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Mega Gallery and Report: The Record Breaking 2017 Spa Classic

Submitted by on May 29, 2017

by Marcel Hundscheid / Speed-O-Graphica.com

Sit back and enjoy our comprehensive coverage of the 2017 Spa Classic, the 7th edition of one of Belgiums most important classic motorsports events, featuring sports, GTs and super touring cars as well as the phenomenal Group C prototypes from the eighties and nineties.

Despite the typical Ardennes weather conditions, especially on Friday, the 7th edition of the Spa Classic became a record breaker. Over the three days more than 20.000 spectators attended the event, which featured fourteen races and demonstrations.

Peter Auto managed to get eight different grids to the legendary rollercoaster, totaling just over 300 cars. During the first day Spa-Francorchamps lived up to its reputation as rain poured down, flooding the track. Despite the low temperatures and, from time to time, monsoon-like rain drivers entered the track in private sessions and later that day qualifying.

New under the Peter Auto-banner was Euro F2 Classic, Patrick Peter’s first single-seater series open to Formula 2 cars from the former European Championship between 1967 and 1978. On Saturday a short hail storm surprised the drivers, but soon the clouds vanished.

For the 7th edition of the Spa Classic the saloons and coupes of the Heritage Touring Cup, two grids from the Classic Endurance Racing series, the Trofeo Nastro Rosso, Sixties Endurance, Group C, Euro F2 Classic, Formula Vee and fast parades of the Global Endurance Legends entertained the spectators.

Classic Endurance Racing

Popular amongst drivers and spectators are the sports cars and GTs from the sixties, seventies and eighties. With two grids combining over 70 entries, two sixty-minute races were held on Saturday and Sunday. In CER1 the open sports cars such as Chevron B19 and Lola T210 competed against Lola T70s, Ford GT40s, Chevron B8s and B16s as well as different Porsches.

Philipp Bruehwiler drove his 1971 Chevron B19 to pole position. Two iconic Ferrari 512Ms didn’t manage to qualify. The sixty-minute race turned out to be a lonely drive for Bruehwiler as nobody could answer his speed. Italian Maurizio Bianco drove the same car, although he finished almost 44 seconds later than Bruehwiler. Swiss driver Toni Seiler finished third in his Lola T70 Mk.III.

In CER2 the battle for pole position was fought between a Lola T286, a Chevron B26 and a TOJ SC304. Frenchman Didier Guenat drove a lap on the Ardennes rollercoaster in 2:25.453 resulting in pole position, followed by the Chevron B26 of Martin O’Connell. Fastest GT was the Porsche 934/5 of Hans Hübner and Afschin Fatemi.

The sixty-minute race, however, became a battle between two TOJs. Frenchman Yves Scemama grabbed victory in his TOJ SC304, Belgian Marc Devis crossed the line second in a TOJ SC303. Miguele Liguori scored the final spot on the podium in a Lola T292.

The GT division was won by Franco Meiners in a splendid looking Lancia Beta Montecarlo in Martini-livery.

Group C Racing

Definitely crowd pullers, the Group C sports cars rocked the region. Back in 1982 Group C was created by the FIA as a replacement for Group 5 and Group 6 cars. Group C cars raced from 1982 until 1993 in different world championships.

Twenty-three iconic cars found their way to Spa including a Sauber-Mercedes C11, a Jaguar XJR12 and XJR14, 7 Porsche 962s, a Toyota 92CV, a Cheetah, a Sthemo, a Gebhardt C91, a Tiga and different Spices. Group C attracted some well-known drivers such as former Le Mans driver Nicolas Minassian from France and German Ralf Kelleners.

Briton Michael Lyons was quickest in the wet, resulting in a 2:39.941 lap that gave him provisional pole position after qualifying 1.

When the sun came out and the track went from wet to dry the lap times became increasingly quicker. Belgian Christophe d’Ansembourg managed to set a time of 2:13.342, around 26 seconds faster than the fastest time during the wet session. The Belgian count was nearly 2 seconds quicker than Tommy Dreelan and Aaron Scott in a Kremer-Porsche 962.

Two forty-five minute races were scheduled, seeing Steve Tandy taking the honors in his Spice SE90C. The purple Jaguar XJR-14 suffered from technical problems and didn’t even make it to the grid. Kriton Lendoudis and Nicolas Minassian drove the former Mauro Baldi Sauber-Mercedes C11 to second place. Briton Michael Lyons finished second in the second race after storming from 8th place on the starting grid.

Heritage Touring Cup

Eagerly awaited were the classic saloons from the seventies and eighties that commemorated the halcyon days of the Spa 24 Hours. Going back into the history of this legendary track, the Belgian endurance race was, until 2000, reserved exclusively for large-scale productions cars. Spectators could enjoy a vast field of 44 saloons with BMW CSLs and 635CSIs, a Volvo 240T, Ford Capris and Escorts in both a daytime and nighttime race.

The sole Ford Mustang GT Pinepac of David Huxley and Nigel Greensall outclassed the BMW CSLs and 635CSIs as well as the Ford Capris and Escorts, resulting in pole position.

The Mustang didn’t last for very long and after just three laps Huxley dropped out of the race. In the end it was Frenchman Yves Scemama who grabbed the honors in his Ford Capri 2600 RS, followed by Belgian drivers Eric Mestdagh and Pierre-Alain Thibault in a BMW CSL. Scemama scored his second victory in the Heritage Touring Cup by winning the second race during the evening.

Trofeo Nastro Rosso

Another stunning series from Peter Auto is Trofeo Nastro Rosso, dedicated to Italian Sport scars and GTs from the late fifties until 1965.

No less than two Ferrari 250 LMs were present along with some Bizzarinis, Maseratis and some Ferrari 275s. Although the series is dedicated to Italian cars a Mercedes 300 S and a Porsche 550 RS Spyder filled the grid as well.

Belgian Vincent Gaye was the fastest in qualifying putting his Ferrari 275 GTB/C on pole. About a second longer was needed by Carlos Monteverde and Gary Pearson in their bright yellow Ferrari 250 LM. Gaye drove a lonely first race and nobody could answer his speed, resulting in a commanding victory. Swiss drivers Peter Mülder and Christian Traber finished second in a Bizzarrini 5300 GT. The second race was almost a repeat as Gaye scored his second victory but now in front of the Ferrari 250 LM of Carlos Monteverde and Gary Pearson.

Euro F2 Classic

New on the Peter Auto grid was Euro F2 Classic, making its debut at Spa-Francorchamps with 19 classic single seaters from the glory years of the European F2 Championship.

Experienced classic racer Martin Stretton from the United Kingdom claimed a commanding pole position in a March 782. Fellow countryman Matthew Watts followed in second second.

Most of the drivers that entered the race came from the United Kingdom, together with drivers from France, Belgium, Sweden, the USA and even two drivers from Australia who made the long trip to Europe. In both races the battle for victory was fought between Stratton and Watts. In the end Stratton took two straight wins with Watts finishing second.

Sixties Endurance

The largest field of the weekend came from the Sixties Endurance Series, open to pre-63 Sports and GTs. Cars that entered the 7th edition of the Spa Classic were, amongst others, Shelby Cobras, Jaguar E-Types, Porsche 911s and many more.

Seventy-three cars entered qualifying with the pole position eventually claimed by Alexander Rittweger and Sam Hancock in a Jaguar E-Type. Christophe Dumoulin and Christophe van Riet from Belgium drove their Shelby Cobra 289 to the second place on the starting grid.

Sadly the pole sitting car dropped out of the race after just five laps. In the end it was Philipp Oetli who took a dominating victory in his Shelby Cobra 289 with an incredible gap to the Shelby Cobra 289 of Andrew Beverly and Mike Humphreys.

Formula Vee

Formula Vee is a single seater series for beginners, originally created back during the 60s in the US. The car is based on the mechanical elements of the Volkswagen Beetle divided in two different categories. Formula Vee uses the VW 1300 cc air cooled engine as Formula Super Vee is powered by a 1.6 liter four-cylinder VW engine.

Fifty-seven classic open Beetles entered qualifying, with Max Kohler claiming pole position in a Ralt (2:56.502). Two regularity tests were scheduled over the weekend. Joe Welzel won the first RT in a DRM, RT2 was won by Andreas Franz in a Motul.

Global Endurance Legends

Although it was presented as a high speed parade, spectators enjoyed the sights of GT1 racing cars built between 1994 and 2011, as well as ultra cars prepared for track use only. Amongst the beauties were a Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello, Maserati MC12 GT1, Audi R8 Le Mans, Lamborghini Murcielago R-SV, McLaren F1 GTR longtail, Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Dodge Viper GTS-R, Ferrari 360 Modena GT and GTC, Porsche 964RSR, Porsche 996 GT3-R, Morgan Plus 8 GTR and a Venturi 600 LMS.

