Tag Archives: Cup

2016 Bucket List – Autosport International

Every year for the past couple of seasons I have come away from the Autosport International with a few new additions to my bucket list of new things to try before the season is out, if I make it to one or two I am usually happy here are six things I’ll be looking out for in the season ahead.

Ford Fusion, Autosport International, Birmingham NEC,

In 2003/4 my passion for motorsport was reignited after a decades abstinence when I started reading articles by veteran NASCAR writer Jerry Bonkowski.

By 2009 when I visited Talladega Superspeedway I was as hooked as I had been back in the 1970’s when I first discovered it.

I’m under no illusions that having the privilege to drive a non emergency ambulance up to 450 miles in a ten hour day is any kind of training to drive a 500 hp Cup car but top of my bucket list for 2016 is to shell out £150 for a couple of laps in the Ford Fusion above at a Rockingham Performance Driving Day.

Chevrolet Camaro, Autosport International, Birmingham NEC,

Sadly to date the only drag track I have visited is Shakespeare County Raceway which is due to close this year, so as well as making a final visit to Shakey I also hope to make it to Santa Pod where I have been informed the big boys like Andy Robinson go to play.

Andy drives the Pro Mod Chevrolet Camaro above which will reach 239.05 mph from rest in less than six seconds !

Winnebago Tour, Autosport International, Birmingham NEC,

I do not have a licence to drive anything as big as the £249,999 Winnebago Tour® nor the financial credentials to drive one to the end of my street, but I am planing on visiting the 2017 Rolex 24 Hours with a school friend and I have been informed the best way to spectate is to park an RV in the infield.

So if anyone reading this has room for two well bred and groomed Europeans in their RV at the 2017 Rolex 24 Hours please chime in below ?

March Chevrolet 717, Autosport International, Birmingham NEC,

One of the new features of this years Silverstone Classic will be a race for Can Am cars like the March Chevrolet 717 seen above, at the end of the 1980’s these cars were a regular site in historic events and it will be great to see a full field of them for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Sin R1 GT Cup, Autosport International, Birmingham NEC,

A couple of years ago Sin launched their R1 model at the Autosport International this year I hope to so one racing in either the British GT Championship, GT Cup, or if it is legible in the Britcar series.

Ford Focus WRC, Autosport International, Birmingham NEC,

Finally I have been wanting to go and see a rally cross event ever since Ford took a four wheel drive Ford Capri to Croft for Roger Clark to drive in 1969, it has always looked like great sport on TV so maybe this year I’ll finally get to a Rally Cross event, one I will be looking out for is Guy Martin’s debut in the Ford Focus WRC owned by Ollie O’Donovan and prepared by Tony Brady Motorsport seen above which will be at a date towards the end of the British Rally Cross Championship.

Watch this space to see if I achieve any of the above and chime in with your bucket list for 2016 below.

Thanks for joining me on this “2016 Bucket List” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another Daytona 24 Hour challenger. Don’t forget to come back now !


1967 – Chevron B6

In 1966 hitherto builder of Clubman’s racing cars Chevron guided by founder Derek Bennett diversified into building a series of GT Cars starting with two Ford Twin Cam powered Chevron GT’s that retrospectively became known as B3’s an a similar BMW powered car known as the B4.

Chevron B6, Nick Thompson, Sean McClurg, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Both of these models won first time out as did the one off 2 litre / 122 cui BRM V8 powered B5 built in 1967 which Brian Redman drove to a debut victory at Oulton Park in April 1967.

Chevron B6, Nick Thompson, Sean McClurg, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

1967 also saw the fledgling business build a batch of six similar B6 GT cars similar to the one seen here shared by Nick Thompson and Sean McClurg at Oulton Park in August.

Chevron B6, Nick Thompson, Sean McClurg, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Like the similar B3, B4 and B5 GT models the B6 was also driven to a debut victory, by Digby Martland at Brands Hatch who also claimed the B3 debut victory in 1966.

