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 1 00 MARCH 83G Porsche 4 Sarel Van der Merwe-Graham Duxbury-Tony Martin 640 Laps 1.GTP
 2  6 PORSCHE 935L 935L AJ Foyt-Bob Wollek-Derek Bell 631 Laps 2.GTP
 3 44 JAGUAR XJR5 008 Doc Bundy-David Hobbs-Bob Tullius 612 Laps 3.GTP
 4 86 PORSCHE 935 000 00028 Al Holbert-Claude Ballot Léna-Hurley Haywood-Bruce Leven 604 Laps 4.GTP
 5  9 PORSCHE 935K3 009 00030 Wayne Baker-Jim Mullen-Tom Blackaller 602 Laps 5.GTP
 6  4 CHEVROLET CAMARO Billy Hagan-Terry Labonte-Gene Felton 588 Laps 1.GTO
 7 29 NIMROD NRA/C2 Aston Martin 005 John Cooper-Bob Evans-Paul Smith 587 Laps 6.GTP
 8  2 MARCH 84G Chevrolet 1 Al Leon-Art Leon-Terry Wolters 580 Laps 7.GTP
 9 63 ARGO JM16 Mazda 098 Jim Downing-John Maffucci-Whitney Ganz 579 Laps 8.GTP
10 09 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR 911 460 9080 Lance Van Every-Ash Tisdelle 579 Laps 2.GTO
11 45 LOLA T600 Chevrolet HU11 John Morton-Bob Lobenberg-Tony Garcia 578 Laps 9.GTP
12 76 MAZDA RX7 Jack Badwin-Ira Young-Bob Reed-Jim Cook 574 Laps 1.GTU
13  7 PORSCHE 911 Blake Pridgen-Rusty Bond-Ren Tilton 571 Laps 2.GTU
14 38 MAZDA RX7 Roger Mandeville-Amos Johnson-Danny Smith 569 Laps 3.GTO
15 92 PORSCHE 928S Richard Attwood-Vic Elford-Howard Meister-Bob Hagestad 569 Laps 4.GTO
16 28 NIMROD NRA/C2 Aston Martin 004 Ray Mallock-Drake Olson-John Sheldon 562 Laps 10.GTP
17 68 LOLA T616 Mazda HU2 Pete Halsmer-Dieter Quester-Ron Grable-Rick Knoop 562 Laps 11.GTP
18 66 MAZDA RX7 Jack Dunham-Paul Lewis-Jeff Kline 553 Laps 3.GTU
19 24 PORSCHE 935JLP2 009 00043 Bobby Hefner-Jack Griffin-Hugo Gralia 547 Laps 12.GTP
20 82 MAZDA RX7 Lee Mueller-John Casey-Terry Visger 542 Laps 4.GTU
21 87 PORSCHE 924GTR John Schneider-Elliot Forbes Robinson-Ken Williams 529 Laps 5.GTU
22 18 SAUBER C7 BMW 83-C7-01 Fomfor-Albert Naon-Diego Montoya 509 Laps 13.GTP
23 55 MAZDA RX7 Richard Stevens-Mark Brainard-Don Herman 494 Laps 6.GTU
24 04 JAGUAR XJR5 006 Bill Adam-Pat Bedard-Brian Redman 481 Laps 14.GTP
25 43 BMW M1 Paul Davey-Diego Montoya-Brian Goellnicht 477 Laps 5.GTO
26 05 PORSCHE 935M16 930 990 0032 Miguel Morejon-Fernando Garcia-Tico Almeida 470 Laps 15.GTP
27 35 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR 911 460 9113 Margie Smith-Haas-Paul Gilgan-John Zouzelka 463 Laps 6.GTO
28 37 MAZDA RX7 Tom Burdsall-Nort Northam-Peter Welter 433 Laps 7.GTU
29 03 CHEVROLET MONZA Herb Adams-Kim Mason-Jerry Thompson 432 Laps 16.GTP
30 32 DATSUN 280ZX George Alderman-Lew Price-Carson Baird 406 Laps 8.GTU
31 67 LOLA T616 Mazda HU1 Jim Busby-Rick Knoop-Boy Hayje 391 Laps 17.GTP
32 40 BMW M1 4301225 Uli Bieri-Angelo Pallavicini-Matt Gysler 384 Laps 7.GTO
33 01 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR 911 720 0114 George Hulse-Pat Lott-Jerry Kennedy-Michael DeFontes 356 Laps 8.GTO
34 61 CHEVROLET MONZA Brent O'neill-Don Courtney-Luis Sereix 336 Laps 9.GTO
35 02 CHEVROLET CAMARO William Gelles-Mike Brummer-Steve Cohen 330 Laps 10.GTO
36 17 MAZDA RX7 Al Bacon-Dennis Krueger-Charles Guest 326 Laps 9.GTU
37 27 MAZDA RX7 Jim Fowells-Ray Mummery-Steve Potter 324 Laps 10.GTU
38 77 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Gary Baker-Sterling Marlin 316 Laps 11.GTO
39 99 TOYOTA CELICA Chris Cord-Jim Adams 292 Laps 11.GTU
40 22 PONTIAC FIREBIRD George Schwarz-Craig Allen-Richard Spenard 290 Laps 12.GTO
