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Ferrari 166 Inter Coupe Vignale s/n 0071S

8/5/2017, 5:19:14 PM cet

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Brands Hatch, July 22, 2001

On Track & In The Air
Celebrity Search
360 Trofeo Pirelli Challenge
Pirelli Maranello Ferrari Challenge
Shell Historic Ferrari – Maserati Challenge
Ferrari Finale

As part of the Brands Hatch circuit 75th Anniversary celebrations a “Big Red” Ferrari Festival was held over the weekend of 20-22 July. In the fifteen race programme only four had no Ferrari content, or only two if you include the pre-war Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeos as Ferrari content, the remaining two being the FORCE Formula 5000 races. Although the venue has seen competition activity for seventy five years, it was not until 1950 that a tarmac circuit was laid, and then in 1960 the Grand Prix circuit loop was added, giving us the track layout used for this meeting. Of course, with safety considerations over the past forty years there have been changes to some of the corners, increased run-off areas, additional barriers and fencing, but it still remains a fantastic spectator venue, and a demanding course for the drivers.

The cachet of the Ferrari name and the promise of fine weather, drew over 20,000 spectators to the circuit for Sunday’s activity, with over 400 Ferraris in the dedicated car park by lunchtime. Ferrari U.K. had a huge two storey hospitality unit in the lower paddock that afforded ticket holders a fine view of Paddock Hill bend. They sold over 300 entry tickets for Saturday, with around 900 enjoying the facilities on Sunday.

On Track & In The Air
Apart from the racing activity there were also aerobatics displays, courtesy of the Red Devils parachute team on Saturday and Sunday, and the always spectacular Red Arrows jets on Sunday afternoon. At lunchtime on Sunday there was a road car display demonstration run on the “Indy” circuit. This also played host to Bernie Ecclestone’s 375 F1 car which was run for a few laps on Sunday, whilst the more modern F1 variants of Larry Kinch, an ex-Alain Prost 643, and Paddy Shovlin’s F 399 provided aurally and visually exciting runs each day.

Celebrity Search
A surprise guest on Saturday was Ferrari F1 Technical Director Ross Brawn who could be found in the pit lane garages in the afternoon, where he gave a television interview seated on the rear wheel of William Binnie’s 312 P. Jack Sears, who raced the 330 LM berlinetta 4725SA at Le Mans with Mike Salmon in 1962, was in attendance each day, and had the opportunity to drive the car again. He said afterwards that it felt much quicker than he remembered it! On Sunday Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jack Brabham were in attendance, as was ex-motorcycle GP racer Aaron Slight.

360 Trofeo Pirelli Challenge
With rounds of the West and Central series being run over the weekend, there were many drivers to whom the track was completely new, and its demanding nature caught a number out in both the practise sessions and the races. Many cars bore evidence of contretemps with solid objects, even before the timed qualifying runs started, and there were numerous red flag delays as beached cars were extricated from vulnerable positions.

In the Central region races it was Norbert Graf from Germany who took two very close victories, in the first race by 0.151sec from Robert Perbl of Switzerland, with just a little more breathing space in the second race, when he beat Italy’s Pasquale Gagliardi by 0.993sec! Michel Disdier walked away unscathed from a spectacular accident entering Paddock Hill bend, when his car hit the barrier and turned over, causing the first Central series race to be red flagged. It was another dual victory in the West region races, this time it was Javier Diaz from Spain who took the victor’s spoils each time, whilst the best that the home team could manage was 5th and 6th in the first race, with Stewart Roden and Hector Lester. The second race only provided them with 9th and 11th respectively.

Pirelli Maranello Ferrari Challenge
32 runners took to the track for the home based series in three classes, ranging from a highly modified 308 GT4 through an F 512M, with numerous F 355 Challenge cars up to 360 Challenge models. It was from the latter group that the action at the head of the field came, with Nathan Kinch taking victory from the similar car of Ian Hetherington in both their races. Alan Cosby in the bulky F 512M, the only twelve cylinder car in the race, managed a sixth on Saturday and took the third spot on the podium on Sunday. The standard 360 Modena of Richard Smeeton took the unmodified class in both races.

Shell Historic Ferrari – Maserati Challenge
The Grid A races for single seaters were a little thin in numbers, but the sight and sound of the machinery made up for it. In the Saturday race, Burkhard von Schenk in his Maserati 250 F staggered only a few yards off pole position, before pulling onto the grass with a stripped first gear. This left second fastest man in practise, Irvine Laidlaw, to control the race in his 1937 Maserati 6 CM, winning comfortably from the similar model of Stefan Schollwoeck. The Alfa Romeo Tipo B of Robert Fink expired in a cloud of smoke after three laps, when the supercharger drive broke, although he managed to effect a repair for Sunday'’ race. In Sunday’s race the von Schenk 250 F was back in action, albeit having to start in second gear. Once he was rolling he was able to stave off the advances of  Laidlaw, although the latter was never more than a couple of cars lengths away, and kept the pressure on right to the chequered flag.

In the Grid B drum brake races it was the same pair of protagonists at the head of the field as it had been in the Grid A races. This time von Schenk was Maserati 300 S mounted and Laidlaw was in a 250 S model. Again they took a win apiece, the former on Saturday by less than half a second, and Laidlaw on Sunday when he pressured von Schenk into a spin at Druids Hill Bend on the final lap. This spin also allowed the Ferrari 750 Monza “Ice Racer” of Carlos Monteverde to move up to second on Sunday from his third place finish the previous day. The Ferrari 250 MM of Christian Traber finished fourth in both races, just fending off fellow countryman Heinrich Kampfer’s 250 GT TdF berlinetta in the first race, although a better start in the second race gave him an easier run. A new addition to the grid was the freshly restored 250 GT California Spider of Brandon Wang, which he entrusted to Jean Sage to race.

The Grid C disc brake race was a David Franklin benefit, with nobody anywhere near his pace in the mighty 7 litre Ferrari 712 CanAm model. He led both races comfortably from start to finish, with only the 312 P of William Binnie showing any sign of staying anywhere near him in the first race, to finish second, followed at a distance by the ever spectacular Peter Hardman in the 330 LM berlinetta. Unfortunately this superb sounding flat twelve engined gem expired after only two laps on Sunday, giving David Franklin the luxury of time for a pit stop to check a “deflating” rear tyre, and still win comfortably from the 365 GTB/4C of John Bosch. The third place on Sunday went to the Maserati “Birdcage Tipo 61 of Tony Smith, after a race long duel with the Ferrari 250 LM of Frederico Della Noce, a mere half second separating them at the flag.

Ferrari Finale
The final racing outing for a Ferrari at the meeting was in the FIA Championship for Thoroughbred Grand Prix Cars. Here, in an otherwise Cosworth powered field, was the ex Gilles Villeneuve 312 T5 F1 car from 1980 driven by Mike Littlewood. What a joy it was to see this magnificently prepared machine being driven hard, and making beautiful music, to an eventual seventh overall and second in class. A fine finale to a superb Ferrari weekend in the Kent countryside.

Keith Bluemel

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1st lap traffic jam at Druids Hill Bend - 330 P2 s/n 0836 - 250 LM s/n 5899
Ferrari 166 Inter Vignale Coupe s/n 0065S
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