Fresh from their dominant performance at last weekend’s Goodwood Revival, JD Classics are making their annual pilgrimage to this weekend’s Spa Six Hours event. Although in regular attendance, this will be the first year that JD Classics enter a car in the World famous Six Hour race with their Jaguar MKII Racer. With over 110 cars competing in the long running endurance, the competition looks fierce as the MK2 will be pitched against some of its more powerful adversaries within its class including Ford Mustang’s and Falcon’s. However, with the Lightweight E-Type having outdriven some of its more fearsome contemporaries in last weekend’s RAC TT Celebration race, the JD Classics MKII still remains very much in it to win it.
Also competing this weekend will be the distinctive Fangio C-Type in the combined Woodcote/Stirling Moss Trophy race and the powerful Ford Cologne Capri which will roar around the famous Spa Francorchamps circuit in the Masters 70s Celebration/Historic Touring Car Challenge/DRM Klassik Pokal race. With the on-track action getting underway from tomorrow, we look forward to trying to maintain the success of last weekend’s Revival.
Combined Woodcote/Stirling Moss Trophy (Qualifying) - 10.35-11.15
The distinctive Fangio Jaguar C-Type took to the track on Friday morning to qualify for the combined Woodcote/ Stirling Moss Trophy race. A grid of 50 plus competitors, the field was made up of a variety of period sportscars including Cooper's, Lister's and Lotus's with the JD C-Type in the midst of the action amongst its historic contemporaries. As the sun began to break through at the notoriously wet Spa Francorchamps circuit, the field began to filter out on to track as the 40 minute session got underway.
As Chris Ward continued to pick up the pace with every lap, it wasnt long into the session before the C-Type was running 1st in its class and 9th overall. Having put in several highly competitive times, the team called the C-Type into the pits to check the car over. Once any adjustments were made, Chris Ward returned to the qualifying session for the remaining 15 minutes and as the chequered flag fell, the C-Type had been driven to an impressive 1st place within the Woodcote Trophy field a full seven seconds clear of the second placed car within class WT4 and maintained its strong placing within the combined field qualifying in 9th place overall.
Having successfully completed qualifying, the team now turn their attentions to the Friday afternoon qualifying session for the Ford Cologne Capri while the JD Classics Jaguar MKII will be track bound this evening for the 90 minute qualifying session head of Saturday evening's headline Six Hour Race.
Masters 70s Celebration/Historic Touring Car Challenge/DRM Klassik Pokal (Qualifying) - 15.05-15.35
John Young took to the track first as part of the two driver 30 minute qualifying session for the Masters 70s Celebration/Historic Touring Car Challenge/DRM Klassik Pokal race in the JD Classics Ford Cologne Capri. Having last raced at Spa earlier this year and achieving a double victory, the JD Classics team were hopeful to reproduce the success of last time. With John Young and the Capri producing a succession of impressive laps matching the lap times produced during its last dominant performance at the famed Belgian track, John brought the powerful Touring car into the pits to hand over the remainder of the session to Chris Ward. Maintaining the flawless performance, the JD Classics Capri qualified the in 2nd place overall and 1st in its class ahead of Saturday’s race.
With both the Capri and C-Type having qualified successfully, the team turned their focus to the 90 minute three driver Six Hour qualifying session for the Jaguar MKII.
Spa Six Hours (Qualifying) – 18.30-20.00
The final session of the weekend, qualifying for the headline Spa Six Hour event got underway on Friday evening as over 110 competing cars vying for the coveted Six Hour title took to the track during the 90 minute session. A wide variety of cars from TVR’s to Lotus’s made up the extensive selection of competing cars as the JD Classics Jaguar MKII exited the pits and took to the track. With all three drivers required to do an allotted stint behind the wheel and with the visibility and on-track conditions beginning to deteriorate as afternoon turned into evening, the team decided to send the car out early on in the session. With John Young first up, the MKII achieved an impressive first lap time however halfway through the second lap, the car fell victim to a half shaft failure subsequently ending the qualifying session for the JD Classics team. Despite only producing one lap time, the car qualified in 92nd place as the team set to work rectifying the problem ahead of Saturday afternoon’s race.
Combined Woodcote/Stirling Moss Trophy (Race) - 10.35-11.36
A cloudy and damp start to Saturday saw the 50 plus field line up on the grid ahead of the 61 minute Stirling Moss/Woodcote Trophy race. Starting from 9th overall and the pole sitting Woodcote Trophy car, the JD Classics Fangio C-Type of Chris Ward stormed away from the start/finish line as the pack flew into La Source and up into the famous Eau Rouge climb. Holding off pressure from the Cooper T38 of Fred Wakeman and maintaining position, the pit lane opened for mandatory pit stops and optional driver changeovers. Coming in early in the pit window, the C-Type underwent some quick checks by the JD technicians during its compulsory 30 second stand still. With all looking in order, Chris Ward re-joined the race in 3rd place within the Woodcote field with the Cooper T38 of Fred Wakeman now in the lead. With a 14 second gap to close, the JD Jaguar now had some serious work to do in order to reclaim the lead. Over the coming laps and true to form, Chris Ward gradually began to eat into the time difference and within half a dozen laps the gap had been closed to just 2 and a half seconds with 13 minutes of the race remaining. With the C-Type gaining over 2 seconds per lap it was only a matter of time before Ward made his move on the Woodcote Trophy front running Cooper T38. Reclaiming the lead at the tricky La Source corner, the JD Classics Jaguar was now in the lead with just 7 minutes remaining.
