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Mega Gallery and Report: The 8th Edition of the Glorious Spa Classic

Submitted by on May 28, 2018

by Marcel Hundscheid/Speed-O-Graphica.com

Buckle up for our comprehensive coverage of the 2018 Peter Auto Spa Classic, one of Europe’s leading historic motorsports events held at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps racetrack situated in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes. Over the weekend the phenomenal Group C cars were present with a stunning 33 car grid, as well as touring cars, sports cars and GTs and Formula 2 single seaters.

Peter Auto hosted the 8th edition of the unique Spa Classic during last weekend of April at Spa-Francorchamps. The event drew 325 race cars and 1200 collector cars. With sunny conditions on both Friday and Saturday, rain showers hit the track on Sunday.

Every year Peter Auto manages to spring a surprise in bringing new historic cars to the event. One of the true surprises during the 2018 edition was the appearance of an immaculate white Porsche 962 Group C prototype. Chassis NO/962-174  was sold by Porsche back in 1991 although the car was never raced!

Amongst the renowed Peter Auto grids such as Classic Endurance Racing 1 and 2, Group C Racing, Euro F2 Classic and Sixties Endurance, two new fields were introduced. The 8th edition of the Spa Classic was the theatre of the maiden event for the brand new 2.0-Litre Cup, in fact Peter Auto’s first single-make series. This single-make grid was reserved for 2-litre short chassis early Porsche 911s prepared in accordance with FIA pre-66 regulations.

Thirty-six cars entered qualifying with Andrew Smith grabbing the pole position in his #64 Porsche 911. The Briton was just 0.06 of a second quicker than Michiel van Duijvendijk. The 20-lap race on Sunday was raced in wet conditions. Andrew Smith and Oliver Bryant claimed a commanding victory with a gap of 41 seconds in comparison to David Huxley and Nigel Greensall who finished second. Mark Bates and James Bates finished third.

Seen for the first time at the 2017 edition, for the 8th edition of the Spa Classic Peter Auto once again invited the Global Endurance Legends, featuring a field comprising GTs and prototypes from the 1990s-2000s. Over the weekend the unique Bentley EXP Speed 8 entered the track, a car that won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2003.

Group C Racing was without a doubt one of the biggest crowd-pullers with a stunning 33 car grid. The FIA introduced this category back in 1982 for sports car racing intended to replace Group 5 and Group 6 cars. This year’s was the biggest Group C grid since the first edition of the Spa Classic in 2011. It featured two Jaguar XJR14s, one XJR12, a XJR11 and a single XJR8. Furthermore 9 Porsche 962s, different Spice, a Nissan R90-CK, a Gebhardt C91 and several others relived the great days of sports car racing. Steve Tandy won the first race in a Spice SE90C as Michel Lecourt and Raymond Narac won the second race in their Porsche 962C.

With 44 cars in Classic Endurance Racing 1 and 28 in CER2, fans of sports cars and GTs from the ’70s and early ’80s were treated to interesting races. Both categories were dominated by the faster prototypes and in CER1 it was the Chevron B19 of Philipp Bruehwiler that proved to be the fastest of all.

The GT-class was won by Michel Lecourt and Raymond Narac in a Porsche 911 RSR 3.0. Marc Devis won the battle in CER2 in his TOJ SC303 as Jeremy Lancksweert and Christophe van Riet won the GT-class in their Gipimotor Ferrari 512 BBLM.

Inseparable with the rich history of the Spa 24 Hours were the beautiful touring cars from the Heritage Touring Cup. BMW CSLs, BMW 635Csis, Ford Capris and Ford Escorts to name just a few thrilled the spectators during an impressive night race and an afternoon race. Christian Traber became the winner of both races in his BMW3.0 CSL. CEO of McLaren F1-racing Zak Brown finished second with team mate Richard Dean in a Ford Capri 3100 RS during the second race.

Sixties Endurance proved once again to be a highlight, with a massive 74 car field including a lot of Selby Cobras, Jaguar E-Types, Porsche 911s, Shelby Mustangs and many more. In the end the 2-hour endurance race turned out to be a battle of Cobras that was eventually won by Christophe van Riet.

Although Euro F2 Classic had the smallest grid over the weekend the battles were strong and brought us back to the classic Formula 2 years dominated by Ralt, March and Lola. Matthew Watts won both  races on Saturday ans Sunday in a 1977 March 772.

Finally The Greatest Trophy combined the Italian-made cars of the Trofeo Nastro Rosso with beautiful models by other famous marques, such as the Porsche 550, Aston Martin DB4 GT and Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The new combined series will be known as The Greatest Trophy and is open to exceptional cars that marked major endurance events of the 50s and 60s.

Carlos Monteverde won the first race in his Jaguar E-Type Lightweight, local hero Vincent Gaye claimed victory during the second race in his Ferrari 275 GTB/C.

Let’s take a closer look on some of the remarkable cars that starred over the weekend on one off the world’s most iconic race tracks.

