- Record attendance under sunny skies
- Numerous companions in attendance to mark the 50th anniversary of Jim Clark’s deathAround 500 h
- Historic racing cars in the Motodrom
A passion for historic racing in all its glory: this is what gripped 25,000 spectators at the classic event known as the “Bosch Hockenheim Historic – The Jim Clark Revival”. From 20-22 April, around 500 historic racing cars from all classes and periods presented a great visual and acoustic spectacle at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. In the paddock, in the team garages and on the pit terrace, enthusiastic visitors enjoyed the extensive supporting programme. The Motodrom was literally vibrating. Among young and old fans alike, there was also a huge amount of interest in the autograph sessions with “historic celebrities” like Jochen Mass, Christian Danner, Kurt Brixner, Marco Werner and Ellen Lohr. The former DTM driver and champion Ellen Lohr had this to say: “This is simply the best historic event there is!”
Exhibitions, discussions and a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of Jim Clark
In keeping with tradition, the Bosch Hockenheim Historic also focused on the racing driver in whose honour the event is held every year: Jim Clark. On 7 April 2018, it marked 50 years since the accidental death of the two-time Formula 1 World Champion at the Hockenheimring. The appreciation of the lovable driving genius Clark was a common theme over the course of the three days. To pay tribute to him on the anniversary of his death, companions and witnesses from his time were invited, among them two close relatives from Scotland and Clive Chapman, son of the Lotus founder – and Clark’s manager – Colin Chapman. With these guests in attendance, the laying of the wreath at the Jim Clark Memorial was extremely touching. “We brought mixed feelings with us on our first trip to Hockenheim”, said Clark’s cousin Doug Niven. “We are very impressed to see how Jimmy’s memory is being kept alive here.” To close things off, the guests from Scotland were presented with a cheque for 5,000 euros from Hockenheim-Ring GmbH and the Badischer Motorsport Club to support the construction of a new Jim Clark Museum in his home country. On Sunday afternoon the spectators rose from their seats to observe a moment of silence – as they did 50 years ago.
The discussion on Sunday with witnesses from Clark’s time was also moving; it included Clark’s cousin Doug Niven, his nephew Ian Calder, the former Lotus Chief Accountant Warren King, the race steward from 1968, Grahame White, the former DTM driver Roland Asch and the former Formula 1 driver Jochen Mass. German photographer Werner Eisele was also present. He and a track marshal were the first to arrive at the scene of the accident. “We thought that Jim was just unconscious,” recalls the soon-to-be 80-year-old. “I took pictures to show him when he woke up.” Grahame White had this to say: “We just couldn’t believe it. Jim Clark couldn’t be dead. Not him – not the best driver ever!”
The traditional Jim Clark exhibition had some touching new additions for 2018, such as essays by Scottish schoolchildren. An original racing Lotus from Colin Chapman’s son Clive was also among the exhibits. “I haven’t been to the event for a few years,” said Clive Chapman, “and I was pleasantly surprised to see how well it has developed.” His visit also crowned the public presentation of the new Lotus Exige Type 25 in the paddock. The car is the brand’s reference to one of the most successful and influential racing cars of all time – the Lotus 25.
Both the enlarged photos from the book Jim Clark Racing Hero and the film about that fateful 7 April 1968, Das letzte Rennen eines Stars (“A Star’s Last Race”) also spoke to the heart. Clark is also commemorated in the paddock where there is a small but good car exhibition.
Pure passion on the Grand Prix circuit – with formula and touring cars
One of the highlights on the Grand Prix circuit was the BOSS GP series (Big Open Single Seater). The ten-cylinder Formula 1 racing cars and the eight-cylinder GP2 Monoposti made plenty of noise to kick things off – for avid fans, it was music to their ears. The favourites Ingo Gerstl (Toro Rosso STR) and Phil Stratford (Benetton B197) lived up to expectations: the top dogs won first and second place respectively in the first two rounds of the 14-round season. On Saturday, Gerstl won by 0.3 seconds! The BOSS GP will get underway for the first time at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Hockenheim in July. Loud, mean and spectacular best describes the CANADIAN AMERICAN Challenge Cup. On Saturday, Felix Haas claimed victory in the Lola T 294, and on Sunday it was Georg Hallau’s turn in the Lola T310. McLaren took the other podium places. Another highlight included the season-opening races of the Historic Formula 2 and their fascinating variety of vehicles (Ralt, March, Chevron, Brabham, Lotus, etc). The F2 has always been regarded as a stepping stone on the path to the premiere class. The finish was identical in both races, with Peter Hans (Ralt) coming ahead of Robert Simac and Torgny Johansson (both March). The Historic Racecar Association impressed with a successful mix of junior formula classes – see F3, VAU, Ford and Renault. And the FIA Lurani Trophy, founded in 1958 as a talent incubator for newcomers, also created quite the atmosphere with a proud starting field of 33 vehicles!
More than 40 vehicles romped around in the Youngtimer Touring Car Challenge. There were three races – and always one winner: ex-DTM team boss Peter Mücke left his opponents with no chance in his Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri. For the “Special Touring Car Trophy”, the race wins went to Jürgen Alzen (Ford GT) and Jürgen Bender (Chevrolet Corvette). The premiere of the “Touring Car Classics” at the Bosch Hockenheim Historic was eagerly anticipated. The field mainly consisted of DTM vehicles. The duo of Thorsten Stadler and Jörg Hatscher, last year’s champion and runner-up, won in a Mercedes AMG C-Class. Stefan Rupp finished second in the beautiful Alfa 155 V6 that had once been driven by Christian Danner. Hatscher and Stadler joined forces because Stadler’s regular racing car – a C-Class that once belonged to Ellen Lohr – fell out of competition due to an engine defect. Simply put, this is classic racing teamwork! Lovers of British car creations got their money’s worth twice over: at the Lotus Cup Europe and the Triumph Competition/British GT. The Lotus Cup is always a great success when the most diverse Lotus models come together on the same track. The connection to Jim Clark, who founded the brand’s lustre, is evident.
During the Raceclub Germany’s presentation runs, there was no shortage of eye-catching Spyders. For the 50th anniversary of the company and 80th birthday of the company’s founder Kurt Brixner, 16 owners of these racers, which are manufactured in Heilbronn, travelled to Hockenheim. Touched, the lively boss had this to say: “There’s never been so many of our cars in one place.” Raceclub Germany powered by FNT also served up racing car highlights, such as Timo Glock’s F1 Toyota, Keke Rosberg’s newly restored 1984 Williams Honda, and Michael Schumacher’s 1997 Ferrari. The head of the “Bosch Classic” division, Fritz Cirener, was full of enthusiasm: as the representative of the main sponsor and namesake Bosch, he personally showed interested guests the paddocks and pits – and also led them to the FNT Raceclub. “Some of the kids were allowed to climb into the F1 Toyota and get their picture taken”, said a delighted Cirener. “This kind of thing doesn’t happen anywhere else! This is what attracts new fans.”
Moped Garage, historical fair, party: a ruckus on the pit terrace
As happens every year, the pit terrace offered all the entertainment you could wish for: from the Moped Garage’s iconic fun-time moped rides that give off that unmistakable two-stroke scent and rattling sound (Norbert Edinger, owner of the Moped Garage: “Hockenheim is our traditional start to the summer season”), lots of different games for children, stands with historical memorabilia, to a party with live music on Saturday evening. It was very well attended!