JD Classics set the fastest time at the weekend’s Bernina Gran Turismo, to claim overall victory and three class wins
With JD Classics returning as sponsors, the event was run for only the third time since the 1930s on the challenging Bernina Pass
JD Classics entered six cars at the high-altitude event, including the team’s legendary ex-Fangio C-Type and the Goodwood Revival-winning Ford GT40
After a season of notable historic racing victories, including those at Silverstone Classic, Six Hours of Spa and Goodwood Revival, JD Classics headed to the Alps for the third modern-day running of the Bernina Gran Turismo. Competing with a total of six cars, the JD Classics team continued their winning streak, with an overall victory and three class wins.
The first practice runs kicked off on Saturday morning, allowing drivers to get to grips with the 5.7km climb, taking in more than 50 curves and a height difference of almost 450m. Timed runs were set for the afternoon, with Chris Ward taking the wheel of the team’s Goodwood Revival-winning Ford GT40, JD Classics founder Derek Hood in the Austin Healey 100S and an AC Ace and 1950 Frazer Nash driven by JD Classics’ customers Steve and Thomas Ward.
With dry and sunny weather, Chris Ward set off for his first timed run in the GT40 and headed straight to the top of the timings sheet, with a 3:20.3 run. Ward’s second run of the day was quicker still, as he managed to shave another 1.5 seconds off, to set a time of 3:18.8 – the fastest of the day.
Both Derek Hood’s Austin Healey 100S and the Frazer Nash of Steve Ward set competitive times, and showed huge improvements on their second runs; in fact, Derek Hood shaved four seconds off his time in the Austin Healey.
Sunday’s competitive runs up the hill were marred by wet and occasionally snowy weather, leaving the competitors struggling to improve on their times. As a result, Chris Ward’s earlier 3:18.8 time in the GT40 remained fastest of the weekend, granting JD Classics overall victory in the 2017 running of the Bernina Gran Turismo.
As well as the timed competitive runs, the Bernina also hosts regularity challenges up the hill, requiring car and driver to set a time as close to 4:25.0 as possible. In this group JD Classics was competing with the Jaguar MkII driven by Steve Riedling, the C-Type by Phil Mouser and AC Ace of Thomas Ward. By the end of the two timed runs, each of the JD Classics cars had won its class, with the MkII of Steve Riedling setting an impressive 4:24.02.
JD Classics founder, Derek Hood, said: “This year’s overall victory and three class wins at the Bernina Gran Turismo is the perfect end to an incredible season of classic motorsport for JD Classics. Our team has won at Revival, Spa Six Hours, Silverstone Classic, Snetterton, Donington and more. It’s only down to the passion and dedication of the whole JD Classics team that we’ve had such a successful season, and I’m extremely proud of all that they’ve achieved over the past six months.”