Porsche 917/10-002 was bought by Jo Siffert in 1971 and tested for just 24 laps fitted with the atmospheric 4.5 liter engine for use in the CanAm-championship. Siffert finished third in the Can-Am race at Watkins Glen, followed by more top 5 finishes at Mid-Ohio, Elkhart Lake, Donnybrook, Edmonton and Laguna Seca.

German Willy Kauhsen was the next owner who returned chassis 002 back to Porsche. After a rebuild, the car entered the European Interseries. Chassis 002 crashed at the Nürburgring in 1972 driven by Kauhsen. For the next 25 years this 917/10 was kept in storage. Chassis 002 was completely rebuilt in 1998 up to CanAm specs from 1971 using the 5.0 liter normally aspirated engine and a four-speed gearbox and painted in the bright red STP-livery. Sadly the car crashed during the qualifying session at the Spa Classic. Luckily the driver was unhurt.

Another remarkable car that appeared on track was the Lola T600, chassis HU03. Lola built just twelve T600s, actually the first of an extensive line-up of IMSA GTP cars that followed. Initially the T600 raced in the American IMSA Series, later followed by Group C in Europe.

Chassis HU03 from 1981 is unique as it is the only T600 using a Cosworth V8 four-cam engine. Guy Edwards and Emilio de Villota drove HU03 for Grid Racing during the 1981 FIA Championship. Nowadays chassis HU03 is part of the Ascott Collection. An on-board video of this remarkable car driven by Xavier Micheron can be viewed  here.

Global Endurance Legends was amongst other cars present with a Bentley Speed 8, a car that debuted in the Le Mans 24 Hours of 2001. Two years later later Bentley grabbed victory in Le Mans with this car, which was designed by Peter Ellerary. Bentley used the 3.6 liter Audi V8-engine from the R8. Later the engine was expanded to 4.0 liter and at the same time Bentley redesigned the car. For the Le mans 24 Hours of 2003 the cars were run by Joest Racing. The #7 car claimed overall victory with the #8 car finishing in second place.

The 8th edition of the Spa Classic turned out to be the best so far with ever growing grids. We’re eagerly looking forward to the 2019 edition of a not to be missed event!

Results Spa Classic 2018:

Classic Endurance Racing 1

1)       Philipp Bruehwiler                                    Chevron B19

2)       Sandy Watson/Martin O’Connell          Chevron B8                              + 7.971

3)       Maurizio Bianco                                        Chevron B19                            + 17.867

Classic Endurance Racing 2

1)       Marc Devis                                                  TOJ SC303

2)       Dominique Guenat                                   Lola T286                                 + 1.652

3)       Beat Eggimann                                         Cheetah G601                           + 1:04.236

Euro F2 Classic race 1:

1)       Matthew Watts                                         March 772

2)       Charles Veillard                                       Ralt RT1                                   + 1.564

3)       Richard Meins                                         March 762                                + 42.177

Euro F2 Classic race 2:

1)       Matthew Watts                                        March 772

2)       Charles Veillard                                      Ralt RT1                                   + 15.931

3)       David Tomlin                                          Rondel Motul M1                      + 31.377

Group C Racing race 1:

1)       Steve Tandy                                             Spice SE90C

2)       Ivan Vercoutere/Ralf Kelleners         Porsche 962C                           + 8.275

3)       Michael Lyons                                       Gebhardt C91                           + 9.300

Group C Racing race 2:

1)       Michel Lecourt/Raymond Narac       Porsche 962C

2)       Ivan Vercoutere/Ralf Kelleners         Porsche 962C                           + 15.174

3)       Tony Sinclair                                          Spice SE90C                            + 1:42.406

Heritage Touring Cup race 1:

1)       Christian Traber                                    BMW 3.0 CSL

2)       Dominik Roschmann                           BMW 3.0 CSL                           + 33.259

3)       Steve Dance                                           Ford Capri 2600 RS                 + 37.991

Heritage Touring Cup race 2:

1)       Christian Traber                                   BMW 3.0 CSL

2)       Zak Brown/Richard Dean                  Ford Capri 3100 RS                  + 42.823

3)       Steve Dance                                          Ford Capri 2600 RS                  + 45.735

Sixties’ Endurance

1)       Christophe van Riet                            Shelby Cobra 289

2)       Carlos Monteverde/Gary Pearson  Shelby Cobra 289                     + 1:45.745

3)       Philipp Oettli                                      Shelby Cobra 289                     + 1:46.024

The Greatest Trophy race 1:

1)       Carlos Monteverde                             Jaguar E-Type Lightweight

2)       Vincent Gaye                                      Ferrari 275 GTB/C                     + 0.919

3)       Peter Muelder/Christian Traber    Bizzarrini 5300GT                     + 56.387

The Greatest Trophy race 2:

1)       Vincent Gaye                                      Ferrari 275 GTB/C

2)       Carlos Monteverde                           Jaguar E-Type Lightweight       + 26.372

3)       Christian Bouriez                              Bizzarrini 5300GT                      + 1:31.002

2.0L Cup

1)       Andrew Smith/Oliver Bryant           Porsche 911

2)       David Huxley/Nigel Greensall        Porsche 911                                  + 41.362

3)       Mark Bates/James Bates                 Porsche 911                                   + 1:07.520

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