Chevron B6, Nick Thompson, Sean McClurg, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Six of the B6’s were powered by 2 litre / 122 cui BMW motors and the other by a 1600 / 97.6 cui Ford Twin Cam, between them the B6’s are credited with at least 14 wins and an additional 4 class wins.

The last documented in period class win being recorded by Martyn Denley at Silvertone in 1970, Simon Hadfield and Michael Schryver were campaigned their Michael Schryver Antiques example in Thundersports from 1985 to 1986.

Thanks for joining me on this “1967” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the last in the current series of Lola T400’s. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Crumpled Cup Auto Solo – Rolls Royce Car Park Filton

On Sunday I headed down to Queen Square for the regular second Sunday of the month Avenue Drivers Club meeting only to find all access roads blocked by Bristol Half Marathon stewards one of whom apparently had no idea where Queen Square was, which made for an interesting point of departure for a conspiracy theory which I shall refrain from repeating here.

MCW Metrobus MkII, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Later at mid day I made my way over to the Rolls Royce Car Park at Filton for the Bristol Pegasus Motor Clubs first Crumpled Cup Autosolo. Upon reflection I wish I had stopped off longer at The Ark Bus, 1982 MCW Metrobus, a faith in motion project, to ask for some much needed devine intervention to help me to remember the three different routes through the 31 cones that were to make up the three timed tests of the event.

01 Crumpled Cup_5894sc

The Volkswagen Golf Mk IV Estate is not an obvious choice of vehicle for this type of event and certainly not when carrying more than half a tank of fuel, but I determined that I would have fun and that I did in spades despite the fact that of my nine runs, three times through each of the three routes I actually only managed to complete the course correctly on five occasions ! Fortunately this was still better than some so I did not come last in the front wheel drive class.

Honda Civic, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton,

Martyn Mitchell warned me that his Honda Civic would only be in contention for the slowest time of the day and perhaps next time he will join me by the bus in some requests for devine intervention on the memory front.

Citroen Saxo, George/Ashley Pope, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Father and son George and Ashley Pope shared their Citroën Saxo to take front wheel drive honours with Ashley only scoring two clean runs on the final test which ironically was the only test on which George scored only one clean run, George was the comfortable winner of the front wheel drive class and would have finished 3rd overall had the event been run as an open competition between all eight competitors.

Westfield SEiW, Andy Moss, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Struggling with the turning circle of his self built Westfield SEiW was club chairman Andy Moss.

Vauxhall VX220, Martyn Lidbury, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Despite having the smaller Lotus Elise size front tyres on his Vauxhall VX220 Martyn Lidbury also struggled with the turning circle of his car which otherwise made all the right noises as he drove it to third in class on his first event with the club.

Westfield SEiW, Ben Bishop, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Second in the rear wheel drive class was Ben Bishop in his Westfield SEiW with the second best score overall too.

Mazda MX5, Chris Buckley, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Lowest scores of the day were recorded by Chris Buckley in his supercharged Mazda MX5 who only scored maximum points on his very first run of the afternoon.

Everybody seemed to enjoy the event which I hope shall be the first of many to come, my thanks to Pete Goodman for getting permission from Rolls Royce to use the venue, to Alan Spencer for organising the event, to Tim Murray the events secretary and score keeper, marshals Ann Mitchell and Nick Woods and not least my fellow competitors who made the 4 hours of the competition fly by.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Crumpled Cup Auto Solo” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Mercury Monterey. Don’t forget to come back now !


Gold Cup Stars – Oulton Park

For today’s post I thought it would be fun to revisit the Gold Cup meeting and see some of the stars who were not first to the checkered flag but nonetheless contributed significantly to the weekends entertainment.

AEC Reliance, Oulton Park, Gold Cup,

As Tim and I arrived at the circuit two AEC buses were being driven around the circuit with gusto, one even had Autosport club editor Marcus Pye entertaining passengers with a commentary, above a Devon General liveried 1963 AEC Reliance exits the Britten’s Chicane.

