The AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix presented a festival of motor sport history at the Nürburgring on the weekend of 12-14 August, 2016. About 500 cars spanning seven decades competed in 20 races and regularity tests. 51,500 thrilled spectators saw many cars with a great history and unique racing cars both as exhibits and taking part on demonstration drives on the track.
Events where the whole breadth of motor sport fascination can be seen, felt and heard would not be complete without the MOTORWORLD Group. Entering the Ring with practically no end of horsepower, all projects and activities that are currently under dynamic development were on show at the Group’s stand. An idea that germinated with MOTORWORLD Region Stuttgart is now being reproduced at new locations under construction in Munich, Cologne, Herten and Berlin, as well as with the MOTORWORLD Classics Berlin trade fair for classic cars. Again present at the OGP stand this time around were renowned partners Arthur Bechtel, AUCTIONATA, BOSCH, and Liqui Moly.
The newly introduced track day for drivers of classic and modern sports cars marked the start of the event weekend. The spectrum of the around 120 vehicles that took part ranged from a 1962 Porsche 911 2.8 RSR, a Porsche 911 Carrera and Jaguar E-type Roadster (both built in 1965), through to a large group of exclusive sports cars which only left the factory this year.
An atmospheric highlight was the race between pre-1962 two-seater racing cars and GTs. The field of 38 sports cars thrilled not only the spectators during a one-hour race stretching into the early hours of the Saturday evening. “There is quite simply nothing better than driving in this race,” raved Felix Haas, for instance, who was driving a Lola Mk I. “The atmosphere, the sunset, all these beautiful cars – it feels a bit like being at Le Mans.”
One of the best-known participants was ex-Formula 1 driver Jochen Mass, who drove a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. “A wonderful, well balanced car put together by HK Engineering,” he gushed. Grinning, he added: “It had a pretty hard time of it in this field of nippy vehicles, though. But first and foremost we’re not competing here to finish in a good position, but out of the pure joy of driving the cars.” Another highlight was the field of over 40 pre-war racing cars.
Together with the organisers, the Allgemeine Schnauferl Club (ASC) was responsible for bringing many of the participants with their original vehicles to the Ring. Among them was the Mercedes-Benz 680 S Rennsport, in which Rudolf Caracciola won the opening race at the Nürburgring in 1927. “It’s still a really special feeling to drive this car,” said driver Peterheinz Kern. “With its memorable history, it fills me with pride and joy to drive it.”
Several other vehicles that marked the turning points of racing history were there to be admired as well. One starter in the field of pre-1985 Formula 3 cars was Britain’s Mark Martin behind the wheel of the first Formula 3 car to have been driven by the unforgettable Ayrton Senna, a Ralt RT3/82 Toyota. In the Jaguar Village in the driver’s paddock, visitors were able to admire the 1966 XJ13. The now 96-year-old former chief tester and developer Norman Dewis, a guest at the Nürburgring, had once developed this stunning sports car for Le Mans, although it was never driven there.
John Wheeler experienced a similar fate nearly 20 years later. The Ford engineer designed a Ford RS 200 Group S for the World Rally Championship, but it was never to take part. At the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix, he drove the car, which he had completed as a private project, on the Grand Prix circuit and the legendary Nordschleife. Opel sent the legendary Calibra Cliff, winner of the 1996 International Touring Car Championship, onto the track with spectators’ favourite Joachim “Jockel” Winkelhock behind the wheel. “That was the first time that I’ve driven a vehicle of this generation,” the impressed Swabian said afterwards. “Back then I was driving in the British Touring Car Championship and used to follow the ITC. Of course, I was always curious and wanted to drive a car like that one day. Now it’s finally happened – and it’s been a huge pleasure.”
TEXT: Arantxa Dörrié / PHOTOS: AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix