Tag: BOSS GP

Formula 1 ”just for fun”

Ulf Ehninger from Tübingen in Germany surprisingly won the BOSS GP OPEN class title in 2021. We spoke to the defending champion ahead of the season opener in Hockenheim (6-8 May 2022) to discuss the speciality of running a classic Formula 1 car.

Let’s look back to 2021: What are the strongest memories of your masterpiece?

ULF EHNINGER: “Probably that we made it at all! We didn’t even realise it until Monza. It was only when Thomas Hummer from Pirelli told me at the podium ceremony that we had a chance that we started thinking about it. Before that, we wanted to be completely relaxed about it – it was just for fun. I learned that if I take the pressure off, it works better. Ingo Gerstl helped me to understand the set-up of the car. I didn’t feel comfortable in the car for a long time, now I feel the car and its limits much better.”

Was verbindet dich mit dem Benetton B197?

EHNINGER: “The car is great, I often stand languishing in front of it. Actually, the car is much too beautiful to drive. You should know, that it’s probably also the Formula 1 car with the most kilometres worldwide!”

What do you need to be able to do to drive a car like that?

EHNINGER: “James Hunt once said, ‘big balls’. Before I get into a car like this, I have quite a mental dilemma When you sit in it, however, it’s gone. But it’s still a huge challenge to drive it. After the first free practice session I’m completely blown away – and confronted with a lot of impressions – that takes a lot of effort. Gerstl pulls the trigger, I have to feel my way. Engineer Dario Pergolini helped me a lot with his analysis tools. I can’t even describe the feeling of driving such a racing car. Acceleration is the quickest thing to get used to, but I’ll never get used to the cornering speeds.”

How did it come about in the first place? You don’t buy a Formula 1 car in a supermarket …

EHNINGER: “I drove endurance races for a long time. But my dream was always to drive a Formula 1 racing car, which I wanted to do for my 50th birthday. The fact that I now own and drive one myself and have already driven almost 3,000 kilometres in it – that’s a dream come true. I drove a sports car in the Jim Clark Revival at the Hockenheimring in 2018. We broke the drive shaft. After the repair, we walked through the paddock late at night. As we passed Phil Stratford’s pits, a sticker said ‘Sale’. Rather jokingly, we then called the number and ended up with Kevin Mansell and Phil Stratford, who informed us about the car the very next day. It then took some time, as the car was in the USA, until we could get started. But our goal has always been to run the car ourselves and not have another team look after it.”

That sounds good, but not easy.

EHNINGER: “I do most of the work myself and also drive the truck. The search for parts can be very tiring, it can take three months to find something. In winter, everything is checked – every sealing ring, the entire chassis for possible damage and so on. The spare parts have to be rebuilt. We are currently working on a solution to increase the short running times of the gearbox. After the race at the Red Bull Ring (3-5 June 2022, note), the engine will then come in for an overhaul.”

Why can’t you get enough of it anyway?

EHNINGER: “I think it’s nice to spend a race weekend together with others. I have been super well welcomed into the BOSS GP. It was always said that only the rich ‘snobs’ race there – but it wasn’t like that. So we enjoy spending a weekend like this as a community rather than attending track days somewhere anonymously. Last year the Italians invited us for dinner, and even though we didn’t know Italian and they didn’t know German, we had a delicious evening of conversation.”

Your team ESBA Racing originally comes from endurance racing, how are you set up?

EHNINGER: “As you rightly say, ESBA already existed before the Benetton, roughly since 2016. We had already bought a truck for it, which we still use today to spend the night at the race tracks. Jochen, with whom I’ve been friends for over 30 years, has been with me from the beginning. When I’m driving, he’s with me. When he rides, I’m with him. I met Jens through a friend. He has become a valuable team member and is now also involved with Glickenhaus. He’s passionate about Benetton, and without him it wouldn’t work at all. Then there is Dario, who has brought professionalism to the team.

Can you briefly summarise your racing career so far?