AC Greyhound, Oulton Park, Gold Cup,

Car of the day in the car park was this 1963 Ford Zephyr straight six powered AC Greyhound one of just 83 built.

Jaguar XJR9, Andy Wallace, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

The day after our visit 1988 Le Mans winner Andy Wallace, on the right in the photo, gave a demonstration of the 1988 Le Mans winning #2 Jaguar XJR9 in front of him, this time completing his lap of honour unlike a previous visit in 2010.

de Tomaso Mangusta, Michael Eagles, Gold Cup, Oulton, Park

One of the cars that tempted me to visit on the Sunday rather than the usual Monday was Michael Eagles de Tomaso Mangusta, Michael started the Oni Plc Historic Road Sports race from 8th on the grid and got as high as 7th in the race before dropping back to finish 16th.

Sunbeam Alpine, Mike Foley, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

In the same race back marker Mike Foley produced the save of the day, after going into Old Lodge too fast and running wide his Sunbeam Alpine went into a nasty tank slapper upon regaining the track, just after this photo was taken, but some how Mike kept the car from spinning or hitting the barriers and continued to finish the race.

 Mallock Mk 20/21, Mark Charteris, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The Giant Killer of the weekend award goes to Mark Charteris who qualified his Mallock U2 Mk20/21 Clubmans car for the first Derek Bell Trophy race fourth ahead an impressive collection of four more powerful Formula 5000 cars and was in third when the race was red flagged after Ian Ashley’s accident, the following day in damp conditions Mark beat both Neil Glover and Mark Dwyer aboard a Formula 5000 Chevron and Formula 2 March respectively that had finished ahead of him the day before.

Jaguar C-type, Ben Cussons, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

Just finishing the Jaguar Challenge race proved a challenge too far for five of the 20 starters, smoke was seen issuing from beneath several cars including the #18 C-type driven by Ben Cussons who was classified 9th a lap down and the #15 E-type in the back ground driven by Paul Castaldini who managed to hang on to finish 2nd over 90 seconds down on the winning E-Type driven by Michael Wilkinson and John Bussel.

Ginetta G12, Chris Blewett, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

Wheel lifter of the day went to back marker Chris Blewett driving the #44 Ginetta G12 in the Guards Trophy supported by Dunlop Tyres race whose car struggled to keep four wheels on the ground in the corners.

MG Arkley, Chris Fisher, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

By 1970 there were loads of Austin Sprites and MG Midgets knocking about with seriously rusted bodies when John Britten in Barnet North London came up with the idea of recycling them with the aid of a retro look fibre glass front and rear ends that could easily be fitted to donor cars, thus the Arkley S with standard wheels and Arkley SS with wide wheels were born. Lawn Mower of the day award went to #27 Arkley SS driver Chris Fisher who during the 70’s Road Sports Bob Trotter Celebration race came out of the appropriately named Britten’s Chicane a tad wide and opted for the shortest route, with the least grip, before rejoining the track on the ascent to Hill Top.

Thanks for joining me on this “Gold Cup Stars” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Ian’s Great Escape – Oulton Park Gold Cup

At the weekend I took a break from attending the Gold Cup on Monday as in recent years and went on the Sunday, my decision was influenced by slightly larger grids for the races and slightly better weather, I was rewarded with a short lie in and a great day’s racing which kicked off when Tim Murray and I visited the press office where we were greeted with a warm welcome and great cup of coffee by friends made over several years on The Nostalgia Forum.

Morgan, Kivlochan, Ginetta, Ward Booth, Lotus, Barter, Ginetta Boland, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

After a quick visit of the pit area we made our way to Deer Leap for the 10 lap Oni Plc Historic Road Sports race which was led on the opening lap by front row starter Kevin Kivlochan in the #98 Morgan Plus 8 seen above already in second place on lap two. Pole starter Julian Barter driving the #51 Lotus Elan S4 completed the opening lap in 4th but recovered to relieve the races second leader Roger Waite in another Lotus Elan on lap 5, the red #32 Ginetta G4 driven by Patrick Ward Booth finished 3rd ahead of Kevin’s Morgan and the blue #27 Ginetta G4 driven by Dave Boland.

