2020 Monza Historic – full report

The Peter Auto series are now back on track and this time their destination was Italy for Monza Historic from 18th to 20th September. This is a rendezvous that Peter Auto is determined to develop into a permanent fixture in the long term with, in particular, in 2021 the presence of clubs representing outstanding makes. On Sunday 20th September as the meeting came to an end the incredible atmosphere of the Monza circuit was still redolent with the unique odours of the beautiful historic cars. A summary of the weekend’s races. 

Practice & Qualification

Practice was one of the highlights of the weekend as it enabled the drivers to dial themselves in on the circuit and get to grips with their cars. The mechanics also carried out the final adjustments. Now it was time to chase the stopwatch! For certain cars and their drivers practice was an opportunity to get back into the groove after several months away from the track because of the lockdown. Already some competitors stood out, in particular in terms of speed records: after all the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is also known as “The Temple of Speed”! But the Endurance Racing Legends and the Group C Racing grids had no time to warm up as they went straight into qualifying as soon as they hit the track!

Summary of the race

The Greatest’s Trophy

The Bizzarrinis that had topped the time sheets at the Dix Mille Tours (25 – 26 July 2020) were back in Italy to honour their native land. The first grid of the weekend The Greatest’s Trophy launched the hostilities. Throughout the race Christian Bouriez in the #46 Bizzarrini 5300GT and James Thorpe in his #62 Lister Jaguar went at it hammer and tongs for the top step of the podium. Then it began to rain and Remo Lips in his #159 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta, who had started in last place, got past Thorpe on lap 15 before passing the leader Bouriez last time round. What a marvellous comeback! The #46 Bizzarrini was out for revenge in the second race and got involved in a ferocious battle with Lips and his Ferrari. Bouriez managed to get the better of his Italian rival and finished in second place 28.093 seconds in front of the #159 250 GT. First place went to the #62 Lister Jaguar, which was much more at home on the dry track.

Endurance Racing Legends

Who is the most feared trio in the Endurance Racing Legends grid of the series by Peter Auto? Michel Lecourt-Raymond Narac and their Ferrari 333SP without doubt. But in Saturday’s race other competitors took the lead because of a strategy that didn’t pay off. The team decided to start the race on rain tyres, but the sun soon came out, which cost them several seconds. In addition, the Ferrari suffered a gear selection problem. James Cottingham in the#15 Dallara SP1 was only too happy to take advantage of their error and won the first race by 34.586 seconds from Dominik Roschmann in the #66 Prodrive Ferrari 550 GTS. In the second race, the Dallara didn’t really have any real opposition following the withdrawal of the #33Ferrari 333SP so for Cottingham it was a walk in the park and he finished on the topmost step of the podium with a lap in hand over his rivals!

Group C Racing

The Porsche 962Cs had already had a great scrap at the previous meeting so what happened at Monza Historic? On Saturday, the beautiful quick consistent cars from Stuttgart again topped the time sheets and proved to be stiff competition for the rest of the field. However, this did not prevent Tony Sinclair in the #85 Spice SE90C (558 bhp) from making the most of the situation. But on a circuit as fast as Monza and against the twin-turbo 962Cs he finished a lap behind. The second race got off to a slightly unexpected start as Erwin France in the #27 Nissan R90 CK slotted into second place. Was the hegemony of the 962Cs in danger?  The Nissan’s opposition turned out to be a flash in the pan as it pitted after only four laps and never re-emerged because of a loose pulley, which its mechanics were unable to repair as it was very difficult to access the part. While it was not serious and easily repairable it cost Erwin a potential second place.

Sixties’ Endurance

The oldest cars at the meeting raced in the late afternoon. In his #76 Italian-made Bizzarrini 5300 David Hart was determined to take the fight to the fearsome Cobra GTs. Battle raged. After 20-minutes racing Hart was in second place when he ran into problems in the Lesmo Curve (Turn 6) where he spun on oil leaked by the #16 Shelby Cobra 289 of Christophe Van Riet whose differential had exploded a few minutes earlier. It looked like the American cars had locked out the top of the time sheets with James Cottingham in his #15 Cobra 289 in the lead. They were involved in a no-holds-barred battle and the cars used their very last reserves of power. Unfortunately, Cottingham’s gearbox gave up the ghost on lap 18. This incident helped Olivier Hart in the #369 Cobra 289 to take first place in the 80th minute (lap 28). However, he was hit with a three-minute penalty for technical noncompliance, which dropped him back to fifth in a race that was full of twists! Finally, Raymond Narac-Michel Lecourt took the flag in first place in their magnificent 1964 Cobra Daytona.

Classic Endurance Racing II

Philippe Scemama in his Lola T600 had been unable to race in the previous meeting due to a mechanical problem so he had a single aim at Monza Historic – victory! He set the pace in qualifying, started the race on pole and held first place until the chequered flag. The battle for second and third on the podium raged between Beat Eggiman’s #1 Cheetah G601 and Philippe Bruehwiller in his #42 Chevron B26 and the gap between them was a constant 10 seconds keeping the suspense at boiling point. The two cars tackled the last lap when suddenly the yellow flag was waved in the Ascari chicane. The Chevron B26 had ground to a sudden halt – no fuel! It was a terrible blow to Bruehwiller. This mishap gifted Mr John of B and his Ferrari 512 BBLM third place. There were three other Ferrari 512 BBLMs in the Classic Endurance Racing II grid, a total of four out of the 25 produced. A very rare occurrence!

Classic Endurance Racing I

When the race started two cars carved their way up through the field. The first was Claudio Roddaro’s #12 Porsche 917, which was in fifth place on the grid and took the lead at the end of the first lap. It stayed there for most of the race before being overtaken by David Hart in his #34 Lola T70 Mk III B. The other striking comeback was that of Mr John of B in a Ford GT40 from last place because he hadn’t taken part in the morning’s qualifying session. As he reeled off the laps he gained place after place and was lying fifth when the chequered flag fell. Third spot on the podium went to Nick Sleep in his #73 Lola T70 Mk III.

2.0L Cup

The same car, different driving styles. Here everything depended on the decisions taken by the person behind the steering wheel. All the Porsche 2. 0L 911s in the field went at it hammer and tongs for the topmost step of the podium. A ferocious battle raged between Richard Cook-Harvey Stanley (#72), Michiel Van Duijvendijk-Pascal Pandelaar (#68) and James Thorpe-Claudio Cappelli (#99). Finally, first place went to Cook-Stanley who also bagged the fastest lap in the race in 2m 22.865s (Stanley on lap 6).

Heritage Touring Cup

The Heritage Touring Cup was the final race of the day and brought down the curtain on the Monza Historic meeting. Hardly had the event got under way when battle was joined between two old rivals as Christophe Van Riet (#72 Ford Capri 3100 RS) and Christian Traber (#25 BMW 3.0 CSL) squabbled over first place. The two men had also crossed swords a few months earlier in the Dix Mille Tours with the Ford Capri winning the duel. This weekend destiny decided otherwise when Van Riet crashed on lap 13 due to a transmission problem. This enabled Traber to tighten his grip on first place even though he had another Ford on his tail, an Escort 1600RS driven by Franco Meiners (#89) that had been in eighth place on the grid. The final twist came 12 minutes from the end when the Ford stopped in the Curva Grande. BMWs filled the first six places. The cars from Munich still have some great moments ahead of them!  

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