Nurburgring Nostalgia


If your Grosser Preis von Deutschland correspondent, D.S.J., had really followed his nostalgic bent for the greatest circuit in Europe, he should have returned to the Nurburgring on August 13/14, instead of travelling to Austria to chase the money-grabbing neuropaths he depicted so well in his dream. There he would have seen the 5th Historic event at the ‘Ring with some 190 competitors just enjoying their racing on this famous circuit albeit just the practice loop, but many drove round the big track for fun and still reckoned that it was a superb 9-marks-worth.

Admittedly some of the faster cars contradict D.S. J.’s idea of history – Listers and the 2 1/2-litre BRM do somewhat better in the short historic sprints than they did in the long-distance races of their youth – but it was the demonstration by Mercedes and Alfa that might have had tears streaming down the beard, if only from methanol. W125, W154/M163, Tripoli car, W196 and 300SLR were charging round in fine style with appropriate conductors. From Alfa, in a Nuvolari demonstration, we had a pair of Targa Florios, P2, Monza, a pair of P3s, 159 with sundry Maseratis in for good measure from amongst the competitors.

Mercedes actually let Karl Kling race the W196 amongst the fast runners, although he was blown off by the aforementioned Listers and BRM, which would have misted the D.S.J. spectacles a bit. It was interesting to see that even Charles Lucas couldn’t get Neil Corner’s 250F past the Mercedes in the first heat, but heartwarming to see him outbrake two Listers on the last corner of the last lap to take a copybook victory in the second heat.

After Neil Corner’s BRM victory in the final race from the back of the field and without a clutch, perhaps he should have a go in the P207, once it had been restored in Tom Wheatcroft’s workshops, of course!

As usual, D.S.J. is absolutely right about the Nurburgring and Formula One; it cannot be the top Formula if it can’t take on the top circuit. But why should our erstwhile heroes care if the whole Eifel area, and the track in particular, falls into disrepair because they want to go and play gladiators in the Hockenheim arena.

Let’s hope that his suggestion that all local shopkeepers and traders band together will ensure that the proposed new circuit will actually happen if it has to and that GP racing will take place again at Nurburg even if is a relatively pale shadow of its real self. But at least the old track will stay more or less untouched for the rest of us to drive round and recall the days when men were men, the ring was “The Ring” and Spa was Spa. Rickmanswonh, Michael Bowler