Friday, 22 August 2014 00:00

42st Oldtimer Grand Prix Nürburgring 8-10 August 2014 - Part 1 The Races

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With the AVD Oldtimer Grand Prix, it's a bit like having old friends. One knows its strengths and weaknesses and is always glad to meet them again. For the 42nd time the fans flocked together at the Eifel. The program differed only slightly from previous years, therefore, to speak of missing highlights, would surely be a mistake. Porsche welcomed classic sports car enthusiasts from all over the world on a site covering more than 14,000 square metres and offered advice and consultation for repair work or spare parts supply of classic Porsche vehicles. They also celebrated the 40 anniversary of the 911 Turbo. Jaguar Heritage brought a few D-Types from its museum, and McLaren showed the rarely seen 1970 ex-Denny Hulme M14, which finished second at the South Africa Grand Prix and secured third places at Great Britain, Germany and Mexico. But the main reason to visit this event are of course the races, especially the 4-hour Marathon race on the legendary Nordschleife. In spite of the less than glorious weather conditions more than 45,000 visitors drove into the Eifel.
Turbulent Eifel weather during the Marathon
The weather on Friday afternoon played a major role on Nürburqrinq. The participants of the AVD Historic Marathon and the Nürburgring Trophy were happy with a dry track for just 2 laps. Then it began to drizzle and soon heavy rain arrived and after two and a half hours, the track conditions were so bad that the race was red flagged for about 30 minutes and all cars were ordered back into the pit lane, to finally give the last 40 minutes free. These last 40-minutes developed into a sprint race between the three leading teams, Marcus von Oeynhausen/Frank Stippler in the E-Type Jaguar, Jason Wright/Michael Gans in the Ford GT40 and Walter Röhrl/Armin Zumtobel in the two-litre 911 Porsche. Even for the two-time World Rally Champion, 67 year old Walter Röhrl it was hard to deal with adverse weather conditions. He started with Armin Zumtobel from 13th place in the 1965 Porsche 911. After the race Walter explained: “We had chosen the wrong tyre compound and under these conditions it was incredibly difficult to keep the car on the track. At 160 or 170 km/h the roadholding was terrible. With 40 years of rally experience that was manageable, otherwise probably not; it also satisfies me that all the reflexes are still there and that we were able to finish third.”
For the pilots of the victorious E-Type of the Gotcha team not only the weather brought plenty of excitement also qualifying was a struggle. Marcus von Oeynhausen: “During qualifying we lost the V-belt of the alternator and therefore we had to install a weaker replacement alternator for the race. But from the start of the race, the replacement alternator didn’t work properly at high revs caused by a slipping V-belt, so I wanted to make a pitstop. Then I noticed the dark clouds and I knew that at lower revs the V-belt would slip less so it wouldn’t effect our performance compared to the competitors.” Nevertheless, it was pretty tight towards the end as the V-belt broke and during the last lap the engine’s temperatures was over 100 degrees Celsius. Stippler explained: “The engine practically gave up when I crossed the finish line." Finishing in second position just 70 seconds behind the winners was the GT40 of Michael Gans and Jason Wright. They led the race from the start but also their car suffered from the heavy rainfall. Water entered the cockpit massively and the complete electrical system became soaked. “We’ve managed to finish the race in second position and that’s the most important thing”, said Michael Gans afterwards. Not in the top ranks was the Porsche 904/6 driven by Fatemi/Merchant, but they finished the race in the 9th position. No wonder some cars suffered severe damage as they slipped of the track and couldn’t finish the race, there was a Lotus Elan with a damaged back end, a BMW with the heavily dented front end, a Marcos with a completely damaged suspension and a Aston Martin DP214 with a damaged front.

Simultaneously with the Marathon, the race for the younger cars (Nürburgring Trophy) took also place on the Nordschleife. Germans Oberdörster Stefan/Andreas Gulden won this race in a Porsche 911 S 2.4 from 1970, quite an achievement as the direct competitors drove the much powerful RS and RSR versions. Traditionally the classic touring cars and GTs like Alfa Romeo, BMW, Ford Escort and Porsche dominated the Nürburgring Trophy, but this year a quite unusual car, not previously seen in this race was entered, a Skoda 130 RS. In 1981, this Coupé model was prepared by the factory for racing and won the European Touring Car Championship in their class. For owner – and driver Herbert Gartenschlager, a former citizen of Eastern Germany, dreams came true as the preparation of the car was just finished before event. “When we started to prepare the car for racing we had the advantage that the bodywork was in a very good condition so we could focus on the engine, gearbox and suspension”, Herbert explained. “Before qualifying the engine ran for just two hours on the testbench. Our main goal for this weekend was to finish the Trophy without any major mechanical troubles and we have succeeded”. Many drivers were curious when they noticed the Skoda in the starting list. Even Walter Röhrl informed himself about the “Porsche of the East" as the 130 RS was called during the early eighties.

