The "Classic for Classics" celebrated a milestone birthday this weekend: At the 50th edition of the Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, around 500 historic race cars from almost all eras and categories of motorsport competed once again on the tradition-steeped Eifel circuit.
- Fast-paced birthday party at the Nürburgring
- The most traditional classic race celebrated its 50th birthday
- Around 50,000 spectators experienced historic motorsport at first hand
- Oldtimer Grand Prix 2024 expected to take place on the second weekend in August
The 50,000 or so spectators were just as eager to miss the successful anniversary party of the Oldtimer Grand Prix as former competitors and participants. Together with the organizers, they celebrated a successful party with many highlights. An anniversary gala at the ring°werk already kicked off the event on Wednesday. Long-time participants drove around the circuit in the anniversary parade and showed off their automotive treasures in the tent of media partner Motor Klassik. Timekeeping partner Junghans even launched its own special watch series, the two models of which, strictly limited to 50 pieces, were sold out in no time at all. A large marquee in the paddock served as a meeting place for visitors, guests of honor, teams and drivers. Just in time for the anniversary, the AMG Arena was once again part of the paddock area - where top brand clubs presented themselves. The organizers had prepared a special tribute for the event's most loyal participant - Uli Sauer from Iserlohn, who has attended the Oldtimer Grand Prix in his pre-war BMW 328 every year since its debut in 1973. The Nürburgring and the organizers dedicated a tree to him on Rolf-Stommelen-Strasse, the connecting path between the historic and Grand Prix paddock, where a special avenue honors selected people with a very special connection to the Eifel race track.
It is also already certain that Germany's most traditional and largest racing event for historic vehicles will continue: the 51st Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring is expected to take place on the second weekend in August in 2024. After the successful anniversary and the optimistic look into the future, the organizers of the event draw a satisfied balance: "The weekend was a birthday party full of positive and special moments for us as long-time organizers," summarizes organization manager Wolfgang Schulz. As managing director of CHRSN Sport GmbH, he is co-organizer of the Oldtimer Grand Prix and a long-time companion of the event and sums up: "We as organizers were pleased about many congratulations and exchanged many anecdotes with old and new friends. This all-round positive review encourages us all to now enter the sixth decade of this great race with a lot of energy."
Packed touring car and GT fields
The sporting program this year was once again alive with a successful mix of German and international racing highlights. The domestic motorsport history was represented, for example, by the huge starting field of "Golden Era" touring cars, which included many unforgettable DTM and STW cars. There were also veterans from the great DTM era at the wheel. For example, Kris Nissen, Olaf Manthey or Roland Asch, who shared his Ford Cosworth with his son Sebastian. The races of the DRM revival, which saw a true summit meeting of the Group 5 cars, also made for shining eyes. Ralf Kelleners (De Tomaso Pantera Group 5) and Peter Mücke / Stefan Mücke in the Zakspeed-Ford Capri shared the victories, third place in both races went to the Turbo-Capri of Heinz Schmersal / Mike Stursberg, which has only been racing again this year. The three series under the umbrella of the FHR drivers' association also contributed to the round of legendary touring car, GT and racing sports vehicles: The HTGT, the Gentle Drivers Trophy and the CanAm & Sportscars / Groupe C Classic offered exciting runs with their many excellently prepared race cars.
Shining eyes and headlights: 50s and 60s sports cars
The CanAm / Sports Car Series of the FHR was also a highlight in the sports car sector, in whose field, for example, driver and team boss legend Olaf Manthey started. The successful motorsport professional drove a Porsche 993 RSR - the very first Manthey Porsche, which marks the beginning of the racing team that has been successful for decades. One of the most important highlights of the weekend, however, was the race of sports cars from the 1950s and 1960s, whose historically valuable vehicles came to the Nürburgring from half of Europe. Once again, rare racing sports cars were at the start, following in the footsteps of the long-distance classics: On Saturday evening, their one-hour run into the falling night formed the atmospheric highlight of the weekend, which was celebrated with a fireworks display after the finish. The program also included the pre-war sports cars, which could be seen on the track for the first time without a sports classification. The field of almost 50 participants included Simon Scrivener and Conny Jäger from Liechtenstein in a Whippet Grand Prix from 1927 - the oldest race car of the entire weekend. But the program also offered an excursion into the sports car present - the FCD Racing Series of the Ferrari Club Germany with its Italian dream sports cars took care of that.
New accents set in formula racing
Last but not least, historic formula racing was an important pillar in the racing program. For the first time, a demo run of Formula 1 and Formula 2 legends provided a Grand Prix feeling, as did the races of the HGPCA. This British racing series presents the pre- and early history of the Formula 1 World Championship with its fine monoposto cars. For the first time, the first race of these classic formula cars was held separately for the rear- and front-engine classes on Saturday - and thus thematized the evolution of formula design. Also new were the international Formula 2 cars of the HSCC series. The formula classes were rounded off by the AvD Historic Race Cup of the HRA drivers' association and the well-staffed field of the Lurani Trophy with its Formula Junior racing cars.