Sports prototypes still alive
Thinking of it
Great times of group 6 (B6 in Czech republic) are over. Why are we talking about great times? At the end of 70th years and at the beginning of 80th year there were practically uniform rules for all open sports cars. These rules included older open cars of group 5 till 7 as well which started already from beginning of 70th years. Pilots could start practically anywhere with these cars in then time. It means national hill climb racing, circuit championship or World championship. Rules were nearly the same and they were given by basic processes of sports open prototypes and by weight divided by cubical classes. These rules were generally respected.
The agitation was brought with year 1982 and FIA did universal division of groups. The group C arose and it attracted new producers. This group formed great age of sports prototypes during 10 years. We could really see the most attractive races in Most at Interserie and in Brno at World championship in Czech republic. But this new group C meant bigger financial demand on pilots and teams of course. And that is why so strong states like Italy or Germany did not manage to keep national championship of group C. France and England had a similar problem and races of weak group C2 were occupied very little and they were completed with older open spiders. But it did not take a long time. In 1982 for example Marc Surer appeared in group C in hill climb racing. He was a pilot of formula 1 and in hill climbs he raced with Sauber SHS C6. Another pilot was Anton Fischhaber on his special URD C81 of Kannacher Team. But unfortunately these heavy cars did not fit in hill climb racing (also for its financial expenses). Though Surer won one of his starts in category of sport cars at European championship. However high expenses would mean liquidation of hill sport cars and happily FIA tolerated old group 6 till 1987. This group was modified into group C3 later and it meant proper continuum and there were more cars.
The year 1992 was very important. New indigested rules of atmospheric engines - volume 3.5 litres were put on scene. It was last year of World championship in prototypes. Races in open prototypes were very attractive in hill climb racing especially in this year. But prototypes did not exist in all-world championship for other next years. John Mangoletsi tried to solve this problem with his cup ISRS, which was changed the name of World Cup that we could frequently see in Brno. Indeed it was group SR1 and SR2 which competed with groups WSC or LMP. This perfect chaos in rules meant end of championship at World level in open prototypes. Today these prototypes have chance only as faster and more attractive supplement to GT cars. We can expect another slowing down in prototypes...
Hill climb racers who spent numerical top in 1992 was not happy for long time because we could hear about liquidation of group C3 on behalf of new Italian standard - group CN. FIA realized this problem and that is why FIA held over this step although it was advised during several years. However groups C3 and CN were classified separately since 1993. 1998 was the last year when group C3 started, it means cars with engines till 2500 ccm in practically free modification. Pilots had minimum 3 years for preparation of new technology. We could remind that mainly group C3 offered really various representation among European states.
Not only Spaniards Vilarino and Egozkue were very fast but Germans Faustmann, Öppinger, Olbrich or Köppel were fast as well and then Italinas Parlamento and Bormolini (Luigi). Purely Italian pilots got through in group CN headed by Irlando, Danti or Tschager (after liquidation of group C3) than Italians on their Osellas ... What did liquidation of group CN practically mean? Germans, Spaniards stopped starting in European championship. Pilots in Austria and in France accepted group CN very carefully. Where did traditional pilots of European championship disappear? Faustmann who struggled for European heading for many times, who started in several races, he suddenly lost all love for racing. Öppinger stayed in his Osella PA9 of group C3 till 2002 when he showed us cockpit Osella CN. But he stopped his tendency to European points though he took normally part in European championship. Köppel appeared in classification of European championship over 10 years. He started in this group till 2001 after liquidation group C3 in European championship. Then he drove elderly formula 2. Another regular German pilot of European championship was Georg Olbrich who has only abided by group C3 till today. He was classified in four years of European championship before liquidation of group C3. Italians Parlamento and Luigi Bormolini did not go over new group CN. Parlamento is the pilot with the biggest historical starts in European championship and now he occasionally appears on his old March formula 3 just for pleasure. Bormolini also stayed with his Osella PA9 from 1985 but he does not have many occasions to start. Frenchmen Dosieres and Chamberod tried group CN for a while. Chamberod was at the top in his country but he rather left sports cars. He was very good on his formula 3000 in France till his late health problems. Dosieres tried to stop dominion of Italians but in the end he came back to group A which was suitable for him.
