This is the first 1,000 kilometer race of the season. We’ve moved south, to the sherry city of Jerez, where this great Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit hosts round two of the championship.
Jerez is the most modern of the race tracks the Group C cars will run on all year. Jaguar won last time out, but Porsche has thrown a punch this time, as Hans Stuck scores pole for the Jerez 1,000 kilometers. One car will not qualify here in Spain. That’s the #103 John Bartlett Racing Bardon DB1/2 Cosworth C2 entry that was to be shared by Briton Val Mussetti, Max Cohen-Olivar (one of the few racing drivers to hail from Morocco), and Sweden’s Kenneth Leim. Once again, the Rothmans Porsche’s are using the automatic PDK transmissions that allow shifting gears without coming off the throttle, via a double clutch system. But, these units remain unproven.
Stuck and Bell have pole thanks to a record lap by Stuck at Jerez of 170 kilometers an hour (106.25 miles per hour). Bell is in charge of setting the Porsche 962 up for the race, and as per usual, 1,000 kilometers (625 miles), will have to be run on a maximum fuel allowance of 510 liters. Hans Stuck says that having the pole is good, but to win will be tough. Stuck knows the Jaguar’s have more fuel. Everything is longer, and more difficult. Stuck is confident. The opposition of the Jaguar’s is going to be tough. Bell knows most of the Jaguar drivers will be competitive, but he is not sure how competitive John Watson will be.
Now, Eddie Cheever, somehow, some way, has been fined for a legal technicality, having forgotten to sign on with the FISA organizers for the race, and has been fined $5,000. Jaguar have been fined $3,000 because of the miscue. Plus, Cheever’s qualifying time was disallowed. Now if that’s not a bummer, yours truly doesn’t know what is. The vacant slot was taken up by team mates Jan Lammers and John Watson. Lammers is only 8/10ths of a second behind Hans Stuck. So, the battle between the Porsche 962C and the Jaguar XJR8 resumes, in earnest.
Jan Lammers and John Watson compare notes while the mechanics work on the race car, both the chassis, and the howling 7 liter V12 engine. John Watson says the race at Jerez will be three times harder to win because of the race being three times the distance. Don’t run into trouble. The race will be physically tough. Watson says of his championship battle with Bell “at the moment, we are best of enemies, so we’ll continue that way, jokingly of course.” Many a true word is spoken in jest. That’s a lesson to any aspiring racing drivers out there. Jochen Mass is making his first start of 1987 in WSC. He will share the sister #18 Rothmans Porsche 962C with Frenchman Bob Wollek.
Mass won the Sebring 12 Hours in IMSA in ’87 driving alongside IndyCar veteran Bobby Rahal in the Bruce Leven owned Bayside Disposal Racing/Budweiser Porsche 962. Mass and Wollek are also running a PDK gearbox in their 962, but they have the larger 3 liter flat six turbo engine, and post third fastest on the timesheets. Mass and Wollek were fast in 1986, but they dealt with unreliability for the whole season and that’s why they were rarely heard from. Eddie Cheever and Raul Boesel will start alongside the Mass/Wollek Porsche. Onlookers observe the Jaguar being set up by it’s designer, Tony Southgate, and chief team engineer, Alasdair McQueen. Denmark’s John Nielsen is getting his first look and hands on experience with the new XJR8 as he will drive it later in the year.
Eddie Cheever crashed the car heavily on Saturday, but it is fixed now. A motor racing journalist makes the claim Cheever is a controversial driver and he refutes the statement. “That was a low punch”, Cheever said. “I was not a controversial driver. I was involved in someone else’s scrap. I forgot to sign on this year. Everything is settled, but Raul and I will do well. No comment on the fines. It takes me a long time to make $5,000. I would have been very disappointed if I couldn’t race this year, as my championship hopes would have been thrown out the window. The race will be hard. We have a good chance to win.”
