Tuesday, 01 September 2015 00:00

43st Oldtimer Grand Prix Nürburgring 7-9 August 2015 - Part 1 The Races

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This 43st edition of the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix came up with two special races: a race of the Jaguar Heritage Challenge and a Touring Car race of which the majority of the cars were Alfa Romeos GTA/GTAm. This year it is the celebration of "50 years of Alfa Romeo GTA" and also the 80th birthday of Jaguar. The three-day historic racing event at the Nürburgring attracted  52,000 spectators to the Eifel area.
Jaguar celebrates 80th birthday
Jaguar prominently presented their long brand history: At the Jaguar exhibition the latest models were displayed but also some of their famous classics like the SS100, the Mark II and the D-Type.  The first production Lightweight E-type (number 13), meticulously built by specialist engineers from the Jaguar Heritage workshop, was also displayed.

The Jaguar Heritage Challenge, is a race series for all models of pre ’66 Jaguars like the XK series, C and D-types, MK I and MK II saloons and pre-1966 E-types.  Four of the five races are held on the British continent and the only appearance of this race series outside the UK was at the Oldtimer Grand Prix. Professional racing driver Andy Wallace, winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1988), Daytona (1990, 1997 and 1999) and the 12 Hours of Sebring (1993 and 1994), drove a Jaguar MK I of 1957 this weekend. During the qualification, the winners of the first race of this challenge at Donington, Sandy Watson and Martin O'Connell, drove their E-Type to pole position with a laptime of 2.05,269 minutes. Von Oeynhausen, started the race from grid position two with a laptime of 2.05,675 minutes.  Up to the first pit stop and driver change, the quickest in qualifying, were still in the lead. However, after the British set the fastest lap time of 2.04,662 minutes in lap seven, two laps later they were out of the race with a mechanical defect.  It was Jamie Boot in second position now but von Oeynhausen kept the lead in his turquoise E-Type in front of 23,000 spectators. Harry Wnydham finished in third place. The final race of this inaugural brand trophy is at Oulton Park, in the last weekend of August.

50 years of Alfa Romeo GTA
This weekend the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix honored the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA.
The Sprint GTA was specially developed for touring car races. The suffix "A" in the type designation is the Italian abbreviation for "alleggerita”, in English "lightened". The body-weight of the original Giulia Sprint GT was reduced by body parts made of Peraluman, a very lightweight aluminum-zinc-manganese alloy. Compared to the conventional Sprint GT,  the GTA weighs 200 kilograms less. The engine has a new double ignition cylinder with a Marelli distributor from a Ferrari Dino, 45 mm carburettors instead of 40 mm and magnesium camshaft cover, sump, timing cover and bell housing. The Autodelta tuned race-version differed from the road version through some special components like an oil cooler, rollbar, limited slip differential, special rear suspension, and a longer fifth gear. The engine was further tuned and developed 170 hp. From 1965, the GTA was the dominant vehicle in its racing class. In 1966 and 1967 factory driver Andrea de Adamich (Italy) was the European touring car champion in this category. In 1968 a new capacity class for the international touring car championship was introduced for cars less than 1.3 litres. For this class the GTA 1300 Junior was developed, the little brother of the 1600 version. The 1,290-cc Autodelta Group II version delivered 160 hp. By 1969 another version was introduced by the factory racing division Autodelta, the 1750 GTAm.
The designation GTAm (maggiorata) points to the extended displacement - initially it was 1779 cc., from 1970 it changed to 1985 cc. The carburettors were replaced by a Spica fuel-injection system, just like the USA export-versions of the 1750 GT Veloce. This Group II has the extended polyester fender flares and a polyester hood. In 1970, the Dutchman Toine Hezemans won the European Touring Car championship with the GTAm. The GTA is still a very popular car in historic touring car races and competes against the Lotus Cortinas and BMWs 1800s. All GTA versions were produced in limited numbers and several cars didn’t survive the harsh life of motor racing so original cars are rare and very expensive. Nowadays many regular Sprint Veloces have been transformed into GTAs. Almost 25 GTAs and GTAms were competing in the AvD Touring Car and GT race. Fastest time in practice was for Nicolai Kjaergaard in a Lotus Elan 26R. The next 5 cars on the grid were Alfa Romeos. The 65-minutes race was won by the Kjaergaard, followed by six Alfa Romeos.

