86,000 spectators have come to Fuji Speedway in the shadow of the majestic Mount Fuji, to see the championship battle, where not only will that be settled, but also, the best from Europe are set to take on the Japanese Group C teams. This race, held in the Mount Fuji national park, sees the biggest field of the year of Group C cars outside of Le Mans. 40 cars will start, mostly Group C and Group C2, save for two GTX class Mazda RX-7s. Brun Motorsport claim the front row of the Fuji grid. No Lancia and no Mercedes here in Japan.
Oscar Larrauri has scored the fourth consecutive pole for Brun Motorsport, with Frank Jelinski at his elbow. Brun make a perfect start. Henri Pescarolo is driving one of the Rothmans Porsche’s, car #2, which he shares in this race with American Al Holbert. If Brun can finish first or second, they win the teams’ title. On the other hand, if Silk Cut Jaguar go 1-2, they win it. If neither Brun nor Jaguar score points, then Rothmans Porsche keeps their crown. Those are the permutations. It’s lights out, and away we go!
Henri Pescarolo is in the midfield right now in the #2 Porsche. The Brun Porsche’s are on rails already as even Hans Stuck can’t keep up with them. Larrauri is driving the Fortuna liveried car while Jelinski is in the Porsche with Memorex colors. Henri “Pepsi Cola” Pescarolo, tails a battle for tenth spot. “Le Grand Pesca” is scrapping with the Jaguar with Jan Lammers at the wheel of it. Jelinski leads from Oscar Larrauri, Hans Stuck, Paolo Barilla, and Mauro Baldi. A few laps later, Mauro Baldi makes his way to third, to a podium place.
There is a monster size battle for eighth spot between nine different cars! Larrauri retakes P1. Team orders? What team orders? Throw them out the window. It’s the final race of the year. Go all out! Disaster for Hans Stuck! The left rear wheel is smashed to bits after argy bargy with a C2 racer! Stuck limps to pit lane. David Andrews in the #98 Roy Baker Racing Tiga, spins the car up onto the curbs. He’s sharing with Duncan Bain for this race, in the first of two cars for the team, the sister car being shared by Bain, car owner Roy Baker, and Rudi Thomann. It’s a scrap between two Brits and a Frenchman.
Andrews is stuck, bringing out the safety car. Joest Porsche now lead after an early stop for fresh tires and fuel. Piercarlo Ghinzani at the controls of car #7 he is sharing with fellow Italian, Paolo Barilla. Jesus Pareja is giving it everything at the wheel of the Brun Porsche in second spot. Old no. 7 just keeps on trucking. Stuck has replaced the damaged wheel on the #1 Porsche and has to make up for lost time. There’s a problem of a more serious nature for Henri Pescarolo and Al Holbert in the sister Rothmans Porsche! The car is on fire! Brun continue to run second and third. Derek Warwick brings the #51 Jaguar to the lane for service, sharing with Eddie Cheever, after the two have been separated on the TWR Jaguar squad since Le Mans on the first weekend in June.
Paolo Barilla is a lap up on his competition, and looks to be taking the Porsche 956 to victory in what will be its final world championship race. Now that the 962 is here, the 956 is obsolete, having been around since 1982. Suddenly, Derek Warwick has split the two Brun Porsche’s and is right at the sharp end of the field. Derek Bell pits for service and to hand over to Hans Stuck. Something is wrong, however, with the Rothmans Porsche. As Stuck tries to accelerate out of the pits, the driveshaft breaks. Derek Bell says his hopes of a championship are basically gone. Bell blasts Porsche for trying to develop the car in a race in which they are going for the championship calling it “a bloody joke.”
Porsche are set to lose the teams’ title to Brun, and the driver’s championship to Warwick. After Nissan blew everyone away in the typhoon here at Fuji last year, the Japanese makes don’t even get a look in. It’s a Porsche vs. Jaguar race. Actually, what might turn out to be a Porsche benefit, as one of the oldest cars in the race leads right now. Warwick inherits second as Jesus Pareja is slowing with bodywork damage and brake problems on the Fortuna Porsche. In his first ever C1 race, Sweden’s Stanley Dickens is partnering Frank Jelinski and is fourth in the overall. Great effort!
Dickens goes one better, sweeping past the ailing Fortuna Porsche for third and a spot on the podium. Dickens is able to hold off the second Jaguar. Piercarlo Ghinzani is putting a lap on the second place Spice in C2. Dickens goes around the C2 leading Ecosse of Ray Mallock and Marc Duez. Jean Louis Schlesser has not had a good race, after going 15 laps down due to an early hub failure on the Jaguar. But, his team mate is in better shape. If he holds down second spot, Derek Warwick will become the 1986 World Sports Car Champion.
Joest leads. Brun are third. Paolo Barilla and Piercarlo Ghinzani win the Fuji 1,000 Kilometers, and the curtain falls on the 1986 World Sports Car Championship. Derek Warwick is champion with a second place finish. Oh my! Wait. There’s been a change. The timekeepers admit they were wrong. Joest’s moment of glory is Jaguar’s waterloo. The timekeepers made a mistake, and they credited the Jaguar with one lap too many. Derek Warwick and company will be crushed! Brun Motorsports are the World Sports Car Champions for 1986!
Ecosse win their fourth straight race, and are the world champs in C2. They are the teams world champs in C2. Meanwhile, Derek Bell can actually be happy again. Late at night in his hotel, Bell learns that he, and he alone, is the World Sports Car Champion! Poor old Derek Warwick must be absolutely gutted. Gordon Spice and Ray Bellm are C2 champions. Here are the results of the Fuji 1,000 Kilometers.
- #7 Barilla/Ghinzani taka-Q, New Man Porsche 956B
- #19 Jelinski/Dickens Memorex Brun Porsche 956
- #51 Cheever/Warwick Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-6
- #10 Wiedler/Giacomelli Porsche Kremer Racing Porsche 962C
- #8 Nissen/Winter/Grohs Joest Racing Porsche 956
- #60 Schuppan/Fouche/Suzuki Trust Racing Team Porsche 956
- #79 Mallock/Duez/Leslie Ecurie Ecosse ARG V6
- #70 Spice/Bellm Konami Spice SE86C Ford Cosworth
- #89 Schanche/Kleppe Schanche Team Argo JM19 Zakspeed
C1 Teams Championship
- Brun Motorsport 52 points
- Joest Racing 48 points
- Rothmans Porsche 47 points
- Silk Cut Jaguar 47 points
C2 Teams Championship
- Ecurie Ecosse 70 points
- Spice Engineering 68 points
- ADA Engineering 64 points
1986 was a great year, with Spa providing it’s best ever event, while Jo Gartner’s death at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was a true tragedy and a sad page in the black book of racing. A different team won each championship race. The customer Porsche’s finally took on the factory and beat Zuffenhausen. Above all, as we will see, it was Derek Bell’s year, as we look at the final driver’s championship standings in C1.
- Derek Bell 82 points
- Hans Stuck 82 points
- Derek Warwick 81 points
- Frank Jelinski 74 points
- Eddie Cheever 61 points
Here are the C2 drivers’ points, finalized.
- Gordon Spice 99 points
- Ray Bellm 99 points
- Ray Mallock 80 points
- Ian Harrower 79 points
- Evan Clements 79 points
Derek Bell has taken his fourth Le Mans crown and his second world championship. A deserving champion he is indeed. We’ll see you, for more Group C action in 1987. So long, everyone.