41 46 PONTIAC FIREBIRD Paul Fassler-Frank Jellinek-Jerry Molnar 271 Laps 13.GTO
42 26 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Tom Nehl-Nelson Silcox-Jerry Hansen 270 Laps 14.GTO
43 90 PORSCHE 911 911 030 1263 Mike Shaefer-Jeff Andretti-Nick Nicholson-Jack Refenning 258 Laps 12.GTU
44 53 PONTIAC FIREBIRD Robert Overby-Don Bell-Charles Pelz 245 Laps 15.GTO
45 75 CHEVROLET CAMARO Bob Young-Joe Varde-Bob Gregg 245 Laps 16.GTO
46 41 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Rusty Schmidt-Scott Schmidt-Max Schmidt 245 Laps 17.GTO
47 97 FERRARI 512BB 30559 Steve Shelton-Tom Shelton 242 Laps 18.GTP
48 79 PORSCHE 924GTR Bob Bergstrom-Tom Winters-Innes Ireland 236 Laps 13.GTU
49 19 NIMROD NRA/C2 Aston Martin 002 Jack Miller-Carlos Ramirez-Vicki Smith 235 Laps 19.GTP
50 11 CHEVROLET CAMARO Joe Ruttman-Mike Laws-Don Schoenfeld-Tim Richmond 227 Laps 20.GTP
51  8 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR 911 460 0035 Bob Beasley-Jack Lewis-John Ashford 220 Laps 18.GTO
52 51 PORSCHE 911 Chris Wilder-Buzz McCall-Dennis DeFranceschi 212 Laps 14.GTU
53 54 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR 911 360 0601 Bruce Redding-HJ Long-Bob Copeman 197 Laps 19.GTO
54 70 MAZDA GTP Dave Weitzenhof-David Loring-Pierre Honegger  187 Laps 21.GTP
55  3 MARCH 84G Buick 2 Ken Madren-Wayne Pickering-ML Speer 186 Laps 22.GTP
56  5 PORSCHE 935-84 935-84 Bob Akin-John O'steen-Bobby Rahal 181 Laps 23.GTP
57 85 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR Kikos Fonseca-Carlos Fallas-Jamsal 179 Laps 20.GTO
58 10 PORSCHE 924GTR BS70006 Jerry Kendall-Bill Johnson-Dave White 162 Laps 15.GTU
59 60 MAZDA RX7 Jim Cook-Tommy Morrison-Tony Swan 162 Laps 16.GTU
60 39 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Roy Newsome-Bobby Diehl-Dale Kreider-Luis Sereix 157 Laps 21.GTO
61 73 CHEVROLET CAMARO Clark Howey-David Crabtree-Tracy Wolf 150 Laps 22.GTO
62 47 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Walt Bohren-Billy Dingman-Roger Bighouse 135 Laps 23.GTO
63 16 MARCH 83G Chevrolet 2 Randy Lanier-Marty Hinze-Bill Whittington 131 Laps 24.GTP
64 93 MAZDA RX7 Kelly Marsh-Don Marsh-Ron Pawley 129 Laps 17.GTU
65 57 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR Diego Febles-Tato Ferrer 127 Laps 24.GTO
66  1 PORSCHE 962 001 Mario Andretti-Michael Andretti 127 Laps 25.GTP
67 72 CHEVROLET CAMARO Tommy Riggins-Les Delano-Andy Peterey 126 Laps 25.GTO
68 21 PONTIAC FIREBIRD Mike Field-Jack Newsum-Rob McFarlin 118 Laps 26.GTO
69 58 PORSCHE 924GTR Jim Trueman-Deborah Gregg-Alfredo Mena 110 Laps 18.GTU
70 07 PORSCHE 930 930 770 0958 Ludwig Heimrath-Ludwig Heimrath Jr 90 Laps 26.GTP
71 49 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Mitchell Bender-Bard Boand-Brian Utt-Phil Currin 66 Laps 27.GTO
72 20 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Paul Canary-Jim Sanborn-Victor Gonzalez 64 Laps 28.GTO
73 25T MARCH 83G Chevrolet 3 Dave Cowart-Kenper Miller-Mauricio De Narvaez  60 Laps 27.GTP
74 94 PONTIAC FIREBIRD Bill Gardner-Ronnie Sanders-James Durovy 52 Laps 29.GTO
75 88 CHEVROLET CAMARO Ken Murray-Richard Valentine-Bob Barnett 51 Laps 30.GTO
76 98 TOYOTA CELICA Wally Dallenbach Jr-Michael Chandler-Dennis Aase 49 Laps 19.GTU
77 91 PONTIAC FIREBIRD Del Taylor-Larry Figaro-Enrique Novella 38 Laps 31.GTO
78 33 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Karl Keck-Allan Chastain-William Wessel 38 Laps 32.GTO
79 15 LOLA T600 Chevrolet HU4 John Kalagian-John Lloyd-John Mills 27 Laps 28.GTP
80 23 DATSUN 200SX Frank Carney-Dick Davenport-Bob Hindson 19 Laps 21.GTU
81 84 PONTIAC FIERO Clay Young-Douglas Grunnet-Jim Burt 19 Laps 21.GTU
82 13 MAZDA RX7 Frank Rubino-Jose Rodriguez-Dennis Vitolo 17 Laps 22.GTU

Cars that did not start

   42 PORSCHE 911 Robin Boone-H.J Long-Rich Bontempi GTU
   69 PORSCHE 911 John Hofstra-George Shafer-Peter Uria GTU
   81 DATSUN 280Z John Saucier-Ronnie Franklin-Chuck Gravel GTU
   83 CHEVROLET CAMARO Mike Gassaway-Steve Pfeifer-Bob Tayar GTO
   25 MARCH 82G Porsche 2 Dave Cowart-Kenper Miller-Mauricio de Narvaez GTP
    0 PORSCHE 911 Ron Case-Craig Case GTU
   12 OSELLA PA10 BMW FA-2000-001 Werner Frank-Piercarlo Ghinzani-Corrado Fabi GTP
   14 PORSCHE 935 Paul Goral GTP
   30 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Vincent P.Collins-Bill Nelson-Lojza Vosta GTO
   31 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Don Cummings-Craig Cummings-Greg Walker GTO
   34 PORSCHE 924GTR George Drolsom GTU
   36 CHEVROLET CAMARO Michael Duncan-Scott Shadel GTO
   48 PORSCHE 911 Gary Wonzer-Larry Figaro-Jerry Kennedy GTU
   50 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Ray McIntyre-John Martin-Dominic Dobson-Andy Robinson-George Reece GTO
   64 PORSCHE CARRERA RSR John Hulen-Ron Coupland-Dan Hartill GTO
   71 ARGO JM16 Buick 102 Charles Morgan-Jim Miller-Robert Overby GTP
   74 CHEVROLET CAMARO Richard McDill-Tom Juckette-Gary English GTO
   96 PORSCHE 935 Robert Gottfried-Donald Flores-Mike Cue GTP

Three men from South Africa


The first race of the year had a brand new look, and by two aspects. First, the track sported a new chicane, which was aimed at slowing the cars on the banking. And for the first time, no spectacular accident was to be seen. Second, Pepsi Cola was not the main sponsor any more. Sun Bank had taken over the Florida's Enduro destiny. As this new money backer was effectively welcomed, the chicane would cause new problems to the drivers : too tight, you had to go single-filed after sorting out before entering it. It was a minor trouble, but slow cars would always be a problem, and fender to fender fight would cause bent bodies. At the end, this twenty second edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona was a real success. Eighty two cars were entered, with three drivers or so per car, you had a very wide range of driving skill and experience. That race would feature the very first race on an American track of the Porsche 962, and it was a premiere too for the drivers, who appeared to be Mario and Michael Andretti. The car was factory backed, and some cars were to be sold to fortunate owners. Al Holbert had ordered his one, as Bruce Leven and Bob Akin. However, at Daytona, the three of them had their faithful 935s entered. Even if those cars were now outdated, they were still potent ones, but the GTP cars were strongly represented. Three other 935s, which were less sophisticated ones, would take the green, too, but they would not play any major role in the race.

March had five cars, but only two 84Gs. A new 84G was entered by Pegasus Racing for Mark Speer, Ken Madren and Wayne Pickering. This car sported a very powerful turbocharged 3,4L engine, but the drivers were not up to the task. The Leon Bros had a Chevrolet powered car, but they were not rated as top drivers! The ex-Holbert 83G Porsche car had been sold to a new South African team, Kreepy Krauly Racing, with Tony Martin, Graham Duxbury and Sarel van der Merwe. The car and drivers proved very strong. Two other cars, which were 83G models were entered by Red Lobster Racing, with Kenper Miller and David Cowart and Mauricio de Narvaez, while Marty Hinze had an 83G which he shared with Randy Lanier and Bill Whittington. Two Jaguar XJR5x were for the first time entered by Group 44, and they were now vuel injected. Given for 600hp, they were driven by Bob Tullius, David Hobbs and Doc Bundy on the #44 car and Brian Redman, Jim Adams and Pat Bedard on the #04. Lola had four cars entered, but there were only two T600s, and two new T616s. The two T600s were old cars, and entered by John Kalagian for hmself, John Lloyd and John Mills, on the ex-JLP car. The car had been modified to accomodate the changes made on the exhaust system. Conte Racing had a standard car, powered by a 5,0L prepared by VDS. More interesting were the two new Mazda powered T616 cars. Aerodynamically developed, they were very fast according to their relatively short on power Mazda engines, which were given for 300hp. A pair of Aston Martins, two from Great Britain and one from the US, gave the field a definitive international air. A 3,5L BMW powered Sauber C7 was entered by a Salvadorian driver. A singlep Argo JM16 debuted at Daytona. Jim Downing had a Mazda powered car which he drove with John Maffucci and Whitney Ganz. The car was beautifully turned out, yet would run very well vor its very first race. A Mazda GTP entered by Pierre Honegger closed the GTP entry list. You could find a beautiful Ferrari 512BB for Steve and Tom Shelton. A wild Chevrolet Camaro and a Porsche 934/5 entered by Ludwig Heimrath were not eligible for the GTO class and appeared in the GTX-GTP class. The GTO class was the home of the big bangers, with a host of Chevrolet Corvettes and Camaros. The fastest car was the usual Stratagraph Chevrolet Camaro driven by Gene Felton and Billy Hagan. Tommy Riggins drove the Centurion Auto car with Les Delano and Andy Peterey. Some Pontiac Firebirds could be seen with Gordon Oftedahl brining in two cars for Craig Allen, George Schwarz and Richard Spenard plus Jack Newsum, Jon Field and Rob McFarlin. Robert Overby and Liz Kleinschmidt had a very fast car too. Some Chevrolet Corvettes were here too, with the wild looking Dingman Bros car, driven by Walt Bohren, Billy Dingman and Roger Bighouse. Tom Nehl, Nelson Silcox and Jerry Hansen could have their chance for a class win. Two Chevrolet Monzas were part of the field too but had not anychance for the class win. Two lonely BMW M1 were part of the field too but it was some kind of outdated machinery, Uli Bieri, Angelo Pallavicini and Matt Gysler would count on the car's reliability for the race. A bunch of Porsche Carrera RSRs and a very unusual Porsche 928, driven by Vic Elford, Dick Attwood and Howard Meister, backed by the Porsche factory, complered the GTO field.