Lightening Envoyette, Peter Moreton, Lotus 22 Andy Hibberd, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

We moved to the inside of Lodge for the next couple of races. Above Peter Moreton had an electric opening lap in the first of the two Silverline Historic Formula Junior races leading the field from 4th on the grid in his #75 Lightening Envoyette, front row starter Andrew Hibberd in the #179 Lotus 22 completed the opening lap in third and is seen above lining up to relieve Peter of the lead for good at the end of lap 3, John Fyda driving a Brabham BT6 finished second ahead of Peter with less than 6 seconds covering the top three after 20 mins of close racing.

TVR Griffith, Gardner/Cox, Mike Whitaker, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

Mike Gardiner and Dave Cox qualified their #77 TVR Griffith on pole for the HSCC Guards Trophy supported by Dunlop Tyres GT Race but there was no stopping Mike Whitaker in the similar #46 TVR seen above about to take the lead at the end of the 2nd lap which he would hold onto until pitting on lap 11 handing over the lead to the similarly Ford 289 powered AC Cobra driven by Robert Bremner. After the pit stops had cycled through Mike Whitaker led until the end of the race ahead of the Gardiner / Cox TVR and Robert in the over steering (loose) AC.

Brabham BT21, March 703 Simon Armer, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

By the end of the 40 min GT race Tim and I had made our way over to the inside of Old Hall from whence we watched the start of the first of two The Cubicle Centre Historic Formula 3 races. Fourth place starter Steve Seaman in his #26 Brabham BT21 nipped through to lead the opening 4 laps of this race from pole man Simon Armer driving the #22 March 703 who is seen above about to pass Steve to claim the lead which he held onto to take the flag a gnats over 17 seconds ahead of Micheal Scott’s Brabham BT28. Steve came home forth behind clear championship leader Leif Bosson driving another Brabham BT28.

Chevron B37, Neil Glover, March 742, Mark Dwyer, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

One of the highlights of the weekend was seeing Neil Glover driving the one off 5 litre / 302 cui 1976 Chevron, celebrating it’s fiftieth anniversary this year, B37 F5000 car which he qualified second for the first of the weekends Derek Bell Trophy races behind the 2 litre / 122 cui 1974 March 742 Formula 2 car driven by Mark Dwyer. Neil snatched the lead for the opening 3 laps of the race with Mark snapping at his heals in the nimble March who finally grabbed the lead on the third lap and pulled out a nearly six second advantage when a major incident between Denton’s and Cascades required the red flag to be shown on the 8th lap.

Ian Ashley, Derek Bell Trophy, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

5th place starter 67 year old former Grand Prix driver Ian Ashley driving the #188 Lola T300 Formula 5000 car came down the chute between Denton’s and Cascades for the 8th time in 4th place behind the Clubmans Mallock driven by Mike Charteris when he came across a hapless lapped Brian Cullen driving a 1970 1600 cc Formula 2 spec #18 Crosslé 19F. Just after the Denton’s right hand kink Ian clipped the left rear wheel of the Crosslé with his right front and went flying down the track until his rear end hit the retaining barriers which sent the car into a barrel roll before landing on it’s right side and then came to rest miraculously the right way up. Fortunately Ian was able to release himself from the remains of his Lola unaided and gave spectators a thumbs up to a good dose of applause, neither driver suffered any injury that I know of.

 Jaguar E-type, Micheal Wilkinson, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

After the dramatic low’s and high’s of the incident the 40 min Jaguar Heritage race passed by in relative tranquility. The third place starting #50 E-type of Michael Wilkinson and John Bussel took over a commanding lead with 6 laps to go, when Martin O’Connel’s pole winning E-type retired 1 lap after his compulsory pit stop, to finish over a minuet and a half clear of Paul Castaldini who was just third placed pairing of Dave Coyne and Robert Gate who made it an all E-type podium as several of the cars struggled to the end with smoking brakes, exhausts and or transmissions.

