Welcome to the IMSA History unofficial website

This site is aimed at bringing you memories from the glory days of sportscar racing in the US.



 1 00 PORSCHE 935 930 990 0029 Ted Field-Danny Ongais-Hurley Haywood 684 Laps 1.GTX
 2 65 FERRARI 365GTB4 16407 John Morton-Tony Adamowicz 635 Laps 1.GTO
 3 11 PORSCHE 935 009 00029 Rick Mears-Bruce Canepa-Monte Shelton 627 Laps 2.GTX
 4 94 PORSCHE 935 930 990 0026 Don Whittington-Bill Whittington-Jurgen Barth 622 Laps 3.GTX
 5  7 MAZDA RX7 Yoshimi Katayama-Yojiro Terada-Takashi Yorino 617 Laps 1.GTU
 6 77 MAZDA RX7 Walt Bohren-Amos Johnson-Roger Mandeville 615 Laps 2.GTU
 7 60 PORSCHE 911S Rusty Bond-Ren Tilton 612 Laps 3.GTU
 8 54 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR Tony Garcia-Juan Montalvo-Alberto Vadia 587 Laps 2.GTO
 9 98 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR Lance van Every-Ash Tisdelle-Robert Overby 579 Laps 3.GTO
10 03 PORSCHE 934 930 670 0162 Angelo Pallavicini-Enzo Calderari-Marco Vanoli 577 Laps 4.GTO
11 75 PORSCHE 911S Mike Ramirez-Manuel Villa-Luis Gordillo 560 Laps 4.GTU
12 37 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR Honorato Espinosa-Francisco Lopez-Jorge Cortes 551 Laps 5.GTO
13 33 PORSCHE 911S Peter Welter-Richard Aten-Jack Refenning 550 Laps 5.GTU
14 58 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR Diego Febles-Phil Currin 543 Laps 6.GTO
15  5 PORSCHE 935 930 770 0957 Charles Mendez-Johnny Rutherford-Paul Miller 529 Laps 4.GTX
16 27 PORSCHE 911S Ray Mummery-Tom Sheehy-Luis Sereix 522 Laps 6.GTU
17 62 PORSCHE 914/6 William Koll-Jim Cook 511 Laps 7.GTU
18 95 CHEVROLET MONZA Stephen Bond-Phil Dann 509 Laps 7.GTO
19 21 CHEVROLET CAMARO John Wood-Tom Bagley-Carl Shafer 493 Laps 8.GTO
20 42 PORSCHE 911S Tom Ashby-Bill Bean-Bob Beasley 493 Laps 8.GTU
21 08 PORSCHE 911S 911 030 1263 Terry Wolters-Nort Northam-Richard Weiss 488 Laps 9.GTU
22 34 PORSCHE 911S George Drolsom-Mark Greb-John Maffucci 482 Laps 10.GTU
23 64 CHEVROLET CAMARO C.C Canada-Russ Boykin-Tom Ciccone 458 Laps 9.GTO
24 61 MAZDA RX3 Al Cosentino-Taku Akaike-Dick Starita 444 Laps 11.GTU
25  8 LANCIA STRATOS Anatoly Aruntunoff-José Marina-Danny Sullivan 439 Laps 12.GTU
26  6 PORSCHE 935 930 890 0024 Dick Barbour-Brian Redman-Paul Newman 410 Laps 5.GTX
27 80 PONTIAC FIRE-AM Herb Adams-Peter Frey-Louis Spoerl 408 Laps 10.GTO
28 17 MAZDA RX7 Jim Mederer-Don Sherman-Jeff Kline 393 Laps 13.GTU
29 93 PORSCHE 934 930 670 0173 Dale Whittington-R.D Whittington-Preston Henn 389 Laps 11.GTO
30 71 PORSCHE 911S Bill Scott-Pierre Honegger-Mark Hutchins 388 Laps 14.GTU
31 40 PORSCHE 914/6 Steve Southard-Bill Koch-Earl Roe 385 Laps 15.GTU
32  1 PORSCHE 935 Bob Wollek-Jacky Ickx-Peter Gregg 342 Laps 6.GTX
33 69 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR Klaus Bytzek-Rudy Bartling-Ludwig Heimrath 335 Laps 12.GTO
34 29 CHEVROLET MONZA Billy Hagan-Hoyt Overbagh-Ron Reed 335 Laps 13.GTO
35 89 PORSCHE 911S Joseph Hamilton-Rob Hoskins-Herb Forrest 329 Laps 16.GTU
36 51 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR John Hotschkis-Robert Kirby-Howard Meister 328 Laps 14.GTO
37 15 BMW 3.0 CSL Alf Gebhardt-Sepp Grinbold 299 Laps 15.GTO
38 81 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR Pepe Romero-Ernesto Soto-Oscar Notz 241 Laps 16.GTO
39 01 PORSCHE 911S Dave White-J.Kurt Roehrig-John Hamilton 223 Laps 17.GTU
40 13 PORSCHE 935 930 670 0180 Hal Shaw-Tom Spalding-Norm Ridgely 222 Laps 7.GTX
41 36 PORSCHE 911S Ron Case-David Panaccione 210 Laps 18.GTU
42 53 CHEVROLET CAMARO Guy Thomas-Milton Moise-Tom Nehl 201 Laps 8.GTX
43 06 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Al Levenson-Gary Baker-Lanny Hester 197 Laps 17.GTO
44 23 FORD COBRA II Charlie Kemp-Carson Baird-Kees Nierop 168 Laps 9.GTX
45  3 PORSCHE 935 930 770 0911 Martino Finotto-Carlo Facetti-Gianpiero Moretti 164 Laps 10.GTX
46  4 PORSCHE 935 930 890 0014 Reinhold Joest-Rolf Stommelen-Volkert Merl 162 Laps 11.GTX
47 90 AMX SPIRIT Rick Kump-Bob Lee-Sammy Miller 156 Laps 18.GTO
48 12 CHEVROLET CAMARO Gerry Wellik-Tom Bagley-Joe Chamberlain 147 Laps 19.GTO
49 56 CHEVROLET CAMARO Murray Edwards-Craig Carter-Richard Valentine 144 Laps 20.GTO
50  2 PORSCHE  930 890 0020 Manfred Schurti-John Fitzpatrick-Bob Wollek 135 Laps 12.GTX
51 57 DATSUN 240Z John Tremblay-Bob Lapp 118 Laps 19.GTU
52  9 PORSCHE 935 930 770 0910 Bob Akin-Rob McFarlin-Roy Woods 117 Laps 13.GTX
53 66 FERRARI 512BB 26681 Jean Claude Andruet-Spartaco Dini-Claude Ballot Léna 103 Laps 14.GTX
54 67 FERRARI 512BB 26685 Claude Ballot Léna-Michel Leclère-Jean Claude Andruet 101 Laps 15.GTX
55 24 CHEVROLET MONZA Graham Shaw-Don Yenko-Jerry Thompson 86 Laps 16.GTX
56 38 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR 911 460 9113 Bonky Fernandez-Chiqui Soldevilla-Tato Ferrer 73 Laps 21.GTO
57 68 FERRARI 512BB 26683 Bob Tullius-Jean Pierre Dealunay-Pat Bedard 72 Laps 17.GTX
58 43 CHEVROLET CAMARO Bill McDill-Steve Behr 59 Laps 18.GTX
59 46 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR 911 360 1099 Mauricio de Narvaez-Albert Naon-Pedro de Narvaez 46 Laps 22.GTO
60 07 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR David Cowart-David McClain-Kenper Miller 35 Laps 23.GTO
61 00 PORSCHE 935 930 890 0021 Preston Henn-Ted Field-Danny Ongais 29 Laps 19.GTX
62 14 BMW 3.0 CSL Steve Griswold-Steve Earle-Rick Knoop 25 Laps 20.GTX
63 96 TRIUMPH GT6 Gary Wonzer-Robert Whitaker-George van Arsdale 20 Laps 20.GTU
64 48 DATSUN 240Z Frank Leary-Casey Mollett-Steve Cook 13 Laps 21.GTU
65 18 PORSCHE 935 930 890 0037 John Paul-Al Holbert-Michael Keyser 12 Laps 21.GTX
66 79 MAZDA RX7 Bob Bergstrom-Brad Frisselle 9 Laps 22.GTU
67 73 CHEVROLET CAMARO Clark Howey-Dale Koch-Tracy Wolf 4 Laps 22.GTX