The GTU class was very interesting indeed, with the usual Mazda RX7 contingent, now traditionaly opposed to the Porsche 924GTRs. John Schneider and Elliot Forbes Robinson drove the same car which had won the Daytona Finale, while Tom Winters, Bob Bergstrom and Innes Ireland had the Whitehall car, which was very fast too. Roger Mandeville, driving his Mandeville Auto Tech Mazda RX7, and he took the GTU pole, just ahead of the two best Porsche 924s. Kent Racing had brought a Mazda RX7 for Lee Mueller-Terry Visger and John Casey and CCR had an RX7 for Jack Baldwin-Ira Young and Bob Reed. Two AAR Toyota Celjcas were entered for Chris Cord and Jim Adams, coming right down from the GTP class. The second car was driven by Wally Dallenbach and Michael Chandler. Another interesting entry was that of the new Pontiac Fiero. It was the very first attempt to seriously tackle this category by an American marque. Backed by Dole Fruit, the car made its debut on this track. One single Datsun 280ZX was to be seen and it was entered by George Alderman who shared the drive with Carson Baird and Lew Price. A tiny Datsun 200SX, which would qualify, was entered by New Raytown Datsun for Frank Carney, Dick Davenport and Bob Hindson. As per usual, a handful of ageing Porsche 911s would make for the start, with Kikos Fonseca's car being the fastest. Eighty two cars would finally take the green, which was the biggest field ever in this race. The practice sessions will demonstrate the Porsche 962 ability to dominate the field. It was its first race ever and the car did outpace everybody else. Two seconds faster than its closer opponent, things were looking good for the Porsche factory. Second overall was the South African March 83G Porsche which proved very quick, and Robin Herd looked quite satisfied with Sarel van der Merwe's position. The Porsche 935s were a little farther and seemed unable to run faster. Those cars were five years old now. The Lola T616 Mazdas were just over the two minutes level, which extremely fast for cars with such low hp engines. In GTO, no surprise with Gene Felton easily fastest qualifyer, while Roger Mandeville was the GTU starter, running in 2m09s601.

