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The Magazine

Lights Go Green for German FHR Season

FHR held their first event of the season on 7-8 May at Hockenheim, bringing grids that included the Can-Am & Sportscars and the recently-announced Group C Classics, as well as the Gentle Drivers Trophy, GT Classics and Tourenwagen Classics. For this first outing, the Group C cars ran with the Can-Ams and sportscars with only two takers. Michael Lyons (Gebhardt C88) and Felix Haas (PRC 97), who twice stood on the Group C podium in that order. Georg Hallau went home with the most silverware, winning the sportscar category in the first of two races in his Lola T310, and taking both Gentle Drivers races in his Lotus 23. Runner-up in race one, Harry Schmidt turned the tables on Hallau in the second sportscar race in his McLaren M8C.

Georg Hallau - Lola T310 and Peter and Stefan Mücke in their Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri.  Photos Peter Heil

Previously, the two-minute mark for Group A cars on the 4.574km track was more or less the limit, but this was pulverised, as low and medium 1:50 times were almost the rule on the monitors during qualifying for the Tourenwagen Classics. Sub 2-minute times up to and including 19th place were noted. With a long safety car period at the start of the 40-minute race that lasted all the way to the pit stop window, overall victory went to the father-and-son team of Peter and Stefan Mücke with their Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri. The leading pair had a bad stop, but Michael was able to recover from seventh place to beat Yannik Trautwein’s BMW E36 and Hans-Ulrich Kainzinger’s Porsche 993 GT2 to the line. Marc Seesing (BMW M3) and Michael Hahn BMW 325i, won the 88 and 86 Group A classes respectively.

Fully Booked

Packed grids characterised the Preis der Stadt Stuttgart meeting at Hockenheim on 16-18 April, where Youngtimers, HTGT for Touring and GT cars of the early ‘70s, and the HEC endurance series for cars up to ‘76 met up for the first time this season.

Brothers Harald and Dennis Busch celebrated their FHR debut with pole position and overall victory from the 41 starters of the HTGT race. The professional stage manufacturers entered the historic racing stage without the backdrop of spectators due to Covid. Their Ford Escort BDA proved largely superior to the RS1600 of Heinz Schmersal and Mike Stursberg by a clear 49 seconds at the end of the one-hour race. Schmersal recognised defeat, “There is no match for this BDA, we had to be content with a class win.” Michael Wittge and Markus Diederich kept the Porsche 911 ST of the Sanchez brothers in check to take third place.

“There is no match for the BDA” Harald and Dennis Busch celebrated their FHR debut with pole position and overall victory from the 41 starters of the HTGT race.  Photos Peter Heil

 

The rapid Alexander and Vincent Kolb father-son combination secured overall victory in the final two-hour race for the FHR Dunlop Historic Endurance Cup in their beefy Ford Cobra 289. The road to victory was only cleared when the exhaust manifold of the leading Ford GT40 eliminated the Sanchez opposition halfway through the race. The Munich-based Alfa GTAm duo of Peter Praller/Clement Fromm skilfully kept the Porsche 914/6 GT of Wittke/Diederich within two seconds, which turned out to be seven after a time penalty was added for a pit stop infringement. There was bad luck for the reigning German champions (DHAM) Jochen Wilms and Christian Dannesberger, who were let down by their GTAm Alfa in both races.

The road to victory for the Kolb Cobra was only cleared when the leading Ford GT40 retired

 

Vice-Champion Kersten Jodexnis fared no better. His Porsche 911 S/R lost almost 14 laps due to a lengthy shift linkage repair, after which his teammate, Robin Chrzanowski, showed what could have been by taking fastest lap of the race on day that remained dry despite a thick cloud brew. Encouraged by the great popularity and the smooth running of the event under Corona conditions, the FHR is planning another event at the Motodrom to replace the cancelled Nürburgring Classic.

