Round 4: Silverstone 1,000 Kilometers, Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Northamptonshire, England, May 8th, 1988

35,000 fans have come through the gates at Silverstone, to watch a sports car race, a World Championship sports car race.  It’s been raining for a good chunk of the weekend at Silverstone, but, the rain has stopped, for the big race, which, as per usual, is 1,000 kilometers long.  Silverstone is Jaguar’s home track, as the cars are built and maintain in Kidlington, near Oxfordshire.  Mercedes, however, are fastest during qualifying.  Jean Louis Schlesser is on his fourth pole of 1988.  Schlesser believes the fuel consumption will work out for Mercedes, as he is visited by former World Rally Champion and Paris Dakar Rally winner, Ari Vatanen.

There are two Sauber Mercedes’ on the grid here at Silverstone.  One is the familiar car for Jochen Mass, Jean Louis Schlesser, and Mauro Baldi, #61.  The sister car, #62 will be driven by Mauro Baldi and Englishman James Weaver.  Jaguar #1 is on the outside front row with Martin Brundle and Eddie Cheever, both driving.  Cheever says the track will be a one groove race track.  He is confident having won two out of four races in 1988.  For the first time, Mercedes has doubled up.  Joest Racing Blaupunkt Porsche have two cars.  The #7 962 is set to be shared by Bob Wollek along with Briton David Hobbs and Frenchman Philipp Streiff.

Porsche Cars Great Britain are stepping up their support for the #14 Richard Lloyd Racing Porsche 962 GTi in the hands of Derek Bell and Tiff Needell.  Derek Bell is going to do his best driving the privateer Porsche.  1,000 kilometers is a long race.  The second Jaguar, #2 has Jan Lammers and Johnny Dumfries.  In the C2 class, the hometown heroes, with a Spice built and run at the circuit, are in pole position.  This is the Spice Ford Cosworth of Costas Los and Wayne Taylor.  Quickly, let’s look at the top ten qualifiers as the cars are ready to go, behind the Jaguar XJS safety car.

  1. #61 Schlesser/Mass Sauber C9/88 Mercedes       Team Sauber Mercedes
  2. #1 Cheever/Brundle Jaguar XJR9                           Silk Cut Jaguar
  3. #62 Baldi/Weaver Sauber C9/88 Mercedes           Team Sauber Mercedes
  4. #7 Wollek/Streiff/Hobbs Porsche 962C                  Blaupunkt Joest Racing GmbH
  5. #14 Bell/Needell    Porsche 962C GTi                      Richard Lloyd Racing
  6. #2 Lammers/Dumfries    Jaguar XJR9                     Silk Cut Jaguar
  7. #10 Nissen/Grohs    Porsche 962C                            Porsche Kremer Racing
  8. #8 Jelinski/Dickens/Winter Porsche 962C              Blaupunkt Joest Racing GmbH
  9. #201 Kennedy/Terada/Katayama Mazda 767        Mazdaspeed Co. Ltd.
  10. #121 Los/Taylor Spice SE87C Ford Cosworth         P. Motorsport*

*GP Motorsport is on C2 pole.

The field follows behind the Jaguar XJ-S safety car.  A few IMSA Grand Touring Prototype spec cars are in the race here at Silverstone.  Costas Los has trouble already.  He is carrying the onboard camera in the Spice Cosworth C2 pole car and he’s stalled on the dummy grid.  His pit crew is pushing the car to the lane.  Now, could this be game over for the Spice?  We’ll see.  Now, the race has started as we’ve seen the issue for Los and company in the Spice, and for the first time really in 1988, we see all the top makes up there, scrapping for #1.  The Jaguars are in a fair old dust up with the Sauber Mercedes cars already!  The Joest Porsche’s are trying to stay with them.

Lap after lap in the opening stages of the motor race, it’s Eddie Cheever challenging Jean Louis Schlesser.  Costas Los is back on track with the Spice and this C1 battle looks really intriguing as Los fights his way through the field.  Sadly, Los is the quickest chap driving that Spice.  Wayne Taylor, who would go on to tremendous sports car success later in the 1990s in IMSA in the United States, he’s just getting his feet wet here, and is not as quick as Los.  But, man oh man, this lead battle is afoot in a huge way!  No quarter asked, and no quarter given between Jaguar and Mercedes.  It’s not just the V12 Jaguar vs. the turbo V8 Mercedes.  The Merc’s even battle each other.

