The concept of the «FIA Hill Climb Masters», a competition that will be taking place for the first time on 11-12 October at Eschdorf (LUX), has convinced the best specialists in the discipline. The entry list is of exceptional quality.
The gathered field is quite simply regal: the kings – and queens – of hill climb, coming from 22 different countries, will hold their first annual summit in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Never before has a modern hill climb numbered so many different nationalities among its competitors. In all, 154 drivers will be gathering at the foot of the twisty and wooded road that climbs up into the heart of the small village of Eschdorf, where the little lanes and alleyways will serve as the paddock.
The «Masters» have already won their first bet: that of bringing together on the same entry list great champions who have never before met, and cars that comply with regulations that are sometimes very different. Assembling such a huge variety of vehicles (touring, rally, circuit, GT, prototype and single-seater cars) in the same competition is a distinctive feature of hill climbs – something that charms the public as well. But this diversity will take on yet another dimension with the Masters: in fact, the art of hill climb varies considerably depending on whether it is practised in continental Europe, in the British Isles, in Malta or in Scandinavia.
The FIA Hill Climb Masters will arouse mutual curiosity – among drivers, mechanics, supporters, officials or spectators – compared with what happens elsewhere. Then, once the technical and cultural curiosity has abated, the verdict of the stopwatch will fall: inevitably, the sporting value of the event will take precedence on the Sunday afternoon, as well as the quest for the gold, silver and bronze medals that will be awarded to the top three drivers in the three categories in contention and to the top three teams in the Nations Cup. For the latter, it is the regularity of the four drivers in each national team that will prevail.
The Masters Chasers
With his seven titles of European Champion and ten titles of Champion of Italy, Simone Faggioli will be both the Superstar of these Masters and the man to beat. He will be competing in Category 2, which consists of single-seaters, sports cars and silhouettes complying with the FIA regulations. Opposing him and his Norma-Zytek, the candidates for the medals will be the Italians Christian Merli (Osella-Honda) and Fausto Bormolini (Reynard-Mugen F3000), Switzerland’s Eric Berguerand (Lola-Cosworth F3000), Milos Benes from the Czech Republic (Osella-Zytek), Luxembourg’s David Hauser (Wolf V8) and Frenchmen Geoffrey Schatz and Alban Thomas (each driving a Reynard-Mugen F3000).
Category 1 – homologated cars – promises to offer a match between on the one hand the Porsche GTs of France’s Nicolas Werver (quadruple Champion of France) and Belgium’s Yanick Bodson, and on the other hand the plethora of Mitsubishi Lancer Evos, including those of the last two European Champions, the Macedonian Stefanovski (2014) and Croatia’s Tomislav Muhvic (2013).
Category 3 will be both the least conventional and the most heterogeneous. The spectrum of cars will be broad, starting with the Fiat 500 prototype and ending with a Gould GX55 single-seater with a Judd engine formerly used in Formula 1, but with a cylinder capacity increased to 4 litres! And between these two extremes we shall see two Audi Quattro Sport S1s, a multitude of souped up Mitsubishis, Subarus, Porsches, Ferraris, Escort Cosworths and Lancia Deltas, the best single-seaters in the British Championship and the famous Norma V8 4-litre cars that lay down the law in the French Championship. Drivers of these cars will also be candidates for the medals in Category 3 (the five times Champion of France Nicolas Schatz, Sébastien Petit, Cyrille Frantz), as will British drivers such as Trevor Willis, Will Hall and above all Scott Moran, a veritable hill climb icon in Great Britain, since he holds the absolute record for the number of victories – 123 of them, to be precise!
The Hill Climb Masters are organised jointly by the Union des Pilotes, the Automobile Club de Luxembourg and the FIA. Saturday 11 October will be devoted to the practice heats, with three climbs for each driver. The following day, three race heats are scheduled, starting at 9.30 a.m.