Nürburgring, Germany

OLDTIMER GRAND PRIX
12 – 14 August 2022

Some like it hot at the ‘Ring!

It wasn’t everyone’s favourite weather – one competitor even pleaded Masters to start an Arctic championship instead! – but every Masters driver contributed to the heat at the Oldtimer Grand Prix on the Nürburgring. Run in uncharacteristically sweltering conditions, the well-attended event saw Masters come up with six very exciting races, final honours going to Steve Hartley, home favourites Marco Werner and Yannik Trautwein, the inimitable Steve Brooks/Martin O’Connell pairing and Anglo-German duo Andy Newall/Leon Ebeling.

RACE REPORTS

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 1
Werner fights back to win first Masters Endurance Legends race at the Nürburgring

Marco Werner overcame his elite-driver penalty to win the first Masters Endurance Legends race at the Nürburgring, as the home hero’s Lola-Lotus B12/80 chased and caught Stuart Wiltshire’s Ligier JSP2 on the penultimate lap. Mike Newton kept the two leading cars in sight in the first part of the race, but in the end his older MG-Lola EX257 finished a distant third, ahead of Yannik Trautwein, the German debuting his ex-Dempsey Racing Lola B12/80.

“It was a little bit tough!” said Werner. “But it was a great race, and I think we put on a good show with the first three cars.”

Wiltshire had led away from pole but when he made a mistake into the first corner, Werner took over halfway into their opening stints. Forced to wait longer during the mandatory pitstop phase, Werner had to undo a 14-second deficit, which he duly did with two more laps remaining, before passing Wiltshire by outbraking his rival into the first corner. Meanwhile, in fifth overall, Andy Willis and Stephan Joebstl eased their way to a P3 class win in their Ligier JSP3.

“It was an endurance, that’s what it was!” said Wiltshire. “It was very hard inside the cockpit. I don’t think I could have held off Marco if I hadn’t made that mistake. I’m a 57-year-old amateur, and I’m fat! Marco is a three-time Le Mans winner and a legend – so, no… But you know, this is my first season and I’m enjoying the challenge.”

“I stayed with them in the opening laps”, said Newton, “but once we got into traffic I decided on settling for third. I tried to go for Marco, but he’s just too quick, and then had a look at Stuart when he made his mistake, but the Ligier is so fast and Stuart is good as well.”

In his Porsche 997 GT3, Andy Feigenwinter spun and won, as the Swiss driver debuting in the series threw away an early GT lead to come back and pass Jason Wright’s Ferrari 458 GT3 for the class victory. Christopher Compton Goddard (Ferrari 430) drove a well-managed race to claim third in class.

“Yes, I made a mistake early on”, said Feigenwinter. “A Ligier P3 made me nervous, he was pushing and then I spun. But I came back to pass the Ferrari and take the win. It was great – my first time here in Masters, and qualifying was perfect too, so I’m very happy!”

“It was really difficult out there”, said Wright. “But you know, I love the car, and I enjoy the Nürburgring, so it was great. It was a bit of a lonely race for me – the only interesting thing was Nick Padmore unlapping himself, which allowed me to watch his lines in total awe…”

“It was hot, but really good”, said Compton Goddard. “It was close racing initially, but after that I just tried to keep a safe distance to the Lotus in fourth. It was the first time I’ve driven this circuit, and I knew I was never going to catch the two in front, so I kept something in the tank. There was no need to overdrive.”

In what was likely the hottest Oldtimer Grand Prix edition ever, the Masters Endurance Legends grid lined up to hopefully still enjoy the last of the cool morning breeze before temperatures would go on to top the thirties. With no cars in the P1 class this time, P2 machines would be fighting for the overall win, as Stuart Wiltshire stormed away from pole to lead Werner, Newton, Trautwein and GT class leader Feigenwinter into the first corner.

Maintaining the same order for the remainder of the opening lap, Wiltshire’s Ligier JSP2 led Werner’s Lola B12/80 by 1.2 seconds, with Newton’s MG-Lola EX257 1.1 seconds further back. Trautwein, however, was gone, his first race in the ex-Dempsey B12/80 looking like it was going to be shortlived, but the German resumed at the back.

At the front, Newton was doing well to keep pace with the two more recent P2 cars in the first two places, while Feigenwinter in fourth was now 13 seconds adrift from the leader. The Swiss Porsche driver was chased by the P3 Ligiers of Andy Willis and Ron Maydon, with Gianluca Candiani’s open-top P2 Lucchini SR2 in seventh.

Next, Feigenwinter was in trouble too, the Porsche 997 GT3 dropping away before resuming in 11th overall. This handed the GT class lead to Jason Wright, whose Ferrari 458 GT3 was now up to seventh, as Willis, Maydon and Candiani were each elevated a spot.

On lap 4, an error into the first corner by Wiltshire helped Werner to take the lead, the Ligier almost losing second place to Newton too. Meanwhile, further back, Trautwein’s Lola that used to be campaigned by Patrick Dempsey, Nick Foster and Dane Cameron, was back up in seventh, having quickly dealt with Wright, Christopher Compton Goddard’s Ferrari 430 GTC, Wolfgang Henseler’s Lotus Evora GTE and Stephan Jocher’s Red Bull-liveried Porsche 996 GT3 RSR. Bringing up the rear was Christopher Stahl’s 430 GTC.