The weather forecast was not very optimistic as the field set up in front of the pits for the race, but it was still sunny when the cars were lined up for the start. The warm-up lap took place at 15:25 PM. AJ Foyt did have an off-course at the new chicane. At the start, Mario Andretti and Sarel van der Merwe immediately set the pace and had a quarrel, well ahead of anybody. Sarel van der Merwe would push Mario Andretti very hard, while everybody else was far away. While the March 83G, which was Porsche powered, could keep up with the new Works 962, then Mario Andretti would suddenly burst into a rage and take the lead for the next twenty one laps. As the March kept its position, Bob Tullius wad third in his Jaguar XJR5. He was well ahead of a bunch of drivers, led by AJ Foyt, who was in trouble while struggling with the traffic. Marty Hinze was just behind him, at the wheel of his March 83G Chevrolet. Brian Redman was behind him, followed by Holbert's Porsche 935, and the two Lola T600s driven by Bob Lobenberg and John Kalagian. The latter would not continue for long, pushing his car very hard, the transmission would break after twenty eight laps. Behind the leaders, Bob Akin was quite unlucky with his Porsche 935/84, as he pitted with gearbox and suspension troubles, losing ninety minutes. As the Porsche 962, now driven by Michael Andretti, was still in the lead, the car would suffer from transmission trouble caused by heat from the turbocharger. Losing two hours for repairs, the car went back to the race in sixty third position. Then it was the March 83G Chevrolet driven by Marty Hinze, Randy Lanier and Bill Whittington which took the lead, followed by the Kreepy Krauly car, with the Jaguar XJR5 not far behind. At the three hour mark, it was Bob Tullius, running his Jaguar XJR5 at his own pace, who would become the new race leader. The South African March 83G would experience problems with the gear shifter, and would lose some ground on the leaders. Running quite flawlessly, the Bayside Disposal Porsche 935, driven by Al Holbert, Bruce Leven, Hurley Haywood and Claude Ballot Léna, appeared in third place, then in second place when the Marty Hinze March would be stopped with transmission problems. The Works Porsche 962 was back in the race, but it would not last for long, and a broken camshaft would lead to its retirement later in the evening. It was a great disappointment for the team, as they were expected to do much more better.

The Jaguar ran trouble free for six hours, then would lose ground with a broken alternator belt. Then it was the March 83G Porsche which would take the lead. As the car would undergo one sole major problem, it ran out of fuel at about one-third into the race. Sarel van der Merwe had to jog for one mile to carry a five-gallon can of gas. At that point, the Preston Henn Porsche 935L took the lead while the Bayside Disposal car was rolled into the pit wall to have a crack in the intake system welded. As the Andial seemed to be able to renew its 1983 performance, it seemed that AJ Foyt had trouble keeping up the lead. He had to off-courses during the night, causing bodywork damage. While the car was being repaired, the Kreepy Krauly March was back in the lead. The Porsche 935, with an ailing brake cooling intake, was now running slower. As the leading March was now easily leading, the same could not be told about its followers. The Jaguars were consistently hampered by their alternator belts, and the victory now seemed out of reach. The race was losing its attraction for the lead, but some unexpected cars did appear in the top ten. The new Argo JM16 Mazda and the two Lola T616 Mazdas were now in sixth, seventh and twelfth position, which was quite remarkable! While the leaders were now nine laps ahead of anybody, those cars were running with the best. After two hundred and fifty four laps, the three South African drivers were in the lead, and definitively! The two best Porsche 935s will never be able to catch in on the leaders, and the cars were not in their best shape. The Jaguar were losing more ground and would never appear as a threat to the Porsche powered leading cars. At the end, Preston Henn's Porsche 935 would finish second overall, and Bob Wollek had some regrets as to AJ Foyt mistakes. Third was Bob Tullius Jaguar XJR5, which managed to finish ahead of the Bayside Disposal Porsche 935, driven by Al Holbert, Bruce Leven, Hurley Haywood and Claude Ballot Léna. The GTO class again was dominated by the Stratagraph Chevrolet Camaro driven by Billy Hagan, Gene Felton and Terry Labonte. Running as high as third with four hours remaining, the car was then slowed down with minor mechanical problems, but it took sixth overall, easily winning its class. The GTU class was another triumph for Mazda, but it was the CCR car, driven by Jack Baldwin, Ira Young and Bob Reed, which won. They took the lead at the eighteen hour mark, and won over the surprising Porsche 911 driven by Rusty Bond, Blake Prigden and Ren Tilton. Jack Dunham and his co-drivers dominated the early stages of the race, but were sidelined later in the race to finish third in class.