Monday, 27 August 2007 14:12
35th Oldtimer Grand-Prix Nürburgring 10-12 August 2007Written by Guus Docen
During the drive from my bed and breakfast address to the circuit on Friday-morning at nine there were plenty of reasons to be cautious about the day ahead. There was a thick fog (in some parts there was only 30 metres visibility) in the whole area. The cars ready for practice for the Historic 400 kilometres Marathon on the Nordschleife were queued up for hours but unfortunately had to be driven back to the parking lot at 12.00 h. when the organisation decided that the 400 kilometres race was cancelled and two hours later also the practices on the Grand Prix track were cancelled until further notice. Finally the complete day’s program was cancelled. A big disappointment for all drivers but an understandable reaction from the organiser. A new timetable for Saturday and Sunday was announced at 17.00h.
Because of the cancelled races on the Friday I was able to view some interesting cars auctioned by Coys on Saturday afternoon. At the entrance was the Buick monoposto racer. A single seater racer built in 1998 based on circa 1939 Buick mechanical components. Under the aluminium body work sits a 4.2 litre in-line eight cylinder engine with power fed through a three speed gearbox and chain drive to the rear wheels. Another splendid motorcar was the Ferrari 275 GTB, a well known car with a long competition racing history. Some years ago this cars was rebuilt from front to back by the well known Ferrari-specialist Roelofs in the Netherlands. This Ferrari changed hands for 410,000 Euros. What seemed to be a Porsche 906 was a 1967 Giannini V8 1600 Sports Prototipo. The chassis is of a tubular design derived from the aforementioned Porsche 906/908. Power is derived from a Giannini developed and built V8 engine mated to a Porsche five speed competition transaxle. A unique and significant car that is eligible for many historic rallies was the Moretti modified Lancia Aurelia B20 GT 2500. This car left the factory in 1954 and was modified to its current form by Moretti in 1955 as an open two seater with a detachable, aerodynamic, aluminium hard top. The engine was also modified with a Nardi tuning kit. Saturday dawned damp and foggy, racing was postponed once again. Around 10.00 h. the sun broke through so half an hour later qualifying sessions started for the two German Championships (GT series and Touring Cars) followed by the first Formula Junior Race. As no training had been possible a fair starting grid had to be arranged. Urs Eberhardt in a Lotus 27 was on pole with Christoph Burkhardt’s Lotus 22 alongside. During lap four Emanuele Benedini (Brabham BT6) passed Eberhardt and won the race 1. In race 2 on Sunday it was Christoph Burkhardt who won the race. In 1957 Juan Manuel Fangio won the Grand Prix race on the Nürburgring with a Maserati 250F and became Word-champion for the fifth time in his life. Ten of these rare cars participating this weekend in the race of pre-1960 Grand Prix cars. Three of these splendid racers cars were so-called CM-replicas. CM are the initials of the Englishman Cameron Miller. This former president of the Maserati-club owned five of these rare cars in the sixties. He bought all the spare parts from the factory and was able to produce about 10 replicas. Probably also new fabricated parts were used to build these recreations but nowadays several CM cars - most notably the earlier ones - actually feature more genuinely Maserati-made in-period components than some 'real' 250Fs which have been badly battered, re-chassised, re-bodied and re-engined during their long active lives. The CMs are FIA-approved and it makes a great sight seeing historic GP fields crowded with 250F's driven in anger. The actual Fangio car (no. 2529) was also present but its current German owner is very careful so just demonstration rounds were driven by Lukas Hüni.Both heats of the race were won by Dutchman Jos Koster in the blue Maserati 250F (no. 2534). Apart from the Grand Prix cars there was the Orwell SuperSports Cup. McLarens and Marches with 8 litre engines were battling against very light and quick 2-litre Chevrons. From the start Richard Piper, McLaren M8F, took the lead closely followed by John Grant (McLaren M8C) Peter Schleifer (March 707) and Peter Hoffman (McLaren M8F). Peter Hoffman took the lead on lap 4 which he held to the end. Race 2 on Sunday was again dry. John Grant took the lead but soon suffered brake problems and was lucky to finish third. Peter Hoffman’s race ended in lap 9 with no brakes handing the lead to Richard Piper, McLaren M8F, who finished well clear of the field. The World Sportscar Masters vehicles took to the track in the early afternoon. Stefano Rosina, Richard Meins and Jonathan Baker offered a great show for the spectators driving their Lola T70s in anger. In the middle of the field were several Chevron B 16s having their own fight for victory. Stefano Rosina was the ultimate winner of race one. In race two it was Paul Knapfield’s Ferrari 712 who was the winner followed closely followed by Leo Voyazides in a Lola 280. Traditionally for this event is the pre-1960 2-seater Sportscars and GTs race with a so-called Le-Mans start. The cars are lined up alongside the pit wall in the order in which they qualified. The starting drivers are standing on the opposite side of the front stretch. When the flag is dropped to signify the start, the drivers will run across the track to their cars, which they would have to enter and start without assistance. The Sunday ended with the touring-car race. Mini Coopers, Lotus Cortina and Alfa GTAs were all driven in anger. The organisers of the weekend must have had terrible headaches reorganizing the program. Fortunately the Saturday turned into a very nice day and Sunday was even better so in the end both competitors and visitors enjoyed some great racing and are looking forward to the 36th Historic Grand Prix but please without fog !
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