The Month in Motor Sport



Jul 16: Toyota says that it will not now be entering Formula One. Through its sporting arm, TOM’S, the Japanese giant will concentrate on a selective international sports car programme.

Jul 18: Influential Japanese newspaper Asahi breaks the story that Honda is to withdraw from Formula One. There is no official confirmation from Honda. In the wake of this speculation, the rumour-mill shifts into top gear. Will Prost join Mansell at Williams? As top designer John Barnard is no longer required by Toyota, will he return to Ferrari… to design a car for Senna?

Jul 19: Peugeot scores a 1-2 in the poorly-supported SWC round at Donington Park, but team orders cause a rift between winners Mauro Baldi/Philippe Alliot and runners-up Yannick Dalmas/Derek Warwick.

Jul 19: Peugeot’s Jean Todt announces that the SWC finale at Magny-Cours on October 18 will form part of an FIA double-header. There will also be a round of the European F3000 Championship, to replace September’s cancelled Le Mans fixture.

Jul 19: Michael Andretti is lndycar racing’s top dog in Toronto. There are surprise wins on the support programme for Bryan Herta (Indy Lights) and David Empringham (F/Atlantic).

Jul 19: Yvan Muller wins the Oulton Park Gold Cup, and in doing so stretches his British F2 series lead over Jason Elliott.

Jul 19: The Toyotas of Juan-Manuel Fangio II and PJ Jones score an IMSA 1-2 at Laguna Seca.

Jul 19: In his sixth season of Formula 3000, Marco Apicella at last scores his first victory, in the fifth round of the Japanese series at Autopolis.

Jul 19: Darrell Waltrip takes NASCAR honours at Pocono. Davey Allison escapes with nothing worse than a broken arm and collarbone after hitting the wall and rolling 11 times.

Jul 19: ‘Jules’ Boullion wins the eighth round of the French F3 series at Paul Ricard; Jacques Villeneuve is victorious in the seventh round of the Japanese equivalent at Mine.

Jul 19: Nicola Larini wins both ITCC rounds at Mugello. The Italian now has eight straight victories to his credit. Alfa team-mate Alessandro Nannini rolls out of the first race, but takes the team spare to fourth in part two.

Jul 19: Formula Ford celebrates its 25th anniversary at Brands Hatch. Jan Magnussen wins the main Rapid Fit Championship race.

Jul 19: Formula Ford gets a facelift. The trusty 1.6-litre Kent engine, which hasn’t featured in the Ford production car range for a fair while, is to be replaced by the 130 bhp, 1.8-litre Zeta unit. There will be a two-class structure in the national series for 1993, with the 1.6 Kent carrying on in Class B. The older engine will continue to be used in regional series.

Jul 21: The RAC Motor Sports Council imposes a two-and-a-half year ban on multiple superkart champion Martin Hines, for alleged use of illegal fuel. Hines retaliates by taking the governing body to the High Court in a bid to have the ban overturned, explaining that he’d used the fuel in good faith and that, in previous cases, similar offences by other competitors had resulted in no more than slapped wrists.

Jul 23: Julian Bailey travels to Hockenheim, hoping to take Eric van de Poele’s place at Brabham. The trip proves fruitless.

Jul 25: Luca Badoer nips into the lead of the European F3000 Championship with victory in the German GP support race at Hockenheim.

Jul 25: On the eve of the Knockhill BTCC race, works BMW racer Alain Menu breaks his left leg when his quad ‘bike is hit by a VW Golf on the circuit’s perimeter road. The injury will keep the Swiss out for the season; Dane Kris Nissen is soon signed as a substitute.

Jul 26: Nigel Mansell survives a trip down the Ostkurve chicane escape road to win the German GP. One more victory, and the Williams team leader will be the first British champion for 16 years.

Jul 26: Pacific Racing’s Keith Wiggins is seen in company with Fondmetal designer Sergio Rinland, promoting speculation that the Argentine will design the forthcoming Pacific F1 chassis.

Jul 26: Jeff Allam and Tim Harvey win the twin BTCC rounds at Knockhill, although the meeting is marred by organisational problems resulting from bad weather. Rally star, and touring car debutant, Colin McRae finishes eighth and fifth… but is subsequently disqualified for over-aggressive tactics. Hot rumour is that Paul Stewart Racing will run a works Ford team in 1993, based around the forthcoming Sierra replacement.

Jul 26: Toyota continues its IMSA domination at Portland. PJ Jones heads home Juan-Manuel Fangio 11 in another 1-2. Elsewhere, Ernie Irvan wins the Talladega 500 NASCAR round.

Jul 26: Christian Fischer wins the Vauxhall Lotus Euroseries race at Hockenheim, but Gareth Rees strengthens his grip on the championship by finishing second.

