Monday, 03 July 2017 15:04

Nürburgring Classic Eifelrennen 16-18 June 2017

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Since its construction (1925 - 1927), the Nordschleife has enjoyed a reputation as a terrifying and merciless route through the German Eifel forests. On the occasion of the 90th birthday of the legendary Nürburgring, a new - but already well-known - motorsport event took place in the Eifel. Exactly 90 years after the Nürburgring was opened (the 18th of June 1927) the "Nürburgring Classic" was held on the old track (Nordschleife) and the Grand Prix course.
Racing and winning on the Nordschleife has always been very special for racing drivers, because the track is one of the most demanding in the world. With an impressive length of almost 21 kilometres, 154 turns, treacherous crests, steep inclines and gradients and constantly changing road surfaces, this track demands great skill from the driver and put vehicles to a hard test. An English journalist who visited the Nordschleife during the opening race on 18 June 1927 even concluded “that it seemed as if a reeling, drunken giant had been sent out to determine the route”. The Formula 1 pilot Sir Jackie Stewart (three-time Formula One world champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973) was so impressed by the circuit that he gave it the name which it will probably never lose: Green Hell.

The 3-hours long-distance race for touring cars and GTs was held on the combined Nordschleife and Grand Prix course (total length 25.9 kilometres, 170 turns). More than 130 cars were on the grid for the FHR Dunlop Long Distance Cup and the Youngtimer Trophy championship. A great variety of cars appeared on the starting grid like MGB, NSU TT, Lotus Elan, BMW 2002, Ford Escort, Alfa Romeo 2000 GTAM, Porsche 911, BMW M1, Porsche 924, BMW 325i to name a few. The FHR Dunlop long distance cup was won by a Ford Escort RS1600 driven by the Germans Heinz Schmersal and Mike Stursberg. With lap times of 10 min and 15 seconds, they were able to leave the Porsche armada behind. The Youngtimer race was won by Edgar Salewsky and Wolfgang Destree in a Porsche 911 RSR. Their fastest lap time was 9 min. and 32 seconds (an average speed of 160 km/h !).

There was more action on the Nordschleife than on other historic race weekends. In addition to the long distance race on Sunday, there were demonstration runs of various types of cars, including the Rudolf Uhlenhaut Trophy (Mercedes-Benz 300SL) , sports cars and Granturismo vehicles from 1950 to 1974, classic motorcycles, pre-war vehicles and the mass event called "Nürburgring Classic Experience", intended for members of the ADAC, owning a classic car or young timer, which could be anything from a two-stroke DKW to a AC Cobra Replica. Of course fast lap times and high speeds weren’t evident during these demonstration runs. After a four-year break, the prewar cars returned to the old pitboxes of the year 1927. During the opening race in 1927 several Mercedes-Benz S, SS-Rennsport and SSK were on the starting grid so during this weekend several of these mighty and expensive cars were on show in the old pitbox area. There were other impressive and special cars on sight like the ADLER Trumpf Racing Limousine built in 1936/38. One of only three surviving examples of the pioneering Rennlimousine, this car with chassis number 167671, is almost certainly the most original and best preserved car, with so much of its original form and features intact. It is almost certain one of three cars entered by the Adler works team in the 1937 24 Hours of Le Mans. Driven by Otto Löhr and Paul von Guilleaume in the 2-liter class, it finished 2nd in class and 9th overall. In 1938 the car attended the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. During this race the car was involved in an accident. Afterwards the car was rebuilt by the factory, with an amended front-end design, and given to the company's foreign importers as a show car for demonstrations. After WW2, the Adler was exported to the United States but returned to Europe in 1994. 

On the Grand Prix race track other races were held like the so-called Battle of the Dwarves.
This is a race especially for small cars like the Mini, Fiat-Abarth and NSU. The Mini Cooper driven by Nick Kaufmann won both heats. The two heats in the Gentle Drivers Trophy, were won by Mike Martin in the Ferrari 330 GTO, followed by the Lotus Eleven (Jörg Markus) and the Lotus 17 (Oliver Hartmann). Especially the second heat on saturday-evening was exciting as the small Lotus Eleven chased the valuable GTO during the whole race. The 100-mile-Trophy of the FHR was won by Wolfgang Kaufmann in the Kremer Porsche K3, while in the historic Formula 2 with a relatively small starting field Jeremy Wheatly in the Surtees TS15 won race 1 and Robert Simac (March 712M) won the second race. The race for Touring Cars and GTs was won by the equippe Georg Nolte and Frank Stippler in a Ford GT40.

Pictures by Guus Docen 
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