Fifteen minutes into the race, Werner had opened up a useful three-second gap to Wiltshire, with Newton a similar amount of ticks behind the Ligier. Willis was a lonely fourth, trailing by 33 seconds, while Trautwein had got up to fifth at the cost of Maydon. Further back, Feigenwinter was back into the GT class lead, having passed Wright for eighth overall.

As the pit window opened, Werner was the first to come in, followed by Trautwein, Feigenwinter and Henseler. Next up were Newton and Wiltshire, along with Candiani, Compton Goddard, Jocher and Stahl, the latter handing over to Nick Padmore. On lap 11, Maydon and Willis were the last two to come in, Willis changing places with Stephan Joebstl.

With Werner taking his elite-driver penalty at the stops, Wiltshire found himself back with a 14-second lead, with Newton just two seconds down on the German. Trautwein was now up to fourth, having jumped the Willis/Joebstl Ligier at the stops, while Maydon was in the wars, having spun at the hairpin at the back of the circuit. In sixth, Feigenwinter had returned to being a comfortable GT class leader, with his GT rival Wright sandwiching Candiani’s Lucchini in seventh. Compton Goddard was third in the GT class, ahead of Henseler, Jocher and Padmore, while Maydon resumed in 11th overall.

With ten minutes remaining, Wiltshire’s lead was diminishing at a rate of two seconds a lap, so Werner was now within six seconds of the lead. The German had left Newton behind by 16 seconds, who looked safe against the threat of Trautwein, who was setting similar lap times 38 seconds further adrift.

As the minutes ticked away, the fight up front hotted up ever more, Werner just 1.2 seconds away with less than three minutes to go. Going into lap 19, the German pulled off the move going into the first corner, to go on to claim a hard-fought win. Newton was a distant third, with Trautwein ending up fourth on his Masters Endurance Legends debut. In fifth, Stephan Joebstl cornered the P3 class win for himself and Andy Willis, while Feigenwinter bounced back from his early mishap to take sixth and the GT class win. Behind Candiani’s Lucchini, Jason Wright took second in class from Compton Goddard in ninth overall. Maydon’s Ligier rounded out the top ten.

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 2
Trautwein takes shock debut win in second Masters Endurance Legends race at the Nürburging

Yannik Trautwein took a sensational victory in the second Masters Endurance Legends race at the Oldtimer Grand Prix weekend, as the German gave his ex-Dempsey Racing Lola B12/80 a shock debut win in the series. Helped by the demise of that other local hero, Marco Werner in Chrome Cars’ Lotus-liveried B12/80, Trautwein headed home Stuart Wiltshire whose Ligier JSP2 initially pressured Werner but was vaulted by Trautwein at the stops.

“It’s amazing!” said a delighted Trautwein. “This is my first time ever in an LMP car. I only jumped into it in Thursday testing. Then we had an issue in first qualifying and yesterday in the first race another issue with the door – but at least I could use the rest of that race to learn. Today I struggled a bit with the cold tyres in the first two or three laps but then I got into a nice rhythm. I had a really great out lap, so I came out door-to-door with the others when I exited the pits. And then Marco had his penalty…”

“I was hanging on for dear life, really”, said Wiltshire about not being able to compete towards the end. “These conditions are just not for me. If they ever introduce an Arctic championship, I’ll be the first to enter that! There was more time in the car but I was genuinely at my limit.”

“I got a bit lucky with third”, said Newton. “I thought I would have to settle for fourth. After the first race my tyres were already well underway, and by the time of my pitstop today they were gone! But I plugged on because you never know what happens. And something did happen…”

Andy Feigenwinter did the GT double, his Porsche 997 GT3 again coming home first in class, this time in a magnificent fourth overall. Behind the Swiss driver, Ron Maydon decided the P3 class battle in favour against the similar Ligier JSP3 shared by Andy Willis and Stephan Joebstl.

“Another win, yeah!” said a jubilant Feigenwinter. “It was great, the pitstop was even better than yesterday, so it was absolutely perfect. I’m truly happy!”

Jason Wright took another second in the GT class, while battling with Gianluca Candiani’s Lucchini SR2, his Ferrari 458 GT3 staying ahead of Nick Padmore in Christopher Stahl’s Ferrari 430 GTC, who was held back by a drive-through penalty.

“I had more fun today”, said Wright after having had a lonely race the day before. “I raced the Lucchini for a while, and then I got into a great battle with Ron. I knew that I was racing the boss of Masters, so if anyone was not going to punt me off, it was Ron!”

“I really like these GT cars”, said Padmore. “I got a drive-through penalty, that was a bit of a bugger, but I really enjoyed it.”

Halfway into the morning of the Oldtimer Grand Prix’s final day, the Masters Endurance Legends field stormed off for its second race of the weekend, Marco Werner’s Chrome Cars Lola B12/80 taking the lead from Stuart Wiltshire’s Duqueine-run Ligier JSP2. Newton was third in his MG-Lola EX257, chased by Yannick Trautwein debuting his ex-Dempsey Racing B12/80.

