The 1985 International Racing Season

The calendar listed herewith is the FIA International one for the various World and European Championships. It does not include the multitude of British Championships on our own FIA-approved National Calendar, nor those domestic championships of any other country, such as the United States, France, Germany or Italy though all their events are listed on the FIA International calendar. This refers to such classic events as the Indianapolis 500 miles race, the prestigious 200 mile race at the Norisring and numerous other events that are able to stand on their own without the support of a championship.

Formula 2 as a European Championship ended in 1984 and has been replaced by Formula 3000, a new Formula for what amounts to obsolete Formula One cars using unsupercharged 3-litre engines with rpm and horsepower restricted. Many people view this new Formula as a clearing-house for Brabham, Williams, Tyrrell and others to dispose of their obsolete Cosworth-powered cars and for Cosworth to continue in production with the DFV. Be that as it may, this new Formula could well provide a tidy stepping stone from the junior Formulae into Formula One, which is something that the old Formula 2 did not do. As Formula 2 has been run recently it was a bit of a dead-end, a little world of its own that was very expensive for what it provided and gave successful drivers few prospects. It was almost a “secret society” as far as the world of Formula One was concerned, all the races being cut off from the Formula One scene. The new Formula plans to change all that, with four of the races being held in conjunction with World Championship Formula One races, not at the same time, but on the Saturday afternoon after Formula One practice and qualifying. This means that spectators in Estoril, Spa-Francorchamps, Österreichring and Zandvoort will see, in effect, Formula One cars of today and yesterday, even though concerns like Lola and March are building new cars for F3000.

International Formula 3 as a championship seems to have died quietly, probably because the British F3 championship warranted more attention, and in most cases received it. Being FIA Formula 3 Champion was of little consequence, whereas winning one of the major British Championships, strangely open to almost any driver from Chile to Estonia, has led to Formula One. There are still plenty of International Formula 3 races on the calendar, but they are all standing on their own merit, as the Monaco Formula 3 race used to do.

In the world of Endurance racing the title might well be World Endurance Porsche Championship and even the stipulation of removing the driver’s feet from the vulnerable nose box on the Porsche 956 to a position behind the front wheels centre line, as on the Porsche 962 is unlikely to alter the scene very much. For that matter the continued appearance of the Lancia team will probably do little more than keep some Porsche teams on their toes.

The FIA Historic Championship is a riot of bureaucratic fun, with six different classes counting for the championship and five classes counting for the FISA Historic Trophy. With any luck anyone who gets an Historic car to the finish of his race will collect points and almost any old car could win the championship or the trophy. However, one thing is apparently clear and that is that the limit for eligibility is 1965, but even that date is pliable, depending on what sort of historic car you have. For certain nothing built after 1965 is eligible in any category, so if you are making an historical racing car be sure that it looks like a pre-1965 car, unless it is a Sports Prototype or two-seater racing car of over 1,450 cc, when it must be older than 1964. If it is a mid-engined GP-type of car then it must not be later than 1960 if it is over 1,100 cc… and some people think saloon car regulations are complicated. Make sure your new historic car looks old. — D.S.J.