The month in Motor Sport
15: The FIA issues its official F3000 entry list, with only 23 cars. Three expected teams are missing, after failing to lodge their registration fees on time.
16: Benetton test driver Jos Verstappen signs for Simtek. The team’s second car will be shared by Hideki Noda and Domenico Schiattarella.
16: It emerges that TWR will run a British F3 team in conjunction with Ligier. Jeremie Dufour will drive.
17: McLaren launches the MP4/10. As Ron Dennis (with Nigel Mansell at the Science Museum launch, below) had promised, it looks radically different to its F1 opposition.
18: Stephen Price wins the Heart of England Rally, second round of the EARS/MN National Tarmac Series.
19: Sterling Marlin wins the rain-delayed Daytona 500.
20: Gerard Larrousse explains that the financial intervention of would-be F1 entrant the Junior Team may enable his team to survive.
20: Pedro Diniz shakes down the Forti FGP 01 Grand Prix car at Varano.
20: Renault launches its British rally programme, and confirms that Robbie Head will drive a second Clio alongside Alain Oreille. The French giant is already making noises that it would like to see Britain adopt rallying’s ‘kit car’ regulations in 1996.
21: Williams unveils its FW17. The car is shaken down at Silverstone two days later, in the company of the new McLaren.
23: A 500-page report into Ayrton Senna’s fatal accident at Imola, last May, has been passed to Italian magistrates for their consideration. There remains a possibility that charges against Williams team personnel could follow.
24: Reports in The European newspaper hint at a new split-format F1 race weekend. Bernie Ecclestone dismisses the suggestion as “rubbish”.
24: Pacific Team Lotus launches the Ford-engined PR02 in London.
24: Opel confirms that JJ Lehto will drive one of its DTM Calibras this year. He will partner Portugal’s Ni Amorim in a Joest-run car.
25: David Gillanders wins the Winter Rally, opening round of the Mintex National series.
26: Jeff Gordon wins the second NASCAR race of the year, the Goodwrench 500 at Rockingham.
26: McLaren scores its first race win since the 1993 Australian Grand Prix, when the F1 GTR of Maurizio Sandro Sala and Ray Bellm wins the opening BPRO GT race at Jerez.
27: Lukewarm reception to the idea of an ‘F2’ World Rally Championship leads to speculation that 4wd turbocars will continue to contest the WRC until at least the year 2000.
27: Francois Delecour is tipped to contest the Vauxhall Rally of Wales in a Malcolm Wilson Motorsport-prepared Escort Cosworth.
1: At the press preview for the Goodwood Festival of Speed (June 24/25), Lord March announces two new elements for this year, a Concours d’Elegance and the Mulberry Challenge, aimed at determining the best touring car. It combines a race on the circuit with handling tests, and crews must change a rear tyre, all with Mulberry luggage aboard. For safety reasons motorcycles will not compete on the hill, but there will be a ‘bike display.
2: Ligier unveils the JS41. Martin Brundle shakes down the new chassis, which has stronger Benetton similarities than most, at Magny-Cours. On the same day, Minardi reveals its new Ford-powered M195. It is Minardi’s second new F1 design of the winter. The first was conceived around the Mugen Honda engine now fitted to the Ligier JS41…
2: The FIA issues a revised F3000 entry list, featuring a full complement of 28 cars.
2: Elf holds its annual pre-season presentation in France, and confirms that its four F3000 drivers will be Guillaume Gomez, Christophe Tinseau (both DAMS), Jean-Philippe Belloc and Emmanuel Clerico (both Apomatox). Another Frenchman, Didier Cottaz, re-signs for the PSR F3000 team… and promptly puts his Reynard off the road in a test at Snetterton.
3: DAMS reveals that Erik Comas will be responsible for developing its new F1 car, as and when it is ready to run.
3: Francois Delecour’s place in the Rally of Wales is confirmed. Ari Vatanen and Bruno Thiry have also been linked with drives in the Malcolm Wilson Motorsport Escort.
3: Nigel Mansell leaves Estoril 24 hours earlier than scheduled. The Briton can not get comfortable in the McLaren MP4/10, and rumours begin to circulate that he may be forced to miss the first race. Mika Hakkinen, who does fit the MP4/10, laps the Portuguese circuit a couple of seconds shy of the pace.
5: Jacques Villeneuve wins the opening Indycar race of the year in Miami. The formerly dominant Penskes are way off the pace. Michael Andretti leads for Lola until clipping the wall; Mauricio Gugelmin completes a Reynard 1-2. The supporting FIL race is taken by Greg Moore. Elsewhere in the USA, Terry Labonte is the NASCAR winner at Richmond.
5: Top Australian touring car racer Gregg Hansford is killed in an accident at Phillip Island. The former ‘bike champion’s Ford Mondeo is T-boned by the Peugeot 405 of Mark Adderton. He was 42.
6: Although only six drivers have signed their FIA Superlicence forms, the GPDA and FIA hint that there is no likelihood of a drivers’ strike at the Brazilian GP. The drivers’ refusal to sign hinges on the way certain elements of the application form, pertaining to PR commitments, limitations on speaking out in public and accident liability, are worded.
6: Porsche withdraws its works entries from the Le Mans 24 Hours.
6: Having withdrawn from Japanese F3000, reigning champion manufacturer Dome changes its mind and enters a car for Shinji Nakano, whom it is grooming for its planned F1 programme in 1996. Dome’s former driver Marco Apicella will stay in Japan, to race a Team 5 Zigen Reynard in F3000.
8: The last major pre-season F1 test concludes in Estoril. Michael Schumacher sets fastest time for Benetton, ahead of Eddie Irvine’s Jordan and the Williams FWI7s of Hill and Coulthard. Pedro Lamy, whose name had earlier been linked to Pacific, tests a Tyrrell, as does Mika Salo. The Finn still has not signed for the team, however. Ferrari left the test early, Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi having damaged one car apiece.
9: Gerard Larrousse insists that his team will run modified LH94s for Eric Bernard and Christophe Bouchut in Brazil; a couple of days later, the Frenchman changes his mind and says that Larrousse won’t be able to start the season until San Marino.
9: Ligier announces that Aguri Suzuki will partner Olivier Panis in the opening Grand Prix of the season.
10: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway puts its proposed new championship regulations on the backburner for a year.
10: Carlos Sainz wins the Rally of Portugal by just 12s from Juha Kankkunen, after an epic contest.
12: Jeff Gordon takes NASCAR honours in Atlanta. In Japan, Tom Kristensen’s Toyota Exiv is the class of the touring car field at Fuji; Anthony Reid collects one second place and one third in his Opel Vectra. McLaren continues on the GT success trail at Jerez, where Bellm/Sala triumph again.
12: Will Gollop wins the opening British Rallycross Championship round at Brands Hatch.
13: The Superlicence row rumbles on. Few drivers have yet signed…
13: Derek Warwick drives his new BTCC Alfa Romeo for the first time, at Snetterton.
13: The FIA is considering a 12-round World Rally Championship in 1996, featuring both 4wd and 2wd classes.
14: Arrows launches the new Footwork FA16.