After one lap, the top three ran nose to tail, with Trautwein a further three seconds adrift. Andy Feigenwinter ran fifth as the GT class leader, the Swiss hoping to repeat Saturday’s class win, as he was separated from his nearest rival – Jason Wright in the Ferrari 458 GT3 – by Andy Willis in the P3-class-leading Ligier JSP3 and Gianluigi Candiani in the Lucchini SR2. Behind Wright, Maydon ran second in the P3 class in another JSP3, with Nick Padmore tenth overall and third of the GTs in Christopher Stahl’s Ferrari 430 GTC.

At the front, Werner had slightly increased his lead over Wiltshire, an advantage that now amounted to 2.5 seconds, with Newton a further 1.5 seconds behind, as Trautwein began to close on the MG-Lola. Feigenwinter now trailed the leader by 26 seconds while continuing to be harried by Willis. At 40 seconds from Werner, another group had developed in the shape of Candiani, Wright and Maydon, as Padmore began to close on the trio. Behind them, Christopher Compton Goddard in the second 430 and Wolfgang Henseler in the Lotus Evora were in the wars, having made contact.

At the front, Werner continued to lead towards the stops, now some ten seconds clear of Wiltshire, but Trautwein had gained a place, leading Newton to be the first to pit. Meanwhile, Willis had vaulted Feigenwinter for fifth overall, the Swiss being the next to pit, followed by Trautwein and Compton Goddard. Candiani, meanwhile, had to take a penalty for not having his helmet secured ahead of the 1-minute board.

On lap 10, both Werner and Wiltshire pitted simultaneously, and with the German having to take his elite-driver penalty, the Briton resumed in the lead. As Padmore, Henseler, Compton Goddard and Stephan Jocher in the Porsche 996 GT3 RSR also took to the pits, Willis and Maydon were the last to stay out.

At the front, there wasn’t much in it between Wiltshire and Werner, though, and the latter was soon up with his rival, reclaiming the position going into the Mercedes Arena on lap 12. It wasn’t for the lead, however, as Trautwein had vaulted both of them! In the meantime, Maydon and Willis took their stops, Willis handing the wheel to Stephan Joebstl.

Trautwein initially held back Werner into lap 13, but was forced to give up when he was baulked by a backmarker. Behind them, Wiltshire’s times were slightly down on his previous level, and the Ligier had dropped away to a five-second deficit on Werner. Newton was firmly fixed in fourth, 36 seconds away, while in fifth overall, Feigenwinter had both hands firmly on the GT class lead. Joebstl was sixth but chased hard for the P3 class lead by Maydon. They were followed by Wright, Candiani and Padmore.

On lap 15, though, came the shock announcement that Werner had been slammed with a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact with backmarker Compton Goddard. The German decided to take it immediately, handing the lead to Trautwein, with Wiltshire following through into second. Werner returned eight seconds down on Wiltshire who himself now trailed the leader by seven seconds but going into lap 18, the German pulled off into the pitlane exit, elevating Newton up into third. Meanwhile, further back, Maydon had cleared Joebstl for the P3 class lead.

So at the front, Trautwein was safe for a shock debut win in the Lola B12/80, as the German was followed home by Wiltshire and Newton. Feigenwinter completed a double GT class win in fourth overall, with Maydon cornering the P3 class win from the rivalling Willis/Joebstl Ligier. Wright took second in the GT class, ahead of Padmore, Henseler, Jocher and Compton Goddard, while Candiani took ninth overall in his Lucchini.

Masters Gentlemen Drivers
Ebeling/Newall lift Masters Gentlemen Drivers trophy at the Oldtimer Grand Prix

Leon Ebeling and Andy Newall ran home a convincing win in the Masters Gentlemen Drivers race at the Oldtimer Grand Prix, the German leading by a narrow margin during his opening stint before Newall contained a 30-second gap partly created by the elite-driver pitstop penalties for the cars behind them. Their Cobra was followed home by the similar car shared by Niko Ditting and Sam Hancock, with the pole-sitting TVR Griffith of John Spiers and Nigel Greensall coming in third.

“Leon did all the hard work”, said Newall, “I just brought it home. We had a really good pitstop, we were bang on zero when I left, and had a good outlap. I think we won about eight seconds there.”

“My race was very enjoyable”, said Ebeling. “I was holding a four-second lead initially, but eventually I could not hold Michael Lyons in the TVR Griffith. It’s great how the race came back to us at the stops, although those elite-driver penalties helped too!”

In the second Gotcha Cobra, Vincent Kolb ran a close second to Ebeling early on but relief driver Stippler was delayed by a stop-and-go penalty for stopping short during the mandatory pitstops. Until then, Stippler had been battling Hancock for second place. Towards the pitstops, Michael Lyons pushed through into a brief lead in Felix Haas’ Cobra, but Haas was unable to keep Hancock, Greensall and Stippler at bay, the Anglo-German pairing finishing fifth.

“I was grateful to see Frank pull off!” said Hancock of his fight with Stippler – as long as it lasted. “But it’s really good fun to race someone that you can trust on what he will be doing next. I enjoyed that very much. And all credit to Niko who laid the foundation by driving a very strong first stint.”

“I was driving the race on the temperature gauge, really, so I had to slow down”, said Spiers, “We were also worried about a gearbox issue but that proved unfounded, so we are pleased that we rescued a podium. And Nigel was incredible, as usual.”

Robin Ward and Ron Maydon bagged a comfortable CLP class win, their Ginetta G4R ending up seventh overall – it could have been sixth but they were pipped across the line by Simon Hadfield in Wolfgang Friedrichs’ Aston Martin DP214. Christian and Wolfgang Molitor grabbed second in CLP in their Lotus Elan 26R, while Jürgen Rudolph took C1 honours in his Porsche 911.

“Yes, it was an easy class win”, said Ward. “But we did well overall too! It could have been one place better, but Simon Hadfield is such a good driver.”

Just after lunchtime, the Masters Gentlemen Drivers entrants assembled for their 90-minute enduro at the Oldtimer Grand Prix. At the start, Frank Stippler vaulted into the lead in Lucas Bscher’s Jaguar E-type to lead poleman John Spiers – very likely by virtue of a jump start – before Leon Ebeling in his AC Cobra also passed the TVR Griffith. Vincent Kolb was fourth in another Cobra, followed by Robin Ward in the CLP-class-leading Ginetta G4R, with Michael Lyons up next in Felix Haas’ TVR Griffith. Four more local drivers followed, Afschin Fatemi’s CLP-class Porsche 904/6 leading Niko Ditting’s AC Cobra, Christian Schoedel’s E-type and Malte Müller-Wrede’s Cobra.

After two laps, Stippler continued to lead, now 2.2 seconds ahead of Ebeling (L.) and Kolb, who had passed Spiers for third. On the next tour, Ward was passed by Lyons, with Ditting and Schoedel moving up at the cost of Fatemi. Behind Müller-Wrede, Paul Friedrichs was on the verge of the top ten in his Aston Martin DP214, after which a big gap opened to Philipp Dressel’s E-type and Caroline Rossi in the C2-class-leading Austin Healey 3000. For now, Jürgen Rudolph had the better of Frank Stricker in their intra-Porsche 911 tussle for C1 honours.

On lap 4, it was duly announced that Stippler had jumped the start and faced a drivethrough penalty. This would open the road for Ebeling and Kolb, who now had Lyons chasing them, the young Briton now also having cleared Spiers. Ward, Ditting, Schoedel, Fatemi and Müller-Wrede continued running in unchanged order, while the most entertaining battle was seen between Rossi, Rudolph and Christian Molitor’s Lotus Elan 26R running third in the CLP class.

15 minutes into the race, Leon Ebeling led Kolb by two seconds, with Lyons now in striking distance, just two more ticks behind. As Stippler resumed in sixth, Ditting had made up three places in one go, as he had also passed Ward and Spiers under his own steam, the entire group trailing the leader by 12 to 17 seconds. 25 seconds behind, Schoedel continued to run in P8, heading Fatemi, Müller-Wrede and Friedrichs.

Soon, Stippler harried Ditting for fourth, having already vaulted Ward, who in turn had passed Spiers, now down in seventh from the Griffith’s pole-sitting start, its engine contuining to overheat, forcing Spiers to slow down and give the Ford V8 a rest for a while. Only moments later, however, Stippler was seen slowing and failing to negotiate the esses, as the E-type crawled its way to the pits. After he went back out, he missed another corner, very likely suffering from brake problems.

At the front, Lyons had closed up on Kolb and was looking to pounce, the pair still running two seconds off Ebeling’s lead. On lap 9, Lyons was up into second place. The fight with Kolb had lost him two seconds, though, as Ebeling had increased his advantage to four seconds. Meanwhile, Rossi reported to the pits to give up on her Austin Healey.

With one hour still to go, Leon Ebeling kept Lyons at bay, leading by five seonds, with Kolb two more seconds adrift. 16 seconds further down the road, Ditting was a lonely fourth, now with 11 seconds in hand on Ward, and 20 on Spiers. Fatemi, Schoedel, Müller-Wrede and Friedrichs remained in the same order, all separated by a safe margin, but from 11th overall Dressel’s E-type was seen coming into the pits for an unscheduled stop, losing it two places.

He was soon given one place back by his countryman Fatemi, whose Porsche 904/6 tailed off into pits and was wheeled back into its garage. At the back, Rudolph continued to lead from Stricker in C1. Now they were falling like flies, as Müller-Wrede’s AC Cobra also pulled off, having lost its oil. This elevated Friedrichs into eighth, ahead of the recovering Stippler, who at the stops would switch to Kolb’s Cobra, with the Molitor/Molitor Elan entering into the top ten.

Towards the pitstops, Lyons was gathering pace, slowly negating his deficit to Ebeling, passing the German on lap 16, just as the first stops were in progress. Ditting made way for Sam Hancock, Spiers traded places with Nigel Greensall, and Paul Friedrichs handed over to Simon Hadfield – allowing three big guns into the field. Schoedel handed his E-type to Leon Ebeling, while Karl-Heinz Wlasik took over from Dressel. C1 runners Rudolph and Sticker also stopped, so now we were waiting for the four leaders to come in.

On lap 19, the first two followed each other in, Lyons handing to Felix Haas, and Ebeling to Andy Newall. Meanwhile, Ron Maydon stepped into the Ginetta that Ward had hauled up into fourth overall. Just after Christian Molitor had handed over to Wolfgang, the last one to come in was Vincent Kolb in the second Gotcha AC Cobra. Kolb had given Frank Stippler a short breather after his countryman had handed Lucas Bschr the wheel of the Jaguar E-type.

After all the stops had panned out, Andy Newall – injured leg and all – led the way, now a healthy 37 seconds in front of Haas, partly aided by longer stops for the cars that carried elite drivers Stippler, Hancock, Lyons and Greensall. Behind Haas, Stippler in Kolb’s Cobra pipped Hancock’s similar machine to third, 51 seconds down on the leader. Maydon was fifth for now, leading the CLP class, but Nigel Greensall was flying in the TVR Griffith, with laptimes five seconds faster than those of the leader! Behind Greensall, Hadfield was making similar progress, the Aston Martin was now the second fastest car in the field, having cleared the E-type of Dirk Ebeling, who in turn had Bscher closing in fast on him.

With half an hour still remaining, Newall looked in control but 42 seconds behind the Briton, Hancock, Stippler and Haas had bunched up into a warring group of three, the former having got back at the two Germans. Soon after, Haas was forced to leave Hancock and Stippler alone in their intra-Cobra squabble. Trailing the trio by half a minute, Greensall was up into fifth and reeling in Haas with five seconds per lap, while Maydon was the safe CLP class leader in sixth overall. Hadfield was seventh but still 35 seconds away from the Ginetta, while Ebeling (D.), Bscher and Rudolph occupied the remainder of the top ten.

As we approached the final quarter hour, the top three were set to lose their battle for second, as the Kolb/Stippler Cobra was measured to have stopped five seconds short – the result was a 5-second stop-and-go penalty. On lap 30, Stippler came in to serve it, costing him two places. Almost simultaneously, Dirk Ebeling was in to retire the E-type shared with Schoedel. Meanwhile, Greensall had closed on Haas and was looking to take possession of what was now third place. On lap 31, Greensall was past.

With five minutes remaining, Newall was coasting home, half a minute clear of Hancock, with Greensall some 23 more ticks behind in third. Haas looked set to lose fourth to the resurgent Stippler, and on lap 35, the two switched places. And so the win went to Leon Ebeling and Andy Newall in their Cobra, followed home by the Ditting/Hancock Cobra, the Spiers/Greensall Griffith, the Kolb/Stippler Cobra and the Haas/Lyons Cobra. Maydon secured the CLP class win in the Ginetta started by Robin Ward, although they were just pipped to sixth overall by the Wolfgang Friedrichs/Simon Hadfield Aston Martin DP214. The Bscher/Stippler E-type was eighth ahead of the Molitor/Molitor Elan taking second in the CLP class. In tenth overall, Jürgen Rudolph led the C1 class from start to finish, to win from Frank Stringer’s similar Porsche 911.

Masters Racing Legends for F1 cars 66/85 – Race 1
Hartley beats the Lotus effort to win first Masters Racing Legends race at the ‘Ring

From second on the grid, Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1 stormed into the lead on the opening lap of the Oldtimer Grand Prix’s first Masters Racing Legends race for 1966-’85 Formula One cars to never look back and beat the combined Lotus effort of Nick Padmore, Michael Lyons and Marco Werner.

“I am very, very, very pleased”, said a delighted Hartley. “But I do have a fantastic team, and a fantastic car. It was hard work, I knew these guys were fast, so I gave it 110%.”

Although Hartley’s lead went up and down initially, poleman and local hero Werner could never really threaten the McLaren before the German’s Lotus 87B began to drop back with brake issues, allowing Padmore’s 88B up into second place. On the final lap, Werner also lost third to Lyons in the post-82 class-winning Lotus 92.

“It was good, especially the fight with Marco!” said a happy Padmore. “In some corners he was a lot faster, in others I could catch up with him, so we were really dicing! In the end, I was caught out by a backmarker, but nothing major. Steve was just too fast today.”

“I had a little issue but nothing crazy”, said Lyons. “On the opening lap I was on the wrong side and lost pace with the top-three. Then one of the cars in front dropped a fair bit of oil and I tried not to make a mistake. Having lost ground, the plan was to save the car for tomorrow, but Mark was driving very well, he really pushed me! And then at the end, Marco’s misfortune was my fortune…”

In his Williams FW07, Mark Hazell put Lyons under pressure in the second half of the race before losing pace on the final but he still salvaged fifth, followed home by Mark Higson whose McLaren MP4/1B looked like having the Lotus 78 of Marc Devis on a tow line. Behind Harald Becker’s Arrows A3, Paul Grant’s De Tomaso 505/38 bagged the pre-78 win while battling the much more recent cars of Michel Baudoin (March 821) and Arthur Bruckner (Arrows A6).

“We had a great race”, said Paul Grant about fighting more recent cars on his way to pre-78 victory. “We were with three cars together, and I really enjoyed that!”

Under a blazing hot sun at the Nürburgring – who had ever thought that we would have to opportunity to write that? – the Masters Racing Legends grid gathered for the 4pm start to their first race of the Oldtimer Grand Prix weekend. Local hero Marco Werner sat on pole in his Lotus 87B, and he was joined on the front row by Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1. The second row was shared between two more JPS-liveried cars – Nick Padmore’s twin-chassis Lotus 88B and Steve Brooks in the 91. Next up were Michael Lyons in the Lotus 92 and Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29, making it an all-JPS-and-Marlboro first three rows. On row four, Mark Hazell broke the theme with his Williams FW07, but he was joined there by Mark Higson’s McLaren MP4/1B.

