14: Factory BTCC Ford driver Paul Radisich tests Team Dynamics’ successful privateer Mondeo at Snetterton, sparking renewed speculation about the Blue Oval’s 1996 plans.
15: Benetton releases Michael Schumacher’s Italian Grand Prix telemetry in an attempt to absolve the world champion from any blame for the accident which eliminated him and Damon Hill.
15: Benetton test driver Emmanuel Collard has his first run for sister team Ligier at Magny-Cours. The Nevers-based outfit also announces backing from Gauloises cigarettes for 1996.
15: The FIA announces a radical overhaul of the World Rally Championship. The calendar is expanded to nine rounds for 1996 with the inclusion of the Rally of Indonesia the first-ever truly Asian round. The rallies commission also approves the World Rally Car (a four-wheel-drive kit car) for 1997, while rumours circulate that an F1 -style scoring system and a completely revised calendar may be in the offing.
15: The Manx International Rally also regains its European Championship coefficient 20 status in the shake-up, while the Ulster Rally joins the series for the first time. Four of the British Championship’s five rounds are thus conferred with European status for the first time.
16: Frank Meagher wins the Manx International Rally in his Escort Cosworth, clinching the Dunlop Tarmac Championship into the bargain However, second place in Formula Two behind Gwyndaf Evans (Escort RS2000) is enough to give Alister McRae and Nissan the Mobil I/ Top Gear British Championship for the first time.
16: Renault confirms that Alain Oreille, who took a strong third on the Manx, will be one of its drivers in next year’s British Rally Championship. However, it is likely that the Frenchman will drive a Megane kit car, and will thus be ineligible for points.
17: Perpetual underdog Kenneth Eriksson scorches to his best-ever success on the Rally of New Zealand for Mitsubishi, but second place leaves Colin McRae in firm contention for the World Championship. He lies seven points adrift of Juha Kankkunen, who finished third in the Antipodes for Toyota, with two rounds remaining: Catalonia and the RAC.
17: Eriksson is subsequently linked with a Subaru drive in both World and Asia-Pacific Championship events for 1996.
17: Bernd Schneider is confirmed as German Touring Car Champion after sixth and third places at Singen in his Mercedes C-Class. Out front, Kurt Thiim scores back-to-back victories for Zakspeed, even though his engine blows in the second race: an accident brings out the red flag and leaves him off the hook. Dario Franchitti is second in the first contest before a puncture rules him out of contention in the second.
17: In the supporting F3 counter, Norberto Fontana takes a step closer to the title with a win in each heat. Nineteen-year-old Thomas Biagi and Brazilian Tony Kanaan win Imola’s rounds of the Italian F3 series, but Luca Rangoni still leads in the points standings.
17: Jeff Gordon dominates the MBNA 500 at Dover Speedway, claiming his seventh NASCAR victory of the season.
17: A brilliant stint from Andy Wallace gives him and Olivier Grouillard the spoils in Silverstone’s round of the BPR Karcher Global Endurance GT Cup. Their Harrods McLaren F1 GTR finishes a minute and a half clear of the Ferrari of Michel Ferte/Olivier Thevenin.
17: Stephen Murphy takes a record fifth success in the Wexford Rally, the eighth round of the EARS/Motoring News National Tarmac Series.
18: Ferrari reveals its plan to test five Italians in a run-off for its second F1 seat. David Coulthard, however, is thought to remain the team’s first choice if he is not snapped Up by option holder McLaren, that is.
18: Tyrrell confirms that Mika Salo will stay on for the 1996 F1 season. However, Ukyo Katayama’s place in the Ockham-based outfit is in doubt, with Johnny Herbert amongst those in the frame for the second seat. 18: Japanese F3000 concern Dome announces its plans to enter F1 in 1997
18: Racing at Germany’s Avus circuit is under threat after the fatal accident involving Kieth Odor at its last Supertourenwagen race.