With travel restrictions lifted within Continental Europe, and hopefully for the UK as well, this major international event is scheduled to go ahead on 16-18 July with a slightly pared down programme of races from previous years.   

Most of the racing content will be supplied by the Masters, who will bring their Historic F1 and Sportscars, as well as the Gentlemen Drivers endurance series, their Endurance Legends for cars of the 2000s and the pre-’66 touring cars.  The HSCC’s International F2 series is scheduled for two 25-minute races, but as we go to press, the Club is still waiting for confirmation that travel restrictions will be lifted between the Netherlands and the UK.  The Historic Grand Prix Cars Association, who have many continental members, remain on the timetable and the home series on the schedule are the NK GTTC, and NK82-90 for Youngtimers.  The rest of the track time will be taken up with demos and track runs, mostly for local organisations.  Amongst grids missing from previous years will be NKHTGT and Formula Junior.

The only FIA Championship race on the programme will be the FIA Historic F3 European Trophy.  This has attracted a good continental entry, but in a changing situation, organisers have extended the entry deadline to 30 June in the hopes of attracting more British drivers.  Entries can be made online on the difficult-to-navigate FIA website or call +41 22 544 44 49 and ask for the link.

Although their race scheduled for the cancelled Hockenheimring meeting in April turned out to be a false start, NKHTGT organisers are confident that they will be able to begin their 25th anniversary season at Zandvoort on 4-5 June with a pair of old fashioned 1-hour races.  After that they intend to stick to their original schedule of five more races, including the novel night race at Barcelona on 3-4 September when they will be supporting the Hankook 24H Series.  It will be “A unique occasion, with the first evening race in the history of the NKHTGT,” said series spokesman Jan-Bart Broertjes.  “We will see the late summer sun set on Friday evening during a 50-minute race.  On Saturday, we will have another 30-minute race.  The 25 year success of the NKHTGT is thanks to our trusted competitors.  They will all receive a special anniversary present: the Barcelona event is free for all participants with an NKHTGT package deal 2021!”

The 2021 NKHTGT season will feature no fewer than 31 regular participants.  With restrictions being relaxed, they are expecting more entries from regular foreign guests.  At the moment, individual entries are still available for all races.  “If you have a pre-’66 FIA-compliant touring car, GT or GTP, you are very welcome to come and race with us,” continued Broertjes.  For the NKHTGT series calendar, see www.nkhtgt.nl or the Historic Motor Racing News web site to see it in the context of other events.

The Historic Sports Car Club cancelled the round of its F2 Championship at the Historic Grand Prix de France at Paul Ricard, scheduled for 10-13 June, when it became likely that anyone travelling back from France to the UK would still be subject to quarantine, if not to outright ban, on that date.   A replacement pair of races was found for the F2 cars at the HSCC’s Silverstone International Meeting on 22-23 May.

However, a few days later, after a change of heart, and no doubt protests from GP de France organisers HVM at the late cancellation, the Club announced that there would be two non-championship races for the thriving series at Paul Ricard after all.  The event promises to be one of the best of the 2021 season and the F2 series regularly attracts continental drivers.  

French organisers have already confirmed that teams coming from abroad will not be subject to quarantine in France, but they must show a negative PCR test.  They have made PCR tests available at the circuit for anyone who needs one to return home.  “I know this will be a welcome opportunity for all of our friends in mainland Europe who have had little or no opportunity to race since 2019,” said series organiser and HSCC Chairman Roger Bevan.  The races are open to all period qualifying cars.

For entries contact the HSCC office or HVM.  HVM’s Laurent Vallery-Masson was keen to keep the races on the programme, “We want to offer the opportunity to Formula 2 and Formula Atlantic drivers from the continent to participate in this event, especially with the presence of Jean-Pierre Jarier who will celebrate this grid with us.”

