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Mario Andretti stars at GPLive event
Despite rain showers sweeping the track on Friday and Saturday at Donington Park in England, the inaugural GPlive weekend was completed in fine style with bright sunshine on Sunday adding to the spectacular series of races and demonstrations by some of motor sports’ most exciting cars and drivers, enjoyed by a little over 10,000 race fans.
Highlights of the Saturday demonstration program included reuniting Mario Andretti with the Lotus 49B in which he claimed pole position for his first-ever Grand Prix start at the 1968 US Grand Prix. Mario celebrated with a 360-degree spin on his opening lap, continuing undaunted to comment “Well I did want to give you guys something to write about!”
Another spectacular display was a spirited demonstration by the Red Bull Racing RB01, driven by Michael Ammermuller, while the demonstration of pre-war Brooklands racing cars was given added drama when one car burst into flames. Amazingly the 1938 Frazer-Nash driven by Dubliner Tony Colley was repaired and back on track by the end of the day.
On the Sunday, Sir Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their historic victory at Aintree, when Brooks handed over his Vanwall to allow Moss to become the first British driver to win a British Grand Prix in a British car. Both drivers sharing one of the British Racing Green cars once again.
Among the many celebrities at the track, Moss and Brooks were joined by contemporaries including Tim Parnell, John Campbell-Jones and David Piper. Clemar Bucci from Argentina, who first traveled from South America in the late 1940s, was perhaps the last person alive to be able to personally recount experiences of racing with the legendary drivers such as Nuvolari and Varzi, as well as his compatriot Fangio.
In addition to GPlive Featured Designer Adrian Newey, to engineering figures from the sport included McLaren and Williams designer Neil Oatley, Tony Southgate and the legendary race engineer, Jo Ramirez.
Another special moment came during the celebrations of the 40th Anniversary of the Ford Cosworth DFV engine on Sunday morning. Freddie Hunt, the 19-year-old son of 1976 World Champion James Hunt took the wheel of his late father’s Hesketh 308C.
Freddie gave a flawless performance on his first experience of driving a Formula One car, despite having made his Formula One debut just a month ago! Another “young gun” making his mark was 16 year-old Alex Brundle, who accompanied his father Martin Brundle and confessed to gaining a new respect after meeting some of his dad’s heros!
GPlive Race Summaries
RACE 1. Force F1.
Victory for Nico Bindels in the Lotus 77, from Abba Kogan’s Williams FW06, but only after race leader Peter Wunsch spun into retirement after making contact with a backmarking Tecno. Steve Allen in the Fittipaldi F5A was another casualty, retiring with gearbox failure, allowing the Hesketh of Steve Hartley to take third place.
RACE 2. FIA Historic Formula One Championship
Joachim Folch in his Brabham BT49 claimed victory ahead of the Arrows of Hubertus Bahlsen and Steve Hartley in a race enlivened by a heavy shower which soaked Coppice Corner.
RACE 3. Stirling Moss Trophy
A stunning battle between front and rear engined cars saw the Cooper Climax of Nigel Bancroft emerge victorious ahead of the Lotus 21 of Dan Collins while the Cooper Bristol of Patrick Walker, claimed third ahead of the BRM of Andrew Wareing and the Emeryson of Mike Windsor-Price which battled for every inch of the 18 lap race.
RACE 4. EuroBoss
A start line accident which eliminated the G-Force Indycar of Joachim Ryschka, the Arrows of Eddie McLurg and the Reynard of Roger Kiltty, forced a restart. Klaas Zwart took advantage to forge from the tail of the grid to victory ahead of his Ascari team-mate Pierre Schroeder and the Jordan of “fast lady” Jodie Hemming.
RACE 5. Stirling Moss Trophy
Nigel Bancroft repeated his Saturday performance with a second victory in his Cooper Climax, ahead of the Lotus 21 of Dan Collins and the Emeryson of Mike Windsor-Price. A highlight of the race was the fight back by the Cooper Bristol of Patrick Walker, who made a slow start yet still was able to reclaim fifth place.
RACE 6. Force F1.
Nico Bindels claimed his second victory of the weekend in his Lotus 77, after race-long battle with Steve Hartley in the Hesketh 308C. Abba Kogan claimed third place in his best performance yet in the Williams FW06C.
RACE 7. FIA Historic Formula One Championship
A multi-car incident eliminating the pole position Williams of Peter Sowerby and the Arrows of Hubertus Bahlsen forced a restart, which was initially let by Katsuaki Kubota until his Lotus 88B suffered engine failure. That allowed Joachim Folch in the Brabham BT49D to repeat his Saturday win, ahead of the hard-charging Williams of Richard Eyre and the McLaren MP4C of Aaron Hsu.
RACE 8. Euroboss
Perhaps the star drive of the entire race weekend came from Nigel Greensall in the ex-Michael Schumacher Benetton. After starting from the pit lane, he forged his way through the entire field, setting a fastest lap of 57.697 seconds (122.13mph) on his way to victory ahead of the Ascaris of Klaas Zwart and Pierre Schroeder.
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