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.

dailysportscar.comPiper's 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.

dailysportscar.comMost LMES competitors packed up and left for home on Sunday morning, but a few stayed on for the classic race:

Creation Autosportif 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 racing.

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 meetings...
Johannes Gauglica


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