Cars that did not start

   63 MAZDA RX3 Al Cosentino-Craig Fisher GTU
   78 DATSUN 240Z Ken Williams-Wiley Doran-Neil Upchurch GTU
   04 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Rick Thompkins-Dave Heinz-Tom Cochran GTO
   05 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Cliff Gottlob-Danny Terrill GTO
   20 PORSCHE 914/6 471 29 12215 Vince DiLella-Manuel Cueto GTU
   22 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Dale Kreider-Bruce Davidson GTO
   25 FORD MUSTANG II Robert LaMay-Larry Parker GTO
   31 PORSCHE 911 Hiram Cruz-Juan Lopez-Mandy Gonzalez GTU
   35 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR Pedro DeNarvaez-Luis Botero-Henning Buff GTO
   44 PORSCHE 911 Kent Murry-George Van Arsdale-Richard Weiss GTU
   45 MAZDA RX3 Jan Chudziak-Paul Cloutier-Lou Timolat GTU
   83 PORSCHE 914/6 Harro Zitza-John Belperche-Doug Zitza GTU
   85 PORSCHE 914/6 John Hulen-Ron Coupland-Bob Speakman GTU
   86 FORD PINTO Tom Ross-William Kull-James Southard GTU
   87 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Charles Gano-Earle Moffitt-Robert Uiterwyk GTO
   88 ALFA ROMEO GTV Dave Yerger-Dario Orlando-Tony Cassata GTU

24 Hours of Daytona 1979 : Danny "On the gas' did it

It was the first IMSA race of the season, now backed by Winston, and the first World Championship for Makes race too. This meant that European cars were to take part of this prestigious race. This first race saw the new IMSA rules being put into usability. The twin turbo Porsche 935s would be added a two hundred pound overweight. Counteracting this decision during the winter, Porsche had quickly reacted and a new single turbo Porsche 935 was born. However, many teams were entering twin turbo cars. In fact, three teams had single turbo cars. Interscope Racing had one car, driven by the usual Danny Ongais, Ted Field and Hurley Haywood, who had been hired for this race. Don and Bill Whittington were partnered by Jurgen Barth, who had been hired lately. Dick Barbour entered one car for himself, Brian Redman and filmstar Paul Newman. The ten last Porsche 935s were all twin turbo cars. From Germany were two 935s with an all-star field. Bob Wollek-Jacky Ickx-Peter Gregg and Bob Wollek-Manfred Schurti-John Fitzpatrick. The Joest car for Rolf Stommelen-Reinhold Joest was also amongst the favorites. Jolly Club had also a 935 for Carlo Facetti-Martino Finotto-Gianpiero Moretti. John Paul and Al Holbert had the familiar JLP Racing car. Bob Akin-Rob McFarlin-Roy Woods, Johnny Rutherford-Charles Mendez-Paul Miller, Rick Mears-Bruce Canepa-Monte Shelton, Preston Henn-Ted Field-Danny Ongais, Milt Minter-Hurley Haywood, Hal Shaw-Tom Spalding, Rick Mears-Bruce Canepa-Monte Shelton, Dicker and Dale Whittington were the Porsche 935s that were entered and thus, those who had a significant chance to win. Facing this quite indestructible armada, three Ferrari 512BB, entered by JMS Pozzi Racing and the NART. The cars were V12 powered, as per usual, and had been thoroughly redesigned, in order to accomodate the banking roughness.