EHNINGER: “Career is perhaps a little overstated (laughs). More than 20 years ago, I really wanted to race on the Nordschleife. Together with friends we built a BMW E36 M3 – without much time or money. Later I also drove an Audi and a Porsche – even the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring twice. The Nordschleife is certainly the greatest track there is.

What I like about the BOSS GP Racing Series is the way the people tick, that you can have fun together and that politics is in the background. With Pirelli, we have a strong partner and are certainly on the right track. I wish, more being done for young talent.”

What are your plans for the new season?

EHNINGER: “In addition to a few races in the BOSS GP, I will also try to drive another historic race car a few times, namely a V8 Star bolide (German silhouette series from the early 2000s, note) – the original Hasseröder car from Harald Grohs.”

Photos: Angelo Poletto/BOSS GP

Now or never

Teams and drivers can only register for this season until Friday (18 February 2022) at a special price.

Interested petrolheads can find the registration form (available as a PDF and as a Word document) under this link. Compared to individual entries, full season registration is cheaper and planning for the organisation is much easier.

The BOSS GP Racing Series will continue to offer participants and fans a spectacle for all the senses in 2022. Seven racing events on the best and safest race tracks in Europe are planned for the Big Open Single Seater. The fastest monopostos of the past 25 years will be brought to life and raced in this series. These include Formula 1 cars, IndyCars, Formula 2 or GP2 cars and bolides from the World Series by Renault. Also eligible are monopostos such as the Rodin FZED or Lotus T125, which are specially designed for use on track days and for gentleman drivers. With the still young class of SUPER LIGHTS, Formula 3000 cars and cars from the World Series by Nissan with the six-cylinder engines also get a new home.

For more information on registration and regulations, please contact BOSS GP General Manager Dario Pergolini at office@bossgp.com or +41 78 670 15 00.

BOSS GP Racing Series Events 2022:

  • 6-8 May | Jim Clark Revival Hockenheim (Germany)
  • 3-5 June | Red Bull Ring Spielberg (Austria)
  • 17-19 June | French Historic Grand Prix Le Castellet (France)
  • TBA | Race to be announced
  • 9-11 September | Masaryk Racing Days Brno (Czech Republic)
  • 14-16 October | Forza Fanatec Mugello (Italy)
  • 4-6 November | Pirelli Grande Finale Misano (Italy)

Photo: Angelo Poletto

Registrazione 2022

A partire da ora, le squadre e i piloti possono registrarsi per la BOSS GP Racing Series stagione 2022.

La registrazione per la stagione 2022 è ora aperta e durerà fino al 18 febbraio 2022. Rispetto alle iscrizioni individuali, la registrazione per è più economica. Gli interessati possono trovare il modulo di registrazione (disponibile come PDF e come documento Word) a questo link.

La BOSS GP Racing Series offrirà nuovamente ai partecipanti e ai fan uno spettacolo per tutti i sensi nel 2022. Sette eventi di gara sui migliori e più sicuri circuiti d’Europa sono previsti per la Big Open Single Seater. Le monoposto più veloci degli ultimi 25 anni saranno portate in vita e mosse con decisione in questa serie.

Per ulteriori informazioni sulla registrazione e i regolamenti, si prega di contattare il direttore generale di BOSS GP Dario Pergolini a office@bossgp.com o +41 78 670 15 00.

BOSS GP Racing Series Date 2022:

  • 6-8 maggio | Jim Clark Revival Hockenheim (Germania)
  • 3-5 giugno | Red Bull Ring Spielberg (Austria)
  • 17-19 giugno | French Historich Grand Prix Le Castellet (Francia)
  • TBA | Gara da annunciare
  • 9-11 settembre | Masaryk Racing Days Brno (Repubblica Ceca)
  • 14-16 ottobre | Forza Fanatec Mugello (Italia)
  • 4-6 novembre | Pirelli Grande Finale Misano (Italia)

Foto: Robert Lösch

Una classe per sé: SUPER LIGHTS

Grande richiesta: la Formula 3000 e la V6 World Series by Renault/Nissan avranno una propria classificazione all’interno della BOSS GP Racing Series nel 2022.

