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Nogaro Classic 2021. The return of the competition classics to the circuit

Nogaro Classic is a date for fans of classic racing. Organized by Peter Auto at the French Paul-Armagnac circuit, the engines of XNUMXs GTs and mighty Sport Prototypes roared here again. Proof that little by little normality is returning to the classic scene. Unai Ona's lens shows us this.

The stoppage imposed by the pandemic caused the closure of concentrations, routes, fairs and races. Suddenly, motoring was confined to the solitude of workshops and garages, making it impossible to hold collective events. Nevertheless, in a really short time if we take a look at similar situations in recent centuries, normality is regaining its pulse. Something that is also seen in the world of classics, where auctions with in-person audiences have long since recovered. Fact that has set a trend for the return of concentrations and, especially, of races.

In that sense, little by little movement is being felt in national circuits such as Jarama. Although if what we want is to see classic races with a certain level, the agenda advises us to put our eyes beyond the Pyrenees. Thus, classic photographers like Unai Ona They are already with their objectives in tow to bring us the best racing shots like the Nogaro Classic. Three days of competition organized around six categories where we got to see some of the great GTs of the sixties alongside icons from the golden age of Le Mans and endurance racing.

Organized by Peter Auto, the place chosen for the Nogaro Classic series was the Paul-Armagnac circuit. A 3636-meter track located in the southwest of France where classic sessions have been common., but also hosting various events such as the French Motorcycle Grand Prix. Undoubtedly, the reference circuit in the south of France together with that of Paul Ricard. Located to the southeast and that in November will host the interesting auction The Guikas Collection organized by RM Sotheby's.

SPEED IN NOGARO. THE GREAT GT AND A PIKES PEAK WINNER

Even being short races that range from thirty minutes to two hours, the series of classics on the track of a circuit are a perfect show to see these historical in action. In fact, and judging by the flares coming from some exhausts, many of the drivers of these cars do not attend events like the Nogaro Classic just to show off their frames. Far from it, they put the integrity of these high-end classics at risk by giving meaning to the purpose for which they were built: to compete.

Something that Giotto Bizzarrini knew perfectly when he founded his own car company in Livorno after passing through Alfa Romeo and Ferrari. A basic engineer to understand motorsport in Italy, who would be proud to see the performance in The Greatest Trophy series of the Bizzarrini GT piloted by Leon Ebeline. The car that was the winner, only put in trouble by a Ferrari 250 GT SWB.

Following in the wake of the great sports cars of the sixties, the Sixties Endurance series ended the dominance of the Shelby Cobra. Anglo-American hybrids that shared space with the much more refined Jaguar E-Type. An English flavor complemented by the appearance of a unique TVR Griffith. Regarding the sport prototypes, the Endurance Racing series were the most interesting, with a Porsche 997 GT3 RSR that flared up due to an oil pressure failure. In addition, a slight Porsche 993 GT2 was third. Legend of the competition for having been champion during the nineties at Pikes Peak.

POPULAR BRITISH AND MORE SPORT RESISTANCE PROTOTYPES

Raced in the rain, the Heritage Touring Cup series welcomed the most popular models within the exclusivity seen at Nogaro Classic. We refer to the first generation Ford Escorts. Units conceived by Ford of Europe with excellent track records in rallies of the early XNUMXs after its appearance on the market in 1968. Touring cars with a good sporting development, which they once again showed off dominating the entire test. Of course, with the permission of a brand new BMW 635 Csi and 3.0 CSL.

When it comes to vehicles beyond the sixties, the Fifties Legends series paid homage to sports cars before the golden age of great GTs. A place where the Mini Cooper S stood out. Always vibrant and fun on the circuit, which shared the grid with vehicles like the Austin Healy 3000 MKII. When it comes to the endurance competed by Sport Prototypes, the Classic Endurance series gave a show thanks to the winner - a TOJ SC 206 - but also to the interesting Cheetah G601 and Lola T298 seen on the asphalt.

Last of the Nogaro Classic categories. An event that, although not as crowded as it would have been in other times, shows that the panorama of classics is returning, little by little, to a certain normality.

Photographs: Unai Ona

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Miguel Sánchez

Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.

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