Over 35,000 enthusiastic German spectators flocked to the Hockenheimring for their annual springfest known as the Bosch Hockenheim Historic. More famous for its subtitle of ‘Jim Clark Revival’, the event managed to attract the proper seventies and eighties Formula One cars for the first time, with Masters Historic Racing bringing along two more grids to bolster a programme that also featured HSCC F2, Historic Formula Junior, BOSS GP and a wide range of local grids consisting of loads of tintops and single-seaters.
With 25 cars originally entered and 23 ready to race on the weekend, the Masters Racing Legends grid for 1966-‘85 Formula One was at its healthiest for years. There was plenty before they started, much of which was supplied by Mike Cantillon going off rear-first into the barriers as his Williams FW07C entered the stadium, resulting in not just a damaged rear wing but a broken right rear suspension as well. Determined to race, the Irishman requested that his Front Row Racing team bring his ‘Monaco car’, the Tyrrell 010, over from the UK, after which the team performed miracles to have it ready to start from the back on Saturday.
As the unsung hero of the race, Cantillon worked his way up to sixth, which on Sunday’s reverse grid handed him a front row spot. He then actually led the race before being usurped by Michael Lyons in the Lotus 92 coming through to make up for his German Britec Motorsports team’s disappointment of the previous day, when polesitter Marco Werner was forced to pull off after a single lap, the German’s Lotus 87B having lost all of its fluids.
Both HSCC Formula Two races saw commanding performances from Thomas Amweg, as the Swiss driver left Wolfgang Kaufmann’s March 782 and Manfredo Rossi’s Chevron B42 to twice quarrel over second place. The German won out on both occasions. The fastest car of the weekend, however, was Ingo Gerstl’s Toro Rosso-Cosworth STR1 that headed BOSS GP qualifying by a mile (its pole time was a 1’21”) but proved frail in both races. The same applied to the other F1 car on the grid, Ulf Ehninger’s Benetton-Judd B196. This handed a pair of wins to former F1 driver Antonio Pizzonia whose Gibson-engined Dallara twice outpaced the ex-GP2 Dallara-Mécachromes of Simone Colombo and Marco Ghiotto.
In a glorious field of 35 Formula Juniors, running their first round of the 2023 Lurani Trophy, Horatio Fitz-Simon looked to have a couple of dominant victories sealed when his Lotus 22 began to develop a fuel feed issue towards the end of Sunday’s race. Crawling round through the stadium in second gear Fitz-Simon hobbled towards the line where he saw Manfredo Rossi’s similar 22 narrowly steal the win that had been his.
Stephan Lechine twice triumped in the AvD Historic Race Cup for Formula 3 and Formula Ford cars, as his Reynard-Volkswagen Spiess 389 proved to have the legs on Valerio Leone’s Dallara F390 and Elio Cocciarelli’s Ralt.
With two Peugeot 90Xs heading Hockenheim’s Masters Endurance Legends grid, double Donington winner Stuart Wiltshire now faced competition from Steve Brooks in a similar machine. In fact, Brooks proved to have the upper hand, first clinching pole and then grabbing a convincing first race win over Wiltshire who vowed to improve on Sunday. Sadly, the Peugeot’s fuel rail broke on its opening lap, sending Wiltshire into a wild spin coming out of the Sachskurve as the smoking LMP1 diesel tripped over its own fluids.
The locally run Group C Supercup sadly failed to live up to its name, with only its organisers Gebhardt Motorsport and Dutch team Bonobo Racing providing actual Group C/IMSA GTP cars to a hotch-potch, 13-car grid that mainly consisted of much more recent VdeV and Sportscar Challenge-type machines but also featured Georg Hallau’s CanAm Lola T310.
The Masters ran their Gentlemen Drivers and Pre-66 Touring Car grids concurrently, with touring cars flagged off after an hour’s racing while the pre-66 GT racers would continue for 30 more minutes.
Meanwhile, the home crowd – and every driver and team member of the other grids, for that matter – failed to stop drooling over the massive 44 cars supplied by the local Goldene Ära grid that is the latest incarnation in German DTM, DRM and Super Touring revival series.
Free practice had been dominated by Altfrid Heger’s mighty but venerable Audi 200 quattro before it failed to appear in qualifying and was forced to start from the back in race 1. Up to 16th after a single lap, it soon disappeared again, leaving Roland Asch in a Sierra Cosworth RS500 to vainly defend against Michael Kammermann’s flame-throwing BMW E9 3.0 CSL.
When former DTM star Asch pulled out on lap 7, Paul Mensley took up the chase in a similar Sierra, the Briton followed home by Hans-Jürg Lühti’s ex-Plato Vauxhall Vectra Super
See the full report in the June 2023 issue of Historic Motor Racing News
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