For 1982 Roger Penske had his manufacturing team in Poole, Dorset, England, where all his open wheelers were made, build 6 Penske PC10’s designed by Geoff Ferris. The cars were ready in October 1981, drivers Rick Mears and Kevin Cogan completed 3000 miles of testing during the off season.
AJ Foyt said of the legendary Penske preparation “The rest of us are trying to do as much in six days as Penske took six months to do.”
Photo by Ed Arnaudin.
Rick Mears, took pole at with a record 207 mph average speed in the #1 Gould Charge seen here on the warm up lap for the race, and Kevin Coogan started 2nd with a 204 mph 4 lap average. The first two spots on the grid were sown up just 9 minuets after qualification had started on Pole Day. AJ Foyt filled out the front row.
The 1982 is best remembered for an accident at the start that took out Kevin Coogan, AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, Dale Whittington and Roger Mears.
Blame for the incident was placed on the inexperienced Penske new boy Kevin Cogan, though the cause of the accident has ever been satisfactorily explained, it came to light many years later that Rick Mears had a similar incident in another PC10 during private testing that was kept out of the media at the time.
AJ Foyt managed to get out for the second attempt to start the 1982 Indy 500 but neither the repairs to Foyt’s #14 March nor the months of preparation at Penske were enough to keep Gordon Johncock, driving a Wildcat, from taking a photo finish victory in which Johncock held off Mears by just 0.16 secs.
During a 15 year Champ Car Career Rick Mears won 3 CART Championships, a record equalling, with Foyt and Al Unser, 4 Indy 500 victories and an unequalled six Indy 500 poles. Rick also took the most CART Championship race wins during the 1980’s.
While Mears and Penske lost the battle at Indy in 1982, they took a second consecutive championship in 1982.
The following season Al Unser Snr won the championship driving a Penske PC10B after the intended replacement PC11 proved unequal to the performance of the older car after the 1983 Indy 500.
Those interested in what lies beneath the super streamlined body of the PC10 might be interested to see a series of photos, taken by the extraordinary cutaway artist Tony Matthews, posted on The Nostalgia Forum, see post three and down of this PC10 thread.
My thanks to Steve Arnaudin for the scan of his Dad’s photo.
Thanks for joining me for this Gould Charge edition of ‘Getting a little psycho on tyres’ I hope that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !