Peter Auto kicks of with Mugello Classic

he Mugello Classic kicked off the 2014 season of three of Peter Auto’s grids. The Tuscan circuit on which the former greats of endurance racing were doing their stuff, was bathed in brilliant sunshine over all three days.

The winter break is over and spring is here! Under blue skies, the drivers of the 134 cars divided up into three grids were able to enjoy themselves to their heart’s content, and take advantage of the quick curves of the Ferrari test track.

In qualifying Leo Voyazides in his Lola T 282 HU6 DV (1971) put in some stunning laps with a best time of 1m 49.627sec getting pretty close to the outright pole of Danny Pedrosa (Honda) in the last Italian Grand Prix for Motorbikes. Not bad for a 40-year-old prototype!

Speaking about speed, the long 1,140-km straight allowed the big cars in Classic Endurance Racing to really stretch their legs as Nicolas D’Ieteren’s 1979 Porsche 935 and Steven Read’s Ferrari 1971 F512 both hit a top speed of 285 km/h! Despite showing exceptional pace the Italian car did not finish its heat in which victory went to Martin O’Connell’s 1970 Chevron B19 FVC followed by a pack of six Lola T70s and T210s. O’Connell also won the other round of the CER in a Chevron, but a more modern version a B36 BDG dating from 1976.

In the Trofeo Nastro Rosso a championship devoted to Italian sports and GT cars from the 50s up to 1965, Carlos Monteverde and Gary Pearson scored a dominant win in the first race with more than 30 seconds in hand over their nearest rivals. They looked on course for a repeat performance in the second heat until a wheel came off their 1964 Ferrari 250 LM, two laps from the flag! Thus Michael Erlich scored a surprise victory in his 1975 Bizzarinni 5300 GT. Marc Devis in his 1956 Maserati 250 S came home second winning the Index of Performance. John Emberson-Bill Wykeham in their 1963 Morgan SLR completed the top 3.

In the Sixties’ Endurance reserved for pre-1963 sports cars and pre-1966 GTs there was only one race, which lasted two hours. In this endurance event the Shelby Cobras filled the first four places with Yves Mahé in his 1965 version taking the chequered flag in front of Jean-Marc Merlin. The American cars’ nearest rival Carlo and Yves Vögele’s Porsche 1964 Porsche 904 GTS finished two laps in arrears.The Alfa Revival Cup, the Challenge Formula Storiche, F3 Classic and the XL Formula 1 Boss GP grids completed the programme of a packed Italian weekend.

The next round will take place in three weeks on 16-17-18 May at the not-to-be-missed Spa Classic. This time the full quota of Peter Auto grids will be present, and the Belgian meeting will mark the debut of the Heritage Touring Cup, a competition reviving the great days of the European Touring Car Championship between 1966 and 1984.