The Gentlemen at full throttle
The Gentlemen Drivers 65-minute race started Saturday-evening at 7 o’clock and as the weather was fine, the drivers could enjoy the evening sun. McInerney (TVR Griffith) started on pole for the 65-minute race, and took the lead at the first corner, but O'Connell (Jaguar E-Type) was on his heels constantly. Michael Gans (AC Cobra) ran in third position but he was judged to have jumped the start so he had to do a penalty-pitstop and fell down in position. So Marcus von Oeyenhausen (Jaguar E-type) became third and when James Hagan (Ginetta G4R) spun at turn one, and that brought out the safety car. With the safety car now on the track McInerney took the opportunity to enter the pits for changing a tyre on the TVR. What should have been a fast pitsstop was negated by an unwilling engine to fire up again so von Oeyenhausen took second place. Not for long as the cooling system of von Oeyenhausen’s Jaguar blew up in a most spectacular way. So McInerney became second again. Now it was a fight between the TVR and the dark blue E-Type. It was obvious that the brakes would play an important role in this duel. It was McInerney who pushed the brakes a fraction too hard (just watch the pic). He kept second spot behind O'Connell with Andrew Haddon (AC Cobra) finishing third.

BMW race
Eighteen BMWs enter the race in which only cars with the white-blue brand could be entered. Half of the field was filled with the model M1, the sports-model made from 1978 until 1981. It was Christian Traber who took the lead in race 1 but Michael Kammermann tried to outbrake him before every corner. He didn’t succeed and his persistant style of driving caused him to the barrier. He was still able to finish the race just 31 seconds behind Traber. The Swiss Bernoise team did a makeshift repair of Kammermann’s M1 so he could start in the second race on Sunday. Not without success as he won the race ! The fire-breathing M1s were unbeatable for the other types in this race, but at least Dieter Tögel (BMW 3.5 CSL) and Jürg Dürig (BMW 635 CSI) were able to follow the M1s on just a few seconds.
German Racing Championship 1972-1981
The most colourful field of cars showed up at race for touring-carsand Group 5 racing cars which entered the German Racing Championship during the years 1972-1981. For many visitors this race is one of the favorites to watch as it offers a wide variety of vehicles all with a different exhaust sound. In both races it was Jörg Hübner in the 1976 Porsche 934/5 who took victory. Also the second place on the podium was for the same driver, Peter Mücke, driving a very special Zakspeed Ford Capri. This is the 540 bhp Capri Turbo, in which Klaus Ludwig took 16 victories in the German Racing Championship between April 1980 and June 1982 and also became the overall winner in 1981. Mücke’s son Stefan rebuilt the Zakspeed Capri completely. In April the 67-year-old Mücke raced the Capri for the first time and started from pole position in the Histo-Cup in Brno (Czech Republic) and he won the race. "This was a very thorough shakedown test for the Ford Capri in the first race after nearly 32 years”, said Mücke who had some bad memories of the 2013 Oldtimer Grand Prix. Last year, Mücke drove his legendary Ford Capri RS 3100 on the Nordschleife, he was in the lead and in the Hatzenbach curve he slipped of the track at almost 250 km/h caused by a trace of oil. Fortunately he was able to keep control of the car and came to a halt just a meter distance from the barriers. Only the tailgate was damaged.

FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship
The two races of the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship for sports cars from the late sixties and seventies ended two victories for Martin O'Connell in the Chevron B19, followed by Jason Wright on Lola T70 Mk III B and Tim Cousins on a Chevron B23. O'Connell led the first race in front of Jason Wright who in turn lost second spot on lap two to Stefano Rosina (McLaren M8C). Rosina’s Can-Am car hit mechanical problems and had to withdraw in lap five. That gave Wright second place once more but he was too far back to challenge O'Connell. In race two Wright’s Lola suffered from understeer, although he managed to overtake O'Connell on the opening tour. In the end the Chevron had the advantage to go faster round the corners and then blasted away in a straight line. Wright secured second place and Cousins third once more.
FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship
Steve Hartley and Michael Lyons were the winners of the two exciting FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship races. Simon Fish (Ensign N180) led the majority of race 1 but was under constant pressure from Michael Lyons (Hesketh 308E). Eventually, in lap 12 Lyons outbraked Fish on the inside of the first corner and forced a way past, Fish was forced wide and that allowed Hartley to jump past as well. Then drama took place as the fuel pressure of Lyons Hesketh fell away and his car stopped with just two laps to go. Sunday's race promised to be a thriller with Hartley on pole and Lyons at the back after his race one retirement. As the cars headed to the grid, light rain fell and some competitors had already decided to start the race with treaded wet-weather tyres. Some others – including Michael – remained on slicks. As the weather worsened before the start of the formation lap the remaining drivers decided to leave the grid and head to the pits for a tyre change. Michael and eight other drivers had to start from the pitlane and Michael made immediate progress and stormed through the field under very tricky conditions. Sensationally working his way into second place, he was also able to overtake race leader Silvio Kalb.