Lenham P69 Waggitt/Needham, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Normal service returned with the Guards Trophy supported by Dunlop Tyres Sports Racing cars race. On the opening lap 5th place starter Jon Waggitt was the man on the move with the #33 Lenham P69 seen here followed by the pole sitting and eventual winning #18 Elva Mk 7, driven by Maxim Bartel and Callum Grant, ready to pounce by the front row starting #6 Chevron B6 driven by Nick Thompson and Sean McClurg. Jon kept the lead for all of two laps before the #18 reasserted qualifying form and went on to win the 40 min race by over 8 seconds from the #33 Lenham that Jon shared with Peter Needham that finished a further 5 seconds ahead of the Chevron B8 driven by Charles Allison. In the back ground seventh place starter Marcus Mussa spins his #88 McLaren Elva M1B going into the Hislops chicane.

70's Road Sports, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The 20 min 70’s Road Sports Bob Trotter Celebration Race may have been shorter than some, but provided the most closely contested victory as second place starter Jim Dean made the running over the first five laps in his little green #72 Lotus Europa, eventual winner, by just .089 of a second, was Charles Barter whose powerful blue #24 Datsun 240Z started 3rd but had to take to the escape road going into Hislops on the opening lap in order to avoid the spinning 5th place starting Lotus Elan driven by Iain Daniels. Jim finished 2nd just under 5 seconds ahead of the light green #1 TVR Tuscan driven by Peter Shaw.

March 703, Simon Armer, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

The starting grid for the second Cubicle Centre Historic Formula 3 race was exactly the same as the first, unusually the finishing order of the first race played no part in the starting order for the second, once again it was third place starter Steve Seaman in the Brabham BT21 who went into the lead on the opening lap, but this time he held onto it until lap 6 before a determined Simon Armer found away past for the final two laps of the race which he finished just over half a second ahead of Steve and nearly 8 seconds ahead of Michael Scott.

Historic Formula Junior, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

The grid for the final race of the day, second Silverline Historic Formula Junior race was determined by the finishing order of Junior race one, but pole sitter Andrew Hibberd finished the opening lap in third as the electric Peter Moreton again led with John Fyda between them. Andrew is seen above having just taken the lead from Peter who was demoted to third as John followed Andrew to take second on lap 3. The order remained the same until the end of the race with the top three again finishing less than six seconds apart with plenty of entertaining battles through the field to keep the results uncertain until the very end of a great day’s racing.

Thanks for joining me on this “Ian’s Great Escape” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Don’t forget to come back now !


RIP JP B – Peugeot 309 Gti Turbo Cup

Born on April 26th 1937 Jean Pierre Beltoise was part of a cohort of French drivers that emerged in the 1960’s that included Johnny Servous Gavin, Gerrard Larrousse, Henri Pescarolo and brother in law Francois Cevert.

JP B’s started racing motor cycles winning 11 national titles in three years, he raced Motor Morini, Kreider and Bultaco machines in a handful of world championship events from 1962 to 1964 finishing a best 3rd on a 50 cc Kreider in the 1964 French Grand Prix.

In 1963 Jean Pierre started racing Djet sports cars for René Bonnet. After Bonnet sold out to Matra he raced a succession of Formula 3 and Formula 2 Matra open wheelers with sufficient success that led to his Grand Prix debut in the 1966 German Grand Prix with a Formula 2 Matra in which he finished 8th overall and first in the Formula 2 class.

In 1968 JP B was contracted to drive for the French Matra Sports team but did not race a proper Formula One Spec car until the Spanish Grand Prix when he was drafted in to drive Jackie Stewart’s Cosworth powered Matra MS10 for Ken Tyrrell’s Matra International team.

At Monaco he raced the Matra V12 powered Matra MS 11 for the first time but retired with broken suspension, at the Dutch GP he finished a season high second behind Stewart.

