Report from Grand Prix International

Pace 6hrs Silverstone

The format of Silverstone's traditional six hour race in May proved to be an immense disadvantage to nearly all the Group C teams. Instead, it was easy for Lancia to trickle home three laps ahead of Porsche's brand new, utterly reliable, but enormously restricted 956 driven by Derek Bell/Jacky Ickx. The problem was that the race ran to 1113 kilometres during its six hours; the fuel regulations prescribed five stops for that race. Group C cars, already on the limit with five stops to 1000 kilometres, were rendered ineffective over 1113 kilometres.

So Lancia with their nimble, light 1.4 litre turbocharged sports cars found themselves with a considerable advantage. After the first hour they were a lap ahead of the rest. In the second hour, Riccardo Patrese lost his half lap lead over Teo Fabi with a puncture after a brush with a slower car. Once out on the track, teammate Michele Alboreto was able to pull out all the stops, and was back up to second place at half distance. But in the fifth hour, the leading Lancia of Fabi/Ghinzani pitted with a serious misfire which was never cured. Before the end of the hour the engine called enough. From then on the final Lancia could quietly cruise to a three lap win, for not even serious clutch trouble in the final hour could halt Patrese's progress.

Silverstone is traditionally a Le Mans test race. The Pace-sponsored 1982 version was no different. There were 15 Group C cars, including debut appearances from the works Porsche, Rondeau's 482, Aston Martin Nimrod, and the revised Dome. Ford had considerably modified the lone C100 and modifications had been made to the Lola. Rondeau's aerodynamic 482 was to make its only outing at Silverstone.

Riccardo Patrese

The C-cars proved to be much more reliable on their second outings, with the new Porsche finding the fuel restrictions a very nasty shock, but still coming home second. The Jost Porsche, with Bob Wollek and the Martin brothers, took a good third, this time without the Monza fuel problems. It looked certain to be dislodged from this position by the second works Rondeau. The new 482 had gone out when its bodywork had disintegrated, but Henri Pescarolo had joined Gordon Spice in the usual 382C. Despite a rear suspension problem, they were heading for third place when more rear suspension trouble intervened in the final hour, dropping the car to fifth, behind the quick little Group 6 Osella. Nimrod Aston Martin had a most encouraging opening race with sixth place although this was scored by the private version driven by Mike Salmon/Ray Mallock. The works car retired with a broken rotor arm after half distance. The works Ford was delayed by a puncture and a holed radiator. The Dome went out before half distance with failing fuel pressure, the GRID twice suffered broken exhausts and then loss of fuel pressure, while the works Ultramar Lola might have finished in the top six but for a damaged rear wheel bearing which heralded other problems.

This time, Group C had presented a much improved face, with 22 cars being classified from the 40 starters. Only that weird fuel phenomena had robbed the public of what should have been an exciting race.

Race Results

Pos. Drivers Grid Car Laps/Gap
1 Patrese-Alboreto 3 Lancia Martini LC1 240 laps
2 Ickx – Bell 1 Porsche 956 – 3 laps
3 Wollek – Martin – Martin 7 Porsche 936J -9 laps
4 Francia – Truffo 16 Osella BMW -12 laps
5 Pescarolo – Spice 9 Ford Rondeau M382C -13 laps
6 Mallock – Salmon 11 Aston Martin Nimrod -13 laps
7 Moretti – Baldi 15 Porsche 935L -17 laps
8 Ludwig – Winkelhock 4 Ford C100 -17 laps
9 Laessig – Doren 19 Porsche 935K3 -24 laps
10 Crawford – Castellano – Thatcher 21 Lancia Beta Monte Carlo -25 laps