With a near stock engine, they could rely on their legendary reliability. They were welcomed as the real Porsche opposition. Claude Ballot Léna-Michel Leclêre and Jean Claude Andruet-Spartaco Dini drove the two JMS cars, while Bob Tullius-Pat Bedard and Jean Pierre Delaunay were aboard the NART car. They should provide some excitement to the race. Charlie Kemp had his huge Ford Cobra II, which was fast, if not reliable. Even ten seconds slower than the best Porsches, one could hope it would provide animation to the early stages of the race. Charlie Kemp was partnered by Carson Baird and Kees Nierop. No other car were able to provide any competition for the best Porsches, BMW had decided not to race its turbocharged 320i. The GTO class was a now usual Porsche-Chevrolet duel. The Chevrolets were fast, but Porsche would probably outlast their opponents. Gordon Oftedahl had brought two cars for Carl Shafer-Tom Bagley and Gerry Wellik-John Wood, Craig Carter had a new car, which he shared with Murray Edwards. The other cars were somewhat less competitive and Clark Howey-Tracy Wolf had their own car, in place of their usual Corvette. Three Chevrolet Monza, entered by Hoyt Overbagh for Hoyt Overbagh-Billy Hagan and Ron Reed, whose car could do well in such a race. The two other cars were driven by Steve Bond-Phil Dann and Graham Shaw-Don Yenko-Jerry Thompson. Two BMW 3.0CSLs were entered by Bavarian Motors International, but they were ageing cars, and quite outpaced. Alf Gebhardt-Sepp Grinbold and Stephen Griswold-Steve Earle-Rick Knoop drove the two racers. A squadron of Porsche Carreras was also to make for the field. They were the class' favorites, but one never know what may happen. Tony Garcia-Terry Herman, Lance van Every-Robert Overby, David Cowart-Kenper Miller, Ludwig Heimrath-Klaus Bytzek, Honorato Espinosa-Jorge Cortes, Ernesto Soto-Pepe Romero, Mauricio de Narvaez-Albert Naon, Diego Febles-Phil Currin, Bonky Fernandez-Chiqui Soldevilla, Bob Kirby-Howard Meister, Tony Garcia-Juan Montalvo were the teams who had the potentiality to win the GTO class. From Europe, a Porsche 934 driven by Angelo Pallavicini-Enzo Calderari could do very well too on such a track. Al Levenson had brought his very old Chevrolet Corvette, which he shared along with Lanny Hester and Gary Baker, for the sake of pleasure, if not with any hope for a class win. A single AMX Spirit, entered and driven by Bob Lee, co-driven by Rick Kump, had no particular ambition too. Herb Adams was here with a Firebird, which was not the radical Silverbird previously seen in 1978. It was a much more classical car. Herb Adams drove it with Peter Frey and Louis Spoerl. At last, a very old, but still worth it, Ferrari 365GTB4, entered by Otto Zipper, and driven by John Morton and Tony Adamowicz. Otto Zipper, the car owner, was to die during the night at his hotel from a heart attack. It was decided that the car would wear a black stripe across the hood.

