Featuring more than two dozen races and regularity tests, the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix took nearly 51,000 spectators on a historic journey of motorsport at the Nürburgring this weekend. 15 high-calibre fields bringing back legendary cars were seen both on and off the tradition-steeped track. Highlights included the revival of the Cosworth era from 1967 to 1983 as part of the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship. A top-class and wide-ranging field of two-seaters and GTs up until 1961 revived the endurance classics of the late 50s. Particularly the night race on Saturday when unforgotten models such as Porsche 904, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, Austin Healey or Maserati Tipo 63 drove into the evening twilight in perfect weather conditions made for an emotive highlight of the weekend. Numerous innovations this year delivered more racing, more services and more festival flair than ever before at the Nürburgring. Two rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, for instance, put a focus on modern motor racing whilst also mirroring the strong fields of the historic GT and touring cars. In addition to live TV coverage of the Cup on channel Sport 1, extensive live streaming made it possible to watch ten of the weekend’s total of 26 races on the internet around the world. Many impressions and clips of the weekend, all results and news, plus background information will also be available after the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix in the AvD event app for smartphones.
The racing programme that had grown once again this year provided AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix visitors with a tightly packed event schedule that thematically left nothing to be desired. “We are delighted to have been able to make the programme as extensive and attractive as never before,” Ludwig Fürst zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, President of Automobilclub von Deutschland e. V., said after the event. “The AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix has received an outstanding assessment from active participants, partners and spectators, also in an international comparison. This motivates us to continue this positive trend and our efforts of further developing the event for all the stakeholders going forward.”
Memories of legendary races
Historic fascination in abundance: the racing cars of the 20s and 30s in the Vintage Sports Car Trophy were equally popular photo subjects as the GTs and prototypes of the newly included Masters Endurance Legends whose vehicle history extends all the way into the 2000s. German motorsport history was covered by the DRM Revival in which the Zakspeed Ford Capri (previously driven by Klaus Ludwig) fielded by the Berlin-based Mücke team clinched a one-two result. The touring cars from the DTM / ITC, STW and related European series thrilled the audience as well. Here, racing legends such as the Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI, the BMW M3 E30 or Merceds-Benz 190 Evo II were seen again, some of them even driven by the stars from those days. Leopold Prinz von Bayern, Harald Grohs and Christian Menzel for instance drove the DTM-BMW M3 onto the grid, AvD Sport President Volker Strycek, who in 1984 clinched the first championship title in DTM history, competed in an Opel Astra from the STW. In addition, he gathered some immediate impressions of the on-track action from the endurance racing cockpit whilst running in the race of two-seaters and GTs up until 1961. “It’s simply fascinating to drive such cars,” said Strycek, describing the feeling he no doubt shares with many AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix participants. “Others would be happy to have such a model in their garage and we even get to race them. This has a very special charm. A car like the Triumph TR4 I’m sharing with Bernhard Wagner here is totally purist – which makes enormous demands on the driver. Compared to modern racing cars, the brakes are downright feeble, the handling is totally different and the steering forces are much higher. Driving such cars at the limit is incredibly challenging, but the driving is tremendous fun as well.”
A number of renowned companies in 2018 again used the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix as a platform thereby helping to deliver a festival of historic motorsport once more, for instance at Jaguar Land Rover where at the Jaguar Village historic models were showcased alongside the electric one-make cup touring car of the future. Ex-Formula One star Christian Danner was a highly coveted guest at a talk session and autograph signer here. Jan-Kas van der Stelt, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover Deutschland GmbH, is pleased: “We again felt very comfortable at the Oldtimer Grand Prix. It is a superb platform to present and combine our great history, the forward-thinking new models and racing rarities. We tremendously enjoyed taking part in the event again – especially in this sunny weather!” Porsche Classic made a huge appearance at the Nürburgring as well: on the occasion of the brand’s 70th anniversary, the marque from Zuffenhausen had come up with a very special attraction of deploying two-time World Sportscar Champion and multiple Le Mans winner Derek Bell in an early Porsche 911 sporting the ‘Project 70’ design in the race of the Gentlemen Drivers. Bell, who was able to use the weekend as an opportunity to present his new book ‘All My Porsche Races’ in Germany talked about motorsport history as well as another guest of honour from the British Isles: Clive Chapman, the son of Lotus’ founder Colin Chapman and head of Classic Team Lotus visited the Lotus exhibition at the marquee of Motor Klassik magazine. It was dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the British racing and sportscar factory and showcased a number of outstanding historic vehicles. “We deliberately chose to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Lotus here,” said the Briton. “The AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix is simply the event you have to be at. Obviously, there are other high-class historic motorsport events. But here, at the Nürburgring, is the place where real racers drive real races. And when these two aspects come together you have a great party.”
To be continued: Nürburgring to host AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix again in 2019
With additional racing series, new attractions in the paddock and enhanced services for visitors and participants the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix implemented many innovations this year. The organisers intend to continue this development next year. An important prerequisite has already been created: the joint organisers have reached an agreement with the Nürburgring to continue the event. Its 47th running is tentatively scheduled for the second week of August 2019 to bring back classics fascination to the Eifel. AvD President Ludwig Fürst zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg is confident “that we will again be able to welcome a large number of visitors here to the Nürburgring. Perhaps some of those who watched the event on the new livestream this year will be inspired to travel to the next event. Actually, these outstanding vehicles have to be experienced live because the entire fascination exuded by historic motorsport can only be heard, felt, smelled and seen at the venue.”