Classic Endurance Series - Nurburgring
Sunday on the Nürburgring (July 4) saw not only the Belcar
race but also the one hour event of the Classic Endurance Racing
series, for GTs and prototypes of the '60s and early '70s.
Among the 24
starters were two wonderfully prepared Porsche 917Ks, David Piper's
917-010 (above), the car that he has raced almost continuously since
1969; and Juan Barazi's 917-021, a car that contains large portions
of the original chassis 917-012, and itself basically ended its
existence when it was cannibalised for the construction of a Group
7 spyder - this is a long story that deserves to be told some time.
car sports a 'pseudo-Salzburg' colour scheme (none of the original
1970 Porsche Salzburg cars was ever green and white), while the
Barazi 917 proudly displays its 1970 purple and green 'Hippie' livery.
The owners would do the driving in these cars. David Piper also
brought along the wonderful but luckless Ford F3L prototypes, two
of the most beautiful cars ever built - among the fastest of their
era, but not for long. Other representatives of the Ford marque
were a GT40 from France, and an Escort - did Escorts ever race at
Le Mans? The main challenge for the 917s would come from another
Porsche, the 908/3 of Siggi and Philipp Brunn, also a car that has
been with its current owner since the late '70s.
LMES competitors packed up and left for home on Sunday morning,
but a few stayed on for the classic race:
had a Cosworth-powered Ligier JS3 entered for drivers Mike Jankowski
and Bobby Verdon-Roe; Perspective Racing fielded a Porsche 906;
and Barron Connor was represented by Chip Connor and Danny Sullivan,
driving Denny Hulme's IROC Porsche 911.
The Brunn 908/3
managed to snatch pole position away from its more powerful cousins,
and hung on to the lead for two laps; the F1 style, medium speed
Berniedrome that is the new 'Ring seems to suit the 908. Then Barazi
restored the rightful order, and put himself and the Hipster in
charge of the proceedings. David Piper did not have such a good
day; he dropped to fourth overall, and was lapped by the leader.
Third place went to a Lola T212 driven by Kevin McGarrity and Martin
Birrane (does that make it a works car?); and the most improved
team of the day was Creation's Ligier that went from last-but-one
at the end of lap 1 to fifth place at the flag (first in class).
Danny Sullivan dropped out of the race early on.
The racing was
good and honest, the owner / drivers showing no fear of scratching
their priceless collectibles, but was the race itself really all
that important? The true fascination was taking in the sights and
sounds of an era that many believe were the Golden Years of endurance
Squint a little
to take out the debris fence and this (below) could almost be Spa
in 1971: in September it will be Spa, for the last of the four LMES