Friday, 07 June 2024 19:38

Spa Classic by Peter Auto - 17-19 May 2024

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Peter Auto specialised in the organisation of races, rallies and events linked to the classic car world, created the Spa-Classic in 2011 on the drivers’ favourite circuit Spa-Francorchamps. This event has grown progressively to become one of Europe’s most important historic racing events. All nine race series organized by Peter Auto were at Spa-Francorchamps to compete, in total 313 racing cars. Each serie has its own clear identity defined by certain period and type of car. These include sports prototypes, touring cars, grand touring cars and sports cars from the 1950s to 2011. It all started with practice sessions and qualifications on Friday in quite bad weather conditions which got so worse around six p.m. that further practices and qualifications were cancelled. Saturday started with a drizzle but during the day the weather got better and better. Sunday started cloudy but in the afternoon the clouds began to drop and the sun got shining brightly.
  • The Classic Touring Challenge is aimed at the first models having participated in the various touring car championships before 1966, starting with the British Saloon Car Championship, created in 1958, and the European Touring Car Championship from 1963. Twenty-three cars turned up at Spa-Francorchamps of which eight cars were Alfa Romeos Sprint GTAs, six Mini-Coopers, three Ford Mustangs, a Ford Falcon, two BMWs and just one Ford Lotus Cortina! No chance for the Lotus Cortina driven by Shaun and Maxwell Lynn as the five GTAs were all top-prepared cars driven by very experienced men like the Banks brothers, Lukas Halusa, Alex Furiani and Frank Stippler. The 60 minutes race was won by the Banks Brothers followed by another four GTAs.                                                                            
  • The Heritage Touring Cup has become a successful series amongst the owners and drivers of these saloons, as this cup provides the excitement of the era of the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) between 1966 and 1985. The most important event of every race-season was the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours which became the favourite playing field of the best-known manufacturers and drivers’ majority. During these two decades of touring car racing several manufacturers won this event but BMW was one of the most loyal participants entering a whole string of models ranging from the 1800 Ti in the 60s to the 635 CSi in the 80s. The cars from Munich had several rivals over their long reign and were beaten by the Alfa Romeo GTAs and GTVs, Ford Mustangs and Capri RSs, and Jaguar XJSs. This weekend seventien BMWs, twelve Fords and one Alfa Romeo GTV competed in two 60 minutes races. Yves Scemama scored a double win in his Ford Capri RS3100. On Saturday the BMW 3.0 CSL driven by Michael Kammermann and Sebastian Gläser finished second. On Sunday the Capri driven by Armand Mille followed just 3 seconds behind Scemana.                                                                                                                          
  • The Sixties’ Endurance, for pre-63 Sports and pre-66 GTs, offered an impressive grid of 59 cars. A two-hour race on Saturday-evening put together a wide range of cars (E-Type Jaguars, Shelby Cobras, Austin Healeys, Lotus Elans, Morgans SLR and even a Bizzarrini 5300GT). First on the starting grid was the Shelby Cobra 289 driven by the equippe Kadoorie/Perez followed by two E-Types. The race was won by the Jaguar E-Type driven by Jonathan Mitchell. In addition to the traditional overall classification there’s also a weighted classification which favours the smaller cubes and older cars in front of their powerful and younger challengers as the Cobras and E-Types. This gives a very different result as five Lotus Elans are the first classifiers of the race followed by two Morgans SLRs!                                                                 
  • The Gentlemen Challenge is open to all cars having marked the major endurance events of the 50’s and early 60’s. Respect and fair-play are the keywords for the drivers in this challenge. Eighty-four cars took part in two 45 minutes races. It’s a rare occasion to see so many iconic GTs and prototypes from the golden age of racing like four Ferraris 250 GT SWB, Lister Jaguars, Lotus XI and 15, Alfa Giulia TZ, Aston Martin DB4 GT, Elva etc. Luc-Pierre Verquin (Lister-Chevrolet) won race 1 on Saturday and James Thorpe (Lister-Jaguar 'Flat Iron') won the race on Sunday.                                                                                                              
  • Classic Endurance Racing 1 echoes one of the most mythical periods in the history of the World Endurance Championship. The racing seasons culminating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans saw the legendary Ford GT40s take on the Ferrari 330 P4, then the Porsche 917s against the Ferrari 512. This was the great era of Sportscars and Prototypes from 1966 to 1971 with Lolas, Chevrons, marques that covered more than half of the starting grids. In GT category Porsches 911 were in the majority. At Francorchamps sixty cars entered the 1 hour race for this championship, twelve Lolas T70, twelve Posches 911, two Ferraris 512 and thirteen Chevrons ranging from a type B8 to a type B19. Father and son Hart from the Netherlands managed to stay ahead of the McLaren M6B 1968 driven by the Banks brothers. In another T70, Armand Mille came in third, followed by the Ferrari 512M of Lukas Halusa and his friend and mechanic Alex Ames. The other Ferrari, a type 312P finished fifth in hands of Remo Lips.
