200 Miles of Nurnberg (June 30th)

On the anti-clockwise road circuit around the Zeppelin-stadium on the edge of the town of Nurnberg, under a blazing sun and in front of a crowd of 60,000, a race was held for Group 4 sports cars, Group 6 Prototypes and Group 7 two-seater racing cars, over two heats each of 100 miles length, overall results being obtained by the addition of heat times. This flat road circuit, known as the Norisring, is not to be confused with the Nurburgring, for they lie on opposing sides of West Germany, the town of Nurnberg (or Nuremberg in English) is not far from the East German border, whereas the famous Eifel mountain circuit lies near the Belgian border.

Being open to the three types of sports cars Piper entered his 4-litre Ferrari P3/P4, Gardner drove the Sid Taylor Lola Mk. III with 5½-1itre Chevrolet engine, Mitter had a factory 3-litre Porsche 908 and Quester drove the factory B.M.W. 2-litre hill-climb car. The rest of the entry comprised numerous Ford GT40 cars, 910 Porsches and 906 Porsches, Group 4 Lola-Chevrolets, the Belgian VDS Racing Team Alfa Romeo “33” cars and various home-brewed specials.

Mitter lasted only five laps in the first heat before something dreadful went wrong in the clutch compartment, this being a new layout for the 3-litre Porsche with the clutch between the engine and gearbox and not on the back of the gearbox as previously. Piper took the lead with his Ferrari and was unchallenged for the remainder of the 41-lap race, for Gardner had gearbox trouble and could not select 2nd and 3rd gears, and Bonnier’s Lola-Chevrolet went sick. Hawkins expected to be well placed with his GT40 with Gurney-Eagle cylinder heads and Hewland gearbox, but a water pipe came undone and the pit stop put him out of the running. Surprise among the 2-litre cars was the speed of the hill-climb B.M.W. with radial 4-valve head, ZF gearbox, side-mounted radiator and smooth unbroken nose cowling. In spite of 910 Porsches being driven by Siffert and Steinemann, of the Swiss Hart Ski team, Ben Pon, Elford and Koch, as well as Pilette in an Alfa Romeo “33”, the Austrian driver, Dieter Quester, left them all behind and finished third.

There was a 40-minute interval to effect repairs or adjustments and then the survivors of Heat 1 lined up in pairs behind a Chevrolet-Corvette pace car and, after a warm-up lap, a rolling start was given for the second heat, also of 41 laps. Piper had little trouble in winning this, although Bonnier started from the back of the grid and worked his way into second place, and eventually Piper let the yellow Lola-Chevrolet go by as the Ferrari was assured of the overall victory. Gardner’s gearbox trouble was not cured, added to which he had a petrol leak in the cockpit, so he never got into serious contention. When Elford, driving Bradley’s Porsche 910, collided with the Lola and damaged a wheel rim, Gardner gave up, the Porsche also being too badly damaged to continue. Once again the works 2-litre B.M.W. was most impressive, and third place in this heat gave it second position overall. Hawkins had to give up with overheating, internal engine damage having been caused in Heat 1 when he lost all his water. Muir was going well in Piper’s Ferrari 275LM until he went through the straw bales on a hairpin, but finished with the bodywork held together by sticky tape.D. S. J.