In its first three seasons, the new European Hillclimb Championship had proved popular with racing fans, who relished the chance to get much closer to the action than at most other motorsport events. Manufacturers like Ferrari and Abarth duly took notice, and began preparing their own works programmes to beat the dominant Porsches.
Despite the European Hillclimb Championship gaining momentum after its revival in 1957, organisers felt it was important to retain a level of relevance for privateers amid dwindling factory involvement. For 1960 the championship was split into two categories, one for GT cars and the official championship for sports cars. Swiss driver Heini Walter secured the sports car title in his Porsche 718 RSK and was therefore crowned champion, while Huschke von Hanstein dominated the GT class in a Porsche 356 Carrera.
The series was immensely popular in the Alpine regions, but for the sake of maintaining an upward trend, it was important to raise awareness in southern and central Europe. Ultimately, it all came down to marketing and prize money, but with only five championship rounds on the 1960 calendar, there wasn’t really enough of either.
On the plus side, the privateers who took part performed well, with Porsche, Maserati and Cooper fighting it out in the championship. At Mont Ventoux, Walter took victory ahead of Harry Zweifel and Sepp Greger. The best GT driver was Carlo Maria Abate in the Ferrari 250 GT. At the second race at Monte Bondone near Trento, the Italians had a home ground advantage. It was a win for Maserati, with Odoardo Govoni and Attilio Mennato Boffa finishing first and second in the new Tipo 60 Birdcage cars. Nino Vaccarella was third. The GT class was won by Ernesto Prinoth in the Porsche Carrera.
Alarm bells were ringing in Stuttgart, and Porsche decided to arm its star privateer Walter with a works version of the 1.7-litre car for the upcoming rounds. He promptly won the Schauinsland race, with Wolfgang Seidel winning the GT class. Walter also won the Swiss Mountain Grand Prix on the Ollon–Villars track from Boffa and young Swiss driver Tommy Spychiger – which decided the title in Walter’s favour. At the finale at Gaisberg, Porsche gave its works car to Greger, who was in with a shot of finishing second in the standings. It was a gamble well made, Greger winning from Walter and Zweifel. The final classification for the 1960 European Hillclimb Championship was Walter from Greger, Boffa and Zweifel. Von Hanstein won the GT Cup from Seidel and Abate…
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by Karl-Heinz Peters, Jörg-Thomas Födisch and Thomas Nehlert
Photographs: Cahier, Porsche, Sammlung Peter Hoffmann, McKlein, Jutta Fausel