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2023 Bosch Hockenheim Historic report
Upping the ante


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2023 Bosch Hockenheim Historic (May 6, 2023)

Roland Asch, Michael Kammermann, René Aeberhardt, Michael Lyons, Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, BMW 3.0 CSL, Audi A4 STW, Ford Mustang, 2023 Bosch Hockenheim Historic

Having run its big spring event mainly for the local German and Dutch-based historic series, the Bosch Hockenheim Historic a.k.a. the Jim Clark Revival upped the ante for 2023 by inviting over Masters Historic Racing to present a strong international single-seater line-up that also included HSCC F2 and the Lurani Trophy. It was rewarded with 23 3-litre Formula One Cars, which made some 60,000 spectators flock to the Baden-Württemberg track across the three days of the event.

The sun was out from Friday to Sunday, and at temperatures mimicking hot summer days, with the notable exceptions of Friday and Sunday’s late afternoons. On Friday, second Formula One qualifying was washed out while on Sunday the final three races on the programme drowned in the deluge of a lengthy thunderstorm that wouldn’t go away until well into the night.

Mark Higson, McLaren MP4/1B, 2023 Bosch Hockenheim Historic

Mark Higson leaving his Nine-W Engineering garage for Sunday's F1 race. (photo 8W)

But that was not before the crowd truly enjoyed two action-packed 1966-’85 F1 races, with Sunday’s top seven covered by less than five seconds. The day before saw a shock overall victory by pre-78 class winner Nick Padmore whose Lotus 77 lucked in when the front-row sitters ground to a halt after a single lap, both Marco Werner’s Lotus 87B and Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1 succumbing to mechanical issues. Inheriting a lead that he refused to let go of, Padmore ran home team mate Michael Lyons in the Lotus 92 while Matt Wrigley starred by completing the podium with another pre-78 car, the Penske PC3.

On Sunday, Max Werner’s Hesketh 308C led away from the reversed grid for Saturday’s first seven but the German was soon swamped by Mike Cantillon’s Tyrrell 010. In first qualifying, the Irishman had dumped his regular Williams FW07C into barriers irreparably, so his Front Row Racing team brought in the back-up car that Cantillon usually only races at Monaco. In the first race, Cantillon rewarded the team’s allnighter by storming up to sixth all the way from the back, which handed him a front-row spot for Sunday. Having led for four laps, he was unable to stop Michael Lyons sailing by for the win but Cantillon did hang on for second place ahead of the Williams FW07B of Mark Hazell, who drove exceptionally well to hold off Ken Tyrrell’s Tyrrell 011 for the final spot on the podium. In fifth and sixth, Wrigley defended from Padmore all race to make it one-all-in pre-78 class wins.

James Hagan, Tyrrell 011, 2023 Bosch Hockenheim Historic

After its crash at Watkins Glen, James Hagan's American-based Tyrrell 011 was rebuilt to make its European debut at Hockenheim. (photo 8W)

Thomas Amweg dominated Formula Two proceedings, the Swiss driver racking up both wins in his Ralt RT1, each time leaving Wolfgang Kaufmann and Manfredo Rossi to pick up the podium crumbs in their March 782s. Proving the magnitude of his performance, Amweg’s qualifying time and fastest laps of the races – all-in the 1.39s – compared favourably to Marco Werner’s 1.36 pole time in the Formula One Lotus 87B.

Horatio Fitz-Simon, meanwhile, looked set to repeat Amweg’s dominance by romping to a pair of Lurani Trophy wins, but his Lotus 22 faltered towards the end of the second race. Hampered by a fuel-feed issue Fitz-Simon was forced to make it to the finish stuck in second gear and literally saw Manfredo Rossi’s 22 pass him on the line. Among the front-engined Juniors, Erik Justesen’s U2 Mk2 twice ruled the roost.

Steve Brooks, Peugeot 90X, 2023 Bosch Hockenheim Historic

Steve Brooks charged to a pair of wins in his Peugeot 90X. (photo 8W)

Marcel Biehl’s local Historic Racing Association provided the Formula Three and Formula Ford touch to the plentiful single-seater grids on the programme, and here it was Stephan Lechine who twice triumphed in his Reynard-Volkswagen Spiess 389 – the first time in sunny conditions, the second time in the pouring rain. On both occasions, only Valerio Leone’s Dallara-Alfa Romeo Novamotor F390 was able to keep up but the Italian tripped up in the rain to hand Sunday’s runner-up spot to Stefan Henkenfeld’s Martini-Toyota Novamotor MK31 – a fact once more demonstrating the glorious chassis and engine variety in the lower formulae of the seventies and eighties.