Mauro Baldi goes around Schlesser and slams the door in his face.  Team boss Max Welti is going to let these boys have at it.  No team orders at Sauber Mercedes.  Whoops!  A couple of C2 cars have gone into the spin cycle and nearly got stuck in the gravel trap.  It’s without doubt game over for the #103 ADA Cosworth of Tom Dodd-Noble from England, Stefano Sebastiani of Italy, and Colin Pool of England.  Mauro Baldi has retaken the lead, but the #1 Jaguar, of Martin Brundle fights back hard, on the outside!  Baldi is doing his level best to give the Jaguar some argy bargy.  But, Martin Brundle isn’t buying it.  Poor old Baldi gets snookered by his team mate, and Jean Louis Schlesser goes right by.

Costas Los sees all this happening in front of him as he’s back on track with the Spice and probably can’t believe it.  Pretty close, eh?  Klaus Ludwig and Bob Wollek in the #7 Joest Porsche are the best placed 962 at the moment.  Once again, it’s get your back time, as Jean Louis Schlesser slides by Martin Brundle!  Oh man!  Yours truly is having a chuckle watching all this.  This is good stuff here!  This race is going to be won on pit strategy, and Mercedes are in the lane, ready for #61 who dives in.  Fuel, tires, a clean windscreen, and a driver change, are the order of the day.  Jochen Mass takes over, rumbling out of the pits.

Remember the chap who spun his C2 car at the start of the season before the lights went out at Jerez?  That’s Jean Pierre Frey.  The Swiss driver has a Lancia now, but he isn’t doing too much better.  Very expensive smoke is spewing out the back of the Lancia.  The engine is ka-blammo.  Au revoir, Jean Pierre.  Or should it be arriva derci, Lancia?  No real harm done to that very beautiful, very expensive Lancia.  More pit stops, as we see the second Sauber Mercedes in the lane, along with the Jaguar that pits from the race lead.

Eddie Cheever hands the car to Martin Brundle.  James Weaver should be getting into the Mercedes.  Jaguar beats Mercedes out of pit lane as Derek Bell and Tiff Needell pit as well.  They are fifth overall, as Eddie Cheever and Martin Brundle are looking for their hat trick here, at home.  Jaguar could have come away with a 1-2, but the sister car, the #2 with Jan Lammers at the controls, ran out of fuel.  Sauber Mercedes are 36 seconds behind the Jaguar.  The two Mercedes’ will finish second and third.  Derek Bell and Tiff Needell were disqualified for a weight infringement by the FISA stewards.

The Silverstone results are:

  1. #1 Cheever/Brundle Jaguar XJR9                                                  Silk Cut Jaguar
  2. #61 Schlesser/Mass Sauber C9/88 Mercedes                               Team Sauber Mercedes
  3. #62 Baldi/Weaver Sauber C9/88 Mercedes                                  Team Sauber Mercedes
  4. #7 Wollek/Streiff/Hobbs Porsche 962C                                         Blaupunkt-Joest Racing GmbH
  5. #8 Jelinski/Dickens/Winter Porsche 962C                                     Blaupunkt-Joest Racing GmbH
  6. #103 Thyrring/Coppelli Spice SE88C Ford Cosworth                  BP Spice Engineering*
  7. #40 Salamin/Mundas/Cohen-Olivar Porsche 962C                      Swiss Team Salamin
  8. #111 Spice/Bellm                 Spice SE88C Ford Cosworth             BP Spice Engineering
  9. #201 Kennedy/Terada/Katayama Mazda 767                               Mazdaspeed Co. Ltd.#
  10. #109 Barberio/Veninata/Randaccio Tiga GC288 Ford Cosworth  Kelmar Racing

*=C2 winners

#=GTP winners

Next up, it is the greatest sports car race on the planet, the fabled 24 Hours of Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France.

Published by

the braking zone

International racing fan for over 20 years. I follow Formula One, Indycars, sports cars, touring cars and other varied forms of racing within and outside the U.S. I am a recent college graduate and have been following the world of car racing since childhood.

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