The remainder of the field was held by the small GTU class. A piece of excitement was to be brought by Mazda, who was to make history later, as the RX7 model was now the Japanese make spearhead. A works team had been set up, for a nationwide attack on the GTU ranks. Three cars were entered, with a mixed field of drivers. Two American teams and a Japanese one. Walt Bohren-Roger Mandeville and Jim Mederer-Don Sherman on one side, and Yoshimi Katayama-Yojiro Terada on the other one. This newly set armada was to face your usual Porsche contingent, but it was clear thay things were to change drastically. Bob Bergstrom and Brad Frisselle had the very first RX7 customer car, built by Dave Kent, and Al Cosentino had a RX3 car, which he drove with Dick Starita and Taku Akaike. Many Porsche 911s were still entered by privateers, but things were toughening up. Dave White-Kurt Roehrig seemed to be the most apt to challenge the Mazdas, while the other teams were now runner-ups. Ray Mummery-Luis Sereix, Peter Welter-Richard Aten, Carlos Ramirez-Luis Prieto, Bill Scott-Pierre Honegger, Tom Ashby-Bill Bean, George Drolsom-John Maffucci, Rusty Bond-Ren Tilton and Ron Case-David Panaccione could rely on the reliability of their machines. A very well prepared Porsche 914, entered by Kegel Enterprise, could do very well in the hands of Bill Koll and Jim Cook. Steve Southard and Bill Koch had a less efficient car and not any hope for victory while the usual Lancia Stratos entry was to be seen again in the hands of Anatoly Aruntunoff-José Marina. A Triumph TR7, driven by Gary Wonzer-Richard Hughes and Frank Leary's Datsun 260Z were the last entries for this first 1979 race. On the first of February, the paddock would get frantically animated.

This first session would determine the first ten starters. Carlo Facetti would wind up 1m46s113, shattering the previous mark and start from the pole, followed by Manfred Schurti, Bob Wollek, Rolf Stommelen , John Paul, Bill Whittington, Brian Redman, Danny Ongais, Bob Akin and Charlie Kemp. Nine Porsche 935s and one Ford Cobra II.

It was remarkable to notice that the four best starters were the European entries. Claude Ballot Léna had a tyre burst and would get off with a fright. The best GTO car was the Oftedahl Racing Chevrolet Camaro driven by Carl Shafer, who did the fourteenth lap time. Second in class was the Peerless Racing Chevrolet driven by Craig Carter and Murray Edwards. Billy Hagan and Hoyt Overbagh wound up a very good third overall in their Chevrolet Monza. The best Porsche Carrera was next, driven by Bonky Fernandez and Chiqui Soldevilla, just over the two minutes mark. In GTU, the awaited Mazda domination was set from the beginning of the practice sessions. Yoshimi Katayama was the fastest amongst the Mazda drivers and beat his American counterparts, setting up an excellent 2m05s95. Walt Bohren and Roger Mandeville were next. Dave White and Kurt Roehrig were third and could provide some competition to the Japanese fleet on their Roehrig Racing prepared Porsche 911. At the end it was a sixty seven car field that would line up in front of the pits for the first 1979 enduro. One question remained : would the European teams continue to dominate the race as they did in practice?

The weather was sunny when the field showed up under the green flag. Jumping in front of the rest of the starters was Rolf Stommelen who was the early leader in the Joest Porsche 935. He was leading Manfred Schurti on the Gelo car, Carlo Facetti on the Jolly Club entry, Bob Wollek on the second Gelo, John Paul, Bill Whittington, Brian Redman and Ted Field. The two Gelo cars as well as the Joest car and the Whittington's entry will swap the lead during the first hour. Rolf Stommelen was on the lead ahead of Manfred Schurti, Bill Whittington, Bob Wollek and Brian Redman. The Gelo challenge would barely last for more than one hour as Manfred Schurti would stop on lap thirty seven for an engine swap, while the second car was back in the pits one lap later for a new turbocharger. After fifteen minutes, the car was back on the track, but was soon to stop again for a new turbo change. Things had turned bad for the German top team. The rival team, lead by Rolf Stommelen, was on the lead after two hours of racing, followed by the Whittington bros. The Interscope car was running very smoothly, and Ted Field had taken the wheel of the car in order to run at a predetermined pace, set by "the boss" himself.

John Paul and Al Holbert had already retired from the race with electrical problems. Charlie Kemp's Ford Cobra II was seen often in the pits, and experienced every kind of possible trouble, the car was very far in the standings. While the six first spots were held by Porsche 935s, it was interesting to notice the positions held by the Ferrari 512BBs. They were running at their own pace, and could do very well on he long run. The drivers were confident, but their destiny was kind of ill-fated. At first, it was French driver Jean Pierre Delaunay who had a tyre burst on the banking, and the car was destroyed. The pace car was out for a twenty minute caution period under yellow. Then a discussion would follow between Team owner Jean Marc Smadja, Daniel Marin and a Michelin executive, leading to the three cars' withdrawal. Too dangerous, said Jean Marc Smadja, who did not want his drivers to undergo any big trouble. It seemed that tyres were not completely suited to the banking, and high pressures on the banking generated excessive heat to the tyres. It was quite a disappointment for the main Porsche challenger. Debris scattered the track following Jean Pierre Delaunay's accident. Brian Redman would damage his car in the process. The car would maintain its second place however. Bob Akin and Rob McFarlin had retired with an oil fire after one hundred and seventeen laps. The Whittington Bros car was to lose some ground with a host of turbochargers swap, while the Reinhold Joest-Rolf Stommelen car retired later in the evening, having lost an engine. At the six hour mark, it was the Ted Field-Danny Ongais-Hurley Haywood car who had taken the lead. Brian Redman-Dick Barbour-Paul Newman were second, one lap down. Charles Mendez-Johnny Rutherford were in third place, but seven laps down. The European's defeat was now quite complete, with Carlo Facetti out of the race, as well as John Fitzpatrick.

The second Gelo car, driven by Bob Wollek-Peter Gregg-Jacky Ickx, which had to stop many times with turbo changes, was gaining on the leaders, and did appear on fourth place in the standings after ten hours of racing. It was unfortunately to no avail, as the car was withdrawn at 4.30PM, with broken valves. The two cars would trade the lead for many hours until dawn. Then the Dick Barbour car retired with a blown head gasket. The Dick Barbour entry would have an engine exploded early in the morning while the next car, the Busch Beer owned by Charles Mendez, broke its suspension and was strewn on the track. One by one, each of the remaining Porsches would systematically be delayed or withdrawn, and the Interscope would build an amazing lead upon its followers. Running slowly but slowly, the Otto Zipper Ferrari 365GTB4 was now second overall! Even more surprising, the two Mazda RX7s were now in third and fourth place!

The Interscope Porsche 935 dominated the race and won by a wide margin over the competition.

 The Rick Mears-Bruce Canepa-Monte Shelton was the second Porsche 935, and running now in fifth place. Next was the Bill Whittington-Don Whittington-Jurgen Barth, which was running very strong, and was gaining on its opponents. Three turbocharger change had cost them many laps, but now everything was running well. At the end, the Rick Mears' Porsche 935, which had met transmission problems, had overtaken the two Mazda RX7s, and was now in third place. Even for the leaders, the race was not utterly without trouble as the car began to slow down in a very disturbing way. It was now clear that the car would have trouble finishing the race. In fact, the car would stop ten minutes from the finish. The turbocharger had exploded and the car was parked just in front of the finish line, carefully waiting for the chequered. When it fell, the black Porsche 935 was gently pushed and won by an amazing forty nine lap margin. Ted Field, Danny Ongais and Hurley Haywood won and it was the very first victory in such a long enduro for the Interscope Team. Second overall was the fantastic Ferrari 365GTB4 driven by John Morton and Tony Adamowicz, who had pushed their car very hard all race long, and they had deserved it. They ended up the race quite exhausted but surely happy with their achievement. What a present it was to their recently deceased team owner, Otto Zipper. In GTU, the Mazda RX7s crossed the finish line in some kind of triumphant way. The cars had run flawlessly throughout the race and had not met any opposition. Yoshimi Katayma, Yojiro Terada and Takashi Yorino made history in driving the first rotary car to earn a GTU class win. It was now clear that the Mazda RX7s were the new cars to beat for the years to come, and they really were!