Werner blasted away into the lead but Hartley was hot on the German’s heels into the Mercedes Arena complex, chasing him down to the Südkehre before moving past out of the Dunlop-Kehre, as the Lotus 87B suffered from a misfire.

“I had these misfires three or four times”, Werner explained. “The first time was coming out of the hairpin, and Steve went flying past me, and then a couple of more times into turn 1.”

Padmore and Lyons were up next, followed by Briggs, Hazell, Higson and Marc Devis in the Lotus 78, as Steve Brooks’ 91 had failed to make it round on the opening lap, pulling off at the Bit-Kurve, the second part of the esses.

After two laps, Hartley led Werner by one second, and Padmore by 1.5 seconds, as Lyons was left trailing by seven ticks. Briggs and Hazell were disputing fifth, with Higson and Devis similarly warring over seventh and eighth. Harald Becker’s Arrows A3 was ninth, ahead of Arthur Bruckner’s later Arrows A6, while Michel Baudoin’s March 821 had taken Paul Grant’s De Tomaso 505/38 – the sole Stewart-class entry – for 11th overall.

As Hartley extended his lead to 1.6 seconds, another McLaren pulled into the pits, Briggs giving up on lap 3 with an overheating engine. On lap 4, Hartley’s lead was up tot 2.2 seconds, as Padmore began to put Werner under pressure for second place. 16 seconds down, Lyons was a lonely fourth, three seconds ahead of Hazell and some twenty seconds up on the fight between Higson and Devis, that still raged into lap 5.

After a relatively poor lap, Hartley’s advantage was slashed to just 1.4 seconds, while Padmore was now really looking for a gap next to Werner’s 87B to stick his 88B into. In fourth, Lyons looked odds-on for post-82 flat-bottomed class victory, as his main rival Arthur Bruckner was down in ninth chasing Becker’s older Arrows.

Another lap gone, and Hartley’s firm grip on the race appeared to be tightening less and less, as both Werner and Padmore closed up to within a second, making it a three-way fight for the lead. Remarkably, in sixth and seventh, Higson and Devis were still just tenths apart, as they now trailed the leading group by 45 seconds.

On lap 8, however, Hartley found more pace again to pull the gap back up to 1.5 seconds, as the two Lotus cars seemed tied to the McLaren with a very elastic string. Behind them, Lyons was slowly losing ground to Hazell, who had caught to the Lotus and now was just four tenths behind. Further back, an error by Bruckner had dropped him down to 11th, allowing both Baudoin and Grant past.

Six minutes remained, and now Hartley’s grasp on the win seemed firmer, as the gap to his pursuers increased to 2.4 seconds – and it was Padmore who did the chasing, as the Briton had passed his German teammate on lap 9, while Werner’s Lotus now appeared to be limping towards the finish. Its driver later explained that he had lost the brakes.

On lap 11, with three minutes still to go, Hartley remained in control, leading Padmore by 2.6 seconds, but Werner was struggling, having lost pace at a rate of four seconds a lap. He still held a 19-second lead over Lyons in fourth, though, and Lyons still had Hazell to worry about, the FW07 still full in the Lotus 92’s mirrors. Higson and Devis were still tied together but the Belgian seemed unable to really do anything about Higson holding on to sixth place. Becker and Baudoin were up next, now two laps down, while Bruckner had got back past Grant.

As the finish approached, Hartley’s lead stretched to 3.6 seconds at the most before he sat on a 2.1-second cushion across the line. Werner’s troubles weren’t over yet, as his now totally brakeless Lotus was forced to slow so much during the final lap that it crawled towards the finish line, allowing Lyons to steal third. Hazell, meanwhile, salvaged fifth after another troubled final lap, the same applying to Marc Devis, who lost touch with Higson but still finished seventh. Becker was eighth ahead of Baudoin, Bruckner and Grant.

Masters Racing Legends for F1 cars 66/85 – Race 2
Ringmaster Werner strikes back with win in second Masters Racing Legends race

In Chrome Cars’ Lotus 87B, local hero Marco Werner made up for his previous day’s disappointment by beating Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1 to the win in the second Masters Racing Legends race for 1966-’85 Formula One cars at the Nürburgring. Werner quickly took the lead from Mark Hazell, whose Williams FW07 had started from pole on the reversed grid for Saturday’s first five, and then fought off a mid-race challenge from Hartley who then was forced to drop back as the Briton began to suffer from gearbox issues.

“Yes, everything went fine”, said a satisfied Werner. “Just a few vibrations, but no real problems. In the opening laps, I suffered a few misfires of the kind I had yesterday, which allowed Steve to close. After that, I was pushing every lap, as you can always be tripped up by a backmarker.”

“No, not as good as yesterday”, said Saturday’s winner Hartley. “I was getting closer and closer to Marco, and then I got a problem with second, and then third – and then all the gears went. I was lucky to have made it to the end!”

In their wake, Werner’s teammate Michael Lyons took the Lotus 92 to third and the post-82 class win, while Steve Brooks (Lotus 91) came from the back to finish a strong race in fourth, pipping Hazell to the position on the final lap. Hazell put up a spirited fight against the both of them, though.

“We were having some fun”, Lyons said about his battle with Hazell, whom he passed and repassed twice. “It took me back to the time we were both testing in Spain. It was good fun, we were just playing around!”

