Spring is in the air
In search of mild, spring weather, the Peter Auto organisation returned to the Circuito del Jarama
in 2017 to stage the second edition of the Jarama Classic. Located just north of Spanish capital Madrid, the undulating circuit was an instant favourite with the drivers last year and again the weather lived up to the expectations in 2017. Peter Auto hit the ground running with all the familiar race classes like the Classic Endurance Racing and Sixties Endurance out on track, complemented by the local Iberian Historic Endurance and the Trophee Legendes for early competition cars. While most classes are regulars, there was some spectacular newcomers to the grids like a Porsche 917 K in Classic Endurance Racing and a Toyota 92C-V in Group C.
We ventured south and enjoyed the spring weather while capturing all the highlights in this 250-shot gallery
During the Peter Auto weekends, Saturday afternoon is usually reserved for the Sixties' Endurance race. Run over two hours with a mandatory pit stop, the race is usually hotly disputed between Cobras and E-Types. This year was no exception with the rare Shelby Cobra Le Mans of Shaun Lynn and five-time Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro starting on pole after Christophe van Riet was stripped off his fastest time as the exhaust was found to be mounted too low on the Cobra he shared with owner Christian Dumolin. Forced to start from fourth on the grid, Van Riet wasted no time during the race and grabbed the lead before the end of the opening lap. No stranger to endurance racing, Pirro bided his time and kept close tabs on Van Riet as he knew his team-mate was the faster of the two gentleman racers. Lynn lived up to the expectations and took over the lead from Dumolin in the second hour to snatch victory. Last minute drama saw the third placed, Daytona bodied Cobra of Bernard Thuner drop out with a broken water hose. This promoted the Portuguese E-Type of Carlos F. Cruz and Miguel Amaral to third. The first non-Cobra or E-Type in the results was the Porsche 911 of Andrew Smith and Oliver Bryant that placed 10th overall and first in class.
Touring cars of the 1970s and 1980s have become a set fixture during the Peter Auto weekends and usually create one of the most colourful grids for the one-hour Heritage Touring Cars (HTC) race. The Jarama Classic was no exception with a choice of Escorts, Capris and BMWs, joined by more unusual machines like a Group Volvo 240 Turbo. Built to more liberal regulations, the earlier Group 2 cars are usually the fastest, which was underlined by Yves Scemama, who started his strikingly liveried Capri RS 2600 from the first row. The Swiss racer made the most of his superior pace and lead the race from start to finish to grab a comfortable lead. Finishing some 20 seconds behind Scemema were a pair of Escorts. The race long battle was eventually settled in favour of Sean Brown after Ben Gill slipped from second to third after a brief excursion. Fourth was for Belgian Eric Everard, who raced his newly acquired BMW 3.0 CSL for the first time while fifth and first in the Group A class was Andrew Beverley in the deceivingly fast Volvo.
Classic Endurance Racing
Split in two groups, the Classic Endurance Racing (CER) grids cater to sports prototypes and GT machines from the second half of the 1960s through to the early 1980s.
Boasting the best grid of the weekend, the CER1 field was both diverse and interesting with the aforementioned Porsche 917 K grabbing a lot of attention. It was driven with great verve by its new owner, Claudio Roddaro and was on track for a podium finish until an off ended his charge. At the very sharp end of the field there was nothing to be done about the pace of Philipp Bruehwiler in his Chevron B19, particularly after Maurizio Bianco was forced to park his sister car early on.
Wearing Martini colours, just like the 917 K, the stars of the CER2 field were a pair of Lancia Beta Montecarlos entered by Franco Meiners. Unfortunately, one broke down early but Meiners, sharing with former F1 racer Alex Caffi, did manage to win the GT2 class. Another unusual car in the field was a Cosworth DFV-engined Lola T292, which had originally been powered by a very rare two-litre V8 built by renowned Italian engine tuners Romeo Ferraris. With a B26, recently repatriated from the United States and driven by Matin O'Connell the outright victory in the CER2 race also went to a Chevron.
Picking up in 1982 and where CER2 left off, the Group C field was the most modern of the event. With little over a dozen cars entered, it was not the strongest in numbers of the weekend but it did include some rarely seen cars. Among those was the Toyota 92C-V brought by Gerard Lopez. One of the very last Group C cars built and raced in period, it was raced in anger for the first time in many years. Also new to the series was the Jaguar XJR-12 of Shaun Lynn.
At the head of the field it was business as usual with Rui Aguas easily setting the fastest lap in qualifying with the Sauber-Mercedes he shared with owner Kriton Lendoudis. Ace racer Aguas also grabbed the lead early in the race but Lendoudis struggled to make the most of the advantage and after several offs, he was passed by Martin O'Connell in the rare Alba AR2. Powered by a Giannini badged engine, this was the first Group C car ever built around carbon-fibre composite chassis. O'Connell held on to clinch a surprise win. The quicksilver O'Connell could not repeat his victory in the second 45-minute race due to a gearbox failure. Instead the victory went to the Leyton House liveried Porsche 962 CK of Tommy Dreelan, which he shared with Aaron Scott.
With blue skies throughout the weekend, the Peter Auto organisation certainly found the spring weather they were looking for during the second Jarama Classic. It was also great to see the Spanish fans flock to the track in good numbers and they were treated to a spectacle both on and off the track as they could get up close and personal with some of the greatest historic racing cars.
All the highlights and much more can be found in our action-packed 250-shot gallery