Lapping Mallory in 40sec in a ground-effect F1 car — 75 times — must have taken pretty high fitness levels, but that’s exactly what happened in the Aurora-backed series.
Emilio de Villota was the circuit’s star man — he had already won a Shellsport Group Eight round in 1977 with the F1 Lyncar, and another later that year in a McLaren before adding two Aurora victories in 1980 with his RAM Racing Williams FW07.
The first of the Spaniard’s 1980 successes, in May, came after a near-comical first couple of laps. He ran fourth from the start, but within just two laps team-mate Eliseo Salazar and the Theodore Racing Wolfs of Kevin Cogan and Desiré Wilson had been eliminated in accidents.
A year earlier de Villota had qualified the Lotus 78 at 39.49sec, with Ricardo Zunino taking a race lap record of 40.06sec in an Arrows. Those times should have been beaten in ’80, but by now Aurora F1 had lost its edge.
Mallory’s Aurora F1 Stars
Geoff Lees: low-budget racer struck gold in Ensign in ’78.
Bruce Allison: gave March 781 a win.
David Kennedy: triumphed in Wolf in ’79.
Ricardo Zunino: held outright lap record for 17 years!
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