1985 Mugello 6 Hours
- Sunday, April 14, 1985
- 6 ore di Mugello
- World Endurance Championship
The 1985 series got under way at Mugello on April 14th after all, with more stringent economy roles. . . and the result was chaos in the final hour, and the irony of the Rothmans-Porsche driven by Derek Bell and Hans Stuck being disqualified for running out of fuel two laps from the end! Bell’s reaction was understandably terse. “You can’t call it motor racing — it was an economy run.” In the end, the outcome of the race was determined in the pits, by calculators and computers, not by the heroics of the drivers out there on the mountainous 5.24 kilometre track. The first how was a real motor race, with Riccardo Patrese’s Lancia-Martini streaking away with Stefan Bellof and Derek Bell in hot pursuit. Bellof, who has left the works team this year to drive for Walter Brun’s Porsche team, felt he had something to prove and, lap after lap, he looked for a way past the much improved Lancia. On the 25th lap he barged past the Italian car in the big, climbing corner at the end of the long main straight, and Patrese was so nonplussed that he missed a gear and let Bell through as well. For a seasoned Formula 1 driver, under pressure from renowned charger Bellof, his comment was surprisingly naive: “He hit me!”
With less fuel available it was quite crucial to run to a strict schedule, running 36 laps per 100-litre tankful. Bell stopped after 32, Bellof after 33, leaving co-drivers Boutsen and Stuck with the task of covering more than 36 laps in the second stint to pull back the fuel average. It soon became clear that Lancia had the upper hand, Patrese covering 35 laps on his first tank a minute quicker than Ickx, who’d been hanging back in seventh or eighth place early on and also refuelled after 35 laps. Mauro Baldi, who’d been even more restrained in the first hour, was the only driver in the C1 class to run 36 laps.
Sheer speed was going to be an embarrassment to the team managers, and the key was to run quickly and economically . . . like Ickx and Mass, who were actually lapped after 70 tours of Mugello. Running mostly in fourth and fifth gears at a maximum of 7,000 rpm (the turbocharged flat-six will run to 8,200 rpm) their new 962C looked an also-ran in the first half of the race. Bell and Stuck were lapped, too, when they slowed their pace drastically, and the spectators could be forgiven for wondering what on earth had happened to the dominant Rothmans-Porsches. Was the 962C a ghastly failure? Surely not, for race leaders Bellof / Boutsen and Winkelhock / Surer were also driving new 962Cs. Perhaps, then, the works cars were handicapped by a development which had been a problem in practice? In order to fit a wider, more effective ground effect venturi panels underneath the cars, Porsche fitted taller, 19-inch diameter rear wheels of narrower section, 15 inches rather than 16. The “footprint” is the same but the sidewalls are lower and stiffer, subtly changing the handling characteristics and making the cars difficult to drive on the limit. When going for times the drivers had experienced dramatic oversteer, but all four reported that the cars were fine at steady race speeds.
Permanent road course
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Benz F1 W11 EQ Performance), 1m18.833, 148.826 mph, F1, 2020
First Race1974 Mugello F5000