Report and photos by Marcel Hundscheid
The Spa Six Hours 2010 was held September 24-26 at the 4.352 mile, 21-turn Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. The annual F1 Historic & Spa 6 Hours, undoubtedly one of the highlights on the historic motorsports calendar, allowed enthusiasts to see over 600 cars from the golden era.
The entry list for the Sp Six Hours 2010 endurance race on Saturday afternoon saw a record entry featuring no less than 109 cars. Amongst the entered cars and drivers appeared the name of US race legend Bobby Rahal. Other well-known professional drivers found their way to the classic six hour endurance race such as Nicky Pastorelli (FIA GT1) and Fredi Barth (FIA WTCC). Amongst the cars entered for the race you could find several Ford GT40’s, Ford Mustangs, AC Cobra’s, Jaguar E-Type’s, TVR’s and Porsche’s. Despite the prominent rain on Friday and particularly on Sunday a lot of spectators found their way to Spa.
On Friday it rained practically the whole day and drivers had to chose for a wet set up. During the qualifying session for the Spa Six Hours 2010 endurance race on Friday evening the Ford GT40’s set the pace. Pole position was claimed by the nr. 8 Ford GT40 of Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield with a lap time of 2:53.660. The front row was completed by the nr. 17 Ford GT40 of Richard Meins and Chris Lillingstone-Price. Bobby Rahal managed a 38th place overall in a Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 together with Tarek Mahmoud and Gregoire Audi.
The actual Spa Six Hours 2010 race started on Saturday afternoon around 16.45 in dry conditions. During the first part of the race the Ford GT40’s settled the pace followed by the Jaguar E-Type of Jon & Jason Minshaw and Martin Stretton. Soon the challenge for the lead and victory would become an open battle. The GT40’s had to battle it out with AC Cobra’s, Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustangs and Jaguar E-Type’s.
During the last hour of the race, drivers and spectators were ‘treated’ with a true downpour. After a bruising battle Jon & Jason Minshaw along with Martin Stretton celebrated in their Jaguar E-Type, a third victory in the Spa Six Hours. Pole sitters Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield claimed second place in their Ford GT40. Third spot on the podium went to the Ford GT40 of Richard Meins and Chris Lillingstone-Price. Bobby Rahal finished the race 66th overall and 19th in the GTS12 class together with his team mates Tarek Mahmoud and Gregoire Audi.
Once again the Roadbook organisation did a great job and the Spa Six Hours 2010 proved to be a true highlight on the motorsports calendar.
In addition to the main Spa Six Hours endurance, the race weekend saw a variety of other classes, highlighted by the Grand Prix Masters F1 race.
Grand Prix Masters – No less than 23 historic Formula 1 cars from the period between 1968 and 1983 were entered for the Grand Prix Masters. Seeing these cars felt like making in journey back in time to the golden days of Formula One. Lotus, Surtees, March, Fittipaldi, Arrows, Williams, McLaren only to name a few single-seaters that wrote history on the different tracks throughout the world.
Fastest lap time during the qualifying session on Friday was driven by Rob Austin in his Arrows A3-3 with a time of 2:50.881. Second place on the grid was claimed by the Belgian driver Jean-Michel Martin in his splendid looking Fittipaldi F8/C4 with a time of 2:55.785.
Rob Austin proved to be the quickest driver during both races on Saturday and particularly during the water ballet on Sunday. The first race on Saturday started in dry conditions but this would soon change when a rain shower entered the skies above the Spa-circuit. The conditions would be more difficult when the rain stopped and the race line dried up. Rob Austin handled the conditions best and claimed victory crossing the finish line no less than fourteen seconds in front of Bill Coombs in his Tyrrell 009. Richard Barber finished third in a former Emerson Fittipaldi car, a Fittipaldi F5a.
The race on Sunday saw the weather conditions change from bad into worse. The rain was so heavy that the field of just seventeen cars that entered the race had to cruise behind the safety car for several laps. The actual race only lasted three laps in which Rob Austin proved once again to be the fastest man on the track. Second place was once again claimed by Bill Coombs. The third and final spot on the podium went to Jean-Michel Martin in a former Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi F8/C4.
Top Hat Masters – Top Hat Masters Series featured both GT cars and touring cars built before 1975. To name only a few cars that appeared on the grid such as the Alfa Romeo 2000, GTV and GTA, Austin-Healey and A40, Austin Mini Cooper S, BMW 1800 Ti and 2002, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Capri and Falcon as well as the Ford Lotus Cortina, Ford Mustang, Ford Zephyr MkII, Jaguar E-Type, XK 120, Lotus Elan S2, Marcos 1800GT etc.
Harry Windham took victory during the race in a 1963 Jaguar E-Type, followed by Tom Pochciol in a 1979 2-litre Ford Capri. Mark Bates completed the podium in a 1973 Porsche 911ST.
Formula Junior Historic Racing Association – Formula Junior came into being in October 1958, with as objective to reduce the cost of single-seater racing cars. The series replaced the Formula 3 of the fifties and used technically advanced single-seaters, but with close to standard mechanical parts. It allowed engines up to 1000cc for cars weighing less than 360 kg and 1100 cc for cars over 400 kg. The Formula Junior continued on through until 1964 when it was replaced by Formula 2 and Formula 3.
