crankandpiston takes a high-speed walk down memory lane at the Bosch Hockenheim Historic, and can’t help but put on the rose-tinted glasses as single seaters, GTs and touring cars from yesteryear roar past.[Not a valid template]
There is a feeling of both excitement and tension as fans pour into the grandstands at Hockenheim and drivers suit up in the pits. Soon the paddock will be full and the air alive with the sounds of classic V8 and V10s firing into life. The annual Bosch Hockenheim Historic is one of the European motorsport season’s first big events, and as such proves a hotbed of activity for drivers and teams alike who are keen to show off their handiwork during the off-season.
Indeed, the line-up at this year’s event is very diverse. With eight classic championships running throughout the weekend as well as one special presentation or another – be it a memorial to the late great Jim Clark to whom the Historic is dedicated, the 110 years of collaborative efforts by Bosch to international motor racing or an attempt to field a world record-breaking collection of historic cars – the paddock is full of cars ranging from classic Formula 1 single-seaters to international touring cars from yesteryear.
In true German style the weather is overcast, not the glorious sun that my smartphone had predicted. Still, rather than let the weather dampen my spirits, I set out to capture the speed and sights of historic racing. Studying the track from maps and pictures, it is hard to grasp the size and subtle elevation of the track, and I quickly realise that walking from spot to sport is going to prove difficult.
Luckily for me I find the media shuttle bus, and having asked (a couple of times) in my broken German which is the best corner to grab some great shots, I arrive at the main hairpin at the top of the circuit. Naturally, having deposited camera kit and myself onto the kerb and watched the shuttle bus drive away, the rain begins to fall. Hard. Still, from this vantage point I will soon see drivers of all disciplines battle it out in spectacular wheel-to-wheel fashion up the hill, so my lens has plenty to keep itself busy.
With the rain still falling, I consider what it must have been like watching the likes of Jim Clark, James Hunt and Niki Lauda perform on such a fantastic track. As the noise of the engines, the downshifting of the gears and screeching of cold brakes comes my way, I know it would not be long before these legendary machines would be upon me. Dancing around the corner, slipping and sliding, the drivers are clearly keen to put these priceless machines through their paces, regardless of hideous repair bills. It’s tempting to think that they’re each putting on a show for the camera. Let’s not forget that these are enthusiasts doing what they love: driving track cars the way they were designed to be.