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2022 Oldtimer Grand Prix report
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Ronny Scheer


BMW M1 Procar




2022 Oldtimer Grand Prix (August 13, 2022)

Ronny Scheer, BMW M1 Procar, 2022 Oldtimer Grand Prix

After a COVID-enforced club-sized meeting and the cancellation of the 2021 event in the wake of the tragic floods that hit the Eifel region, the 2022 AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix was felt by many as a fresh start – not least by the organisers, as they tried to put two years of internal turmoil behind them and go it alone after the departure of the AvD. Germany’s second-largest automobile club still gave its name to the event but behind the scenes they had all but gone, leaving their two remaining partners to sort things out for themselves.

These two partners are two minnow motorclubs that have been involved with the event from the start but now found themselves thrust into the limelight with full responsibility for the event, without the professional support that the AvD used to provide. Not everything went well right from the start, and several procedures and routines proved to be an education in progress for them but if they are willing to learn they could be on to something for next year and the years beyond, as they have already extended the existing contract with the Nürburgring up to 2028. That the event drew a huge crowd – people were queueing to get into the car parks – must have been a shot in the arm for the organisers, and the pleasant weather helped a lot too.

Eric Qvick, BMW 320 Group 5, 2022 Oldtimer GP

Helmet waiting for Eric Qvick and his ex-Manfred Winkelhock Group 5 BMW 320. (photo 8W)

As Europe was tortured by a heatwave, the heat at the Nürburgring was definitely on, mercury rising to 29 degrees in the afternoons, as the sun burned away any memory of the fog and rain the place is known for. But as a fresh mountain breeze stroked the circuit and its surrounding hills, the Nürburgring was anything but the sweaty hell that the rest of the continent had been transformed into – it was heaven. Not in the cockpits, mind you. Drivers were forced to work for their money, or rather, their enjoyment, as in historics the drivers – if they’re not professional hired guns – usually aren’t at the receiving end of paychecks. They write them out.

The bulk of the programme was provided by Masters Historic Racing and their local German counterpart FHR, as the event returned to the rhythm familiar from the many seasons that Masters was a house guest. With the four Masters grids came the usual combination with the Historic Grand Prix Car Association and the Formula Junior Historic Racing Assocation, the latter bringing its continental Lurani Trophy. The four FHR grids were accompanied by the DRM Revival and – for the first time – the DTM Classic Cup, with the Ferrari Club Deutschland bringing their own challenge for very recent Ferrari GT racing cars. The traditional invitational doubleheader for sportscars to ’61 completed the bill.

Steve Hartley, McLaren MP4/1, 2022 Oldtimer GP

Steve Hartley challenged all the Lotus cars and won Saturday's race in his McLaren MP4/1. (photo 8W)

In the two Masters Racing Legends races for 1966-’85 Formula One cars, it was all about series leader Steve Hartley’s Anthony Seddon-run McLaren MP4/1 versus the phalanx of Chrome Cars-owned, JPS-liveried Lotus machines piloted by professionals Marco Werner, Nick Padmore and Michael Lyons. Werner was the home hero, of course, and at times found himself ambushed by his local admirers, but the German soaked it all up with a very devoted and curteous attention to his many fans. He delivered on two occasions but lost his other two races in varying circumstances.

In Saturday’s first F1 race, a first-lap misfire in his Lotus 87B’s Cosworth DFV helped Hartley rob the lead, after which the veteran Briton gave his all to stay in front, despite being hounded by the full pack of black-and-gold wolves. Admirably, he made it work, although towards the end, Werner was fighting with one hand tied behind his back as he began losing his brakes. In the final few laps, this lost him the podium to Padmore and Lyons. On Sunday, however, Werner lashed back with a lights-to-flag win, although now it was Hartley’s turn to hit trouble, the McLaren losing second and third gears towards the end before ‘The Jam Baron’ found a box full of neutrals and was forced to coast across the line. He still salvaged second from Lyons.

Mark Higson, McLaren MP4/1B, 2022 Oldtimer GP

Mark Higson leaving his McLaren MP4/1B behind during Thursday testing. (photo 8W)

In the two HGPCA races for pre-66 GP cars, Will Nuthall and Michael Gans had their usual slugfest, the American on both occasions catching and passing Nuthall’s Cooper T53 early on to maintain a three-second lead, but the fragile Cooper T79 broke on Sunday, leaving Nuthall to pick up the win. In the first race, Dutchman Michel Kuiper looked set for a podium behind those two, but he was pipped on the final tour by fellow Brabham driver Barry Cannell, the former HGPCA chairman’s BT3 diving past Kuiper’s BT4. With Gans out on Sunday, Kuiper found himself in second place, but this time he was chased by Tim Child’s BT3/4, which had been an early retirement in the first race but on Sunday had starred in a stormer of a race for its driver. Child almost copied Cannell’s last-lap pass but this time Kuiper was having none of it. Second place was the Dutchman’s best result so far, in a HGPCA career that only started two years ago.

Manfredo Rossi was in a class of his own in the two Lurani races. On Saturday, the Italian’s Lotus 22 hounded and passed his countryman Roberto Tonelli’s Brabham BT6, and on Sunday, Rossi led Tonelli home from the front. Philipp Buhofer’s Lotus 22 claimed a pair of thirds, the Swiss driver chasing Tonelli in vain on both days. Among the front-engined cars, Peter de la Roche outclassed all of his competition – and many of his rear-engined rivals too – by racking up a fifth and sixth overall in his Lola Mk2. These were two truly remarkable drives.