Seeing that interest in sport cars increased with new group CN in Czech country, Czech pilots Jiri Micanek and Josef Krecmer entered in European championship. Otakar Kramsky came in later. Our pilots were the biggest competition for Italians. Other states got into group CN very slowly. Of course, Italy as an Eden of sport cars did not have this problem because group CN existed here in advance and in the same way gr. C3 was liquidated. Spaniards never came over group CN excepting tests of Vilarino who did not manage to continue with his successes from last years. Frenchmen and Germans manage to increase group CN at the expense of C3 in terms of home championship like in our country and in Austria.
This year's duel about European seat brought the most interesting year in category of sport cars in all its history. A man would like looking forward to continuation in resulting season. But ... we know how Enzo Osella tries to get through two-litre cars of group CN. He is very successful with his mark that controls European hills in all states. It would not be bad but it will be at the expense of more attractive group CN till 3000ccm. Besides three-litre were greatly limited in Italy this year, in spite of winning of three-litre Master driven by Simon Faggioli. Preparing limitation of three-litre groups for 2004 impressed like report about terroristic attack for many fans of strictly aerodynamic beautiful cars - prototypes. This limitation surely will bring along next agitation and we can talk about slow end of European championship. We can hear about downloading restrictor (33mm), which is very limitative, restriction of aerodynamic car's area and other changes. It means that three-litre cars will be slower than two-litre cars. What will it mean? Spaniards ignored group CN, though a few cars of group CN appear here today but no two-litre cars. We can't expect new interest of Frenchmen or Germans who enjoy three-litre group and they don't have any reason to leave national championship towards Europe. Austrian specifications of two-litre cars are incommensurate with Italian specifications and Czech pilots won't be interested in rearmament of their cars in slower cars, it means less interesting two-litre group. Who stays in Europe? According to unofficial information, Fausto Bormolini, Regosa or Napione are not interested in two-litre cars. They have been here more than 10 years and they tried passing from group C3 into CN, which brought fame to them. Here is only an idea, I am sorry, rather a silly idea of FIA, next perhaps Enzo Oseela who will hope for miracle, for new pilots, maybe come from unknown country ... and then a team of Scuderio Villorbo Corse who maybe would get on some two-litre cars as the only. And why? Because he advertises starts of young pilots and these two-litre cars are a good jumping board to ... unfortunately today to vacuum ... How interesting and full will next European championship be? Perhaps three of four pilots of Villorba and possibly Faggioli will appear. Faggioli would like to obtain European title. Nobody else. What will it mean? The most attractive group CN for this year can change into some group SP that is unfortunately dependent on Czech team in European championship. It means that also group CN will get half points because we can't expect any support of arranging countries of European championship in next five years. I regret that sirs from FIA don't see it, they don't want to see it and they cut their own branches …
What will the fate of prototypes be in Czech republic? We don't have any official information because we expect definitive verdict about three-litre future. We believe in change. Otakar Kramsky will be surely interested in BNW M3 in-group A and he manages to make any car so that he won't have any reason to drive two-litre car. Milos Benes hasn't repaired his car after his accident in Slovakia and who knows if reparation is suitable for him. Vladimir Doubek signed to us that his success at circuit (last race in Brno) wasn't lucks and he would feel well there. Besides more eyes of pilots, teams and fans look at sport prototypes on circuits because they can see most attractive set to division 4. Only hope will be coming of new pilots who understand that two-litre spider is a good car and this car will bring a quality result of European championship.
Rhetorical question in the end: Why did we talk about this? Why are preceptive sports car still in the air and they can't rise? As soon as they manage to arise, they get another hit? …
Literatura, odkazy, zdroje
Translated by Martina (article was originaly written on October 28, 2003)
Autor: Roman Krejčí
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Článek publikován: 19.11.2003
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Stránka aktualizována: 22.04.2021