The Sportscar World Championship came to an end at Magny-Cours, France, on October 18 when Peugeot inflicted another comprehensive defeat on Japanese rivals Toyota and Mazda.
Just eight cars took part in the 500 km race, the sixth and final round in the SWC series, and two of these were in the FIA Cup category where Chamberlain Engineering’s Spice SE89C maintained its unbeaten record for the season, as did Ferdinand de Lesseps in the drivers’ category.
Euro Racing withdrew its two Judd-powered Lola T92/10s before the first qualifying session, citing a total lack of sponsorship. “It would be financial suicide to compete this weekend,” said Mick Franklin, director and manager of the Dutch-based team, who hopes to resurrect Euro Racing’s fortunes in the IMSA series next year.
Peugeot Talbot Sport entered three cars, all equipped with a sophisticated traction control device which merely emphasised their year-long superiority. One was the mean looking Evolution 2, with which world champions Derek Warwick and Yannick Dalmas persevered throughout qualifying but finally discarded.
Equipped with semi-automatic transmission for its new transverse gearbox, a new chassis, revised suspension and a daringly cut body style, the Evo 2 may well be a fine test-bed for any future Formula 1 programme that Peugeot could be involved in. At Magny-Cours, though, it was unstable and overheated its rear tyres, and its drivers switched to the older 905 without regret.
Not that it did them much good. Heading for a certain second place, Warwick and Dalmas were delayed by an ignition problem and finished fifth, behind the two Toyotas.
Philippe Alliot signed off from sportscar racing with a significant flourish, claiming pole position in 1m 16.415s. Comparisons with Formula 1 are always invidious because the times are set with different cars, heavier but with enclosed wheels and greater downforce, on another day, on different tyres. Even so, Alliot’s time was supremely quick and would have put him on the fourth row of the grid for the French Grand Prix in July.
Alliot and Mauro Baldi won the race as though ordained, which is probably the case. Headed only briefly, during the pit stops, they cruised to the finish two laps ahead of young ‘rookie’ team-mates Christophe Bouchut and Eric Helary, who’d distinguished themselves in the supporting 905 Spyder Cup series.
Despite their lack of experience with 650 bhp sports cars, both Bouchut and Helary were fully competitive from Friday morning to Sunday evening. They were a credit to themselves and to the Peugeot 905 model, so obviously a superior car in every way. The youngsters will have done no harm to their chances of being invited to join the Peugeot team next year at Le Mans, the only appearance scheduled for the sports car team in 1993.
Magny-Cours 500 km, October 18
1st: Alliot / Baldi – Peugeot 905 Evo 1 – 2h 44m 19.617s
2nd: Hélary / Bouchout – Peugeot 905 Evo 1 – 116 laps
3rd: Lees / Lammers – Toyota TS010 – 114 laps
4th: Wallace / Brabham – Toyota TS010 – 113 laps
5th: Warwick / Dalmas – Peugeot 905 Evo 1 – 113 laps