Classic racers return to Grossglockner

| 25 Sep 2012

The sound of supercharged engines roared out across the Grossglockner at the first retrospective staged on the famous Austrian pass.

The 78 spaces – the same number as the original entry – were quickly filled when the new event was launched by Marcus Herfort earlier this year. Unable to run at the weekend due to tourist restrictions, the inaugural Grossglockner Grand Prix was held during the week on 20-21 September with two cracks each day at the 15km route.

The new event attracted factory interest, with both Porsche and Mercedes-Benz sending museum cars and star drivers.

Undoubted hero was Jochen Mass who, fresh from the Goodwood Revival, demonstrated the legendary Mercedes-Benz W125 to determined effect.  Following in the wheeltracks of 1939 victor Hermann Lang, the sports-car legend gunned the 500bhp 1937 titan up the pass in 9mins 8secs on his final run.

“We’ve richened the mixture since Goodwood, and the car is now running great,” enthused Mass. “I love riding my Harley over these great passes, but to drive the W125 here is wonderful.” Mass refused to wear a crash helmet, instead sporting a leather flying cap and vintage goggles for the spectacular demonstration.

The event featured a limited number of post-war cars including a special Veritas class while Porsche brought along an ex-Carrera PanAmericana 550RS Spyder for Hans Herrmann, which the 84-year-old drove with spirited enthusiasm.

The Grossglockner was organised as a regularity run with entrants setting a time to match as closely as possible on subsequent attempts.  As a result, drivers could set their own pace, and Jean Robert Grellet gave his best in ERA R4A (main image), with several sub 10-minute climbs.  “I’ve done Monaco, but this is better. The ERA with pre-selector gearbox and strong power is great for this wonderful mountain climb,” said Grellet.

The only British competitor was our own editor in chief Mick Walsh, who was invited to drive a Mercedes SSK.  “I’ve long wanted to visit this epic pass but to experience it at the wheel of this supercharged great was a dream,” said Walsh. “The sound of the blower squealing away out of the turns was fantastic.”

The event featured a diverse entry ranging from two Alfa Monzas to a pair of VW Beetles, including Christian Grundmann’s very early prototype (shown below). “Ferdinand Porsche entered two Beetles in 1938, so we had to come,” he said. “We’re definitely slowest – our first time was 32mins – but with some fine-tuning on the last run we even managed to get into second gear and shaved seven minutes. We’re very happy.”

As yet Marcus Herfort, of Passion Legends, is undecided about future plans. “The locals are very excited about the event, so we’re very hopeful,” said Herfort, who also created the Schloss Dyck Classic Days.  

Berthold Dörrich’s winning Alvis special

Michael Röder’s 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial

Youngest car in the event – Jürgen Rudolph’s Porsche 910