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Mega Gallery and Report: 2016 Spa Classic

Submitted by on May 31, 2016


By Marcel Hundscheid/Speed-O-Graphica.com

Sit back and enjoy our comprehensive coverage of the 2016 Spa Classic, Belgium’s most important classic motorsports event, featuring Sports, GTs and super touring cars as well as the phenomenal Group C prototypes from the eighties and nineties.

17,000 spectators found their way to Spa-Francorchamps for the 6th edition of the Spa Classic, organized by Peter Auto, featuring 6 stunning grids including a total of 216 historic racing cars. Despite the erratic weather conditions (up to 24 degrees Celsius on Friday and just around 6 or 7 degrees Celsius) fans and spectators were treated with some fine racing.

Over the weekend visitors had the opportunity to relive some of the milestones at Spa-Francorchamps, such as the famous 24 Hours race in the touring car era, as well as the Spa 1000 km featuring prototypes (Group C)  and GTs. The 6th edition of the Spa Classic saw six Peter Auto grids such as Classic Endurance Racing 1 & 2, Group C Racing, the Heritage Touring Cup, Trofeo Nastro Rosso and Sixties Endurance.

Besides racing spectators could enjoy the unique Invisible Wall of Death, pedal-powered karts and radio-controlled cars for the kids. As BMW celebrates its 100th anniversary, the German brand was present with four clubs. Many owners of historic cars found their way to the track in presenting their beauties to the spectators.

Classic Endurance Racing 1

49 prototypes and GTs entered the grid for their single 60-minute race. Amongst the vast grid were some interesting cars such as the Ford F3L, a McLaren M6 GT, Alfa Romeo T33/3, a Coldwell C14 and a Porsche 908 LH. Besides these remarkable cars the field saw lots of Lola T60s and Porsches, as well as different Lola and Chevron prototypes.


The Ford F3L that was entered in Spa was designed back in 1968 (chassis P68-1002) and formerly built and used by Alan Mann Racing. Len Bailey designed the car under the Group 6 regulations limiting sport car engine size to 3 liters. Alan Mann Racing from the United Kingdom built the extremely attractive but unsuccessful and problematic car. The Ford F3L proved to be a very fast car, setting pole positions everywhere the car was entered. In the end the car never finished a race, resulting in the end of Ford’s support.


Martin O’Connell and Sandy Watson drove their Chevron B19 to the pole position, followed by the Lola T70 MK.IIIBs of Carlos Monteverde/Gary Pearson and Grant Tromans and Robert Meaden.

After the single 60-minute race it was the Chevron B19 of Martin O’Connell and Sandy Watson that claimed a demanding overall victory. Philipp Bruehwiler finished second in his Chevron B19, crossing the finish line at Spa 34 seconds later than the B19 of O’Connell and Watson. The smaller 2-liter prototypes drove their own race as Grant Tromans and Robert Meaden finished third with a gap of no less than 1 minute 21.541!

Classic Endurance Racing 2

The second class under Classic Endurance Racing brought 31 prototypes and GTs to Spa. Classic Endurance Racing 2 is open to GTs from 1972 up to 1981 and for Prototypes from 1973 up to 1981.

Amongst the participants were different Lolas and Chevrons, some Porsche 934s and 935s and a couple of BMW M1s. The two entered Ferrari 512 BBLMs didn’t make it into qualifying as well as Porsche 935.

One of the eye catching prototypes was a TOJ SC 304. Originally Toj was a F2 and F3 racing car constructor from Germany, founded by Jörg Obermoser. From 1973 Obermoser started developing and constructing own sports cars from 1973. The TOJ SC304 entered for this race was chassis 11-76, driven by Frenchman Yves Scemama.


Martin O’Connell proved to be the fastest man on track in a Chevron B23, claiming pole position for the single 60-minute race. Yves Scemama needed 1.5 seconds more in his TOJ SC 304 to round the Ardennes rollercoaster, closely followed by Dominique Guenat in a Lola T286.

Just 18 cars made it to the finish line lead by Dominique Guenat who proved to be too much for Tony Sinclair in a Lola T292. Guenat crossed the finish line nearly 30 seconds earlier than Sinclair. Richard Piper and Greg Caton managed to score third place in a March 75S.


Group C Racing

One of the crowd pullers were the big prototypes from the eighties and early nineties gathered under Group C Racing. From the 23 cars mentioned on the entry list, only 15 actually found their way to the track. Unfortunately several competitors didn’t make it to Spa, such as the IMSA Performance Porsche 962, the Jaguar XJR-16 (Richard Eyre), Nissan RC93 (Gareth Evans), the Aston Martin AMR1 (Tom Kimber-Smith) and the Intrepid RM1 (Roger Garrod).