Pre-war cars
The oldest cars present at this event were parked in the historic paddock of the Nürburgring.
A walk through this area offers a unique opportunity to take a trip into the earliest years of motorsport - and not only the evolution of motorsport, but also the entire development of vehicle engineering. The oldest car to be seen was a 1907 Renault Vanderbilt racer. One year after the first Grand Prix was held, Renault was commissioned by the American William K. Vanderbilt Jr. to build ten smaller sized versions of the successful 1906-07 Renault Grand Prix cars. They were powered by a 7.5 litre four cylinder 35/45 hp engine. Just a few of those cars have survived and the Renault at the Nürburgring is owned by German Wolfgang Auge. The second oldest was a 1916 Locomobile M48 Speed ​​Car. A massive car powered by a 8600 cc. inline six cylinder engine, developing 82 hp at 2600 rpm.

Among the many interesting vehicles were also two supercharged Mercedes-Benz models. Particularly noteworthy was the 710 SSK owned by Markus Kern. The so-called "GP10" is the original vehicle that Malcom Campbell bought and drove. Today the car has the English approval with the license plate "GP 10" because this was Cambells tenth Grand Prix car.

The third supercharged Mercedes in the historic paddock was a type 680S Rennsport. “I found this car in the the Bronx (New York) about 30 years ago”, told owner Peterheinz Kern. “The car was in such a bad condition that a small tree already grew through the wooden floorboard. Just by coincidence I was there at the right moment as the elderly gentlemen who owned the car wanted to get rid of it. So I bought it and had it shipped to Germany. During the restoration the body had to be replaced completely but it became clear that the major parts of the engine, suspension, gearbox, axles were the original ones”.

AvD Historic Marathon and Nürburgring Trophy
Entries this year were less than in 2014. Just 32 teams were entered for the Historic Marathon 4-hour race at the Nordschleife and 25 teams for the Nürburgring Trophy
Compared to 2012 it’s a great difference as in total 83 teams entered both races. Practice was on Friday morning and the race started early in the afternoon around two o’clock. German racing-driver Frank Stippler competed in both the Marathon Trophy and the Historic Marathon and in the best possible conditions he managed to make the fastest times for both cars during the qualification. So the von Oeynhausen-Stippler E-Type Jaguar was on pole position for the Historic Marathon.  An extra challenge for the drivers was the high temperature (34 degrees Celsius) which meant that the temperature in some of the cars rose to 70 degrees Celsius. Marcus von Oeynhausen / Frank Stippler were able to finish the four-hour Endurance race for the sixth time as the overall winner. Finishing in second place (fifth in the overall classification) were Alan Tice and Chris Conoley (Marcos 1800 GT). Andrew Haddon/Martin Stretton (AC Cobra) finished third although they were in the lead during the first two hours of the race, but at the Döttinger Höhe the car ran out of fuel and had to be towed to the pit lane. Freshly refuelled they saved a podium place and finished ninth overall. In the Marathon, which is approved for cars built from 1967 to 1975, the victory went to Englishmen Mark Bates and Sean McInerney in a Porsche 911 RSR.  Mike Stursberg and Olaf Manthey drove their Ford Escort RS 1600 in second place. A great result, which they hadn’t expected - as they were struggling with the gearbox that lost third gear.

Masters Championship races
Belgian Loic Deman was the star in both heads of the Masters Historic Formula One race.
Deman took pole for the opening 25-minute race on Saturday and drove his Candy-liveried Tyrrell 010 into the lead, chased by Michael Lyons (Hesketh 308E). The gap at the finish line was just two seconds with Deman ahead. Deman repeated his skills in the second race on Sunday. The Tyrrell snatched the advantage ahead of Lyons, the two breaking away from the opposition.

