The AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix Nürburgring is a good old classic racing event
At the Chantilly Arts & Elegance, I ended up spending some time at the Aston Martin club, as you do. Then I met a gentleman, that wrote an amazing book about Astons – which you will hear about soon – and told us many sotries of his life, discussing with David Piper, Jacky Ickx and many others. And then he mentioned a classic racing event at Nurburgring which in his mind, we don’t want to miss. So, with three friends, with which I drove the three 911’s (Pit, Maxime and Chris (not Harris again)), we decided to indeed take those 911’s to attend the AvD Oldtimer, and that was a good decision.
There are two kinds of classic car events, and those could not be more apart: the static ones, where the cars are all restored (or over-restored) being beautiful and shiny, and then there are the racing ones, the ones where cars are dirty, have bad paint jobs, are very noisy (and race prepared) and mainly, race.
In that category, you can count LeMans Classic, Spa Classic or even Grand Prix de France historique. And then there is the AvD Oldtimer.
AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix Nürburgring ‘s parking as appetizer
When we arrived, we immediately heard some F1’s racing, which was exciting enough.
We were trying to make our way to lunch, and found the Porsche parking, which we called the “Porscherie” (a clever pun for pigsty in French). Of course, I’m not a huge fan of 911’s, at least when it comes to looking at them: they all look the same to me. Unfortunately, Pit and Maxime are huge fans, and we ended up looking at all those Porsche, until they started discussing “specs” of the different Porsche 911 GT3 Tourings, there it was, the moment I needed to make a bad joke about Porsche and finally move on to our lunch.
Progressing towards our lunch, we only found sausage stands, which aren’t really our thing, so we kept on moving hoping to find something worth eating, and I have to thank Germany for being so bad at cooking for what’s following. I hear “Hey David, isn’t that a TZ?”, I turn my head and indeed see an Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ1 with a Giulia Sprint GT Bertone parked between huge trucks, just like that. That’s when I knew how special this AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix Nürburgring was going to be.
So we kept on walking in this direction, and a few meters after, we found a beautiful BMW Z8 parked like nothing special, and right in front of it two guys working on a race prepared 911 F-type (which I like to call 901 type).
Then I found an Alfa Romeo 1600 GTA, which I’m in love with, and spent 10 minutes talking about it to my friends, and how to identify that it wasn’t a replica.
Right after, we saw a line of Ferrari Dino so I started explaining the subtle differences between the 206 GT, the L, M and E series, the flares and chairs ones… They got bored somehow. When we finally sat for (one of the worst) lunch, a steel Ferrari 250 SWB passed by, juste like that. How crazy is that?
Main course: the terrific racing cars on the Nürburgring
So, we needed to see some action, walked next to the paddocks, and again saw marvelous pieces of automotive history: Porsche 904, 906, 935 Kremer K2, Aston Martin DB4 GT’s, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL and even an Alfa Romeo Giulia SS, all ready to race at AvD Oldtimer. Now that’s what I call a proper grid.
We found a spot next to a fence that gave us a good view of the last chicane right before the last corner. And suddenly, I couldn’t believe what I saw. A Ferrari 250 GTO Series 2 racing a Shelby Daytona for the lead – both were fake but still – followed by a Ford GT40, Lotus Elan, Porsche 904 and many others. Wow. The best part was that from that far – and due to our lack of knowledge (I admit) – we were unable to identify one or two cars (only one or two, cough cough), so we went back to the paddock and were able to look at the cars very closely. The ones that were racing 5 minutes earlier. How cool is that? Even if “cool” is not really the right word. How hot is that?
That isn’t where the fun ends, since right after that, the 70’s race cars were on the track. And again, the Porsche 935 K2, the BMW M1 Procars, the Porsche 3.0 RSR, the BMW 3.0 CSL among others were here for the show, which included many BMW flammes.
Then came the pre-war cars, like it was not enough. Let’s not do the list of cars that were on track, first because it becomes repetitive and second, because I’m ashamed that I don’t know that much about pre-war. And then it’s mostly Felix’s job. So look at the pictures and ask him what it is.
Joking, I recognized 5 or 6 cars, including a Type 35 Bugatti, a BMW 328, a Jaguar SS100, an Aston Martin Ulster. Woops, did a list again. Anyway, those cars are all great, but there was one that broke the game (totally). I (we) fell in love. Again. A 1948 Maserati 4CLT. Okay it’s a post war, but sop bothering me and hear me out. It’s a single seater, tubular chassis, 1.5L straight 4 with a supercharger, putting out 260hp in a 630kg car. The sound was delicious, and at the end of the main straight, it reached much higher speeds than anything else on the track. If you own one, immediately contact me, the future of the world depends on it.
Anyway, to close the show, we were kissed goodbye with moderns, which is exactly like telling me “okay, go home now, the fun is over”. But actually, it was still fun seeing GT3 Astons and Ferraris battling with other LeMans prototypes. Of course the show was much more fun with the older stuff.
Is AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix Nürburgring the best classic racing event?
Well, yes and no. Out of those I have seen with my own eyes, it was probably the best. LeMans Classic is of course a reference, and the track is much more interesting historically too. But, I’m under the impression that LeMans Classic is not what it used to be anymore. 15 years back, I remember a lot of the greatest 60s GT class race cars participated, including Ferraris, Astons, GT40’s and many others, including prototypes. And those were probably not replicas.
Nowadays, probably due to their value (which is always in millions), I think the owners don’t want to risk their huge investment on this AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix Nürburgring. Maybe Goodwood, for the social interactions and the media coverage, but not this. At AvD, I found several Ferraris and Astons I didn’t see at LeMans Classic 2018, and it’s a shame.
So while Goodwood is probably the best classic event, due to the level of the cars, the craziness of the whole thing, and many other reasons, it feels a bit out of reach, I know I probably will not ever put wheels on that track. On the other hand, LeMans Classic or AvD is much more realistic. So, yes, AvD and LeMans in the end are the ones that make me dream at night, and that is why AvD is one of the best if not the best classic event, espacially with this German relaxed vibes.
Next edition from 7 to 9 august 2020 at Nürburgring!