The AvD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix is "Back on Track": The most important continental European festival for classic racing cars has returned with an atmospheric motorsport weekend, after there had been spectator restrictions due to Corona and a cancellation due to the flood disaster at the Ahr in the past two years. More than 20 races and regularity tests in perfect midsummer conditions compensated the 30,000 visitors as well as teams and drivers for the long waiting time and created a great atmosphere at the Nürburgring. Highlights included runs of historic Cosworth-era Formula 1 cars, sports car races with fields from the 1950s to the 2010s and much more. There was also a new highlight with the first guest appearance of the DTM Classic Cup, where many of the stars of yesteryear climbed back into their unforgotten touring race cars. The future of the event is also permanently secured: The organisers of the event reached an early agreement with the representatives of the tradition-steeped Eifel race track on a continuation of the many years of good cooperation and an extension of the event contract far beyond the current term, which is secured until next year. The AvD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix will be held at the Ring for the next five years from 2024 to 2028.
At this year's AvD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix, the Nürburgring was once again transformed into a real time machine, allowing visitors to travel back to the unforgotten vehicles and races of the past 100 years. The oldest racing cars from the pre-war years, for example, were invited to take part in regularity tests and rides as part of the "Vintage Sports Car Trophy" organised together with the Allgemeiner Schnauferl Club (ASC). Among them: Peterheinz Kern in the Mercedes 680 S in which Rudolf Caracciola won the opening race at the Nürburgring in 1927. Uli Sauer, who is the event's most loyal participant with 49 participations in the AvD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix, competed in a 1938 BMW 328. "I am very satisfied with the weekend," he summed up - probably also representing many other participants. "To be honest, the race result doesn't count for me - my shelf at home is full of trophies, I don't really need any more. But I want to have fun with classic car friends, and that has succeeded here all round. I am very satisfied with the whole weekend." This opinion was shared by others. For example, ex-DTM driver Peter Oberndorfer, who came to the Eifel as series manager of the newly founded DTM Classic Cup: "I used to start here often myself and had a new perspective this weekend. The OGP is an internationally important event, so it was fitting to include this event in the DTM Classic Cup season calendar. The flair is unique, there are many visitors and very many beautiful cars here at the Nürburgring: we fitted in well here as a series, it was worth coming here." Many DTM drivers from the past, such as Olaf Manthey, Volker Strycek, Kris Nissen, Marc Hessel, Roland Asch or Leopold Prinz von Bayern, paid their respects in the series, which brought unforgettable cars such as the BMW M3, Opel Calibra, Mercedes-Benz 190 Evo and many others back to the track. "Poldi" of Bavaria, like many of his colleagues, was delighted with the great atmosphere at the Ring: "For the visitors, it is a treat par excellence what can be seen here in terms of vehicles - from Formula 1 and sports cars to DTM. The AvD-OGP is one of the most important events of the year and I look forward to the atmosphere here at the beautiful Nürburgring every year. The people here simply have petrol in their blood."
International starting fields and many motorsport facets provided flair
The programme of the event once again offered some highlights that can only be seen here - such as the revival race German Racing Championship (DRM) or the two-seater racing cars and GTs up to 1960/61. In the latter field, the one-hour final race of the day on Saturday evening went on until dusk. "Birdcage" Maserati, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, Porsche 904 and RSK 718, Jaguar C- and D-Type, Lotus Eleven - the list of legendary sports cars in the top-class starting field presented some of the most beautiful and legendary sports cars of all times. Equally unforgettable, however, were the models in other races. After the end of the travel restrictions in the Corona pandemic, the international friends of the event were finally able to participate again. Among them were no less than four racing series of the British "Masters Historic Racing" organisation, which contributed one of the most spectacular races with the field of Formula 1 racing cars of the Cosworth era. But the sports car and GT entry fields of the other Masters series were also strong and made for a vibrant air at the Nürburgring. The British HGPCA (Historic Grand Prix Cars Association) contributed a field of fascinating monoposti from the Formula 1 founding years. Three other racing series were brought to the Nürburgring by the Historic Racing Drivers' Association (FHR). Here, the field of CanAm and Group C sports cars also included a real Ring legend: A Porsche 917 driven by Willi Kauhsen in the early 70s. He went down in Nürburgring history when he chauffeured the then Federal President Gustav Heinemann around the partly snow-covered Nordschleife in a 917 in the spring of 1973.
Traditional event secured: contract extended ahead of schedule
The organisers of the AvD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix can start into the future with a lot of confidence after the contract for the continuation of the event at the Nürburgring was extended ahead of schedule. Subject to the naturally unpredictable scheduling constellations in the respective years, the organisers and the circuit operators are aiming to have the largest classic car racing event in continental Europe take place on the traditional date in mid-August. Next year, the 50th AvD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix will celebrate a "round birthday", and the conclusion of the contract guarantees that this edition will be followed by several more. "We are very pleased to ensure continuity in this way and to remain an important fixture in the annual calendar, not only for our spectators in the grandstands, but above all for teams and drivers. The agreement with our partners at the Nürburgring also gives us security for all subsequent planning," says Wolfgang Schulz as co-managing director of the organisers' association. For the race track operators at Nürburgring 1927 GmbH & Co. KG, the signing of the contract is an important signal: "The AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix represents the entire motorsport history of our race track," explains Managing Director Ingo Böder. "The vehicles that compete here have fascinated visitors to the 'Green Hell' for decades and bring the great moments to life. That's why we're pleased that we've been able to create long-term planning security for this highlight in our event calendar and for everyone involved."
Partners of the event draw a positive balance
Many long-standing partners also remained loyal to the AvD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix this year. The tents of partners such as Continental, Junghans, Motor Klassik or TÜV Rheinland and others held historical treasures time and again, made it possible to meet famous drivers and offered information and entertainment. Together with the many racing cars in the team and racing series tents, this created the unique flair for which the event is known. Skoda, for example, presented a whole range of rare historic models, some of which came directly from the factory museum in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, to the Eifel. "We were able to successfully present ourselves here with Skoda and also bring our long brand history to life with many guests and partners as well as models from many decades," Andreas Leue (Skoda Auto Deutschland, Tradition & Projects) summed up. Seven-time German Rally Champion and Skoda brand ambassador Matthias Kahle adds: "A compliment to the organisers: After two difficult years with restrictions and one cancellation, this year was a successful new start. It makes us want to celebrate the big anniversary next year." The official media partner Motor Klassik at the Nürburgring was also represented with extensive involvement. Editor-in-chief Hans-Jörg Götzl was pleased: "We saw some really great races this weekend. My personal favourites are the large-volume CanAm and Group C sports cars. But especially the field of racing sports cars and GT up to 1960/61 was remarkably strong this year with Maserati Birdcage and Co."