Besides action on the track Spa Classic hosted on Sunday for the 4th time an auction by Bonhams. Star of this year’s auction was a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster which achieved an astonishing € 1.127.000.

Results Spa Classic 2017

Classic Enduranc Racing 1 Proto 1

1 Philipp Bruehwiler Chevron B19 FVC
2 Maurizio Bianco Chevron B19 FVC + 43.282
3 Toni Seiler Lola T70 Mk.III + 1.46.768

Classic Enduranc Racing 1 GT1

1 Michel Lecourt/Raymond Narac Porsche 911 RSR 3.0
2 Claude Nahum/Bernard Thuner Ford GT40 + 21.896
3 Detlef von der Lieck/Ralf Kelleners De Tomaso Pantera Gr. IV + 1 lap

  Classic Endurance Racing 2 Proto 2

1 Yves Scemama TOJ SC304
2 Marc Devis TOJ SC303 + 26.867
3 Michele Liguori Lola T292 DFV + 55.544

Classic Endurance Racing 2 GT2

1 Franco Meiners Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo
2 Hans-Jörg Hübner/Afschin Fatemi Porsche 934/5 + 1 lap
3 Peter Mülder/Christian Traber BMW M1 + 1 lap

 Group C Racing race 1 C1a

1 Steve Tandy Spice SE90
2 Kriton Lendoudis/Nicolas Minassian Mercedes-Benz C11 + 20.884
3 Mike Wrigley Spice SE89C + 21.215

 Group C Racing race 1 C3a

1 Michael Lyons Gebhardt C91
2 Gérard Lopez/Vincent Radermecker Toyota 92CV + 1.20.255
3 Mischa Strijder Porsche 962C + 1 lap

 Group C Racing race 2 C1a

1 Steve Tandy Spice SE90
2 Kriton Lendoudis Mercedes-Benz C11 + 1.25.613
3 Ivan Vercoutere/Ralf Kelleners Porsche 962C + 1.41.043

 Group C Racing race 2 C3a

1 Michael Lyons Gebhardt C91
2 Michael Campagne/Allard Kalff Spice SE92 + 2.20.638
3 Gérard Lopez/Vincent Radermecker Toyota 92CV + 1 lap

 Sixties Endurance

1 Philipp Oetli Shelby Cobra 289
2 Andrew Beverly/Mike Humphreys Shelby Cobra 289 + 1 lap
3 Pierre-Alain France/Erwin France Shelby Cobra 289 + 1 lap

 Heritage Touring Cup race 1 TC2

1 Yves Scemama Ford Capri 2600RS
2 Eric Mestdagh/Pierre-Alain Thibault BMW 3.0 CSL + 13.413
3 Laki Christoforou Ford Escort 1600RS + 21.090

 Heritage Touring Cup race 1 Group A

1 Andrew Beverly Volvo 240T
2 Maxime Guenat BMW 635 csi + 1.35.601
3 Alexander Rittweger/Sam Hancock BMW 635 csi + 1.38.585

 Heritage Touring Cup race 2 TC2

1 Yves Scemama Ford Capri 2600RS
2 Thiery du Latre du Bosqeau/Raphael de Borman Ford Escort 1600RS +14.503
3 Dennis Singleton/Kevin Jones Ford Capri 2600RS +56.416

 Heritage Touring Cup race 2 Group A

1 Andrew Beverly Volvo 240T
2 Maxime Guenat BMW 635 csi + 1.45.737
3 Lukas Halusa/Paul Beddow BMW 635 csi + 1 lap

 Trofeo Nastro Rosso race 1

1 Vincent Gaye Ferrari 275 GTB/C
2 Peter Mülder/Christian Traber Bizzarrini 5300 GT + 44.315
3 Guillermo Fierro Maserati T61 + 1:15.837

 Trofeo Nastro Rosso race 2

1 Vincent Gaye Ferrari 275 GTB/C
2 Carlos Monteverde/Gary Pearson Ferrari LM 250 GTO + 42.755
3 Guillermo Fierro Maserati T61 + 1:15.837

 Euro F2 race 1

1 Martin Stretton March 782
2 Matthew Watts March 772 + 2.885
3 Martin O’Connell Chevron B40 + 27.718

 Euro F2 race 2

1 Martin Stretton March 782
2 Matthew Watts March 772 + 3.558
3 Martin O’Connell Chevron B40 + 14.717

 

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