Steve Brooks, Lola T70 Mk3B, 2022 Oldtimer GP

Steve Brooks rounding the first turn in the Lola T70 Mk3B shared with Martin O'Connell. (photo 8W)

Meanwhile, among the many sportscar races on the programme, Werner was hoping to add to his tally in the Masters Endurance Legends bouts. He succeeded in doing so in the first race, as he overcame his elite-driver pitstop penalty to pass Stuart Wiltshire’s Ligier JSP2 two laps from the end. It was still a valiant drive from Wiltshire, though, as the two LMP2 rivals fought for overall victory with the absence of LMP1 cars on the grid. Werner was in the wars on Sunday, though. His Lotus-liveried Lola B12/80 looked in control before he was deemed responsible for a clash with backmarker Christopher Compton Goddard in the Ferrari 430 in Red Bull colours and was slammed with a drivethrough penalty. Out of the equasion, the German parked his car a lap after taking his penalty. This opened up the way for a remarkable victory for the other local hero in the race, Yannik Trautwein. The German had been a double winner at the event twice before, when he still raced in the Ferrari Club Deutschland series, but had now stepped up to an ex-Dempsey Racing Lola B12/80. It was Trautwein’s first time in an LMP car, but after hitting trouble in qualifying and in the first race, he charged all the way up to vault Wiltshire for second place, to inherit the win after Werner’s demise.

In Masters Sports Car Legends, Steve Brooks and Martin O’Connell ran home to a comfortable victory over Manfredo Rossi’s Abarth Osella PA1. The Italian harried Brooks’ Lola T70 Mk3B early on but was delayed after being inflicted by a drivethrough penalty for not adhering to the correct start procedure. Fighting back, Rossi did claim second place from the Lola T210 shared by Frank Jacob and former IndyCar driver Arnd Meier.

Harry Schmidt, McLaren M8F, 2022 Oldtimer GP

Harry Schmidt on his way to the Dunlop-Kehre in his Big Mac. (photo 8W)

A wild bunch went to the track in the two CanAm & Sportscars slash Group C Classics races, with the handful of actual CanAm and Group C cars added to by a veritable mishmash of sportscars, GTs and touring cars from every possible era between the sixties and the eighties. Twice, the only real Group C won, Marc Devis in the pink Spice SE90 holding off Georg Hallau’s thundering and gargantuan Lola T310.

GTs came to the fore in Masters Gent Drivers and its local FHR-run counterparts, several of the Germans two-timing in everything their car was eligible for. The 90-minute Masters enduro was won by one of two German Gotcha-run Cobras in the race, Leon Ebeling sharing with Andy Newall, the latter driving as fast as he usually does despite still having his leg in a brace after an unfortunate fall at home – who said motor racing was dangerous? The other machine started by Vincent Kolb and taken over by Frank Stippler was in the hunt for second place, as ‘Stippy’ fought hard with Sam Hancock in another local Cobra started by Niko Ditting, but when the German was penalised for stopping five seconds short at the mandatory mid-race pitstop, second place was firmly in the hands of Ditting and Hancock. Stippler also performed the opening stint in Lucas Bscher’s Jaguar E-type but the German jumped the start in monumental fashion and the subsequent penalty also ruled out the second of Stippler’s mounts. Third went to John Spiers and Nigel Greensall, whose TVR Griffith was overheating from the start. This forced Spiers to back off and as a result he dropped to seventh, but Greensall performed miracles by hauling the car back up to third with incredible laptimes while still managing the engine temperature. At the finish, Spiers could not believe how his co-driver had done that…

Mercedes 300 SLR, Porsche 904, 2022 Oldtimer GP

Mercedes 300 SLR and Porsche 904 racing into the sunset. (photo 8W)

The German combined sportscar, GT and touring car bouts were split into two pre-66 races, both paced by Felix Haas in the Lotus 23B, the German twice beating his countryman Georg Hallau in a similar 23B, and a single one-hour race for seventies cars that also allowed pre-66 cars in. Here, Michael Funke’s Ford GT40 led initially, but he was vanquished by Nick Salewsky whose Porsche 911 Carrera RS took over from lap 24. Meanwhile, in the two invitational pre-62 sportscar races, Leon Ebeling took his second victory of the weekend, sharing a Bizzarrini 5300 GT with his father Dirk on the way to glory in Saturday’s night-time race. The next day, Simon Hadfield who had shared with Wolfgang Friedrichs the day before, ran solo on Sunday to corner the win for the German’s Aston Martin DP214.

In the first of two Ferrari Club Deutschland races, Björn Grossmann’s Ferrari 458 GT3 led the two Ferrari 488 GT3 Evos that on Sunday would be the top two cars but in reverse order, Alex Sartingen winning from Oliver Plassmann and three more 488 GT3 Evos.

Peter and Stefan Mücke, Zakspeed Capri Turbo, 2022 Oldtimer GP

The Mückes dominated in their thundering Group 5 Zakspeed Capri Turbo. (photo 8W)

Arguably the most popular pairs of races starred the pride of Germany, first in the two DRM Revival races, then in the two DTM Classic Cup bouts. The behemoth Group 5 Zakspeed Capri Turbo of the Mückes was the odds-on favourite for an unchallenged double victory in the DRM races, but the famous Würth-liveried machine broke down in the first race to hand a BMW M1 Procar 1-2 to Michael Kammermann and Achim Heinrich. The Zakspeed Capri stayed in one piece the next day to head home those same two BMW M1s.

In the first of the DTM races, Stefan Mücke took the ex-Robb Gravett Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth to a win over Steffen Lykke Gregersen’s BMW E30 M3, but the next day, the Dane turned the tables on the Sierra, this time piloted by Ronny Scheer. In a series that also allows the best from the German Super Touring Championship, Gerhard Füller took his Warsteiner-liveried Opel Vectra STW to third overall twice.

The full event gallery