipation as I arrived at Palm Beach International Raceway.  I had picked up my press credentials at the Breakers Hotel about an hour before and I was ready to cover the event for the day.

Upon arriving at PBIR and entering the paddock area of the track, I saw a few familiar cars and a lot of familiar faces.  As I continued to scout the paddock, my eyes fell upon a gorgeous 1962 250 GTO.  At first, I thought this was a new sighting for me, but as I got closer to the car I recognized it as s/n 3729GT.  This car used to be red, but it was brought back to its original livery from the days of Jack Sears and John Coombs.  I love it more in white than I ever did in red.

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I’m glad to see this car continues to hit the historic racing circuit.  It gives those of us who never got to see these cars race in their heyday, a chance to experience what it would have been like to see the likes of Graham Hill, Jack Sears and the like roaring through streets and racing circuits.

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As I kept walking the paddock, my wish came true when I came upon Tom Price’s 1962 250 GTO (s/n 4757GT) and his 1957 250 Testa Rossa (s/n 0754TR).  The GTO and Testa Rossa are without doubt my 2 favorite vintage Ferraris, and seeing them side by side is always a treat.  Of the two, the Testa Rossa is my favorite without a doubt.  There is just something about that pontoon fender that really speaks to me.

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As the day progressed the ambient music of roaring V12’s was a welcome sound. It added to the experience of the day and made you very aware of everything that was going on around you.  There were a number of groups that went out on the track that included everything from BB512 LM’s to 360 Challenge cars to road cars, not to mention a whole bunch of 250 cars.

The 512BB LM’s are always the loudest cars on the track and are a real joy to photograph, especially when you see those wide bodies competing next to the slimmer 250 cars.

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The 360 Challenge cars are still a pleasure to look at, even though they are 3 generations old.  Imagine my surprise when a 348 and 355 Challenge popped up!

One of the best things about the track days at PBIR, is that you never know what is going to show up.  Take for instance this 575 Zagato, which is an homage to the 1956 250GT Zagato.

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I’ve attended the Cavallino Classic enough times to know that the best cars may not always be around the paddock.  If you have a little patience, you might be rewarded with a nice sighting.  Such was the case when I was leaving the track and spotted these little gold nuggets in the general parking area:

All in all it was a great first day…there were enough cars to wet your appetite for what was to come the following days.  Friday’s track day was even more amazing than Thursday with some more amazing cars making it out to the track.  Among them was a very nice 1957 500 TRC with a gleaming silver paint job with a red stripe running across it, it was quite a sight.

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I also spotted a 250GT SWB that always comes out to PBIR.  Sometimes it hits the track, but this year it just hung out around the paddock.  Equally conspicuous were a pair of gorgeous 275GTBs, one in silver and one in red, and, the biggest surprise of all, a 1967 365 California Spyder with a very unique set of tail lights.

As the day went on, the track came alive once again with the 250 cars blazing through every corner with the 512BB LMs following closely behind.  However, I think the most amazing thing to see is a car like a 1934 Alfa Romeo GP put the pedal to the metal.  Here is a car that is a full 30 years older than a Ferrari GTO or SWB and yet it is still keeps up with them…astonishing!

Finally, as Friday drew to a close, I decided to take one last stroll around the paddock to take the sights in one last time.  Of course, I had to stop and admire Tom Price’s 250 Testa Rossa and probably spent a good 20 minutes shooting it, again.  I also stopped by the Dennison International trailer and took one last shot of the best looking 250 GTO at present (in my opinion) and a pristine 1934 Alfa Romeo P3.

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Suffice it to say that the track days during the Cavallino Classic are always full of surprises and excitement.  Everyone comes out to see the cars race around the track but, most importantly, they come to experience history in motion.  They come to see the cars that made motoring history and the cars that gave rise to the sports car industry as we know it today.  Can’t wait to come back and experience it all again next year!

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