Il campionato di serie più veloce d’Europa sta espandendo la sua offerta per i piloti e squadre: Oltre alle classifiche OPEN e FORMULA, la Formula 3000 del modello anno 2002 in su, e i veicoli della World Series by Renault o Nissan con il motore a sei cilindri riceveranno un aggiornamento sotto forma di una propria classe.

Come nelle altre due classi OPEN e FORMULA, la SUPER LIGHTS avrà la sua cerimonia di premiazione con trofei dopo ogni gara e un campione ufficiale BOSS GP alla fine dell’anno. Nel 2021, le SUPER LIGHTS hanno già fatto il loro debutto in alcune gare del BOSS GP. Le vittorie di classe sono state celebrate dai due italiani Maurizio Copetti e Walter Colacino.

Per gli appassionati, la nuova classe è anche riconoscibile dai numeri di partenza tra 100 e 999.

L’iscrizione stagionale (fino al 28 febbraio 2022) per la classe SUPER LIGHTS costa 1.450 euro netti. Le quote di iscrizione per evento sono anche offerte al prezzo vantaggioso di 1.500 euro netti. Le squadre possono trovare maggiori dettagli a questo link.

I team e i piloti interessati possono contattare il direttore generale di BOSS GP Dario Pergolini per qualsiasi domanda: office@bossgp.com o +41 78 670 15 00.

Fotografie: Angelo Poletto/BOSS GP

Report Race 2 Monza

Grande Finale in Monza. The fastest race series in Europe more than lived up to its name, under the most difficult conditions Ulf Ehninger was crowned the new champion of the BOSS GP Racing Series.

Already in the morning, the royal park of Monza presented itself grey in grey. Thomas Hummer, the man in charge of Pirelli for BOSS GP, was also looking at the sky: “It’s really difficult, if it stays like this I would take the slicks.” Shortly before the start, the rain became heavier. Most of the drivers opted for the rain tyres.

Ulf Ehninger (GER, ESBA Racing) did not let himself be ruffled, and in the manner of a Zen master, the Benetton driver brought his first OPEN title home. “I didn’t take any risks, changed gears early and stayed out of everything. I can’t believe it, I never expected something like this,” Ehninger could hardly believe his achievement. For Ingo Gerstl (AUT, Top Speed) it was a mixed weekend. “I want to congratulate Ulf, he was always on point and deserved the title,” the old champion paid tribute to the new one.

The day’s win went to Marco Ghiotto (ITA, Scuderia Palladio) again. This time, however, the FORMULA driver had to fight much harder than on the previous day: “I started on rain tyres, in the safety car period I changed to slicks. Thanks go to my mechanics.” With the fresh rubbers, the Italian was able to catch up with the long-time leader Paul O’Connell (IRL, HS Engineering), who himself took the lead with a remarkable manoeuvre in the first Lesmo bend, and overtook him shortly before the end. O’Connell was nevertheless very pleased. “I played poker, we often have conditions like this on the island, I risked the slicks, it paid off in the end,” the likeable Irishman revealed.

FORMULA podium race 2: f.l. Paul O’Connell (2nd), winner Marco Ghiotto and Thomas Jackermeier (3rd)

Thomas Jackermeier (GER, Top Speed) also made it onto the podium for the first time. The rookie showed an excellent performance and was suddenly in the lead due to various tyre changes of the competitors. “On Friday I drove the Toro Rosso with which Sebastian Vettel won here for the first time, now I’m on the same podium, even in the rain. That’s really mega,” the Fanatec CEO was completely beside himself.

In the first half of the race, Michael Aberer (AUT, MA Motorsport) was one of the fastest. The rain specialist was able to make use of his experience on the slippery terrain and was soon to be found in the leading field. In the end, switching to dry tyres would probably have been the better choice, so only eighth place remained.

Series coordinator Willie Beck was also suitably satisfied after the GlobeAir Grande Finale: “We’ve seen a fantastic season without any accidents, as a BOSS GP family we’ve grown together even more this year, which gives us confidence for the new season.”

