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



 1 14 PORSCHE 962 103 Al Holbert-Derek Bell 111 Laps 1.GTP
 2 29 MARCH 85G Chevrolet 4 David Hobbs-Darin Brassfield 111 Laps 2.GTP
 3 85 MARCH 84G Chevrolet 4 Emerson Fittipaldi-Tony Garcia 111 Laps 3.GTP
 4 04 JAGUAR XJR5 009 Hurley Haywood-Chip Robinson 110 Laps 4.GTP
 5 15 MARCH 84G Chevrolet 5 John Kalagian-John Lloyd 108 Laps 5.GTP
 6 67 PORSCHE 962 106 Jim Busby-Rick Knoop 114 Laps 6.GTP
 7  4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE GTP HU2 Carson Baird-Chip Mead 107 Laps 7.GTP
 8 86 PORSCHE 962 101 Henri Pescarolo-Claude Ballot Léna 106 Laps 8.GTP
 9 84 MARCH 85G Buick 2 Ian Lammers-Roberto Guerrero 106 Laps 9.GTP
10 25 MARCH 83G Chevrolet 3 Dave Cowart-Kenper Miller 104 Laps 10.GTP
11  6 ROYALE RP40 Buick JM16/102 Charles Morgan-Bill Alsup 104 Laps 11.GTP
12  1 MARCH 83G Chevrolet Randy Lanier-Bill Whittington 103 Laps 12.GTP
13 62 MARCH 82G Chevrolet 4 Steve Shelton-Tom Shelton 103 Laps 13.GTP
14 48 PORSCHE 935J 000 00012 Mauricio De Narvaez-John Winter 102 Laps 14.GTP
15  2 MARCH 84G Chevrolet 1 Al Leon-Art Leon 102 Laps 15.GTP
16 33 LOLA T600 Chevrolet HU4 Richard Anderson-Bard Boand 101 Laps 16.GTP
17 63 ARGO JM16 Mazda 097 Jim Downing-John Maffucci 99 Laps 1.Lights
18  5 PORSCHE 962 102 Bob Akin-Jim Mullen 94 Laps 17.GTP
19 61 ROYALE RP40 Ford JM16/099 Don Courtney-Brent O'neill 87 Laps 18.GTP
20 72 GEBHARDT JC843 Ford 02 Jan Thoelke-Frank Jelinski 86 Laps 19.GTP
21 30 ALBA AR5 Ford Gianpiero Moretti-Massimo Sigala 85 Laps 20.GTP
22 82 TIGA GT285 Mazda 286 Gaston Andrey-Bob Herlin 78 Laps 2.Lights
23  9 MARCH 83G Chevrolet 1 Wayne Baker-Jack Newsum 77 Laps 21.GTP
24 45 MARCH 85G Chevrolet John Paul Jr 77 Laps 24.GTP
25  8 PORSCHE 962 104 Bob Wollek-AJ Foyt 75 Laps 23.GTP
26 11 LOLA T600 Chevrolet HU5 Chuck Kendall-Jim Cook 74 Laps 24.GTP
27  3 MARCH 84G Buick 2 Ken Madren-Wayne Pickering 73 Laps 25.GTP
28  7 ARGO JM16 Ford 100 Lyn St James-Eric Lang 70 Laps 26.GTP
29 93 ARGO JM16 Mazda 098 Kelly Marsh-Don Marsh 69 Laps 3.Lights
30 18 SAUBER C7 BMW 83-C7-01 Fomfor-Albert Naon 65 Laps 27.GTP
31 01 ARGO JM16 Buick JM16/101 Don Bell 47 Laps 28.GTP
32 39 PHOENIX JG1 Chevrolet John Gunn-Gary Belcher 43 Laps 29.GTP
33 26 RONDEAU M382 Chevrolet 001 Victor Gonzalez-Hugo Gralia 29 Laps 30.GTP
34 05 LOLA T600 Ford HU8 Tico Almeida-Miguel Morejon 25 Laps 31.GTP
35 37 TIGA GT284 Mazda 278 Nick Nicholson 24 Laps 4.Lights
36 57 MARCH 83G Chevrolet Randy Lanier 13 Laps 32.GTP
37 17 ARUNDEL C200 Ford 01 Jonathan Palmer 7 Laps 33.GTP
38 44 JAGUAR XJR5 010 Brian Redman 3 Laps 34.GTP

Cars that did not start

Close action

Like a Latin American carnival building to a fever pitch, Sunday's Grand Prix on the streets of Miami evolved into a thrilling, foot-stomping bedlam. For 2 hours of the three-hour endurance race for big, powerful sports cars, Al Holbert of the U.S. and Derek Bell of England had been in pretty firm control in their ultra-swoopy turbocharged Porsche 962. The main threats to Holbert and Bell, a turbo March-Chevy shared by Emerson Fittipaldi of Brazil and Tony Garcia of Miami and another 962 driven by Bob Wollek of France and A.J. Foyt, had both been detained in the pits for passing the pace car under the yellow flag. Fittipaldi, the two-time former world Formula I champion, had been held up somewhat longer--about the length of time it took to persuade him that committing mayhem on the International Motor Sports Association official who was doing the detaining was not going to win the race. Of that more later. With the race coming to a close, Bell, who has co-driven the winning car at Le Mans four times, was hanging on for dear life to a lead of nearly 30 seconds. He had already spun twice on a circuit that veteran road racer and Indy car driver Holbert had called "the slipperiest I'd ever been on in my life." Running second was a vivid red March-Chevy V-8 that David Hobbs of England had skillfully positioned there before he handed the wheel over to his co-driver, 21-year-old Darin Brassfield of Los Gatos, Calif. With 10 minutes to go, a backmarker flipped his car and wrapped it up in a catch fence. The subsequent yellow flag to remove the tangled mess from the exceedingly narrow 1.85-mile street circuit had bunched up the field and wiped out Bell's fat cushion. The foot-stomping began when the green flag dropped. And it was young Brassfield's foot that stomped the hardest.

Bell's engine had loaded up--fouled its plugs--during the slow laps behind the pace car and wasn't accelerating crisply, so Brassfield blew past the No. 14 Porsche on the restart. Holbert, sitting in a tall scorer's chair behind his pit, still sweaty from his driving stint, shook his head in disbelief and budding disgust. Brassfield led Bell down Biscayne Boulevard at 160 mph--a booming red blur followed by a whistling dark-blue streak. The 100,000 sun-baked and breeze-blown fans, many stacked on the roof of the Everglades Hotel or lining the decks of the cruise ship Scandinavian Sun, screamed as loudly as the cars, either pulling for Brassfield to escape or for Bell to reel him in. With eight laps to go, Brassfield leads by 3.5 seconds. At seven laps, 3.1 seconds. At six laps, Brassfield's March twitches at 90 mph through the "chute." Bell is on his tail! Holbert leaps up and spins around to watch. At the end of that straight--actually a .35-mile stretch of Biscayne Boulevard--lay a hard right at N.E. 5th Street. And that's where the veteran put it to the rookie (this was only Brassfield's second race in a prototype sports car). "I braked very late, just to show him I was intent," Bell said later. Overtaking on the inside, Bell gave Brassfield's car a tap with his left front fender. Brassfield tried to close the gate on him. But now Bell used Brassfield's car as a backboard, caroming his Porsche off the March to make the pass. And win the race, having completed 111 laps at an average speed of 68.342 mph.

Fittipaldi was incensed. "I feel like for sure we won this race," he said. "At the track, we won this race." But at the pay window, he and Garcia finished third. Fittipaldi grabbed the lead on Lap 22, just before a yellow caution flag came out for a car that had spun and blocked a turn. The pace car came onto the track. It would tuck in front of the race leader and control the speed of the 36-car field as long as the yellow stayed out. The pace car pulled in front of Fittipaldi, who believes that the official in the pace car--mistakenly thinking that Fittipaldi was not the race leader at the time--waved him by. Wollek, in second place, also thought he was being waved ahead. Holbert, in third, knew that hand signals are easily misinterpreted, so he stayed put. Then, said Fittipaldi, "For my biggest surprise, the next thing I see is a black flag." That meant he was being called into the pits. Fittipaldi and Wollek were held there for one lap to compensate for their scooting ahead of the field, and Fittipaldi was so convinced that he was being victimized that he pounced on the unlucky official whose assignment it was to detain his car. Afterward, Fittipaldi's team, owned by Rafael Sanchez, who was also the promoter of the race, filed a protest. The stewards disallowed it. "I did exactly what they ask me to do, and they took my race away," said a dejected Fittipaldi, promising a lawsuit. Sanchez suing himself? This field of mostly new prototypes was possibly the strongest of any sports car race, ever. But the Miami street circuit was an absurd venue for 230-mph racers. The turns were too tight and too many, the pavement teeth chattering. And there were railroad crossings. Two of them! The abused cars twitched and jolted and jounced. You could hear parts dragging on the manhole cover in the third turn. Offsetting all that was a $50,000 first-place prize, making the three-year-old Miami GP the richest race for sports cars in the world. The winners' 962 (sticker price: $220,000) is state of the endurance-racing art, but it wasn't the best setup for darting around downtown because of its power characteristics. To keep the car on the "boost," Holbert and Bell had to drive with a foot on the brake and gas at the same time, coming off the turns. "You need either a gas pedal attached to the brake or three feet," said Holbert, who was a co-winner of the inaugural Miami GP in 1983. That race had been cut short by a torrential downpour after only 38 minutes of competition. A win is a win, and he said then that it hadn't been tainted. However this one was doubtless a whole lot sweeter.