World Sportscar Championship -- Fuji 1000kms

Champions for two hours!

For two hours it seemed that the Silk Cut Jaguar team, and Derek Warwick, had done the impossible. By finishing second in the Fuji 1,000 Kilometres race, final round of the 1986 World Sportscar Championship, they'd deprived Rothmans-Porsche, Derek Bell and Hans Stuck of their titles...or had they?

Tom Walkinshaw looked concerned as Warwick was garlanded and interviewed, and refused to accept congratulations. Could it be that the better placed Jaguar, after spending two minutes at rest on the course, and having made an extra pit stop, was really on the same lap as the winning Joest Porsche 956 of Paola Barilla and Piercarlo Ghinzani? The famous 956/117, in its last championship race before being pensioned off,  had led the race all the way from lap 44 without incident, yet after Cheever had spent two minutes (according to Walkinshaw) or two laps (according to other drivers) at rest with the battery master switch accidentally in the off position, the Jaguar was still given as second, on the same lap, in the official bulletin.

The championships were that close second place meant everything to the Silk Cut Jaguar team, but third position was nothing. Then, despite finishing 25th after a chapter of troubles Bell and Stuck kept their title by a single point — but Brun Motorsport with Frank Jelinski and Stanley Dickens elevated to second position, took the Teams' Championship with Joest Racing second, Rothmans-Porsche and Silk Cut Jaguar sharing third place.

With one victory, at Silverstone, the Jaguar team has done remarkably well in its first full season but was not, perhaps, fully deserving of toppling the omnipotent Porsches. That should come next year when all the lessons of 1986 have been absorbed and mistakes corrected, and after that . . well, FISA has to be obeyed, and it looks as though another brief chapter will be ended as the "ground effect" era comes to a close and Jaguar loses its advantage.

Even after practice Norbert Singer, the Rothmans-Porsche team manager, said that the Jaguars were capable of winning the race "if they make no mistakes", and that was remarkably prophetic, since Cheever was 13th on the grid and Warwick 17th. Fuji isn't really a ground effect circuit, and turbos were helping those qualifying at an altitude of 3,000 feet, but the Jaguars moved up swiftly from the start, Cheever settling in seventh place, Jan Lammers in ninth.

Just as well Lammers started, for his car soon ran a rear wheel bearing (and was later to lose more time with a deranged gear selector linkage, which Gianfranco Brancatelli was able to repair, after a fashion, out on the circuit). Not having driven this car, Warwick was able to move in with Cheever and they looked comfortable in third place at half distance, more so in second when Oscar Larrauri's pole position Porsche sprang a fluid leak in its rear caliper.

To stand any chance at all the Jaguar had to finish second, with the works Porsches unplaced, and the Rothmans team obliged. Only a shadow of their previous presence, the works Porsches were grossly overweight with PDK transmission adding 35 kg, and the Westinghouse Wabco ABS brake system adding another 25 kg. After some argument Bell and Stuck went back to the normal brake system for the race, while Al Holbert and Henri Pescarolo, as guinea pigs, ran all the equipment and raced at 950 kg, or 100 kg over the limit. Apart from anything else this plays havoc with the fuel consumption, as was seen at Spa, and Herren Falk and Singer knew better than anyone how difficult it would be to win the race. But, any position in the top four would do, and the "best" combination should have achieved that quite easily.

Overweight is uncompetitive, however, and not for the first time this season Stuck was driving right on the limit, side-swiping Kenneth Lem in the Bardon while following Baldi's Liqui Moly Porsche 956B through a diminishing gap. The Porsche's rear tyre exploded, and on the way back to the pits the wheel fell off, and the undertray was damaged.

Even then the works car might have pulled through, but then, in succession, Stuck broke a driveshaft gunning out after a pit slop, and later lost the alternator belt. With second gear inoperative the pairing was lucky to finish, with 25th place as a booby prize. Holbert and Pescarolo were delayed by a severed oil line, which caused a small fire at the pits, and retired at the 150 lap mark with a broken differential.

On reflection, the only impressive performance to come from the Rothmans team this year was at Le Mans, where Bell and Stuck raced with the normal Porsche 5-speed transmission just to show how it should be done. No doubt Porsche has learned a lot about PDK, and a little about ABS in race conditions, but if the factory wanted to win the championship with this equipment it returned to Weissach disillusioned: the opposition is just too strong.