A tense remainder of the race saw both cars battle furiously for the lead with no more than a second or two separating the pair. However on the second half of the final lap, the Cooper T38 made a last ditched charge and took victory in the final stages of the race. Nevertheless, a well-deserved 2nd place, 1st in class and 10th overall performance from the Jaguar C-Type.
Spa Six Hour (Race) - 15..5-21.55
The highlight of the weekend and attracting by far the largest crowds was the namesake race; the Six Hour Race.
With a field of over 110 cars in contention for the coveted title, competition was fierce amongst the large and varied classes. JD Classics’ MD Derek Hood along with racing regulars Chris Ward and John Young were set to take on the gruelling six hour endurance race on what is widely regarded as one of the World’s most challenging motor circuits. As the hotly anticipated race got underway and the field pulled away from the start line and roared up into Eau Rouge, the JD Classics Jaguar MKII made good its start as it charged away with the rest of the field with such vigour that by the end of Lap 3 Chris Ward had driven the car up from its 92nd starting position to 65th place and by Lap 6 such was the MKII’s momentum that it had fought its way halfway through the field. A stranded Mustang at the top of Eau Rouge meant the safety car had made its first appearance by Lap 10 bunching the field back together. By the time the first hour mark had been reached, the MKII had already climbed its way to 52nd place.
Heading in to Hour 2 and by Lap 21 Chris Ward had already fought the MKII through the field and into the top third of cars whilst continuing to improve his lap times. Maintaining a consistent performance throughout the remainder of his first driver stint, so the weather began to turn and it started to drizzle.
On Lap 40, the MKII was brought in for the first driver changeover as Chris Ward handed the drive over to Derek Hood. With drivers required to refuel cars themselves, first stop for the MKII is for petrol before rejoining the race in 51st place.
After an hour behind the wheel and with daylight descending into early evening, the MKII drive was once again returned to Chris Ward and within the first full lap had claimed three more places moving back up into 48th place. A drive through penalty for the MKII on Lap 60 meant that the JD car lost position however another 7 laps later and the MKII had claimed almost 20 places and was now running in 32nd.
As it crept into its penultimate hour, the race had now descended into darkness as the Spa Francorchamps circuit was lit up by the light display of over 110 cars racing through the night. Another long stint for Chris Ward saw him drive the car through to an impressive 29th position overall and 2nd within its class when the drive was handed over to John Young for the final hour and a half of the race. Needing to refuel, it wasn’t long before the MKII had rejoined the race in 39th. On Lap 77, it began to rain heavily and an accident at La Source two laps later meant the safety car was deployed once again. Leading the field down the pit lane whilst the track was being cleared, four laps behind the safety car allowed John Young time to come into the pits with a visibility issue which once quickly rectified by the JD technicians saw the MKII return to the race. Having lost six places in doing so and now running in 35th, the MKII responded by setting the pace faster than the rest of its class in the treacherous wet weather conditions. By the time the chequered flag fell at the end of six gruelling hours, the JD Classics MKII crossed the line in 30th place and 5th within its class.
Gaining a total of 60 places throughout the duration of the race, JD Classics’ first venture into the challenging Spa Six Hour Race produced impressive performances from both car and drivers and proves testament to the hard work of the JD technicians who worked through Friday night to fix the half shaft problem that plagued the MKII during qualifying to come across the finish line in an impressive 30th place.
Masters 70s Celebration/Historic Touring Car Challenge/DRM Klassik Pokal (Race) – 10.25-11.05
The final race of the weekend for JD Classics saw the Ford Cologne Capri take to the track for the 40 minute Masters 70s Celebration/ Historic Touring Car Challenge/DRM Klassik Pokal race. Having qualified second on the grid in Friday’s qualifying session the distinctive period touring car of Chris Ward looked on good form to reproduce the victories that the Capri produced at the Spa Classic earlier in the year.
Starting behind the pole sitting Porsche 935 of Rossi Di Montelera, the JD Classics Capri briefly slipped down into third place off the start line. With damp on track conditions from overnight rain, most teams decided with intermediate tyres, however with weather conditions getting progressively warmer and drier the team made the decision to run the Capri on slicks, a decision of which by Lap 3 started to pay off as the Capri had gained some temperature in the tyres allowing the car to charge its way back into the lead.
As Chris Ward continued to pull away from the field, the pit window for mandatory pit stops opened. Coming in early on Lap 5, the Capri completed its mandatory stationary 60 second stop whilst the JD Classics technicians checked the car over. Once completed, the Capri rejoined the field in 4th place.
Continuing the momentum, Chris Ward and the JD Capri continued to improve on his time lap after lap to come across the finish line to an unrivalled win and another accolade for the powerful period touring car.