German driver Roland Fischer won the first race on Saturday in a 1970 Tecno, David Methley from the UK finished second in his Merlyn Mk14a from 1969. During the race on Sunday Fischer and Methley battled it out once again but this time it was the man from the UK who had the longest breath, finishing first in front of his German opponent.
Historic Sports Car Club (Open Wheel) – The HSCC from the UK is open to a wide variety of cars such als F3’s, Formula Fords, Formula Ford 2000 etc and crossed the Channel with no less than 42 cars. Andy Smith was the quickest during the first race in a March 79B just fift tenth of a second quicker than Mark Dwyer in a March 742. The race on Sunday became another prey for Andy Smith in front off Richard Trott in a Chevron B43.
Stirling Moss Trophy – Fans of historic sports cars before 1960 could really eat their hearts out with a vast field of Motor Racing Legends such as Bocar XT5, Cooper Bobtail and Monaco, Jaguar D-Type, Jaguar XK 120, Kellison J4 Roadster, Lister Chevrolet, Lister Jaguar Costin, Lister Jaguar Knobbly, Lola Mk I, several Lotus types etc.
Forty five beauties from the past filled the grid during their single sixty-one minute race on Saturday. The less powerful Lotus cars ruled the race due to the wet conditions and Danny Wright crossed the finish line first. Roger Wills and Joe Twyman finished second in their Lotus XV, third place on the podium went to Grahame and Oliver Bryant in a Lotus 15.
Historic Grand Prix Cars Association – Grand Prix Cars from the 1920’s through the 1960’s took you back to the roots of Grand Prix racing with cars such as Aston Martin DBR4, Brabham BT11, Brabham BT4 and 21, different Coopers, LDS/Alfa Romeo, several Lotus single-seaters and Maserati’s.
Roger Wills won the first race on Saturday in his 1959 Cooper T51, followed by the Cooper T51 from John Clark. Third spot on the podium went to Andrew Smith in his 1960 Cooper T43. These drivers finished their second race on Sunday in exactly the same order.
Historic Motor Racing News Under 2-litre Touring Car – Relive touring car racing as it was in the European Touring Car Championship between 1963 and 1965! This was the theme for the Historic Motor Racing News U2TC series and featured cars like the Abarth 850 and 1000 TC, Alfa Giulia Ti, Alfa GTA 1600, BMW 1800 Ti/Tisa, Ford Anglia 1200 Super, Lotus Cortina etc.
The only race on Saturday was won by Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield in a Ford Lotus Cortina. Second spot on the podium went to the BMW 1800TI of Richard Postins. The Ford Lotus Cortina of José Beltramelli finished third.
British Sports GT Saloon Challenge – The British BSSC series is open to a great variety of cars, built between the forties and the seventies. You could see sports cars, GT’s and touring cars such as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Aston Martin, BMW’s, Ford Capri, Ford Escort, Ford Mustang, Porsche 911, Sunbeam Tiger, RAM Cobra, just to name a few.
The drivers had to settle for a single sixty-one minute race on Sunday morning. No one had an answer towards the bright orange RAM Cobra of Cheng Lim and John Dickson who took the overall win. Second finished a beautiful Aston Martin DB4 of Martin Melling and Peter Snowdon. The Ford Escort RS2000 of frenchmen Eric and Francois Sechaud finished third in this competition.
World Sportscar Masters – Fans of endurance racing and especially prototypes could really eat their hearts out with the Masters Sports Cars. Around fifty cars were entered for a single sixty-one minute race battling it out on the Ardennes rollercoaster. When you took a closer look on the entry list you could find the name of US motorsports legend Bobby Rahal, driving a bright orange 1971 Lola T212.
Due to the rain and driving skills Rahal managed to stay in front of the much more powerful Lola T70’s. As he made a too late pit stop, race control penalized him with a thirty second penalty, which cost him the lead and victory. Jon Minshaw and Dutchman David Hart gained in this way victory in their Lola T70, in front of John Crowson and Richard Evans in a Abarth PA01. In the end, Bobby Rahal finished third overall.
RAC Woodcote Trophy – Post-war racing cars until 1955 gathered for a single sixty-one minute race on Sunday to relive the nostalgic. Cars such as the Aston Martin DB2/4, DB3, Ferrari 750 Monza, HWM Jaguar, Jaguar C- and D-Type, Maserati 250SI and others filled the grid. The Allard J2 of Patrick Watts was in front for quite some laps but in the end it was the Jaguar D-Type of Carlos Monteverde and Gary Pearson who claimed victory. Will Ariff and Alex Buncombe crossed the finish line second in a Jaguar C-Type. Patrick Watts had to settle for the final spot on the podium.
Masters Gentleman Drivers – The 2010 edition of the Spa Six Hours came to an end with 121 minute race open to GT’s and roadsters built before 1963. Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield won the final race of the weekend in a 1964 AC Cobra, in front of the AC Cobra of Oliver and Grahame Bryant. The Jaguar E-Type of Andrew Haddon and Shaun Lockyear crossed the finish line third.
Spa Six Hours & F1 Historic 2010 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger photo and description)
[Source: Marcel Hundscheid]