Imagine that your father was a racing champion and you had the opportunity to drive his race car on the very same road course in which he won his first major race. Derek Hill doesn’t have to imagine it. He did it.
Derek Hill, the son of legendary driver Phil Hill, and his dad’s 1950 Jaguar XK120 are featured in a recent YouTube video from the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which also serves as an announcement for the 70th concours on August 15, 2021. In the 5-minute presentation, sponsored by WeatherTech, Derek Hill reveals that next summer’s event will reunite the winning cars from the legendary Pebble Beach Road Race, which was held from 1950–56.
The first Pebble Beach Road Race was held seven decades ago on November 5, 1950. Known as the race for the “Del Monte Trophy,” it was managed by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and held on twisty, narrow roads around the Lodge at California’s famous Pebble Beach Golf Links. Not only was much of the 1.8-mile road course lined with cypress trees, some of it was unpaved that first year. Later races were held on a slightly longer, fully paved course.
Driving his father’s XK120, now owned by Mark Miller, Derek Hill retraces the first Pebble Beach race circuit and shares some history of the road race, which Phil Hill won three times.
“My father brought this car over from England,” Derek says. “(He) customized it, stripped the weight off it, showed up, and he won—the first major race that he ever won.”
Entering a tight right-hand corner on the original course, Hill explains, “The first time he came up to the first corner … he got on the brakes a little bit too late and had to shoot right off the escape road. He was really just figuring it all out. He was only 22 years old.”
Derek Hill is amazed by the history of the 1950 Pebble Beach Road Race and the opportunity to drive the original course in his father’s car. “To think this is where motor racing started in California and where it all started for my father … [it’s] just unbelievable. It was really the beginning of the whole sports car revolution.”
For more information about the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, visit pebblebeachconcours.net.