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AvD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix 2012: Crown jewel of the Nürburgring

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AvD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix 2012
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T he hot-blooded historic racing cars from Count Hubertus Dönhoff threatened to gather dust in Salem on Lake Constance. Then the nobleman, who was enthusiastic about classic cars, made the decision to rent a racetrack and meet a few like-minded people there. In 1973 the event celebrated its premiere, which is known worldwide today as the AvD-Oldtimer Grand-Prix.

With 63 cars and 40 motorcycles went it started in 1973

On August 11 and 12, 1973 the time had come for the 40th AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix to be held at the Nürburgring: 63 historic cars and 40 two-wheeled classics started on the so-called concrete loop of the Rings in the Eifel for the 1st international race for historic racing and sports cars as well as motorcycles as part of the Nürburgring show. Such exotic-looking races with historic cars are completely unknown in this country, even on the British Isles the opportunities are rare. Therefore, many English classic car racers accept the invitation and travel in style to the Nürburgring by axle.

But before some old racing cars from England could be parked in the corrugated iron backdrop of the venerable paddock, there were eventful kilometers through the Benelux countries before. Christopher Mann, for example, almost didn't make it to the dream destination with his 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C Monza. In Holland he was stopped by the police on his nightly drive - the headlights were missing on the pre-war classic.

The unorthodox compilation of the starting fields also appears as adventurous as the arrival of the Englishman: on a Mercedes SSK, an Invicta S-Type as well as Mann's Alfa from the 1930s were followed by Austin-Healey and Ferrari 250 GT 'Tour de France' from the 1950s. But the races are not necessarily serious business, but rather a means to an end for the drivers: having fun with old cars for a weekend. After that, the young lawyer Hubertus Dönhoff and his friends made sense.

Already in the 70s many were annoyed by sterile racing

The founding members of the Club Historischer Renn- und Sportfahrzeuge Nürburgring e. V. (CHRSN), which was created in 1973. Hans-Peter Nyffeler was one of the founding members: the Swiss man also acted as race director for the fast-growing race until 1985Classic event, which was named Oldtimer-Grand-Prix from 1980. This designation is proving to be a direct hit, especially today with the oversupply of historical racing events, because it summarizes the events in a generally understandable term.

But already in the years before it spread like wildfire that on August 2nd Weekend in the Eifel wondrous things go on. Fourteen days after the 1976 Formula 1 Grand Prix, 170 participants meet for the scrap iron party. 15,000 spectators experience how drivers in contemporary clothing heave their racing and sports cars from the 1930s over the track. 'He's sitting behind the wheel like a spider monkey,' quotes auto, motor und sport to a viewer who followed the action in amazement.

The ams reporter also has the secret of success for the veteran races in the Eifel found: The spectators are fascinated 'because they are bored of the comparatively sterile world of racing today.' At that time nobody would have thought that the current racing cars of the 1970s would one day be among the public favorites at the 40th AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix.

In 30 hours from Zagreb to the Nürburgring

Moving away from the sterile world of modern motorsport also included traveling on your own. The 80-year-old Yugoslav Emil Zemljak, for example, came straight from Zagreb to the Nürburgring in his BMW 327 (built in 1939): 30 hours non-stop. 'I've been an active motor sportsman for 63 years and have already covered this distance six times,' he dictated to the ams reporter in his notepad.

At least for the BMW sports car, the journey meant a much greater endurance test. When Zemljak carried out the 327 for the first training session on the racetrack, the cylinder head gasket of the six-cylinder failed: 'This meant the sale of his beloved black and green old man and a journey home by train,' the reporter stated laconically.

The first OGP title hero was an Opel Grand Prix car from 1910

The Oldtimer Grand Prix soon came in color - on the cover of the program booklet. In 1975 the cover sheet was provided with a specially made cover picture for the first time, showing an Opel Grand Prix car from the 1910s. That was also the starting shot for a specialty of the historic racing weekend in the Eifel - the history presentation of the car brands.

When it comes to conveying the concentrated history of automobiles and motorsport, the track speakers are of course particularly challenged. They convey the history of the cars and have to keep an eye on a good eight decades of racing history. From the very beginning, a multiple participant in the Monte-Carlo Rally: Ruprecht Hopfen. He was followed by the unforgettable voice of the Nürburgring, the spokesman Jochen Luck. He celebrated with his unmistakable voiceMotorcycle fan his announcements and comments like no other. In 1986, the new GP course was just two years old, the spokesman who has been awarded the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix to this day spoke to Luck for the first time: Johannes Huebner.

The OGP - sometimes copied, but never achieved

Since the first edition in 1973, it has been the special features such as the BMW special run that year that make the Oldtimer Grand Prix its unmistakable Giving profile: sometimes copied, but never equaled. In the first few years there was the grand finale of the matador run, in which the 20 fastest drivers of the weekend met: a motley starter field with the highest entertainment value. However, with the regulation of the classic races by the sports umbrella organizations, the possibility of wildly mixed starting fields disappeared.

But Count Dönhoff and the CHRSN created time and again, and from 1975 also the AvD and the Hesse Motor Sports Club, which is part of the oldest German automobile club (HMSC) new races that were and are only seen in this form at the Oldtimer Grand Prix. A few years ago, the organizing community had the idea of ​​dedicating a revival race to former racing cars of the German racing championship - still a magnet for spectators today.

Always more professional - and more commercial

What started as a wild and bizarre event for like-minded people in the early 1970s has turned into a professional racing event with a budget of millions in the 40th round. Because overall, the casual veterans' get-togethers have given way to a commercial racing scene, which is still gaining popularity. Even before a classic wheel turns on the route, the OGP organizers face a particular challenge.

For many participants it has been part of the process for years, like the modern faction, to come to the race weekend with a truck: to transport the racing cars and in the paddock as a place to work and sleep for the mechanics. For many years, attempts have been made to build a paddock that is appealing to the visitors. The focus should be on the racing vehicles. Because there is no doubt that this closeness to the witnesses from many decades of racing history is the special attraction of an event like the Oldtimer-Grand-Prix.

An important meeting point for the club scene

But an equally important component are the many brand and type clubs that pitch their tents in the parking lots around the Grand Prix track. For a few years some of them were even housed on a section of the unused race track in the Müllenbachschleife. But when more and more racing drivers complained about the unattractive route due to the short connection, this lowest point on the Grand Prix track became againincluded: The brand clubs only had a place outside the racetrack.

But space is running out there too. The many large buildings of the Nürburgring 2.0, including the Eifel village, also reduce the space available at the gates of the racetrack. In addition, the ostentatious buildings, which fit the character of the world's most beautiful racetrack like a suit that is several sizes too big, represent the unexplained future of the Nürburgring.

AvD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix - the crown jewel of the Nürburgring

But such a situation also has a tradition in the Eifel. In the program for the classic event from 1977, the then Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Bernhard Vogel, devoted himself to 'the problems of the most beautiful race track in the world and its future. I am convinced that this event in particular is suitable under the sign of 'nostalgia', awareness for the need for a satisfactory solution for the future. '

At the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix 2012, too, the fascinating look back into the history of the racetrack, which opened in 1927, is hoped for a heightened awareness of the Connected to the future of the racetrack. Because the Oldtimer Grand Prix cannot be completed without the Nürburgring - and vice versa. Without the Oldtimer Grand Prix, the world's oldest racetrack would be missing a crown jewel.

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