21: Jacques Villeneuve serves clear notice of his F1 intentions with Monza testing times quick enough to have placed him third on the Italian GP grid ahead of Damon Hill.
22: Penske Racing’s appeal against its disqualification from the Portland IndyCar race is successful, and Al Unser Jnr is reinstated as the victor.
23: The Estoril Formula 3000 race is won by Tarso Marques, above right, in his DAMS Reynard, the 19-year-old Brazilian thus becoming the youngest-ever winner of an FIA F3000 race. Seventh is enough to clinch the title for Vincenzo Sospiri, above left, (Super Nova) after four years of trying. Sospiri now hopes to graduate to F1, possibly with Arrows.
23: Alain Prost announces that he will not be returning to Formula One as a McLaren driver, leaving David Coulthard free to join the Woking-based team. The Frenchman remains likely to be involved with McLaren in a testing capacity, however, and may have a possible long-term management role.
23: The FIA reveals that the letter it received from a “concerned Benetton mechanic”, alleging that the Witney-based outfit was cheating, is a hoax.
23: Chris Mellors breaks his I 995 duck with victory on the Trackrod Forest Stages, the penultimate round of the Mintex National Series. The result ensures that he, David Gillanders (third here behind Jonny Milner) and Murray Grierson enter the final round with a chance of the title.
24: Williams Touring Car Engineering secures Renault the BTCC Manufacturers’ crown, as Alain Menu and Will Hoy dominate the last two rounds of the year at Silverstone. The Laguna men take a win apiece from a brace of Renault 1-2s, with newly-crowned champion John Cleland the best of the rest in his Vauxhall Cavalier.
24: After a season and a half of waiting, David Coulthard finally breaks his Formula One duck at Estoril, winning the Portuguese Grand Prix as he pleases for Williams. Team-mate Damon Hill loses further ground to Michael Schumacher in the Drivers’ stakes, however, after the German overtakes him for second in the closing stages.
24: Jean Alesi seems set to end his Ferrari days in acrimony after an angry outburst to journalists in Estoril. The French-Sicilian is incensed that team manager Jean Todt asked him to let Gerhard Berger by, even though Alesi was ahead in the Drivers’ Championship. The pair wind up fourth and fifth, ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen’s Sauber.
24: Martin Schanche clinches the European Rallycross Championship with victory in the 11 th round at Sosnova in the Czech Republic.
24: Pembrey’s round of the British Formula 3 Championship is plunged into acrimony after championship leader Ralph Firman incurs a 10s penalty in the first race for what is deemed unacceptable behaviour behind the pace car. The Paul Stewart Racing pilot thus drops from first to 10th only to have his win reinstated upon appeal. Main championship rival Edenbridge Racing, for which Oliver Gavin won the second race, promptly puts in a counter-appeal, which threatens to keep the title contest going long after the final round.
24: Former BTCC victor Jo Winkelhock wins the German Supertourenwagen Cup for BMW after a torrid final round at the Nurburgring. He clashes at the Castro! S chicane with erstwhile series leader Frank Biela in the sprint race, leaving the fuming Audi driver on the back row of the grid for the final. Second place behind Biela’s teammate, Emanuele Pirro, is enough to give Winkelhock the title.
25: Ukyo Katayama is released from hospital following his frightening startline shunt in which his Tyrrell was sent somersaulting into the air after contact with Luca Badoer’s Minardi at the Portuguese Grand Prix. Katayama will miss the European GP; Gabriele Tarquini replaces him.
25: Johnny Herbert, believed to be Ford’s favourite for the second Sauber seat, is linked with an IndyCar drive in Chip Ganassi’s Reynard outfit.
25: It is reported that Alfa Romeo’s touring car operation will undergo radical revision. Its Alfa Corse and Abarth wings will be amalgamated as Fiat Corse, to concentrate solely on the company’s 1996 plans. This may spell the end of its British Touring Car Championship effort.
25: BMW’s continuing BTCC participation is also in doubt, after its troubled season leaves BMW GB reluctant to finance another year.
