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Setting fire to the rain at the 2017 Oldtimer Grand Prix

Germany’s premier historic motorsport meeting, the Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring proves that, contrary to popular belief, the ‘Green Hell’ is quite possibly heaven on earth…

The weird and the wonderful

As a troupe of Isdera Imperators rumbled past our hotel on its way into the Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, we could hardly believe our eyes. If there was one thing painstakingly clear at the event, it was that the Germans boast a deep automotive appreciation for the rare and unusual — from Wiesmanns and BMW M3s modified to various extents by a host of tuning companies to Donkervoorts and Glas GTs.

German efficiency

What was also blatantly clear was that the Oldtimer Grand Prix is one of the strongest historic racing events in the world, attracting the highest calibre of cars across a wide-ranging spread of grids. And this being Germany, the historic DTM races were particularly impressive — the sea of BMWs and Mercedes was interspersed only with a smattering of Ford Sierras and a frighteningly fast Alfa Romeo 155.

Heart-in-mouth moments

Relentless rainfall on Friday and Saturday did little to quash the party atmosphere, with chips and mayonnaise distributed generously throughout the paddock and lederhosen keeping legs mercifully dry. Picking favourite moments out on the wonderful Grand Prix circuit, which undulates beautifully through the picturesque Eifel forests, is difficult; although, the visceral glory of the Masters Historic Formula 1 grid, the haunting wail of a flame-belching Zakspeed Ford Capri, and the heart-in-mouth dusk race for 1950s GT cars will remain in our memories — at least until next year’s visit to the heavenly ‘Green Hell’. 

Photos: Mathieu Bonnevie for Classic Driver © 2017 

If you’d like to compete at next year’s Oldtimer Grand Prix, you can find hundreds of historic competition cars listed for sale in the Classic Driver Market.