Three days full of historic motorsport extraordinaire are awaiting visitors at this year’s AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix (10 – 12 August). Alongside the FIA’s Historic Formula One Championship boasting horsepower galore, sportscars from the 1950s to the 2000s or DRM and DTM racing cars, some real rarities will be featured: the Historic Paddock inaugurated in 1927 will accommodate the pre-war racing cars. They will compete as part of the ‘Vintage Sports Car Trophy’ in regularity tests (RTs) on the modern Grand Prix circuits, take part in tours around the Nordschleife and even in a tour on backroads around the Nürburgring. These events will give spectators an inkling of what motorsport looked like in its infancy and what vehicles enticed the generation of our grand- and great-grandfathers to flock to the Nürburgring, as the oldest currently entered vehicle is already nearly 100 years old. The mighty Mercedes compressor models will be seen just like a small Rosengart LR 2 Sport from 1928. A BMW 328 or an MG K1 will take visitors back to the early days of car manufacturers that are still known today. Highly modern classics will be parked right next door to them in the time-honoured Nürburgring paddock: the rally racing cars of the ‘Slowly Sideways’ special-interest group. They will be seen in action with their original vehicles at the weekend as well when they come thundering down the Nordschleife on Saturday and Sunday at the event that will transform the complex below the Nürburg fortress into a special kind of car museum. Full details about the weekend, the races and the programme are available on the official homepage at www.avd-ogp.de.
When the Nürburgring was inaugurated in 1927 the oldest vehicles to be seen at this year’s AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix were already ‘second-hand cars’. For instance, a 1920 Protos Type C has been entered which, now aged 98, is the oldest vehicle for which an entry has been received to date. The small car factory in Berlin that manufactured vehicles around the turn of the century has been equally unforgotten as other marques to be seen at the event. The 90-year-old Rosengart LR 2 Sport from 1928 for example was built in the founding year of the French marque that only existed until 1955. Christian de Maeyer will sit in the small car that has less than one litre of displacement but plenty of sporting spirit: the Belgian, together with Cyrille Pastoree, won the Vintage Sports Car Trophy last year. This is where consistency instead of top speed matters. In the RTs the entrants drive against the clock and are supposed to confirm previously set lap times as exactly as possible, plus the reliability of the old technology will come into play during the tours of the Eifel and on the Nordschleife. This is exactly the right field for many owners of pre-war vehicles – as the large number of loyal participants proves. Uli Sauer (Iserlohn) in a 1938 BMW 328 will again be on the grid – in his sportscar from the 1930s he has taken part in the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix ever since the inaugural event. The splendid Mercedes-Benz compressor racing cars and their powerful opponents from Bentley will be on the grid too, evoking memories of the grand racing events held in the 1920s and 1930s. But new participants keep travelling to the Nürburgring as well. Roland Engel’s 1920 Protos will appear for the first time, plus an MG K1 from 1933. A new element introduced by the organisers in 2018 will add a special touch: in addition to the pre-war vehicles’ motorsport meeting, the drivers of these cars will have the opportunity to take part without entering the race track programme. Thus, owners that wish to spare their classic cars the tough on-track conditions can also be part of the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix and the spectators at the ‘Ring’ will no doubt appreciate their presence!
Rally icons in the Historic Paddock
The gathering of rally vehicles in the Historic Paddock will provide both a contrast and harmonic complement to the oldest racing cars of the weekend. The ‘Slowly Sideways’ special interest group will bring the more than 20 cars that have proved their mettle in drifts and on gravel to the Nürburgring. On Saturday (starting at 09.50 AM) and on Sunday (starting at 08.35 AM) driving times will be reserved for them on the legendary Nordschleife. Quite a few visitors are likely to remember some of these vehicles well – for instance the Audi Sport Quattro S1 driven by Walter Röhrl in the 1985 New Zealand Rally. The cars driven by other famous rally racers will be on the grid as well such as a Rothmans Porsche 911 SCRS chased across the special stages by Henri Toivonen in his day. These rally vehicles wrote a special chapter of motorsport history which greatly differs from the history of circuit racing: for instance in terms of the distances covered which, from today’s perspective, seem ludicrously long – in the 1970 London-Mexico World Cup Rally for example. A Ford Escort Mk1 TC (Andrew Cowan) of the Slowly Sideways group took part in it. Or the weather conditions in which rally racers still drive today: the snow-covered mountain passes of the French Maritime Alps which are part of Rally Monte Carlo are an example and a very rare Austin Healey 3000 Mk2 in 1958 rally trim brings back memories of it. So, the Historic Paddock is definitely worth a visit during the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix as this is where motorsport history can be experienced in fascinating facets.