Amongst the entries were some remarkable cars, such as the Peugeot 905 EV1B and Jaguar XJR-14. Frenchman Dominique Guenat drove the Peugeot with chassis number EV14 from 1993. This car was an evolution of the earlier 905 developed in 1991. Peugeot scored in the final year of the World Sportscar Championship a demanding victory claiming the top three during the Le Mans 24 Hour race. Peugeot pulled out of sports car racing and decided to focus on Formula 1. The car was equipped with a 3.5 litre V10 producing a stunning sound.


The Jaguar XJR-14 (chassis 591) was designed by John Piper, equipped with a Jaguar-badged Ford HB 3.5 normally aspirated V8. The car scored pole position at Suzuka back in 1991, winning in Monza the same year. After a severe crash by Davy Jones in Elkhart Lake (IMSA) the car came in the hands of the late Tom Walkinshaw. Since 2010, this car appeared on a regular base at historic racing events, such as in Spa.


Group C Racing had two separate qualifying sessions as there were two 45 minute races. Briton Mark Sumpter was fastest in Q1 setting a 2:13.472 lap time in his stunning Porsche 962. Belgian Christophe d’Ansembourg came just 0.083 of a second short in his purple Jaguar XJR-14. During Q2 the Jaguar driver drove a crushing 2:10.360 giving him the pole for race 2.


During the first race d’Ansembourg crashed his purple cat giving the lead to Mark Sumpter who drove a lonely 45-minute race before crossing the finish line first. Robin Ward finished second in a Spice SE90C without any threat from Pierre-Alain de France and Edwin France in a Porsche 962C. The second 45 race saw a repeat of the first race as Sumpter scored his second consecutive win of the weekend.

Heritage Touring Cup

The Heritage Touring Cup proved to be one of the highlights of this year’s Spa Classic, echoing the glorious times of the European Touring Car Championship from 1966 to 1984. Flame throwing BMWs, Capris and Mustangs relived the glory days of the Spa 24 Hours featuring super touring cars such as the BMW CSL, Ford Capri RS, Ford Mustang and others.  Nowadays the 24 hour race is open exclusively for GT3 cars.


Spectators could enjoy two 60-minute races, presenting the first in the early afternoon followed by the second race after sunset. Qualifying was won by the Ford Mustang GT Pinepac of Nigel Greensall and David Huxley. Grant Tromas and Robert Meaden came just 0.059 of a second short in a Ford Capri 3100 RS to claime the pole position.

The first race on Saturday afternoon was won by the original Luigi BMW CSL driven by Eric Mestdagh and Pierre-Alain Thibault, followed by the Ford Capri 2600 RS of Yves Scemama. Claude Boissy and Patrick Bourguignon drove their Ford Escort 1600 RS to a third place.

The second race of the day held in the dark became a prey for Yves Scemama and his Ford Capri. From the 27 starters only 17 managed to make it to the finish line. Not a single BMW made it into the top three as second place was taken by the Ford Escort 1600 RS from Christophe van Riet and Raphael de Borman. Claude Boissy and Patrick Bourguignon scored their second consecutive podium of the day finishing third.


Sixties Endurance

Sixties Endurance proved to provide the largest grid of the weekend including 74 cars. Amongst the cars were different Shelby Cobras, Shelby Mustangs, Jaguar E-Types and Porsche 911s to name just a few. The battle for the pole was an exclusive Cobra affair. Christophe Dumolin and Christophe van Riet finally claimed the best starting position, followed by the Cobras of Ludovic Caron and Carlos Monteverde and his co-driver Gary Pearson.

Christophe Dumolin and Christophe van Riet succeeded in claiming the overall victory during the 120-minute endurance race, followed by Ludovic Caron finishing second. Andrew Beverly crossed the finish line third in a Shelby Cobra.


Trofeo Nastro Rosso

Fans of classic Italian 4-wheelers were treated with the priceless beauties of the Trofeo Nastro Rosso, as this series is dedicated to Italian Sports and GTs from the late fifties until 1965. Amongst the different Ferrari 250s, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos was a bright yellow Ferrari 250 LM. The car (chassis 6313) is nowadays owned by Carlos Monteverde and scored a 2nd place during the 1965 Le Mans 24 Hours. The car was entered that year by Ecurie Francorchamps and driven by Pierre Dumay and Gustave Gosselin.


Belgian Vincent Gaye drove his Ferrari 275 GTB/C quickest around the track giving him the pole position for the first race. Lukas Halusa scored 2nd time in his bright red Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan. Third time went to the bright yellow Ferrari 250 LM of Carlos Monteverde. Both races were finally won by Vincent Gaye, Lukas Halusa scored two second spots as Georg Nolte managed to finish in both races third in his Iso Grifo A3/C.


The success of the 6th edition of the Spa Classic boosted Peter Auto to fix the rendezvous for the 7th edition during the spring of next year. We’re eagerly counting down the days for another edition of Belgium’s most important classic meeting.

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