This year the time has finally come. The AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix is turning 50. It’s even younger than I am, but rather old.
I have been accompanying the Oldtimer Grand Prix with my camera since the early 1990s.
What is really remarkable is that some of the racing cars starting today were not even conceived or built at the time of the first OGP’s, and they are classics of historic motorsport today.
The journey began 50 years ago at the Nürburgring, where else?
On the initiative of the car museum in Salem on Lake Constance. Hubertus Graf Dönhoff invited the owners of classic sports cars to the “Nürburgring Show” on the traditional track in the Eifel for August 1973, because “sports cars belong to the race track and not in the museum.” 63 owners of historic racing cars from different countries followed his call.
In the 1970s, everything was the same as in the 1950s: you started in front of the wooden grandstand and still used the concrete loop of the Nürburgring with the southern bend – a special experience for the spectators.
50 Years AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix
Only three years later did the “Nürburgring Show” become the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix. It was important for the organizers to have a professional partner for the steadily growing event.
At that time, nobody expected that this meeting, traditionally held on the second weekend in August, would develop into the largest historic racing event on the European continent and thus also into the most traditional vintage car Grand Prix in the world.
From August 11th to 13th, 2023 the time has come – the Oldtimer Grand Prix will be 50! And as always, the legendary Eifel circuit and the Grand Prix course, that has been modified since 1984 , will be driven.
For me, it’s always a very special historic motorsport event, as the racing cars return to the place where they possibly celebrated their greatest successes – the Nürburgring is still the legendary racetrack where I also made my first attempts as a photographer at the AvD Formula One Grand Prix of Germany in 1976.
Back then, of course, I was equipped with sparse equipment, which you could afford as a student, but since then my fascination with this magical place in particular has grown steadily – the Green Hell, as Jackie Stewart once called it. Today I photograph with better material, but the enthusiasm is still the same as it was then.
The AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix offers me and of course the numerous spectators the perfect revival of the golden era of motorsport with over 500 starters in racing cars that are as rare as they are special from six decades from the 1920s to the 1980s. Hands-on motorsport – loud, fast and spectacular.
I will always remember the performances by F1 World Champion and Can-Am Champion Denis Hulme in his orange McLaren M8F – Chevrolet. Incredibly loud and incredibly fast. Of course he was always the fastest in his races.
In general, many former racing drivers use the OGP to get back into their old racing car to push it to the limit again.
Don’t miss this anniversary – 50 years of OGP – it’s going to be great either way. Find out more about our photographer Ralph Lüker.