Rollercoaster «Red Bull Ring»

The results of the first Red Bull Ring Classics are impressive! 18,200 fans cheered on over 200 historic gems in 15 races throughout the weekend. The weather also played along well on three days. Impressive racing and hands-on motorsport with side events for the whole family made for smiling faces among fans, racers and their teams.

The numbers of the Red Bull Ring Classics premiere are impressive: Over 200 legendary bolides attracted a proud 18,200 visitors at 15 races in the top-class series Group C Supercup, BOSS GP, Alfa Revival Cup, CanAm & Sportscars, Sports Car Challenge, 100 Miles of Red Bull Ring Classics, Youngtimer Touring Car Challenge, Dunlop Gentle Drivers ’65, Super Sixties and Touring Cars Golden Era. The spirited efforts of all the teams to get their four-wheeled gems up to speed for the racing events were first and foremost directed at the spectators, who provided a magnificent backdrop at Spielberg over the three days.
Exceptional line-up with unique exhibits. Remarkable in terms of number and constellation was a select squad of automotive jewels that the Red Bull Ring Classics was additionally allowed to present during show runs. To great applause, two Ferrari Sharknose cars, as they were used in Formula 1 in 1961, as well as several Lotus models (F1/LMP2) from ChromeCars in the unmistakable black and gold design and a 52-year-old BMW 3.0 CSL completed numerous laps of the Austrian Grand Prix circuit.

Autographs and selfies with motorsport greats. Fans also met several racing legends, such as three-time Le Mans winner Marco Werner, motorsport warhor Leopold Prinz von Bayern, Altfrid Heger, Peter and Stefan Mücke, Nick Padmore, Colin Caresani, Michael Lyons, Jason Wright or Dan Setford, took selfies and got autographs. The supporting program with Pit Lane Walk and open paddock was crowned on Sunday by the Flying Bulls’ F4U-4 “Corsair” with a lap of honor over the Mur Valley.
The way is paved for the future. The organizers Rene Binna and Christoph Gerlach (BG Sportpromotion) and Erich Wolf (General Manager Red Bull Ring) were satisfied all along the line with the premiere of the event: “We would like to thank all the racing series for their participation and commitment and of course the fans for the atmosphere. Together with our partners, we have successfully kicked off a long-term cooperation. The cooperation has gone great. Many smiling faces confirm us in our intention!”

The picturesquely located Red Bull Ring in Styria reminds many drivers of a roller coaster due to its topography. Marco Werner was not only reminded of a roller coaster by the topography of the track but also experienced a roller coaster of emotions.

After the second practice the team around Fritz Gebhardt had to detect a torn out mounting point of the wheel suspension at the gearbox housing of the Gebhardt C88 of Marco Werner. Conclusion: not repairable! That sounded like an early end for Marco Werner. But Gebhardt Motorsport sent a new gearbox bell from Sinsheim overnight and rebuilt the rear of the C88 in one night. However, Werner missed the qualifying with the C88 and instead drove a few laps in the Gebhardt JC 853 driven by Michael Herich. Had Werner’s C88 not been ready for the race, Werner would have contested Sunday’s race in the JC853.

But Gebhardt Motorsport managed the feat and Werner was able to start from the last row with his C88 in race one. Already at the start Werner made up several positions with his routine in turn one and came out of the first lap already in fourth place. The three times Le Mans winner enjoyed the laps in the Gebhardt C88 and finished the race as winner of group C and was even second overall behind Sven Barth who drove the Ginetta LMP3 with a 40! Years younger car, he was of course up and away. “That was a nice redemption for the guys from Gebhardt Motorsport” said Marco Werner after the race satisfied, “that was a huge feat, where others wave off and say the weekend is over. But Fritz Gebhardt has done everything possible, that the C88 could roll back to the start. Mega effort from the team! Thanks!” Michael Lyons in the Gebhardt JC 843 had the pole position of the group C, but unfortunately no luck in the race. Retirement with overheated engine. Michael Herich in the Gebhardt JC 853 took third place in Group C behind Marco Werner.

On Sunday Werner could start from the first row of the grid, but bad luck came back. Already in lap one the shift linkage broke and Werner pitted in second place overall and leader of Group C and had to retire. A repair was not possible during the race time.

Werner treated himself to a few more demo laps in the ChromeCars Lotus LMP2, and thrilled Nick Padmore, who drove the Lotus 77 Formula 1 from the Black and Gold Collection and who took third place at the Austrian Grand Prix in 1974 at exactly the same spot.