The sportscar line-up was headed by the Masters Endurance Legends for ‘modern historic’ Le Mans prototypes and GTs, with two Peugeot 90Xs set to do all the winning. Steve Brooks duly took home a pair of wins but was made to work hard for both, on Saturday by beating double Donington winner and fellow Peugeot driver Stuart Wiltshire, whose 90X faltered on Sunday’s opening lap. With Wiltshire gone, local hero Christian Gläsel took up the mantle to hunt down Brooks but while his ex-Weaver/Leitzinger MG-Lola EX257 proved quick in the twisty stadium bits, the Peugeot each lap had the legs on the former Dyson Racing machine on the back straights to win by four tenths.

Michael Schumacher, WTS Reynard-Volkswagen 903, 2023 Bosch Hockenheim Historic

Among the guests of honour: Michael Schumacher's Macau-winning WTR Reynard-Volkswagen 903 in its local Kawai Steel livery. (photo 8W)

The Group C Supercup that is a local initiative by the Gebhardt Group sadly wasn’t much of a Group C Supercup, as only the two Gerhardts and Michiel Campagne’s IMSA GTP Spice-Chevrolet SE92P hailed from the correct era. Forced to take on much more modern stuff, the Group C were soundly beaten by Sven Barth’s Ginetta-Chevrolet G57 P2 and Benjamin Hotz in the Horag-developed Ligier-Peugeot JS53, two fairly recent machines of VdV and Sportscar Challenge ilk. Georg Hallau, meanwhile, thrilled the crowd by manhandling his CanAm Lola-Chevy T310 to third place overall. Sunday’s race was abandoned when the track was flooded by the worst rain to travel over Hockenheim that afternoon.

Masters provided a third grid to the meeting by combining their Masters Gentlemen Drivers and Masters Pre-66 Touring Car fields into a single race that would run for the traditional 90 minutes for the GT cars, with the touring cars being flagged off after an hour of racing. Ollie Reuben was the early leader in the TVR Griffith shared with Harry Barton but Reuben was soon harried by an inspired Robin Ward whose Ginetta G4R didn’t seem to care that it wasn’t in the top class. Ward and team mate Ron Maydon had the win sealed when the Reuben/Barton made the mistake of calling in the TVR during the touring-car pit window, forcing Barton to make another stop to compensate. Eventually they recovered to fifth overall. While Maydon cruised to victory, he was joined on the rostrum by a second Ginetta pairing. George McDonald had already put the Ginetta on pole and after taking over from Owen Adelman went on to chase down the almighty Phil Keen in Lee Mowle’s E-type. Selling Keen a dummy with two minutes left on the clock, McDonald made it a G4R 1-2 in both the CLP class and the overall result.

Paul Mensley, Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, 2023 Bosch Hockenheim Historic

On Saturday, Paul Mensley took second to Michael Kammermann's all-conquering CSL, his Sierra RS500 Cosworth fending off Hans-Jürg Lüthi's Vauxhall Vectra STW. (photo 8W)

Every German in the grandstands, however, was on the edge on their seats for the two Goldene Ära races, the second of which was sadly shortened by Sunday’s downpour. In the first race, however, all eyes were on the fastest car in practice, Altfrid Heger’s Audi 200 quattro, which subsequently failed in qualifying and was forced to start from the back. Back up to 16th by lap 1 in a 44-car field, Heger disappeared after the opening lap, though, shifting the focus of attention to the battle up front between Roland Asch’s pole-sitting Bastos-liveried Sierra RS500 Cosworth and Michael Kammermann’s fire-belching BMW E9 3.0 CSL. The older car proved unstoppable and ran off to a comfortable win. On Sunday, four-wheel drive on Markus Reich’s Audi A4 STW proved quite useful in the rain but when Reich was penalised for overtaking under yellow in the safety-car-led early laps, the win fell into Michael Lyons’ lap, the Briton keeping his Ford Mustang just ahead of Dutchman Marc Seesing’s E30 M3.

The full event gallery