Cheever was fortunate to start, and the stewards wanted to exclude him. Derek Bell believes this sign on penalty is rubbish. It’s outrageous. To fine someone for something puerile that is down to the administration of the circuit, is totally uncalled for. Please sign on, or you won’t be allowed to practice. Don’t go out to practice until you’ve shown the paperwork. There is a piece of paper you hand out the door of the car before you go out to practice, to a marshal. It should be done everywhere in the world, but if we are trying to make sports car racing strong, we have a governing body treating us like schoolkids, which is ridiculous. It’s hard to find people to talk to in Europe. We have Pierre Aumonier in Europe, and John Bishop who runs IMSA in the U.S. who we can sit down and have conversations with. But, 45 year old men are not to be treated like schoolkids. Fines just put up barriers between the drivers and teams, and the governing body.”
Every single team manager had to sign a petition to FISA to let Eddie Cheever race. Now that this triviality is out of the way, we get on with the job of racing at Jerez. Brun Motorsport, who won the World Team’s Championship in 1986 have their #3 Fortuna Porsche 962C on the third row of the grid. The drivers are familiar, the 1986 Jerez race winners, Spaniard Jesus Pareja, and Argentine Oscar Larrauri. Larrauri is the quickest customer Porsche driver at Jerez. Larrauri says “I need more power to go faster.”
Larrauri and Pareja start alongside the Liqui Moly #14 Porsche of Mauro Baldi and Johnny Palmer. The 962 Lloyd is running has a British Thompson chassis, and an extra front wing incorporated by Lloyd’s designer, Nigel Stroud. Dr. Palmer is all smiles as he awaits his turn in the car in practice, while the mechanics adjust the car. A separate rear wing distinguishes this car from the factory cars. For Walter Brun and Frank Jelinski, they are in trouble. They broke the gearbox oil pump in the morning warmup and will have to hurry to get the new one installed as the cars are lining up on the grid, ready to race at Jerez.
The third Brun Porsche 962C has the Italian duo, aforementioned, of Massimo Sigala and Gianfranco Brancatelli. Brun is running Michelin tires on their Porsche’s. Their car is sponsored by Torno. Kris Nissen will start the #10 Kremer Porsche 962. Just as it was last time out, the second Kremer Porsche, #11 is in Marlboro/Phillip Morris tobacco colors for Spaniards Emilio de Villota and Paco Romero. On C2 pole, is Martin Schanche, the Norwegian in his Lucky Strike cigarettes sponsored Argo Zakspeed with Britain’s Will Hoy. They’ve fixed their car in six days and had to make a 3,000 mile round trip from Spain, to England, and back to Spain, but they are here, ready to race.
This is Will Hoy’s first time racing at Jerez. It’ll be an endurance test indeed. Hoy ran a record 1:39 lap. Danone Spice with Cosworth power, they are a second down on the Zakspeed propelled Argo. With his victory last time out at Jarama along with Gordon Spice, Fermin Velez has established himself as someone to watch, in C2. He would go on in later years to race Ferrari 333SP’s in IMSA World Sports Car open cockpit competition, and into IndyCar racing. Swiftair Ecosse is third fastest at Jerez with David Leslie and Ray Mallock sharing the driving chores.
Mallock designed and built the car, and debriefs about lap times with his wife, Sue, who also serves as timekeeper for the team. Scotsman David Leslie is also expected to perform well as the car is on the grid. That car will have competition from the likes of the factory Tiga for Team Tiga Ford Denmark, alongside. Car #114 being shared by Dane Thorkild Thyrring and Swede Leif Lindstrom, has power from the Ford Cosworth BDT-E 2.1 liter turbo four cylinder engine.
Costas Los starts the #198 Cosmik Roy Baker Racing Tiga Ford Cosworth, using the Cosworth DFL 3.3 liter V8. The Greek driver is sharing with Italian veteran Pasquale Barberio. But one team will not start this race after a litany of problems. That is the #103 John Bartlett Racing Bardon DB1/2 Cosworth. We’ve mentioned them already. The Musetti/Cohen-Olivar/Leim team will not take part in the Jerez race. There is little likelihood of unrest, but the Spanish police have their weapons concealed just in case, at Jerez, just as they did at Jarama.
Shortly before the start here in Spain, Jaguar has a problem with one of their cars, like Brun did earlier. John Watson spun the car in the morning warmup, engaging reverse while still moving. This caused the transmission to go ka-blammo. TWR Jaguar has one hour to change the box, and they do it. Jerez, the pride of the sherry hills, was built by the city in one year, with aid of the Spanish government. The cars roll on their formation lap, and now, they are on the front straight as we look for a start. It’s lights out, and away we go!
