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Zeltweg, Austria, August 25th.
As they have no Formula One race yet in Austria the OAMTC give the title of Grand Prix of Austria to their major event, and this year it was the 500-kilometre race for Sports and Prototype cars. The event also scored half points for the Manufacturers' Championship, in view of its abbreviated length, but as this already meant 157 laps of the airfield circuit it was reasonable enough. Austria is very restricted in its motor-racing activities, but enthusiasm is strong and a half-length Championship race on an airfield was deemed better than no International event at all. What the Zeltweg airfield lacks in facilities it makes up by the hospitality of the local club who do the organising for their parent body in Vienna, and few, if any, entrants are heard to complain about the meeting.
The entry was made up by two Prototype Group 6 classes and two Sports Group 4 classes and in both categories last-minute withdrawals disappointed the enthusiastic organisers and public. Ford of England had shown their intention of sending two Alan Mann 3-litre Cosworth V8-powered coupés, and the organisers would have been happy with just one, but both were withdrawn. Having said they would race these exciting 3-litre coupés as much as possible in 1968, as an experimental year leading up to a full-scale effort in 1969, Ford of England seem to have changed their mind and think they will race the 3-litre when it is ready to win. Happy optimists! The other withdrawal was a Gulf-sponsored GT40 Ford for Ickx, the J.W. Automotive people deciding there was nothing to be gained from competing at Zeltweg from the point of view of gaining points towards the Championship of Manufacturers. Justified but disappointing for the Austrian people who were looking forward to seeing Ickx perform.