Historic Grand Prix Cars
The results for both races of the Formula 1 and Grand Prix cars built from 1959 to 1965 were almost similar. While Miles Griffiths took the victory in both races with his Cooper T51, William Nuthall (Cooper T53) and Peter Horsman (Lotus 18/21) swapped places. The Saturday race for Historic Grand Prix Cars built before 1960 was interrupted by a serious accident. The Cooper-Bristol driven by Nick Eden was hit by another competitor and flipped over several times. Nick suffered serious injuries, and was transported by helicopter to the hospital in Koblenz where his condition was stabilized. The race was restarted after 30 minutes. Despite the accident, the race became worthwhile watching as the two Bugatti T51 pilots Stephen Shoosmith and Timothy Dutton were able to stay close behind the much younger Maserati 250F and Cooper Bristol. Both races were won by Philip Walker (Lotus 16), second was Julian Bronson (Scarab Offenhauser) and third Tony Wood (Maserati TecMec).

Two-seaters in the night
The sun had already disappeared on the horizon, as the 47 two-seater racing cars and GT sports cars built between 1960-61 began their 65-minutes race. Initially, Julian Majzub took the lead from the start of the race in his Sadler MkIII but he had to settle for second place behind Mark Lewis in the Lister-Knobbly Chevrolet. SamMcLeod, driving the tiny and less powerful Lotus 11, completed the podium. Jürg Hübner drove the Tojeiro Jaguar to a fourth place and thus defended the Germany honors, because there were only British drivers in the following rankings. For the visitors the finishing orde was probably less important than the ‘Le Mans mood’ created by the spotlights on the tarmac. Sunday in the second race (in daylight) it was Majzub who took revanch and won.2nd place went to Philip Walker/Honeys Griffiths (Lotus15), 3rd place for Barry and Tony Wood (Lister-Knobbly Jaguar).                                                        Text and photos by Guus Docen

Top row – left to right:
Winners of the Historic-Marathon Marcus von Oeynhausen/Frank Stippler in the E-Type Jaguar - Alfa Romeo 1750 GTAm - Ford GT40 (Jason Wright/Michael Gans) - Porsche 911 driven by Walter Röhrl/Armin Zumtobel

2nd row – left to right:
Lotus Elan Shapecraft – Aston Martin DP 214 – Porsche 904/6 – AC Cobra

3nd row – left to right:
1970 Porsche 911 S driven by Oberdörster Stefan/Andreas Gulden won the Nürburgring-Trophy – Skoda 130 RS – Porsche’s 14,000 square metres site – Gentlemen DriversO'Connell (Jaguar E-Type) and McInerney (TVR Griffith) duelling

4th row – left to right:
Chevrolet Corvette in Gentlemen Drivers race – von Oeynhausen’s E-Type losing all it’s cooling fluid –McInerney’s TVR Griffith red hot brake discs – AC Cobra finished third in the Gentlemen Drivers race

5th row – left to right:
Jamie Boot (TVR Griffith) finished 7th – Ginetta G4 R (Birkelund) finished fourth in the Gentlemen Drivers race – 1974 Porsche 911 RSR and BMW M1 Procar – 1980 Ford Capri Zakspeed

6th row – left to right:
1980 Ford Capri Zakspeed - Flame throwing BMW M1 Turbo – 1969 Isdera Erator Mk III powered by a 420 bhp Mercedes V8 engine – Martin O’Connell won the Masters Sports Car race (Chevron B19)

7th row – left to right:
Recreation of the 1936/37 Auto Union Type C Grand Prix - Masters Historic Formula One Ensign N180, Hesketh 308E and Arrows A4 – 1970 McLaren M14 – Historic Grand Prix Cars Lotus 16 (Philip Walker) and Scarab Offenhauser (Julian Bronson)

8th row – left to right:
ERA R5B - Stephen Shoosmith and Timothy Dutton (Bugatti T51) – ERA R5B – Bugatti T35C

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