Photos: Angelo Poletto/BOSS GP, Robert Lösch

Report Race 1 Monza

Championship decision postponed: Already the pre-start threw the qualifying into disarray. In the end, FORMULA Champion Marco Ghiotto won in the Monza Park and spoke of an “easy” victory.

With 22 degrees Celsius outside and 33°C asphalt temperature, the drivers found perfect racing conditions to get the Pirelli tyres into the ideal temperature window. Already on the grid the Toro Rosso of pole setter Ingo Gerstl (AUT, Top Speed) caused problems. “It must have been a sensor problem in the gearbox, it would have been fine, but for safety reasons I preferred to park the car after the start,” a disappointed Gerstl stated. In the championship, the Austrian suffered a severe setback and is now seven points behind Ulf Ehninger (GER, ESBA Racing) with one race to go.

As Phil Stratford’s (USA, Penn Elcom Racing) Benetton remained in the pits due to gearbox problems in qualifying, it was Ehninger who took the win in the Open class. In the overall classification, however, the Benetton driver was beaten by Marco Ghiotto (ITA, Scuderia Palladio) and Simone Colombo (ITA, MM International Motorsport). The two Dallara GP2 drivers flew around the course in pairs at the start before Ghiotto prevailed by just under three seconds.

“At the beginning I tried not to give Colombo any slipstream, the effect is particularly strong in Monza. Once I shook him off a bit, it was an easy win,” stated the confident champion. For Luca Martucci (ITA, MM International Motorsport) the home race ended abruptly. His GP2 rolled out at the beginning of the famous Ascari chicane while he was safely in third place.

Behind Ehninger, the battle for 4th place raged, with Walter Steding (GER, Scuderia Palladio) and Armando Mangini (ITA, MM International Motorsport) duelling it out for the entire race. Mangini tried several times to takes over out of the slipstream, but braked in the first chicane on his most promising attempt, had to go wide and could not get closer than seven tenths to the German again.

The most exciting duel took place behind Paul O’Connell (IRL, HS Engineering) for 7th place. Michael Aberer (AUT, MA Motorsport), who drives his car in the legendary Gold Leaf colours, drove close behind Thomas Jakoubek (AUT, Top Speed) the entire race before he struck in the Parabolica corner on the last lap. “I picked someone to fight with, to see where I actually stand. It was my first race in the dry, for that I am very, very satisfied, it was an awesome match,” Aberer summed up.

Tomorrow Sunday at 12:50 local time the GlobeAir Grande Finale of the 2021 BOSS GP season will take place in Monza.

Photos: Angelo Poletto/BOSS GP

Report Qualifying Monza

A turbulent qualifying session for the GlobeAir Grande Finale at the Royal Park of Monza ultimately brought a pole position for Ingo Gerstl and a tragic hero in Phil Stratford.

Right at the beginning of Q1 Ingo Gerstl (AUT, Top Speed) in the Toro Rosso brought out the hammer, set a 1:29.0 on his first flying lap and improved again by 1.6 (!) seconds on the second lap. All the others were beaten by this time. The closest was Phil Stratford (USA, Penn Elcom Racing), who only managed to move up to second place with just one timed lap. Before he caused a red flag.

“Unfortunately, the gearbox got stuck in 6th gear, we had problems yesterday as well.  My mechanics worked all night, we only finished 5 minutes before qualifying, they are true heroes,” the US driver knew to thank his crew. At the moment, the crew is trying to get the Benetton from the 1997 season running again for the race. The second Benetton in the field, driven by Ulf Ehninger (GER, ESBA Racing), made it to the second row of the grid in 4th place.

FORMULA driver Simone Colombo (ITA, MM International Motorsport) broke the phalanx of Formula 1 cars with the GP2 Dallara and achieved an excellent starting position for a possible first win of the season with grid position 3. Behind them it tightened up – Marco Ghiotto (ITA, Scuderia Palladio) and Luca Martucci (ITA, MM International Motorsport) rushed around the track in pairs, gave each other slipstream and shared the third row of the grid in the end.