All eyes are on the first turn. Can Jaguar get through cleanly without repeating their 1986 disaster? Yes. In fact, Hans Stuck leads over Jan Lammers, Jochen Mass, and Eddie Cheever. It’s Porsche, Jaguar, Porsche, Jaguar through the opening corners. The C2 drivers want to go for it and try to challenge the C1 cars. Settle down, lads. We still have six hours to run. The order remains the same with Johnny Palmer now fifth in the #14 Porsche, the Richard Lloyd Liqui Moly Porsche. Palmer has the only privateer car in the top five behind the Porsche and Jaguar factory racers. It’s these same five drivers who are giving us a show at the front so far, at Jerez.
Fermin Velez has put the Danone yogurt Spice out front in C2. Velez, from Barcelona, is at home in the Spice car and on this circuit. Ray Mallock is working hard to defend Swiftair Ecosse’s 1986 C2 team’s title, especially with the Spice giving him fits. He will have to go for it in a mega way if he wants to catch Velez. Jan Lammers is set to make his first pit stop, but he only has three wheels on his wagon. Deary me. There’s the Jaguar, where’s the wheel? So, Jaguar have one bullet in the gun, at least temporarily, to go after the Porsche’s. Eddie Cheever is doing just that, trying to make a move on Jochen Mass. If this were modern team radio, the crew chief would be saying, “keep pushing, keep pushing”, and Cheever may pull a Kimi Raikkonen and say “leave me alone, I know what I’m doing!”
Its game over for Johnny Palmer and company as the driveshaft is busted on his Porsche 962. This is a bumpy track, Jerez, so mechanical parts and pieces will take a lot of abuse. Jaguar have replaced a failed wheel bearing on the #5 car, and Jan Lammers, the Dutchman, is back in the fight. Pit stop time now for the sister Jaguar, car #4, as Cheever hands the car to Brazilian team mate, Raul Boesel. Boesel rejoins, maintaining third place. Rothmans Porsche is also in the lane with car #17. Derek Bell replaces Hans Stuck behind the wheel for this stint. But, he loses time in the lane with the replacement of a broken turbo boost control.
Bob Wollek inherits the lead in the #18, the second factory Porsche he shares with Jochen Mass and runs ahead of both Boesel and Lammers in the Jaguar’s. Jaguar #5 has already lost several laps. Spice pits, and Gordon Spice takes over the car, with crew chief Jeff Hazel looking after the proceedings. Will Hoy is delayed with a broken intercooler on the Lucky Strike Shanche Argo Zakspeed. Meanwhile, now in fourth place is the #10 Kremer Porsche 962 with German Volker Weidler at the wheel of it. Spice again lead C2 from SwiftAir Ecosse and Ray Mallock who is still driving. Meanwhile, Raul Boesel catches and passes Bob Wollek for the lead of the motor race.
Weidler is running his own race while Derek Bell has brought the #17 Rothmans Porsche back up to third spot. Massimo Sigala has the #2 Brun Porsche 962C running fifth. All change at the front. Eddie Cheever has retaken the lead for Jaguar, as both Rothmans Porsche’s run into mechanical issues. Derek Bell is third, but dealing with a faulty transmission and no fourth gear. Bob Wollek is out of the race with a busted driveshaft. It is game over for he and Jochen Mass. Cheever has a collision with a C2 car the win at Jerez!
- #4 Cheever/Boesel Jaguar XJR8 Silk Cut Jaguar
- #10 Weidler/Nissen Porsche 962C Kremer Porsche
- #17 Stuck/Bell Porsche 962C Rothmans Porsche
- #111 Spice/Velez Spice SE86C Ford Cosworth Spice Engineering
- #101 Leslie/Mallock Ecosse C286 Ford Cosworth Ecurie Ecosse
- #2 Sigala/Brancatelli Porsche 962C Brun Motorsport
- #3 Pareja/Larrauri/Brun Porsche 962C Brun Motorsport
- #11 de Villota/Romero Porsche 962C Kremer Porsche Racing
- #198 Barberio/Los Tiga GC286 Ford Cosworth Cosmik Roy Baker Racing
- #18 Mass/Wollek Porsche 962C Rothmans Porsche