Jul 26: Didier Auriol’s success in the Rally of Argentina narrows the gap to WRC leader Carlos Sainz, but the latter maintains a 12-point advantage thanks to his second place. Carlos Menem, son of the national president, wins Group N in sixth place overall. There is further presidential influence during the course of the event: FISA’s Max Mosley pays a surprise visit and announces that manufacturers will have to contest at least three rounds of the series outside Europe to be eligible for the manufacturers’ title from 1993. The news is not well received in some quarters.

Jul 27: FISA announces the outcome of several meetings that were held behind closed doors at Hockenheim. Pump fuel will become mandatory on January 1 1994. One year earlier, meanwhile, it will be compulsory for competing tyre manufacturers to be able to supply a minimum proportion of teams: if there are two suppliers, for instance, they must have the capacity to service 60 per cent of the field; if there are three, the figure drops to 40 per cent, and so on. During the German GP weekend, Goodyear had counter-proposed a new 16.5 in rear tyre, rather than the 15 in item recommended by FISA. The suggestion is rejected. Rear tyre widths will be reduced by three inches in 1993.

Jul 27: FISA cancels the Jarama SWC round, originally scheduled for October 3/4.

Jul 29: Ferrari confirms that John Barnard is to rejoin the team as design guru, and that he will set up a technical centre in the UK.

Jul 29: Martin Hines has his kart licence appeal upheld by the High Court, enabling him to compete in the forthcoming British Kart GP.

Jul 30: Langbaurgh Council strikes a blow against the future of motorsport in the North-East by slapping a ban on Sunday competitions at the Langbaurgh Motor Sports Park and applying a total ban on karting. Noise levels are blamed.

Jul 11: Fondmetal confirms that Swiss Andrea Chiesa has been dropped from its F1 line-up.

Jul 11: The cancelled Jarama SWC race might still take place, says FISA, if required safety work can be completed in time…

Aug 1: Colin McRae’s total domination of the British Rally Championship continues in Ulster.

Aug 2: Steve Soper, partnered by Jean-Michel Martin and Christian Danner, overhauls the exhausted Eric van de Poele to win the Spa 24 Hours by less than half a second. BMW M3s fill the top three places. Mercifully, a potentially lethal pit fire is brought under control before too much damage is done; three mechanics receive light burns after Anders Olofsson’s Nissan leaves the pits and drags a fuel tower with it…

Aug 2: Scott Goodyear, runner-up in the Indianapolis 500, gives Walker Motorsports its first Indycar success in the Michigan 500.

Aug 2: Pedro Lamy beats fellow Portuguese DC Santos to win the second annual Marlboro Masters F3 event, at Zandvoort.

Aug 2: Mark Albon wins the British F2 round at Snetterton. Fourth place keeps Yvan Muller in the championship lead.

Aug 2: Volker Weidler wins at Sugo and takes the lead in the closely fought Japanese F3000 series.

Aug 2: Silverstone hosts the British Kart Grand Prix. Chris Stoney wins the feature Formula E event. The reprieved Martin Hines comes home seventh in the main race.

Aug 3: Tyrrell denies that Olivier Grouillard is about to be replaced, and also quashes suggestions that Italian F3000 hotshot Luca Badoer is due to test an 020B. There is greater uncertainty elsewhere in the F1 market: Emanuele Naspetti is reportedly on the verge of signing for March, to replace Paul Belmondo after Hungary; Eric van de Poele is tipped to replace Chiesa at Fondmetal, with Julian Bailey to step into the breach at Brabham; Dutch veteran Jan Lammers, who demonstrated a March F1 car at Zandvoort during the weekend just gone, is expected to replace Karl Wendlinger in the team for the final two GPs. Further ahead, Thierry Boutsen is named as a possible team-mate for Wendlinger at Sauber in 1993.

Aug 5: Emanuele Naspetti duly signs for March. After testing at Monza, he is due to start his F1 career at Spa.

Aug 6: Italian newspaper La Repubblica creates a stir by printing an ‘interview’ with Alain Prost, during which the Frenchman confirms that he has signed for Williams and is alleged to have made highly contentious personal remarks about Mansell and Senna. Williams says that it’s all tosh, and that nothing is signed for the moment.

Aug 6: Jarama is reported to have failed a FISA safety inspection, but the official word is that the Spanish circuit is still “likely” to host a Group C race in October.

Aug 6: Jon Milner wins the Shell Rally Scholarship, following in the wheeltracks of 1992 recipient Alister McRae. Milner will contest the 1993 British Championship in a Group N Escort Cosworth.

Aug 7: News breaks that top F3000 team II Barone Rampante is switching from the new Judd KV engine to Mader Cosworth power, following Crypton Engineering’s run of success with the Ford-based V8s.

Aug 9: BTCC and British F3 contenders meet at Pembrey. Tim Harvey leads a BMW 1-2-3-4 in the saloon race; Gil de Ferran leads home Warren Hughes to move within five points of the F3 title, with four races still to run.

Aug 9: Mario Andretti breaks the record for the highest number of lndycar race starts — 369, previously held by AJ Foyt — at Cleveland. In his 370th start, Mario finishes fifth, one lap adrift of winner Emerson Fittipaldi. The supporting Indy Lights race goes to Frenchman Franck Freon.

Aug 9: Toyota’s crushing dominance of the IMSA scene continues, Juan-Manuel Fangio II and PJ Jones taking yet another 1-2 at Road America.

Aug 9: Kyle Petty is declared winner of the Watkins Glen NASCAR race when rain forces it to be stopped after 51 of the scheduled 90 laps.

Aug 9: Markku Alen finally wins an event for Toyota, beating quality opposition in Finland’s Manna 200 Rally.

Aug 10: Toyota surprises the rally world by entering 24 year-old Finn Marcus Gronholm, who has no previous works rally experience, for the 1000 Lakes at the end of August.

Aug 10: FISA makes it clear that fuel used in the forthcoming Hungarian GP must be free of illegal additives, after post-French GP analysis revealed that certain fuel samples contained undesirable elements. No names are mentioned; engine designers are working flat out to see how their creations get along running on pump fuel.

Aug 10: Japanese F3000 series leader Volker Weidler is ordered to rest for a couple of races by an car specialist, in order to prevent long-term hearing damage. The German has been suffering from tinnitus.

Aug 11: Nissan announces the return to the BTCC of crowd-pleaser James Weaver, who will take over Andy Middlehurst’s Primera.

Aug 13: Lola links up with Scuderia Italia, whose previous F1 chassis have been built by Dallara, in order to enter Grand Prix racing in 1993. The team is to run under the Lola BMS Scuderia Italia label, and will use Ferrari V12 engines.

Aug 13: Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna issue a joint statement deploring the alleged interview with the former in La Repubblica. They state their intention to pursue legal remedies for gross defamation.

Aug 13: Young Briton Scott Lakin accepts the chance to contest the remaining British F3 rounds with the crack Alan Docking Racing team. Lakin replaces American teenager Elton Julian, whose budget has run out.

Aug 13: Motorcycle racing star Wayne Gardner, soon to retire from the sport, tests a GTCC BMW M3 with impressive results at Hockenheim. He will contest a few end-of-season races, with a view to a full programme in 1993.

Aug 14: Eric van de Poele replaces the departed Andrea Chiesa at Fondmetal; Brabham runs just one car, for Damon Hill, in qualifying for the Hungarian GP. The Andrea Moda team receives an official warning from FISA: unless it is seen to be making a serious attempt to pre-qualify both its cars at the next GP, in Belgium, it will receive a one-race ban.

Aug 14: Truesports, a leading light in lndycar racing, announces its closure. Its facility will be taken over by Rahal/Hogan Racing.

Aug 16: Ayrton Senna tells James Hunt that he’d happily drive for Williams in 1993… without any retainer. Frank Williams is amused.

Aug 16: Britain’s first World Champion for 16 years is crowned in Hungary. By finishing second to Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell does enough to put himself beyond the reach of Messrs Patrese and Schumacher, neither of whom finishes. The last F1 champion to clinch the title so early in the season was Jackie Stewart, on August 15 1971.

Aug 16: In the Hungarian GP curtain-raiser, Gareth Rees gives Britain further international title hopes with victory in the Vauxhall Lotus Euroseries event.

Aug 16: Despite starting only 24th, Harry Gant eases through the field to take NASCAR honours at Michigan. In his first full race since breaking his arm one month previously, Davey Allison finishes fifth. It is a tough weekend for the Allisons: Davey’s younger brother Clifford perished in an accident at the circuit three days earlier, while practising for one of the support events.

Aug 16: Mauro Martini takes Japanese F3000 honours at Fuji, and assumes the series lead.

Aug 16: The Diepholz airfield circuit welcomes the GTCC. Klaus Ludwig wins both races for Mercedes. The supporting German F3 rounds yield a brace of victories for Marco Werner.

Aug 16: Chris Smith wins the Trois Rivieres Formula Atlantic race. Both Jacques Villeneuves — uncle and nephew — race against each other. The younger version finishes third, the elder retires after disputing the lead.

Aug 17: Rallying’s rumour-mill suggests that Didier Auriol is being courted by Toyota.

Aug 17: As doubts continue to plague the controversial Silverstone Motor Group/BRDC deal, Ken Tyrrell is tipped to be planning a bid to take control of the BRDC Board as he calls for a resolution to sack the existing directors.

Aug 18: At a press conference in the Isle of Man, Nigel Mansell says that he is considering retirement if he is unable to agree terms for 1993 with Williams-Renault…