In the first race of the Masters Historic Sports Car Championship Padmore started from pole in Max Smith-Hilliards Chevron B19 and led away, chased by Jason Wrights Lola T70 Mk3B and Michael Gans (Lola T290). Wright ran low on fuel in the closing stages handing second spot to Gans and finally Gans passed Padmore and won the race. Andy Wolfe took over Gans Lola for race two and kept the lead chased by Mark Piercy. Mike Donovan and Jason Wright blasted their Lola T70s up to third and fourth, with Wright eventually passing Donovan for the final podium place.

The Gentlemen Drivers race lasting 65-minutes was interrupted by a red flag after Joaquin Folch and Marcus von Oeyenhausens Jaguar E-types made contact. Both suffered severe damage and the race had to be restarted, by now in heavy rain. Michael Gans (AC Cobra) drove away from Frank Stippler (Bizzarini) with Martin OConnell (Jaguar E-type) third. After the mandatory pit stops, Andrew Haddon (AC Cobra) inherited the lead and hung on for victory ahead of the Gans/Wolfe Cobra and Jamie Boots TVR Griffith in third.

Revival Deutsche Rennsport-Meisterschaft 1972 - 1981
Thirty-four owners of high-performance racing cars signed up for the two races of the  German Racing championship 1972-1981. Thirteen Porsches and 12 BMWs stood on the starting grid. Second on the grid was the legendary 540-hp Ford "Zakspeed" Turbo Capri, driven by the 68-year Berliner Peter Mücke. With this Ford, famous racing driver Klaus Ludwig, scored 16 wins in the German Racing Championship from April 1980 until June 1982. On pole-position was Andre Lotterer in the much stronger Porsche 935 K3 who immediately took the lead from the start. In the first corner, another Porsche passed the Capri but Mücke retrieved himself to the second place and stood on the top step of the podium as Lotteres Porsche showed mechanical problems. In a thirty-car field, Mücke won also the second race on Sunday and drove the fastest lap time in 1:48.032 minutes.

Two-seater Racing Cars and Gts until 1960/61
On the starterslist of the endurance race for two-seater racing cars and GTs until 1960/61 there were some interesting cars such as a Maserati Birdcage and 250SI, Lister-Jaguar, Lister-Chevrolet, Porsche 356 and RSK 718, the Lotus Elite but also some exotic rarities, such as the Ferrari 250GT SWB Breadvan or the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Zagato. The 65-minutes race of Saturday-evening was won by Julian Majzub in his Sadler Mk III. Tony Wood finished second in the Knobbly Lister-Chevrolet and third was Mark Lewis also in a Lister-Chevrolet. In the 30-minutes race held on Sunday-afternoon the three winners of Saturday exchanged places on the podium, Tony Wood won this race followed by Mark Lewis, while Julian Majzub finished third.

Historic Grand Prix cars pre 1960
Julian Bronson led on both races in the 4-cylinder Offenhauser engined Scarab. 
The Scarab is a rather rare beast which made its debut at the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix. The American front-engined, single-seate was built by Lance Reventlow, who was the son of Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton and the step-son of actor Cary Grant. The car didn’t get the chance to compete as, by the time it was ready to race, Lotus and Cooper had made the switch to rear-engined designs. Chassis number three, was one of cars taken to Zandvoort in 1960 as a spare with no engine. It was acquired by Tom Wheatcroft in 1964 and spent many years in the Donington Collection. Julian Bronson bought it from the Donington Collection in 2010 and fitted the 2.5-litre Offenhauser engine.

This 3-day event deserves to remain in the European top 5 list of racing events for classic cars. Let's hope that the long-distance race on the Nordschleife next year, attracts more participants because this is still one of the crowd pullers.

Pictures by Guus Docen
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