Matra Sport withdrew form F1 at the end of 1968 to focus their efforts on getting Ken Tyrrells Matra International Team Matra MS80 cars for Jackie Stewart, JP-B was drafted in as Jackie’s team mate and again finished a season high second this time in France.

Ken Tyrrell and Matra parted way’s after winning the 1969 World Championships and Matra got it’s V12 programme back on track with JP B and Henri Pescarolo in the drivers seats JP B scored two season high thirds to Henri’s one. The following season JP B remained on the Matra team with Chris Amon but the results were disappointing.

For 1972 JP B signed to drive for BRM for which an over ambitious programme was being funded by Marlboro. At the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix Jean Pierre won his only Grand Prix generally reckoned to have been one of the more difficult races thanks to the atrocious conditions.

Note the scuff mark the BRM’s nose in the linked photo this came about after contact with Ronnie Peterson’s March which was baulking his while being lapped.

This race would be the last formula one championship win for a BRM and at the end of the season Jean Pierre won the non championship John Player victory race at Brands Hatch driving a BRM P180 which would be the last win for the BRM team.

Jean Pierre continued driving for BRM in 1973 during which he finished a season high 4th in Canada with the by now ancient BRM P160 and in 1974 during which he scored a great second place finish on the debut of the P201 in South Africa.

Out of a Formula One drive for 1975 Jean Pierre was in the running for a drive with the new Ligier team for 1976 and tested the Matra V12 powered JS5 before it was decided to hand the car over to 1975 Formula 2 champion Jacques Laffite.

Alongside his open wheel racing Jean Pierre continued racing sports cars winning races in 5 litre, 3 litre and 2 litre classes though most, seven, were wins with the 3 litre / 183 cui Matra’s which included the 1970 Tour de France sharing driving with Patrick Depailler and with FIA President Jean Todt doing the navigating.

After winning the sports car World Championship twice in 1973 and 1974 Matra withdrew from racing a Jean Pierre continued racing Ligier and Rondeau built sports cars at Le Mans, but he never improved on his career best 1969 4th place finish with Piers Courage in the endurance classic.

JP B won two French Saloon car championships driving BMW’s in 1976 and 1977 before proving his versatility, despite restricted arm movement that was the result of a sports car accident in the 1960’s, by winning the 1979 French Rallycross Championship driving an Alpine A310.

Peugeot Gti Turbo, JP Beltoise, Le Mans,

Into the 1980’s JP B continued racing Peugeot 505 Turbo’s, a V6 Talbot Tagora and in 1988 he was racing in the Peugeot 309 Gti Turbo Cup series, above Jean Pierre is seen driving the #88 309 to victory in the support race to the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Jean Pierre passed away on the 5th of January aged 77.

Condolences to his family and friends RIP JP B.

Thanks for joining me on this “RIP JP B” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Autosport International. Don’t forget to come back now !


PRIMO, ATS, help! – Orion LM #001

Orion is a French manufacturer of racing cars, which appears to have been founded or at least run by Pierre Devaux, Daniel Legrand and Daniel Lentaigne.

Between 1981 an 1992 Orion are known to have built cars to compete in Formula Renault and Formula Renault Turbo series, in 1983 Christian Braconner is known to have won a Formula Renault Turbo race at Nogaro driving an Orion.

By 1989 sportscar racing was enjoying one of it’s periodic heyday’s with works supported teams from Aston Martin, Jaguar, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan and Toyota all competing in Group C class for the World Sports Car Championship and arguably, for most manufacturers, the more important Le Mans 24 Hour race.

For some reason a complete imbecile in the corridors of motorsports administration decided that the future of top line sports car racing ought be with all vehicles powered by motors to meet the recently introduced normally aspirated 3.5 litre Formula One engine regulations, instead of the variety of normally aspirated and turbocharged Group C motors that were being run in a variety of sizes with V6, flat 6, V8 and V12 configurations all offering competitive solutions.

The idea of using 3 litre Formula One motors had been tried, without success in terms of large numbers of entries, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, but the idea, then, provided Matra with a platform on which to shine as it would provide it’s spiritual successor Peugeot the opportunity to shine in the early 1990’s.