25: Prodrive is linked with Hyundai’s Class 2 touring car plans.
25: Honda Motor Europe supremo Trevor Elliott reveals that the Japanese giant is examining the feasibility of becoming involved in Formula Two rallying.
25: Jordan confirms Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine as its drivers for next season, Leaving Nicola Larini as the expected incumbent of the second Ferrari alongside Michael Schumacher. But…
26: In a shock announcement, Ferrari names Irvine as Schumacher’s ’96 deputy. The unlikely deal is believed to have been massaged by Marlboro (which bought out the Jordan contract) and Bernie Ecclestone in equal measure, and sees the laid-back Ulsterman tied to Maranello for three years. Jordan moves quickly to sign Martin Brundle, who had spearheaded his F3 team back in 1983.
27: Ralliart Europe confirms that it will be present on the Catalonia and RAC Rallies. Only one Mitsubishi Lancer is confirmed, and Tommi Makinen is almost certain to be the driver.
29: The new Vauxhall Vectra BTCC contender, above, is shaken down by Mike Briggs at Silverstone.
1: Michael Schumacher wins the European Grand Prix on home soil at the Nurburgring, passing Jean Alesi with just a couple of laps remaining. Damon Hill crashes out, sustaining a cracked shin and conceding that the title is all but lost.
1: McLaren confirms that David Coulthard will partner Mika Hakkinen in 1996.
1: Larry Perkins and Russell Ingall take their Holden Commodore to victory in the Tooheys 1000 at Bathurst. Opel dominates the French Supertourisme finale at Montlhery, clinching the manufacturers’ title thanks to wins by Jacques Laffite and Eric Helary.
1: Mark Martin wins the North Wilkesboro NASCAR race, which heralds the return of Ernie lrvan, seriously injured at Michigan last year. Still wearing a patch over his left eye, Irvan leads briefly and finishes sixth.
1: Cyrille Sauvage clinches the Formula Renault Eurocup title at Val de Vienne, finishing second on the day to Sebastien Guerin.
1: Kenneth Hansen wins the European Rallycross finale at Germany’s Buxtehude circuit.
2: Nigel Mansell says that he has not retired from race driving.
2: Honda confirms that David Leslie and James Kaye will continue to drive its BTCC Accords in 1996.
2: Miki Biasion is confirmed as a Subantli driver on the Sanremo Rally.
2: Martin Rowe is left without an RAC Rally;’ drive, after Peugeot Sport decides not to enter its 306.
4: Nicola Larini tests Ferrari’s new V10 engine at Fiorano, and gets within 0.3s of the circuit record.
6: DAMS launches its new F1 car, the GDOI, at Le Mans. Its scheduled maiden run, the following week, has to be postponed following a hydraulic failure.
6: Cosworth tests Ford’s F1 V10 on the dyno.
7: John Roberts (Sierra) wins the Cambrian Rally. Hefin Lloyd-Davies (Peugeot 205 GTi) takes the F2 spoils.
8: British F3 series leader Ralph Firman picks up two endorsements at Silverstone, which threaten his participation in the series finale at Thruxton. Firman appeals against a licence suspension. He needs to be at Thruxton, for victory in race two at Silverstone gives Oliver Gavin a share of the championship lead. Warren Hughes wins race one.
8: Bernd Schneider clinches the inaugural ITC title with a brace of victories at Magny-Cours. Jo Winkelhock and Steve Soper triumph for BMW in the latest FCC doubleheader at Nishi-Sendai. Emanuele Pirro and Rinaldo Capello win for Audi in the ITCC; the visiting Renault Lagunas falter.
8: Gianantonio Pacchioni wins the final two rounds of the Italian F3 series at Misano. Norberto Fontana clinches the German F3 crown with a similar double at Magny-Cours. Pedro de la Rosa scores his eighth win from the 10 Japanese F3 races held thus far.
8: Mark Martin scores a second straight NASCAR win at Charlotte.
