The Hungaroring left its mark in the history of Formula 1 by opening the gates of Iron Curtain 31 years ago, and at the weekend between September 29th and October 1t the circuit was again at its best as it hosted the first event for historic cars in Central Europe.
Hungarian spectators flocked to the track in large numbers and a total of more than 20 000 visitors attended the event, some of whom drove there at the wheel of collector cars rarely seen at Peter Auto meetings. Models produced in the ex-USSR at ZAZ (Ukraine), Trabant (East Germany) as well as Moszkvics (Russia) and Pannonia (Hungary) gave the immediate surroundings of the circuit a particularly exotic allure. And there was more. Many exhibitors, manufacturers and bands of musicians added extra ambiance to the party.
The media success of the Hungarian event was proved by the presence of 180 accredited journalists including those from the Hungarian TV channel, M4 Sport, which broadcast the event live on Saturday and Sunday with no fewer than 16 cameras.
The track too was a new experience for the drivers in the seven Peter Auto grids spread over three days.
The two-hour Sixties’ Endurance race was scheduled the end of the afternoon on Saturday. With very few straights and many challenging corners, the drivers certainly had their work with the „Budapest Roller Coaster“ and 120 minutes of racing. Over thirty cars took to the track in what was the weekend’s largest grid. Starting on pole was the AC Shelby Cobra shared by owner Claude Nahum and former Le Mans racer Bernard Thuner. Unfortunately, the car developed an intermittent gearbox issue, which allowed Andrew Beverley take the lead in his Cobra.
Among the most spectacular grids of the Peter Auto events is the Heritage Touring Cup for tin-top touring cars of the 1970s and 1980s. Taking the lead early on was an Escort shared by Sean and Daniel Brown. After 20 minutes their charge suddenly ended when the Escort’s front left wheel broke just after the pit entry. This prompted a safety car and after the mandatory pit stop an exciting battle between Steve Dance in a Capri and Dominik Roschmann in a BMW 3.0 CSL ensued. Eventually the battle was settled in favour of the latter, while Christophe van Riet in another Capri placed third overall.
The longest running grid at these events is the Classic Endurance Racing (CER 1), which was split into two one-hour races many years ago. The earliest cars took to the track in the CER 1 race on Sunday morning. Lining up on polewas Martin O’Connell in Sandy Watson’s freshly restored Chevron B19. O’Connell was not challenged in the race and in the opening stages second was for Emanuele Pirro, who excelled in Gianluca Rattazzi’s howling Alfa Romeo Tipo 33.
The next Peter Auto rendezvous is at the Dix Mille Tours du Castellet, the final race of the season on the Peter Auto historic race calendar.