The jewel in the crown of this cosmopolitan meeting is, of course, the Spa 3 Hours, for cars up to 1976.  This is a collaboration between event organisers Roadbook, and Diogo Ferrão’s Iberian Endurance, and has become a not-to-be missed mid-summer enduro for all those cars and drivers who are either not eligible for the Spa Six Hours, due to age of car, or those who just can’t wait for September.  It’s not too late to enter.  Dates are 25-27 June.

Competitors at the Spa Summer Classic will be amongst the first to experience the re-vamped paddock arrangements at the Francorchamps circuit, which celebrates its centenary this year.  Sadly, their fans will not be there, as the event is to be held behind closed doors.

A truly pan-European mix of grids and entrants, on the programme are the German FHR Tourenwagen Classics for DTM-type cars of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, and the Gentle Drivers Trophy races for pre-’66 touring and GT cars.  

From the Netherlands, the NKHTGT for pre-’66 cars, will be sharing the grid with the Triumph Competition & British HTGT from Germany; and the Dutch NKGT&TC will be catering for the post-’66 cars.  Also from Holland will be the Dutch Youngtimer YTCC, who always produce a big grid.  

On home ground will be the Belcar Historic & Youngtimer Cup for old and Youngtimers up to 2000 and the Historic Monoposto racers, with their formula cars from the 60’s.  Also at home is the appropriately-named CRAC.  This is a series for historic single seaters that meet on track for demo runs without timing, just for the fun. 

Other single seaters will be supplied by the Austrians for the Drexler Formula 3 Cup for Formula 3 cars up to and including 2018. The Brits, including the Classic Sports Car Club, usually such a feature of this meeting,  were reticent to join this year due to travel restrictions in the UK.

The BSH is a Berlinetta designed by François Benais and Max Saint Hilaire who combined their initials to name it.  Offered for sale as a kit or built-up car in 1970, this sports car, on a tubular frame, weighed in at just 600kg, and with running gear from the Renault 8 Gordini, R12 and R16, was very competitive in hillclimbs and rallies against the Alpine of the time.  In 1971, BSH # 2137150 took the start of the Tour de France with Le Mans and Tour de France regular driver, Segolen,  Unfortunately, it didn’t make it to the end of the rally due to an engine failure.  So, 50 years later, the driver and the car will be back to seek his revenge, this time in the event’s historic version.  On 30 August-4 September Segolen will be accompanied by Thierry Guitton to tackle the famous Tour Auto stages. 

The 50th anniversary of the Times Trophy race will be the centrepiece at the Bentley Drivers Club’s 73rd annual race meeting at Silverstone, on Saturday 7 August.  The Times Trophy encounter, a Bentley scratch race incorporating a contest for pre-war cars, is the meeting’s blue riband event and will undoubtedly be the high point of an 11-race programme – the biggest in recent years.

The list of multiple Times Trophy winners down the years reads like a who’s who of the BDC’s most celebrated drivers, but in recent times, Michael Higginbotham has remained undefeated since 2017 in his imposing black Mk VI Special.  Indeed, ‘The Gadget’ itself hasn’t actually been beaten since 2016 when Michael’s father Mike Haig triumphed.

This year the competition should be hotter than ever, with a staggered start being introduced to allow the older cars a greater chance of winning against the more modern machinery.  The popular ‘garden-party’ style club meeting will also feature two races each for the Aero Racing Morgan Challenge and MGB GTV8s along with grids for FISCAR (Fifties Sports Car Racing Club), Ecurie Classic Racing, BDC Classic Challenge (incorporating the Morgan Techniques Trophy) and Allcomers scratch plus TVRCC Challenge.

 Rally organisers Rallystory have announced a unique opportunity for participants to drive two laps of the full Le Mans circuit.  A tour with no competitive element on August 15th, the official test day for the 24 hours, entrants are offered breakfast and lunch at the Panoramic restaurant in a VIP area with the best view of the start line and the Dunlop curve.  After a tour of the museum, entrants are invited to take their own cars out on the track, after which they will have a guided tour of the paddock to meet the teams and see the cars.   See www.rallystory.com for details.