With the capacity limit raised to 2-litres for this year, the annual Nürburgring 500-kilometre sports-car race has now become a well-established event for it has allowed a much greater selection of competitive machinery to do battle around the required 22 laps of the testing 15-mile German circuit.
Last year the event was dominated by a trio of works Abarths. The Italians returned this year with three different 2-litre cars in a bid to repeat the 1968 result. Handling the two Group 4 cars were the Dutch pairing of Hezemans and van Lennap, while the Austrian Ortner took charge of the much lighter Group 6 prototype. British opposition took the form of a pair of brand new works Chevron B16 GT prototypes powered by the 1.6-litre Cosworth FVA motor and driven by Redman and Bridges. Pictures of the new car’s chassis appear, on page 1110 of this month’s Motor Sport. Both these cars were extremely new and many were surprised when Redman, a Nürburgring specialist, recorded the fastest lap in practice at 8 min. 33.5 sec. (99.45 m.p.h.) in front of the three Abarths.
The huge field of well over 100 assorted sports, GT and saloon cars set off in pairs, behind the pace-car under the warm September sun and immediately Redman leapt into the lead he was never to relinquish. He pulled steadily away from Hezemans’ Abarth to win by nearly two minutes. The Abarths finished in the next three places led by Hezemans, van Lennap and Ortner, the latter having made two unscheduled pit stops. A German-entered Alfa Romeo T33 driven by Schultze was the only other unlapped car and finished a good fifth.
A struggle for sixth place initially involved the Porsche 910s of Blatzheim, Gold and Westbury, the 2-litre 907 of von Wendt, Brown’s Chevron-B.M.W. and Nathan’s FVA-powered Astra. Both Gold and Westbury retired following off the road excursions, while von Wendt was disqualified for an improper approach to the pits. Nathan made an unscheduled stop to try to rectify low fuel pressure, letting Blatzheim get away, while the unfortunate Brown had a drive-shaft break with two laps to go.
Thus Redman scored Chevron’s most important victory to date in an event which Britain has come close to winning, yet always fallen by the wayside at the crucial stage.