Lit­tle-known Group B/C relics ter­rorise tran­quil Sus­sex

Fer­rari’s 70th an­niver­sary helps paint Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed red... and yel­low

Classic Cars (UK) - - Contents -

Sin­gle-seaters dom­i­nated the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed, where dual cel­e­bra­tions of Fer­rari’s seven decades and a trib­ute to the ca­reer of Bernie Ec­cle­stone formed on-track and off-track cen­tre­pieces. But it was the en­durance rac­ers that added most colour and va­ri­ety, with an ex­hi­bi­tion of ex-tom Kris­tensen cars, and a strong Group C con­tin­gent.

Fer­rari 512BB

This ex-ecurie Fran­cor­champs 512BB made its Good­wood de­but as part of an an­niver­sary cav­al­cade of Fer­raris. ‘It was one of four built to rein­tro­duce Fer­rari to the GT class,’ said collector Colin Kolles of the car, which con­tested the 1978 Le Mans 24 Hours with Jean Bla­ton, Teddy Pilette, Ray­mond Touroul and Nick Faure.

Fer­rari strug­gled at Le Mans in the Seven­ties, with its 308 GT4/LM re­clas­si­fied as a pro­to­type af­ter fall­ing foul of ho­molo­ga­tion reg­u­la­tions and far­ing badly against the dom­i­nant Porsche 908s. ‘Luigi Chinetti’s NART team had de­vel­oped a pri­va­teer 365Bb-based GT racer and it had po­ten­tial,’ ex­plained Kolles, ‘so when the 512BB came out, Fer­rari took the ini­tia­tive. How­ever, it wasn’t of­fi­cially in­volved in GT rac­ing – tech­ni­cally the Scud­e­ria was just an F1 team – so the cars had to be en­tered by re­gional im­porters rather than the fac­tory. Charles Pozzi’s Fer­rari France op­er­a­tion en­tered two, one was the Amer­i­can NART car, and this was the Bel­gian team’s car.

‘They were all built by Fer­rari’s “cus­tomer as­sis­tance de­part­ment”, so Maranello pro­vided these teams with full knowl­edge and sup­port de­spite the of­fi­cial line that they weren’t re­ally in­volved. Al­though none of these 512BBS fin­ished at Le Mans in 1978 – this one suf­fered trans­mis­sion fail­ure af­ter five hours – they helped give Fer­rari the knowl­edge to cre­ate the BBLM, which went on to win its class and fin­ish fifth over­all in 1981.’

Mercedes-benz C292

Mercedes’ Group C C292 made its pub­lic de­but at the Fes­ti­val, 25 years af­ter it was built.

An evo­lu­tion of the un­suc­cess­ful C291 – it­self built in re­sponse to the 1991 World Sports Car Cham­pi­onship’s new 3.5-litre rules which favoured

Mercedes C292 de­buts af­ter 25 years

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