In 1990 Peugeot announced their 3.5 litre V10 powered 905 Le Mans challenger for the 1991 season, Jaguar using a Formula One Ford Motor, Mazda, Mercedes Benz and Toyota would follow, but their efforts apart from Jaguars were by no means convincing.

To run alongside it’s 905 Sports Prototype programme Peugeot announced the Peugeot 905 Spider Cup in 1991, the cars would all feature 2 litre / 122 cui 16 valve 4 cylinder Peugeot crate motors and gearboxes while the chassis was free except that it had to carry a standard body supplied by Peugeot.

The 60th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours could have been full of interesting Group C Cars, but instead only Peugeot appeared committed to wining the race with a three car entry against running against the 3 car 3.5 litre V10 powered Toyota team and 2 car proprietary Judd V10 powered Mazda team.

Orion LM, Le Mans

The rest of the field was made up of regulated overweight Group C cars, chronically underfunded vehicles from Lola and BRM with 3.5 litre motors that had no chance of winning at a competitive speed and at the back of the field two vehicles designed to compete in the National Peugeot 905 Spider series, the Welter Racing WR LM92 and today’s featured car the #66 Orion LM chassis #001.

The Orion was entered by former Formula Renault and Formula 3 driver Eric Bellefroid who had attempted to make it in Formula 3000 in 1988, but failed to qualify his Lola Cosworth for the 3 races he entered.

Sponsorship for the Orion came from PRIMO, ATS and help! and it was driven by Marc Alexandre a former Formula Ford Driver who’s motor racing career highlight was taking part in 10 Formula Renault races in 1992. It is believed Marc was also a French judo champion.

Marc shared the driving with Frank de Vita of whom I could find not trace outside his single participation at Le Mans and Welter Breuer who is similarly conspicuous by his absence, on Google, beyond this event in 1992.

With this overwhelming lack of cockpit experience it is probably no surprise to learn that the #66 qualified 28th, 18 seconds slower than the similarly 905 bodied WR 92LM driven by Patrick Gonin, Didier Artzet and Pierre Petit which qualified 27th, but surprisingly 2 seconds faster than the 3 litre 183 cui V6 Alfa Romeo powered Debora SP92 driven by Didier Bonnet, Gérard Tremblay and Jacques Heuclin that qualified 29th and last.

During the race Mark, Frank and Welter chalked up 78 laps, being just under a minute and a half slower per lap, than the fastest car in the race the 905 Coupé driven by Yannick Dalmas, Derek Warwick and Mark Blundell that secured the win after completing 352 laps.

The Peugeot 905 Spider Cup ran from 1992 to 1995 it’s most noted exponents were Christophe Bouchut and Eric Hélary, both Concessionaire Peugeot sponsored driving Martini chassis, both also made lasting careers in sports car racing, starting with a Le Mans win at their first attempt in 1993 when they shared the winning Peugeot 905 Coupé with Geoff Brabham.

Martini is the only one of the three 905 Spider manufacturers never to have been represented in the Le Mans 24 Hours despite building the most, twenty, chassis to accept the 905 905 Spider chassis and the only one of the three manufacturers I have seen credited with winning any of the Spider Cup races.

Orion is said to have built as many as six 905 Spider chassis one Orion SC2 was entered for William David who finished a season best 4th at Pau in 1992, while Eric Bellefroid finished 7th in the same race driving a car also said to be an Orion SC2 in his only known 905 Spider Cup start.

WR went on to develop their own LM Prototype with new chassis, bodies and turbo charged motors to win the LMP class at Le Mans in 1993 and lock out the front row of the Le Mans grid in 1995.

My thanks to Frank “Duc-man” Christmann, fausto, Tim Murray and Arjan de Roos at The Nostalgia Forum for giving me a few clues about today’s featured Le Mans participants.

Thanks for joining me on this “PRIMO, ATS, help!” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !