the season opening prix races
On May 29th, 1960…
…in the city of Leningrad (USSR, presently Saint Petersburg) on the Primorsky Pobeda Park (Park of Victory) city track on the Krestovskiy island that is padded around the stadium named after S.M. Kirov, the first race of the new season – “The races for the summer season opening prix” took place.
For the first time in the Soviet motorsport practice, the race was held for the racing classes complying with the international racing classification. The process of rapprochement of the soviet motorsport with an international one has begun from the second half of the 1950s, in particular after the admission of the Central automobile and motored vehicles club (CAMC) of the USSR into the number of members of FIA on October 15th, 1956, and the final step was the introduction of the international standards for the racing equipment. With this exact purpose for the season of 1960, the first all-union classification of the automobiles for circuit races was being administered. If previously the racing classes were formed separately for each competition based on the specifications of the entered cars using the handicaps, now they were clearly defined in the new classification: for the organizers it remained only to choose the classes for which the race would be held. In the part of race cars the new classification, even though it contained some acquiescence in favor of the national specifics, was based on the international one, and among the racing formulae listed there, Formula 1 was featured for the first time. However, the notion of the class of a racing car (racing formula) in the Western understanding in the context of the soviet motorsport was greatly conditional – in fact the existing division of the cars was not by classes but by engine models.
The Formula 1 was the one to open the competition program. Two 10-lap heats had passed (33 km each), by the sum of which the representative of the Soviet Army sport society, Leningrad resident Valeriy Shakhverdov, who drove the GA-22 car with an engine from GAZ-21, was declared the winner with the undisputable advantage, becoming this way the winner of the first Formula 1 race in the Soviet Union (and on the territory of Russia). But actually, the first race of the Soviet F1 was nothing new – two and a half liter racing cars with “Volga” engines have appeared two years before the described events, and in the absence of the unified national classification they have performed in the races with the cars of other classes. In particular, the same GA-22 that had been designed directly by Shakhverdov, has been constructed back in 1958 at the vehicle repair factory of Leningrad military district in the amount of three specimens, and by 1960 did not undergo any significant constructive changes.
The runs of GAZ-21 sports cars and stock cars were held together, and besides, the slower “Volgas” were standing further ahead at the start. The winners of the races were also determined by the sum of the two runs that were somewhat longer than those for “formulas” – 16 laps, or 52.8 km. The best among GAZ-21 cars has become the representative of the “Spartak” sports society V. Zimin (5th taxi park, Leningrad), and among the sports cars drivers head and shoulders above everybody else was Viktor Mareykin, the mechanic of the 1st taxi park, representing “Spartak” as well, who performed on KVN-2500S, the automobile designed by the USSR champion of 1958 V. Kosenkov. In the first run Mareykin has lapped the whole field, and his total advantage over Anatoliy Soloviov (also KVN-2500C, 1st taxi park, “Spartak”) by the results of two runs was more than two minutes. The third was Mikhail Krov from the 2nd taxi park of Leningrad.
In the team standings of the competition the best were the sportsmen of the 1st taxi park.