8: Portugal secures the Formula Opel Nations Cup again at Magny-Cours, Manuel Giao winning both heats.
8: Andy Wallace/Olivier Grouillard (McLaren) win the penultimate BPR GT race at Nogaro, above. Second place is enough to secure the title for John Nielsen and Thomas Bscher
8: The first London International Rally takes place in and around the home counties. Pete Doughty wins the ninth round of the EARS/Motoring News National Tarmac Rally Series.
8: Frank Meagher (Escort Cosworth) wins the Cork 20 Rally.
9: Louis Meyer, the first man to win the Indy 500 three times, dies at the age of 91.
9: Robbie Head is confirmed as a Renault rally driver in 1996, although his exact programme has to be confirmed.
11: Japanese F3000, racer Katsumi Yamamoto tests for Pacific at Silverstone. He hopes to contest the Pacific and Japanese GPs with the team, acquisition of a Superlicence permitting. los Verstappen tests simultaneously for Arrows, but is restricted to 15 laps by numerous technical problems.
11: Piero Liatti wins the Sanremo Rally for Subaru. Freddy Loix is the F2 winner for Opel, but the German manufacturer’s failure to have taken part in an event outside Europe means that the F2 title goes to Peugeot, despite the latter’s 29-point deficit.
12:Nicola Larini breaks the Fiorano lap record during the latest test of the Ferrari V10.
12: Ralph Firman is permitted to take part in the British F3 finale.
12: Former Peugeot Gold Star leading light Chris Cannon perishes in a road accident.
14: At a meeting of key F3000 personnel, it appears certain that the new ‘one-make’ formula will feature Lola chassis mated to Zytek KV engines and running on Avon control tyres.
15:Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro win a heat apiece as Audi dominates the FIA Touring Car World Cup at Paul Ricard. Biela takes overall honours. During the weekend, it is confirmed that Audi will contest the 1996 BTCC, and that Biela will drive one car.
15: Kenny Brack wins the last Formula 3000 race run to current regulations, leading from start to finish at Magny-Cours. The race is marred by a horrific last lap accident, in which Marco Campos sustains a terrible head injury. The Brazilian is flown to hospital, where he is connected to a life support machine. In the penultimate round of the All-Japan series, Toranosuke Takagi wins at Fuji and moves into the series lead.
15: Warren Hughes triumphs again in the British F3 finale. Third place is enough to give Oliver Gavin the championship crown.
15: Klaus Ludwing wins the final two DTM rounds, at Hockenheim. Jarno Trulli wins both supporting F3 heats.
15: Neil MacKinnon takes another Tour of Mull victory, his seventh in total.
16: Mika Hakkinen having undergone an appendix operation, Jan Magnussen is called up by McLaren to contest the Pacific Grand Prix. Other changes at Aida will see Gianni Morbidelli regain his Arrows seat from Massimiliano Papis, while Roberto Moreno makes way for Hideki Noda at Forti. Katsumi Yamamoto is still awaiting for a Superlicence: Andrea Montermini stands by to retain his berth at Pacific.
16: Johnny Herbert is tipped to join Tyrrell; Mark Blundell is hoping for a chance with Sauber.
17: Marco Campos dies in hospital after his F3000 accident at Magny-Cours.
18: The Lotus Elise, below, is one of the stars of press day at the London Motor Show.
American Sportscar racing in the 1950s
By Michael Lynch, William Edgar, Ron Parravano Published by Haynes, £29.99. ISBN 0 7603 0367 3 Author Lynch claims this to be "the first in-depth survey of the first decade…
Book Reviews, September 1954, September 1954
" World-Wide Automotive Year Book," by H. Wieand Bowman. 144 pp. 6 1/2 in. by 9 in. (Available from F. and E. Stoneham, 6s., or 6s. 6d. post free.) This…
It was quite like old times as I turned off the main road, along the narrow grass-grown lane, with the leafless branches almost meeting overhead, and I was strongly conscious…