Peter Hardman had a very successful weekend at the Hungaroring, 20 kilometres outside Budapest, racing in the 2008 Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge (August 30th-31st). The Strakka Racing team driver was there to take part in the annual Ferrari Racing Days meeting, where he competed in the same 1966 Ferrari P3 (412P) that he last contested, alongside regular co-driver Nick Leventis, at the Le Mans Classic in June.
The Ferrari Historic Challenge is one of the top international competitions for historic Ferrari racecars, and involves events at major circuits around the world, from across the USA and Europe. It provides a rare opportunity for enthusiast to see, hear and watch legendary historic Ferraris being driven as their designers originally intended - with passion and flair.
To even out the chances, cars are divided into eleven classes and allocated a grid dependent upon the type of car and its date of manufacture. Peter was competing in the Grid C category for GT cars and sports prototypes fitted with disk brakes, although this still meant he was racing against some cars with far superior power and performance potential. "The field included short wheelbase Ferraris, GTOs, 206 Dinos, Daytonas and BBLMs, plus a 312 PB, and somewhere in the mix there was me in the P3," said Peter. "The BBLM and 312 PB are bigger, more powerful and are entitled to run on slick tyres, so they should be quite a bit quicker than the P3, but we managed to give them a good run for their money!”
The weekend started with free practice and qualifying on the Friday, followed by a twenty-five-minute race on the Saturday, and then a second similar race on the Sunday. “We ended up with a couple of second places in qualifying, which I thought was good for my first visit to the track - and what a great track it is! We then followed that with two seconds in the races,” grinned a well-satisfied Peter. “In the first race, on Saturday, we were narrowly beaten by Irvine Laidlaw in his Ferrari 312 PB (1972) and finished 10 seconds ahead of Jean Guittard (1981 Ferrari 512 BB LM)."
"Then, on the Sunday, I managed to get ahead of Irvine at the start and lead the race for several laps before he came back at me towards the end. The car doesn’t usually get podiums in this kind of field, so I’m really pleased to have got two. Irvine was always going to be there or thereabouts, but after he’d followed me for three laps, I think he must have realised just how hard I was trying. Up against cars like the 312, racing on slicks, it’s quite a challenge to get the P3 going so quickly!”
The Ferrari Racing Days weekend is hugely popular in Hungary, with a strong timetable of races ranging from the historic, through contemporary, to the very latest Formula 1 machinery, managed under the F1 Clienti department at Maranello. “There was a huge crowd of some thirty or forty thousand, all of them enormously enthusiastic, and it was great for me to be able to race such a fantastic car in front of them. They really do love these old cars!” explained Peter.
Strakka Racing’s historic cars, such as the Ferrari P3 and the Aston Martin DBR1 that Nick raced so successfully at the Silverstone Classic a few weeks ago, are prepared and run for the team by Tim Samways Sporting and Historic Car Engineers: Tim Samways