In the meantime, qualifying was interrupted again by a red flag. Thomas Jackermeier (GER, Top Speed) had lost control of the GP2 when braking for the first chicane and brought the car to a halt on a sausage curb. However, race control quickly radioed the all-clear and, with the help of the marshals, the rookie was able to resume his drive. Michael Aberer (AUT, MA Motorsport) had a similar incident. Nevertheless, the Austrian still managed to finish 11th on the grid.

In between, Walter Steding (GER, Scuderia Palladio), Andreas Fiedler (GER, Fiedler Racing), Armando Mangini (ITA, MM International Motorsport) and Paul O’Connell (IRL, HS Engineering), four drivers in positions 7 to 10 on the grid, still have a chance of a podium in the FORMULA class.

The first race in the Temple of Speed will start today at 15:35 local time.

Photo: Angelo Poletto/BOSS GP

Report Races Brno

Double wins for Ingo Gerstl and Harald Schlegelmilch at the Masaryk Racing Days.

The fourth event of the season brought the BOSS GP Racing Series to the Czech Republic’s largest racetrack in Brno on the first weekend of September. On the traditional date of the Masaryk Racing Days, the lively racing programme included some of the fastest race cars in the world, racing against each other.

OPEN class
Ingo Gerstl (AUT, Top Speed) was once again unbeatable in the screaming Toro Rosso STR1 with a V10 Cosworth engine from 2006. The rivals are still missing, so Gerstl is driving towards the next title. It would be his sixth championship title in the OPEN class of Formula 1 and IndyCar cars. It would bring him up to par with his former rival and BOSS GP record holder Klaas Zwart (NLD). Ulf Ehninger (GER, ESBA Racing) made his debut on the Brno circuit in the popular 1997 Benetton. Despite not having a chance against Gerstl’s much more modern car, Ehninger presented himself in the best possible way on the Czech rollercoaster with two second places – thus keeping the championship open for Ehninger.

FORMULA class
Harald Schlegelmilch (LVA, HS Engineering) showed early on this weekend that he is the favourite to win in class. After his successful performance at the Red Bull Ring earlier this year, the former Formula 3 professional once again showed the more established competition what he is capable of. Even though championship leader Marco Ghiotto (ITA, Scuderia Palladio) put a lot of pressure on him in the first race, Schlegelmilch kept his nerve in the last generation World Series car and won race 1 by a narrow margin. The next day in the second race Ghiotto started better and took the lead right at the rolling start. But Schlegelmilch, who was a bit slower on the straights, was able to brake later into the corners and take the lead before the halfway point of the race.

Third place in both races was taken by Luca Martucci, who is now just one point behind his team-mate Simone Colombo (both ITA, MM International) in the overall standings. With two fourth places, rookie Colombo got the best out of a weekend that started with an accident in practice. Walter Steding (GER, Scuderia Palladio; 5th twice) and Bruno Jarach (EST, Eesti Motorsport; 6th and 7th) also scored solid points. Unlike Andreas Fiedler (GER) and Christian Ferstl (AUT), who were both affected by technical problems.

The next two races of the 2021 BOSS GP Racing Series are on the schedule at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on 2 and 3 October.

Pictures: Angelo Poletto and Erwin Strassnig/BOSS GP

Report Race 2 Misano

Making the most of home advantage: With Ghiotto, Colombo and Martucci again three Italians on the podium.

In even hotter temperatures than yesterday, the BOSS GP drivers were once again enormously challenged in the 25-minute main race at the Misano World Circuit. Marco Ghiotto (ITA, Scuderia Palladio), Saturday’s winner, kept his cool from the start and was never in danger of losing his top spot. The championship leader in the FORMULA class won for the fifth time in the sixth race of the season. Ghiotto is now fully on course for title number 3.

The longest on the tail of Ghiotto’s Dallara Formula 2 was compatriot Simone Colombo (MM International), who shared the fastest lap of the race with Ghiotto and bring home second place, as he had done yesterday – but even he could not effectively put the frontrunner under pressure. Nevertheless, after this very successful weekend for the Italian, Colombo also takes the role of the first chaser in the overall standings.

