written by Alexander Zwickl
The Ennstal-Classic is a living journey through time that reminds us how far we have come in automotive development and at the same time celebrates the unforgettable aesthetics and technology of the past. It is not a Concours d’Elegance, not a rigid museum where cars are taxidermied and stuffed like extinct dinosaurs.
It is a feast for the senses, an opportunity to enter a world in which every bend, every engine and every cockpit tells its own story.
In a world that is increasingly dominated by bans and guidelines, the Ennstal-Classic is a Jurassic Park in which long-forgotten rarities from the original automotive era are offered a protected habitat.
But the Ennstal-Classic does not stand still, it is constantly evolving and is also aware of its social obligation.
The first participants are already burning synthetically produced e-fuels instead of fossil fuels. The remaining CO2 emissions from the event are offset, making the rally “climate neutral”.
The rally is also a technological leader. A state-of-the-art GPS timing system increases the number of special stages to the limit for man and machine. Information and data are sent directly to participants in real time via a new communication app.
The route – a challenge again this year – not a flower corso but sportiness with over 50 special stages.
On Thursday, the rally heads south from Gröbming to Carinthia with a lunch stop in Taggenbrunn. Where normally Formula 1 cars push the limits of physics, this year the rally will once again do its laps at the Red Bull Ring. The final stage leads over the 1790-metre-high Sölk Pass, which was already used to cross the Alps into the Enns Valley in the late Bronze Age. When the Grimming rises from the depths of the Enns Valley in the summer evening light, the participants know that after more than 400 kilometers, the finish in Schladming is within reach.
Four stages divide the 450-kilometer route on Friday. After a long absence, the rally stops again in Gmunden, in the historic Toscana Park on Lake Traunsee. At the picturesque town square in Steyr, between proud, centuries-old buildings, the Ennstal-Classic pauses for lunch. The following scenery along the route could not be more different. First over the gentle, lovely green hills of the Panorama-Höhenweg between Waidhofen and Ybbsitz to Lunz am See. The rally then winds its way home to Gröbming between the barren rock faces of the Gesäuse and the untamed river Enns.
On Saturday, the otherwise tranquil market town of Gröbming is transformed into a festival for historic automobiles. Starting with the classic mountain stage on the Stoderzinken, the local mountain of the Ennstal-Classic, long before it was crowned the most beautiful place in Austria. The finale is traditionally the PORSCHE DESIGN Grand Prix, where motorsport comes to life.
The Ennstal-Classic stands for sportiness, for challenge, for passion and species-appropriate driving in the last paradise. But driving a classic car also means an ambivalent deceleration, a journey to a bygone era in which time flowed differently. The hectic pace of everyday life fades out and daily worries fade away, while the mind is freed from the constant overstimulation of the modern world.
But as soon as you roll over the start ramp in Gröbming, a competition against treacherous hundredths of a second, which can feel like an eternity, and against yourself ensues. Maintaining concentration over hundreds of kilometers is a physical and mental challenge for drivers and co-drivers alike. It is the passion of the drivers in the cockpits, the unadulterated joy of the people along the route and the motivation of the volunteers that make the Ennstal-Classic so fascinating.
Registrations until March 31, 2024, field of participants is limited.