    The hour race for the Classic Endurance Racing 2 class showed fewer cars on the grid, twenty-seven cars of which 9 Chevrons, 6 Lola’s, 3 Porsches, 2 Ferrari 512 BBLMs, 2 TOJs and a Cheetah G601. The Lola T298 driven by Stephane Nguyen won the race.                                                                               
  • The most modern cars competing at Francorchamps can be found in the Endurance Racing Legends. It brings together machines that young spectators go wild about: GTs and prototypes from the 1990s and 2000s.
    ERL 1 is intended for GT1 cars such as Aston Martin DBR9, Chevrolet Corvette C4 and Chrysler Vipers GTS-R and prototypes like Bentleys Speed 8, Lola B05/40 and Dome S101. ERL 2 shows cars like the Porsches type 993 GT2, 996 GT3-RSR and 997 GT3 RSR, Ferrari F430 GTC and the Marcos Mantara LM500 and LM600. The abundance of cars in this series was noticeable and made it necessary for Peter Auto to separate the grids into an LMP/GT1 field and a GT2 field, each getting two races. A car with Dutch history took victory in the first LMP/GT1 race: the newly restored Dome-Judd S101 with which Racing for Holland once competed. Alex Müller won on Saturday, but the Dome had to drop out on Sunday with gearbox problems. That gave David & Olivier Hart the opportunity to win the second race in their Courage C60. In the GT2 races, Philip Kadoorie was the strongest in both races: his Ferrari 430 GTC Evo stayed ahead of the Porsche 993 GT2 of Mark Sumpter and another 430 GTC Evo of Le Mans veteran Pierre Ehret.                                                                             
  • The Group C regulations, in force between 1982 and 1993, led to the production of legendary cars that wrote some of the most glorious pages in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Sports Car World Endurance Championship. Group C is arguably a great attraction of Peter Auto’s rolling circus. This year, however, it almost got cancelled because the complete fleet consisted of just fifteen cars. The entry list for Francorchamps showed all fifteen cars but twelve cars qualified of which the Jaguar XJR-11 driven by Olivier Hart was fastest. Greek Kriton Lendoudis, seventh during qualifying, in the silver 1990 Mercedes C11 was too strong for Olivier and won both races.                                                                                                          
  • The Classic Porsche 911 2.0 Cup is the only single-make of series by Peter Auto. It is reserved for 2-litre short wheelbase early Porsche 911s prepared in accordance with FIA pre-66 regulations.
    This grid was created in association with Britons Lee Maxted-Page (Porsche specialist) and James Turner (Sports Purpose). What really makes the difference here is not the car but the driver. The short wheelbase 2.0 litre 911 is a car that you drive with your whole body. It is powered by the rear-engined flat 6 which can result inmassive powersliding in the hairpins. So a car really great fun to drive! Twenty-eight cars drove a 90 minutes race at Spa with the equippe Matthew Holme/Andrew Jordan on top of the podium.                                                                                      
  • The organisers noted over 1000 club cars on display, the Ferrari Drivers Club had a lineup of parked modern-day cars in the centre of the compound. Animation and shows encompassed a wide variety of activities, exhibitions, a parade of old scooters, dancers and vintage make-up artists, offering something for every age group. In the centre of the paddock area was the display of five Porsches 917. In 2023, the Belgian meeting attracted over 22,000 spectators and this year almost 25,000 enthusiasts travelled to the beautiful track of Spa-Francorchamps!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pictures by Guus Docen
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