Since 1972 the friends of well-kept, fast moving classic cars have been meeting once a year at the Nürburgring in the Eifel region of Germany. Under the flag of the AvD, the Oldtimer Grand Prix (OGP) again took place there last weekend, this time comprising 12 racing classes, a regularity test (‘Gleichmäßigkeitsprüfung, GLP) for pre-war vehicles, three demo races and a trackday on the legendary Nordschleife on Friday. In addition, the surrounding parking lots and the interior of the Mercedes Arena were used as usual for club meetings. While the infield offered enough space for guests of Porsche, the Ferrari Club Deutschland (FCD) and the Alfa Romeo Club, there were numerous other brand and model clubs around the track. To see all the rare vehicles on only one day borders therefore actually on impossibility. Nevertheless we tried to do so and spent the Saturday at probably the most famous German racetrack.
Already the first walk through the ‘Altes Fahrerlager’ (old paddock), where the legendary corrugated iron garages from the early days of this race track have been preserved to this day, gives car fans a comforting shiver over their backs. These garages are the home of the pre-war vehicles during the OGP, while the almost square courtyard between them is home to the participants of the ‘Slowly Sideways’ demo laps. Frequent readers of Secret Classics will remember this grouping from the Eifel Rallye Festival: They are enthusiastics who regularly drive their classic rally cars for show purposes and thus keep them in the collective memory – and to also inspire new fans for those wild times of this motorsport. But the new paddock at the Nürburgring also boasts a variety of cars that leave nothing to be desired. No matter whether you were looking for classic touring cars, sports cars or formula cars, you were sure to find what you were looking for. There were also stands of dealers and manufacturers such as Volvo and Isdera. Only the Jaguar Land Rover area directly behind the tunnel between old and new paddock was missing for the first time in a long time.
While normal visitors usually don’t get into the pit garages, at the Oldtimer Grand Prix you can still look over the mechanics’ shoulders in numerous tents and pavilions as they prepare the cars for the respective training and race runs. As already described above, there were 12 different races this year with associated training sessions. In the time between the respective races the teams naturally enjoyed showing their cars. In addition, participants rolled back from the Parc Fermé into their own tents or to the refueling point, so that there was always enough engine sound to hear in the paddock. At Motor Klassik there were some racing cars from Abarth, which this time stayed purely for show purposes in the Eifel and didn’t roll onto the circuit. Audi presented the new R8 LMS GT2, with which a new customer sports car for the new GT2 category starting next season will be offered. A Bentley 4.5 Liter Blower, a BMW 507 or the very rare Rochdale GT were much more classic and thus more in keeping with the basic concept of the event.
In the infield of the Mercedes Arena, Ferrari, represented by the German Club, showed for the first time in many years a larger field of vehicles, which in contrast to that of the Ferrari Racing Days also contained a pleasingly large number of cars built before 1995. Next door at Porsche, one has never had these worries before. Traditionally, customers with their everyday Cayenne, Boxster, Cayman, 911 and Panamera are just as happy to come by here as those with rare supercars (959, Carrera GT and 918 Spyder) or with cars from classic model series like 356, 924, 928, 944 and the 914, which this year was in the main focus due to its 50th anniversary. Even the Alfa Romeo Club can’t complain about a lack of visitors. Not only the latest offshoots of the Italian brand, but above all the classics like GTV, Junior Zagato, Giulia, Giulietta and Alfasud fill the parking spaces to the last spot.
Meanwhile, on the race track, the various vehicle concepts in their respective classes provided good entertainment. Especially the historic touring cars from DTM, STW, BTCC, ETCC, WTCC and so on as well as the GTs and Sports Cars of the different decades enjoy great popularity. In addition, there are classic Formula 1 racing cars, the Formula Junior class and, since last year, the Endurance Legends with cars that were still on the road at Le Mans or the World Sportscar Championship just a few years ago. The GLP laps of the pre-war cars were also interesting to watch – or when was the last time you heard a Mercedes-Benz SSK under full load? For us, a question mark is only hanging over the ‘FCD Racingseries’ class, which is filled by modern Challenge cars from Ferrari. Just like the Mini Challenge from about ten years ago, we believe that this one-make cup doesn’t really fit into the concept of the Oldtimer Grand Prix.
Nevertheless, we recommend a visit to this event without reservation. Whether as a one-day trip or over the entire weekend, at the Nürburgring you will definitely experience the highest level of car enjoyment during your stay. If you lacked the necessary spark of electricity up to this point: The organisers of the 47th Oldtimer Grand Prix reminded all visitors with a short demo drive that electromobility isn’t a new invention of the last few years, but already emerged in the 1880s and was offered in parallel in the early days of the automobile. Only the small range, the high costs and the high weight finally put a stop to the further spreading.
Images: Katrin Pitsch, Matthias Kierse