Mark Higson (McLaren MP4/1B) ended up a lonely sixth after his main competition disappeared – Warren Briggs retiring his McLaren M29 with an overheating engine while Marc Devis in the Lotus 78 succumbed to brake problems. This allowed Harald Becker to take seventh in his Arrows A3, ahead of Michel Baudoin’s March 821 and Arthur Bruckner’s Arrows A6. Sadly, due to an engine issue, Nick Padmore was unable to start in his Lotus 88B.

Closing the Masters weekend at the Oldtimer Grand Prix, the Masters Racing Legends field was out last for once, ready for their 3:15pm start. As the safety car ducked in, Mark Hazell led away from the reversed grid but his Williams FW07 was soon usurped by home hero Marco Werner’s Lotus 87B. Hartley was already up into third during the opening lap, his McLaren MP4/1 taking a look at Hazell into the chicane before he decided to be the wiser.

Meanwhile, Werner used Hartley’s delay well by creating a 1.3-second gap to Hazell, with Michael Lyons in the Lotus 92 trailing further back in fourth. Again proving equally matched, Mark Higson in the McLaren MP4/1B and Marc Devis in the Lotus 78 resumed their battle from the previous day, as they led Harald Becker’s Arrows A3 and the resurgent Steve Brooks in his Lotus 91 and Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29, both looking to make up more places. Soon they were up with Higson and Devis.

At the front, Werner now led Hartley by 1.6 seconds, ‘The Jam Baron’ having found a way past Hazell, who still held three seconds over Lyons. Higson was still fifth, but Brooks was looking hard to steal the place, and he did so on lap 4, leaving Higson to fend fellow Marlboro McLaren man Briggs, with Devis lurching in the back. Soon, though, Briggs was in with an overheating engine, allowing Devis and Becker to each move up a place, with Michel Baudoin’s March 821 and Arthur Bruckner’s Arrows A6 being promoted into the top ten.

In the meantime, fastest lap on lap 4 by Hartley set up a battle for the lead, as Werner and his British nemesis exchanged best sector times. Overall, though, Hartley was quicker, and going into lap 7, Werner’s lead was cut to a mere three tenths. Behind them, Lyons had captured third place from Hazell, but was looking at a gap of about eight seconds to Hartley. Hazell was having none of that, though, and on lap 7, the Williams was back up into third!

In fifth, Brooks had stormed the midfield runners, and had gone well clear of them, 11 seconds behind Hazell, but 12 seconds ahead of Higson and Devis, but soon after the Belgian was forced to come in with his Lotus 78, to retire with brake problems.

Meanwhile, the stalemate at the front continued, Werner keeping Hartley at around four tenths. Lyons had made it back into third, but was now 13 seconds down on the leader. On lap 9, though, Hartley had lost serious ground, suddenly looking at a 2.1-second gap. A lap later, Werner’s lead had increased to 2.4 seconds.

Five more minutes remained, and Werner looked in control, hoping to give Chrome Cars their home win in the Lotus 87B, but when the German was baulked by a backmarker, Hartley cut back his lead to 1.7 seconds. 12 seconds further back, Lyons looked safe in third, leading Hazell by four seconds and Brooks by three. Higson was now a lonely and distant sixth, well over a minute behind, but still comfortably ahead of Becker’s Arrows.

In the final few laps, Werner grew his lead back again, to win by 7.4 seconds, as Hartley ran into an increasing amount of gearbox trouble. Ten seconds from Hartley, Lyons took third and the post-82 class win while Brooks decided the battle for fourth in his favour, pushing down Hazell to fifth on the final lap. Higson took sixth from Becker, Baudoin and Bruckner.

Masters Sports Car Legends
Brooks/O’Connell sweep to commanding Masters Sports Car Legends win at the ‘Ring

Leading from start to finish in their Lola T70 Mk3B, Steve Brooks and Martin O’Connell took a commanding victory in the one-hour Masters Sports Car Legends race at the Oldtimer Grand Prix event. From pole, Brooks held off an early challenge from Manfredo Rossi’s Abarth Osella PA1 before that faded as the Italian had to take a stop-and-go penalty for a breach of the starting procedure, dropping behind Michael Gans in the Lola T290.

“It seemed to be very hot and hard out there, but it was great. I love this place”, said Brooks. “I felt a lot of pressure initially, so it was definitely a relief that Manfredo had to take his penalty.”

“Even if I had managed to pass Steve, he would have got back at me on the straights”, said Rossi. “And Martin is really fast, so not having had the penalty would not have made a difference.”

A safety car shortly after the pitstops negated the 33-second gap that Brooks had left for O’Connell, but at the restart the latter charged off into the distance to take the win by 14 seconds. Rossi recovered to take second from former IndyCar driver Arnd Meier, who after the stops took Frank Jacob’s Lola T210 up to third at the cost of Gans, who at the end was forced to face off the fierce attacks of Felix Haas in another T210.

“It was a fantastic race”, said Jacob. “We’re very happy with third position. The car was perfect, no technical issues at all.”

“He made a few mistakes, I made a few mistakes”, said Meier about his chase of Rossi. “But our lap times were equal. It was a shame that at the restart, there were some lapped cars in between us. That gave him just the gap that he needed.”