Disappointing, too, were the Japanese teams of Nissan and Toyota, especially after displaying a good turn of speed during qualifying. In the race they faded away quietly, looking after tyres, saving fuel as they said, but having in fact underestimated the ability of the European teams to go hammer and tongs for the full distance.

In qualifying Satoru Nakajima, next year's Lotus Formula 1 driver, thought he'd claimed pole position with the latest Tom's Toyota, a Dome 86C chassis equipped with Toyota's new 16-valve, single turbo 2.1 litre engine developing between 680 and 780 bhp, depending on boost. The newest car, weighing 865 kg with such features as a titanium roll-over bar (and despite having its wheelbase extended by four inches, to make it easier to drive) was finished only the day before qualifying and ran as a Training car, and Nakajima's extremely impressive time of  1min 14.875 sec — 1.2 sec faster than Stuck qualified last year — was "disqualified" by the stewards who made Nakajima, Masanori Sekiya and Geoff Lees start the car from 16th place where the older, heavier, car had been qualified.

The organisers, of course, wanted to see Nakajima on pole, which would have made the big crowd even larger, but FISA must be obeyed . . . rules are rules. Even the Europeans would have been happy to have allowed it, with the possible exception of the Brun Motorspon team which now had Larrauri and Jelinski on the front row, prepared to dominate the first hour of the race. At half distance Nakajima was running sixth, best-placed of all the Japanese cars, but then a turbo problem, like the one that afflicted Eje Elgh and Beppe Gabbiani in the Dome Toyota entry, dropped him to ninth in the results. The March 86G chassis Nissans of Kazuyoshi Hoshino/Osamu Nakato and Masahiro Hasemi/Takao Wada qualified fourth and fifth, but this was purely an illusion. Hoshino's Electromotive prepared engine was running on fewer than six cylinders in the first hour, though a new control box put it right, and although Hasemi made a bright start, running in sixth place with the leading bunch for 10 laps, his tyres lost grip and the Nissan slid back through the pack. At half distance they lay in 13th and 19th places, even threatened by the C2 cars, and at the end they were classified 10th and 11th. They're wiser too, and perhaps will race more strongly next October.

The first hour of the race was enlivened by a marvellous scrap involving 15 cars at first, then the top five and the next ten, slipstreaming at over 200 mph past the pits and bunching in the turns. It was motor racing at its best, Larrauri and Jelinski exchanging the lead with Mauro Baldi and Hans Stuck hanging on, eventual winner Barilla looking after his tyres in fifth place, then the Jaguars of Cheever and Lammers, Vern Schuppan's Team Trust Porsche 956, Kris Nissen, the young Danish Formula 3 star going well in the second Joest Porsche, Hasemi's Nissan, Bruno Giacomelli in Kremer's Porsche, Sekiya's Toyota, and poor Holbert grimly trying to keep in touch.

The weather was warm, the track abrasive, and with full tanks the cars were inevitably going through tyres at a rate, so when David Andrews spun and stranded his Baker Tiga, bringing out the pace car, most of the leaders made early stops for fuel and fresh rubber. Larrauri retained the lead for a while longer but Barilla moved up purposefully to go ahead on lap 44, and with Ghinzani dominated the race to the end, though under a lot of pressure, particularly from Cheever and Warwick, until the fifth hour. Even then, the Joest team never enjoyed an advantage that an unscheduled pit stop, however brief, would not have claimed.

Klaus Niedwiedz crashed the Liqui Moly Porsche 956B quite heavily in the closing stages, avoiding a slowing C2 car, allowing Hoshino's Nissan to claim tenth place in the results, but 83,000 enthusiastic Japanese spectators had little else to cheer about.

While Jaguar failed by 22 seconds to take a full house of titles, Ecurie Ecosse did Austin Rover proud with their fourth successive C2 victory powered by the group's rally-bred V6 engine. Ray Mallock and Marc Duez, as usual, kept out of trouble and enjoyed a fine run to beat Gordon Spice and Ray Bellm by one lap, the Spice Engineering partnership delayed only by a couple of punctures.

Hugh McCaig's Ecosse team added Fuji to its schedule only after the previous success at Spa, which gave it a sporting chance of taking the C2 Teams' Championship, and Austin Rover and its Japanese distributor contributed handsomely. Ecurie Ecosse went to Fuji in third place and came away with the vital 20 points: Spice Engineering was, and remained second, while leaders ADA Engineering Ian Harrower and Evan Clements in their Gebhardt, had a fraught race with understeering problems and were only third in the championship.

Rallycross star Martin Schanche completed his first full season of tarmac racing with his best performance in the Lucky Strike Argo JM19, powered by a 1.8 litre Zakspeed turbo engine and co-driven by Torgje Kleppe. Schanche easily claimed the C2 "pole position" 1.7 seconds quicker than Jelinski's time in the Gebhardt last year, another indication that turbos help at altitude, but was overwhelmed by the more experienced Ecosse and Spice teams in the race, to finish third.

ARG's rally programme has been seriously disrupted by FISA's forthcoming ban on Group B cars but Ecurie Ecosse's success has been an unexpected bonus, and it's to be hoped that the Group's new management will allow this programme to continue in 1987. Further development is planned for the engine, taking the capacity to 3.2 litres and the power to 450 bhp or more, and with reliability and economy it might be very hard to beat in 1987. —M.L.C.

***

Results (top five) --  Fuji 1000 Kms, Japan, October 5, 5th round, World Sportscar Championship for Teams, 9th round for Drivers.

1.  P. Barillas/P. Ghinzini  (2.8 t/c Joest Porsche 956) --  226 laps in 5hr 29min 25.33sec (113.59mph)

2.  F. Jelinski/S. Dickens  (2.8 t/c Brun Porsche 956) -- 225 laps

3.  E. Cheever/D. Warwick (6.3 Silk Cut Jaguar XJR6) -- 225 laps

4.  Wiedler/B. Giacomelli  (2.8 t/c Kremer Porsche 962C)  -- 224 laps

5.  J. Winter/K. Nissen/H. Grohs  (2.8 t/c Joest Porsche 956)  -- 223 laps

Conditions:  Warm

Fastest laps: Not given

 

Final World Championship points: 

C1 teams: Brun Motorsport 52;  Joest Racing 48;  Rothmans-Porsche and Silk Cut Jaguar 47; Fitzpatrick Racing Danone 30;  Kouros Sauber Mercedes 29. 

C2 teams:  Ecurie Ecosse 70;  Spice Engineering 68;  ADA Engineering Gebhardt 64;  Jens Winther URD 43. 

Drivers:  Derek Bell and Hans Stuck 82;  Derek Warwick 81;  Frank Jelinski 74;  Eddie Cheever 61;  Oscar Larrauri and Jesús Pareja 50.

C2 Drivers:  Gordon Spice and Ray Bellm 105;   Ray Mallock 80;  Ian Harrower and Evan Clements 79.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Porsche 928S-4

Zuffenhausen's new flagship

The Turbo" has, for the past decade, been Porsche, flagship model. the ultimate 911 that reached supercar status. It lives on, with further development in the pipeline we guess, but the laurels for the most powerful, and quickest. model in Porsche's production range pass now to the new 928S-4.

Al 320 bhp, with or without catalytic equipment, and able to run on 95 octane fuel, the four-valve-per-cylinder V8 engine is the last word in technology. It has been taken out to the full 5-litre capacity that was designed-in from the start (but the energy conscious world was too nervous to accept it) and is capable of propelling the 928 at 168 mph or more in rock-steady fashion.

On a near empty autobahn in the Black Forest we took the 928S-4 up to 260 kmt indicated, almost certainly 160 mph with more to come, but for a motorist far ahead whose safety and comfort had tube allowed for And. say Porsche's engineers, the engine was releasing far less pollution into the atmosphere than the 1.2 litre Opel that we were approaching.

At the heart of the development is the new four-valve cylinder head, shared with the 944S model also described this month. Combustion still takes place in the piston crown bowls, which now have oil jet injection (like the 911) to reduce temperatures, but the latest cylinder heads also have combustion chambers recessed by 3 mm to achieve two squish zones in order to increase turbulence of the fuet'air mixture.

A new intake manifold, in magnesium, has been developed in the light of racing experience achieving two-stage resonance charging. The variable system consists of two resonance chambers each connected by a long and a short pipe, the shorter one containing a vacuum operated flap. The resonances peak at 3,000 rpm and 4,000 rpm, boosting the torque curve, and ensure maximum filling of the combustion chambers right through the range.

Porsche 944S

This year Porsche has introduced so many new model variants, one almost expects the company to announce 'this month's new car'. The latest is a four valve per cylinder addition to the 944 range, the 944S. Of the 1.300 normally aspirated Porsche 944s to be imported next year, 800 are expected to be the new model so, in the company's terms irs a significant addition.

