Rüsselsheim. Opel will put on quite a show for the 60,000 spectators expected at the 41st AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix on the Nürburgring. When the crème de la crème of vintage car racing comes together this weekend (August 9 – 11) in the Eifel, 20 stars from 110 years of Opel motorsport history will be there. Be it Grand Prix, Rallye or Touring cars – the brand with the classic Opel lettering and later with the blitz on the grille has been a major player in motorsports for over one century. From current racing competition, the long-distance racing car Opel Astra OPC Cup and the brand cup sportster ADAM Rallye Cup will be at the Nürburgring – just like some members of the board who are motorsport enthusiasts. They will be led by Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, who on Saturday will get into the action himself and pilot the Rekord C touring car with the moniker “Black Widow” on demo laps around the Grand Prix course.
Opel’s glorious motorsport history began with the legendary Opel racing car 1903. The London-Brighton veteran already featured a Cardan shaft to the rear in the early days of motorsports. Just ten years later a successful Grand Prix racing car already boasted technical highlights such as overhead camshafts with vertical-shaft drive and four valves per cylinder. This was outstanding Opel technology from 1913 – already enabling speeds of up to 170 km/h even back then. And only one more year of development transformed the Opel racing car into a displacement giant with 12.3 liters volume, 260 hp and a phenomenal top speed of 228 km/h. This speed was unheard of at the time and was achieved by the “Green Monster” mainly during beach races with endless straight courses.
In contrast, the key term in rallye sports is “the curve”. And the master of the spectacular drift is the Opel Ascona – especially with Walter Röhrl behind the wheel. The exceptional driver won the European Championship in an Ascona A in 1974 (with co-pilot Jochen Berger) and the Rallye World Championship in 1982 in an Ascona 400 with Christian Geistdörfer. The World Championship car will again go all-out at the Oldtimer Grand Prix 2013.
Opel has also made an impression in circuit racing in recent history. The star of the brand’s ensemble is doubtlessly the Cliff Calibra. Manuel Reuter won the International Touring Car Championship in 1996 with the all-wheel drive class 1 touring car. The ITC emerged from the DTM (German Touring Car Championship) and grew into a global competition. The Opel Calibra V6 dominated the competitors from Alfa Romeo and Mercedes that were equipped with Formula 1 technology.
The 1960s and 1970s were the glory days of the tuners, who turned sporty series production cars into fabulous racing cars. The stars of this era were the Opel Commodore A from Klaus Steinmetz, two Opel GTs from Virgilio Conrero as well as the most powerful Opel GT ever with 280 hp from engine king Ulrich Gerent.
Please get the whole story with a lot of historic and present pictures here.
Current photos of our Opel stars in action at the Oldtimer Grand Prix will be available from Saturday afternoon, August 10, media.opel.com.