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Marco Ghiotto was unstoppable in Misano

Finishing behind the BOSS GP rookie was MM International teammate Luca Martucci (ITA), who showed unusual caution, especially at the beginning of the race. In the early stages Martucci had fallen behind Andreas Fiedler (GER, Fiedler Racing) and even in the slipstream it took him a long time to attempt an overtaking manoeuvre.

Fiedler is celebrating his birthday today, and for a long time it even looked as if he could round it off with a top-3 finish. In the first race, Fiedler was slowed down by a deformed tie rod, and today, too, he had to let both Martucci and newcomer Paul O’Connell (IRE, HS Engineering) pass him with degrading tyres in the further stages of the race. Rookie O’Connell again impressed with numerous overtaking manoeuvres in his second ever BOSS GP race.

Thomas Jackermeier (GER, Top Speed) showed a clean and fearless performance today after yesterday’s unfortunate starting collision – he finished in sixth place. Son Simon (GER, Top Speed), competing for the second time in a BOSS GP race, started cautiously at first, but then improved enormously with similar fast lap times as his dad, overtaking Maurizio Copetti (ITA, Scuderia Palladio) and Christian Ferstl (AUT, Top Speed) for 8th place behind Walter Steding (GER, Scuderia Palladio).

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Maurizio Copetti wins the SUPER LIGHTS category

Copetti won the SUPER LIGHTS classification in his V6 WSbN single seater. He was at the front of the pack in the early stages, but a mistake at the end of the last corner almost ended his race. Only with the right movements behind the wheel and a bit of luck he was able to avoid a crash. Gianluca De Lorenzi (RSM, GDL Racing) had to learn early on what can happen when you push too hard. Lying in second place, he also went wide on the curbs in his WSbR Dallara at the end of the last turn. The car than lost contact with the ground, was thrown into the meadow, and then stopped by the tyre barrier. The fourth-placed driver from race 1 had to end the second race very early, but at least without any major damage to man or machine.

After the summer break, the BOSS GP Racing Series will be back in action with the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring (13 to 15 August 2021). Finally with fans again and in the beautiful and prestigious setting of one of the biggest motorsport events in Europe.

Pictures: Angelo Poletto/BOSS GP

Preview Misano

For the first time, Europe’s fastest racing series visits the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli this weekend. Will the lap record fall at the Forza Fanatec event?

From 18 to 20 June, Misano will be the venue for round 3 of the BOSS GP Racing Series 2021. For the first time, the Big Open Single Seaters will stop at the Adriatic Sea and offer the pilots the unique chance to attack the lap record on the modern racetrack within sight of the popular seaside resort of Rimini. The current lap record is 1:25.380, set 13 years ago by Clivio Piccione during an Auto GP series race.

For many BOSS GP drivers, the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli is new territory, as it is for the series in its 27th season. Two 30 minutes free practice sessions on Friday should help to familiarise with the 4.2-kilometre-long racetrack. To be on the safe side, one or the other pilot also put in a few practice sessions in the racing simulator.

The track has been in operation since 1972, the biggest reconstruction took place in 2006 and 2007, when the direction of the track was turned (now clockwise) to create more space for run-off areas. The track now has the highest safety standards, as do all the other tracks on the BOSS GP Racing Series calendar. Last weekend, the World Superbike Championship raced at Misano, other highlights in the 2021 schedule are the MotoGP and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe events.

Schedule BOSS GP Forza Fanatec Misano:

Friday, 18 June 2021
10:35–11:05          Free Practice 1
14:10–14:40          Free Practice 2

Saturday, 19 June 2021
10:05–10:35           Qualifying (8+20 minutes)
16:45–17:05           Race 1 (20 minutes) LIVESTREAM

Sunday, 20 June 2021
09:30–09:40           Warm-up
15:10–15:35           Race 2 (25 minutes) LIVESTREAM

Photos: Misano World Circuit