The fight for pre-66 Hulme class honours went unrewarded as the John Spiers/Nigel Greensall and Richard McAlpine/Bradley Burns McLaren M1Bs both faltered. In sixth overall, Jürgen Rudolph took the Bonnier class win in his Porsche 910 while Thomas Henkel and Alex Birkenstock ran home the Pescarolo class victory in their Porsche 911 Carrera RS.

In the fresh air of the Sunday morning, the Masters Sports Car Legends field set off for their one-hour race. When the lights turned green, Steve Brooks led away in his Lola T70 Mk3B, but he was immediately chased hard by Manfredo Rossi in the Abarth Osella PA1, the Italian drawing out a gap towards Frank Jacob’s Lola T210, who found Michael Gans in the Lola T290 and Andy Willis in the T212 hot on his heels. Soon, Gans put Jacob under pressure, but for now the German held firm.

In sixth, John Spiers led the Hulme class in the McLaren M1B, holding off Felix Haas in another T210 and class rival Richard McAlpine in the other M1B, who himself was threatened by Jürgen Rudolph’s Porsche 910, the class-leading Bonnier car. John Sheldon ran tenth, ahead of Oliver Mathai’s invitational Lotus 47, Thomas Henkel in the Pescarolo-class Porsche 911 Carrera RS and Austrian Thomas Matzelberger in the third T210 in the field.

At the front, Rossi tried all he could in the twisty sections to pass Brooks, but the grunt of the Chevy-powered Lola kept the Briton in front. Further back, as a result of contact with Jacob, Willis had dropped away from the fight for third that Gans had now decided in his favour, the American trailing the leaders by 13 seconds. Spiers and Haas had also leapt Willis who found himself just in front of a fierce battle between Rudolph, McAlpine and Sheldon, the latter pushing through to move up into ninth with a great move on the McLaren out of the complex.

Ten minutes into the race, Brooks and Rossi were still nose-to-tail while Gans had left Jacob behind by seven seconds, as Willis fought back to pass both Haas and Spiers. Five minutes later, though, Brooks had eased away from Rossi, and it soon became apparent why, as the Abarth Osella came trundling into the pits on lap 7, having to serve a stop-and-go penalty for a breach of the starting procedure. The same penalty was handed to Henkel who as a result dropped to 13th.

So now, Brooks led Gans by 29 seconds, with Rossi in third, 32 seconds behind the leader. Jacob trailed the Italian by six seconds and led the recovering Willis by ten ticks. Haas was sixth ahead of Spiers, who by now was 13 seconds clear from Rudolph, Sheldon and McAlpine. Moments later, though, the latter pulled off at the Dunlop-Kehre to prematurely decide the Hulme class in Spiers’ favour.

As the pit window approached, Rossi was right on the tail of Michael Gans in the Lola T290, the pair now trailing Brooks by 34 seconds, but the Italian was finding it hard to pass the American. On lap 11, however, a brilliant switchback move into the Bit-Kurve finally did the trick. Immediately, Rossi’s pace was such that he pulled away at a rate of two seconds. Meanwhile, Jacob was the first to pit, handing his T210 to former IndyCar driver Arnd Meier, with Spiers performing the same action with co-driver Nigel Greensall.

With Brooks’ lead as it was – more than half a minute – the OC Racing team was in no rush to get Martin O’Connell into the car. Instead, Rudolph, Sheldon and Henkel came in for their stops, the latter handing over to Alex Birkenstock. They were soon followed by Mathai, Rossi and Haas, with Gans and Willis also leaving it late before Willis would switch places with Stephan Joebstl.

On lap 15, the leader finally came in to hand his healthy lead to O’Connell, as he was joined by Gans and Willis. Further back, though, Greensall’s stint proved shortlived as the other McLaren M1B pulled off at the first turn known as the Castrol-S. That was the Hulme class fight over and done with…

As the rest of the field looked to settle into their second stints, the race was given another twist when the safety car was called – a driveshaft, probably the McLaren’s, was spotted on the racing line in turn 1. The safety car erroneously picked up Birkenstock and Sheldon but they were soon sent on. This left the top seven cars neatly in line astern: O’Connell from Rossi, Gans, Meier, Joebstl, Haas and Rudolph.

Fifteen minutes remained when the green was given, and O’Connell immediately made sure that his rivals wouldn’t catch him off-guard, as he set fastest lap of the race to lead by 2.4 seconds on lap 19. Meier was soon through into third, having dispatched with Gans, while Haas and Rudolph had managed to get ahead of Joebstl. Sheldon was eighth ahead of a lapped Mathai, who fought Ingo Strolz, the Austrian who had taken over from his countryman Matzelberger but would soon face a drive-through penalty for the latter’s speeding in the pitlane.

As O’Connell looked in control, attention soon shifted to the battle for second, where Rossi seemed to have Meier covered for now. 30 seconds further back, Gans was coming under huge pressure from Haas, which meant that fourth place was far from settled. Meanwhile, Mathai retired his Lotus 47 from ninth.

At the front, O’Connell seemed to enjoy himself, setting fastest lap after fastest lap to put the win beyond reasonable doubt. 14 seconds in arrears, Rossi defended second from Meier, while Gans only narrowly held off Haas. Rudolph, Joebstl and Sheldon were up next, with Strolz finishing as the first of the lapped runners in ninth, ahead of the sole Pescarolo-class Porsche RS of Birkenstock and Henkel.