The 2.5 litre engine delivers 190 bhp at 6.000 rpm, whether or not ifs fitted with a catalytic converter, with maximum torque of 169.6 lb ft at 4.300 rpm.

So much for the basic details. the problem with this car is its price. Even allowing for the current state of the pound sterling against the deutschmark, the basic £23,997 appears pretty steep. for the 944S is not at all special. Its badge, and clever marketing, will undoubtedly mean that Porsche will achieve its sales target and the cars will continue their tradition of maintaining thew secondhand value, but one wonders how long this can

Another advanced feature is the adoption of two linked systems for injection and ignition. since Bosch doesn't have a Motronic suitable for the V8. The injection system utilises the hot-wire air flow sensor, while the ignition system has a knock control sensor which will retard ignition at any cylinder under stress; this feature is also seen on the 944 engine.

Even the Porsche people tend not to agree about the -S-4" designation. Engineers think of it as "4-valve", naturally, while the marketing men refer to it as the "fourth evolution" 928 engine. The first. launched in 1977, was the 4,474 cc engine developing 240 bhp at 5,250 rpm, and 280 Ibt of torque at 3,600 rpm. Two years later the 928S was introduced with its 4,664 cc engine producing 300 bhp, and 283111 ft of torque at 4.500 rpm (and in 1983 the power was raised again, to 310 bhp. with higher compression and Bosch LH Jetronic fuel injection).

The Series 3. however, was introduced in 1985 only for the US and Japanese markets, with four-valve cylinder heads — not those on the latest model. however — and developing 288 bhp with full catalytic equipment, including a Lambda probe. The S4 follows Porsche's current policy of offering the same power, and same performance. in all world markets, and is capable of travelling three times as fast as America's blanket 55 mph speed limit.

For all markets the 928S.4 produces 320 bhp at 6,000 rprn. and 31711,11 of torque at 3.000 rpm. For the record, the stroke has been increased again, to 78.9 mm, the bore remaining at 100 mm as in the 944 models. and at 4.957 cc the 928 engine is now, literally, a double version of the 944S. It will accelerate to 60 mph from standstill in 5.8 seconds, or 6.1 seconds in automatic form.

For Europe the gear automatic's ratios have been shortened by 8%, tc enhance acceleration, so that maximum speed (rather academic, outside Germany) coincides with peak power at 6,000 rpm. The manual version, using Porsche's own gearbox, Is chosen by around 30% of customers worldwide, and they'll be pleased to know that the twin-plate clutch, which is good in theory but has a life of only 20,000 miles upwards, has been replaced by a single-plate clutch of 10-inch diameter. with the promise of longer life for the linings. New front and rear bumper coverings, still in polyurethane, offer towel air resistance, and an under-tray beneath the engine, and a larger real wing (hinged to lift upwards, to facilitate window cleaning), combine tc

reduce the Cd figure to 0.34. Also assisting here is a -venetian cowi ahead of the radiator, coupled with twin electric cooling fans instead of a single viscous blade.

The 928S-4 becomes Porsche's only V8 model, which will be produced at Zuffenhausen at a rate of 22 per day, a sure sign of the health ol economies in the major rnarkets. The price has been raised by 20% to DM 119,500, and Porsche Cars Great Britain still has custorners on a waiting list for the allocation of 300 cars annually, each one gift-wrapped al £46,534. Only four years ago the "basic" 9284.5 cost a mere £21,000, but there's no lack of enthusiasm out there for the technological marvels offered today.—M.L.C. be maintained. To ask £73.51p extra for a cassette and coin holder, speaks of a certain cynicism unless it is gold-plated. One wonders, loo. how Porsche can justify £915.69p for a removable sunroof panel with electric tilt,

Styling ts a matter of taste, but I find it mediocre. The gearbox is fine, but it's not better than's to be found on many cars at a third of the price. The steering is good, but is not exceptionally good. ABS, which is standard on the 944 Turbo, is not even offered as an option on this model and the brakes on the car I drove recently were so spongey that I stopped to investigate them after a few hundred yards. Possibly one is looking for extraordinary performance and a claimed top speed of 142 rnph is impressive. but few of us stray into that area on British roads unless we want to lose our licences. The claimed 0-62 mph time ot 7.9 seconds is respectable, but there are currently 'hot hatches' which will beat it One cannot even say that the car's overall feel is exceptional. There's nothing wrong with it, it's taul and competent. it has a pleasant ride. noises levels are low (save for the boom from the rear suspension when going over bumps) but at the price one expects something extraordinary M L