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 52 CHEVROLET CORVETTE GTP T710-HU1 Sarel Van der Merwe-Doc Bundy 124 Laps 1.GTP
 2 45 HAWK Buick 3 John Paul Jr-Whitney Ganz 124 Laps 2.GTP
 3 14 PORSCHE 962 HR1 Al Holbert-Derek Bell 124 Laps 3.GTP
 4 44 JAGUAR XJR7 004 Bo Tullius-Chip Robinson 122 Laps 4.GTP
 5 67 PORSCHE 962 119 John Morton-Jim Busby 120 Laps 5.GTP
 6 68 PORSCHE 962 106 Darin Brassfield-Jochen Mass 119 Laps 6.GTP
 7  2 MARCH 84G Chevrolet 1 Al Leon-Art Leon-Calvin Fish 116 Laps 7.GTP
 8  0 PORSCHE 962 116IM John Winter-Marc Duez 115 Laps 8.GTP
 9 63 ARGO JM19 Mazda 107 Jim Downing-John Maffucci 112 Laps 1.Lights
10 09 TIGA GT285 Mazda 286 Mike Brockman-Steve Durst 111 Laps 2.Lights
11 01 ARGO JM16 Buick JM16/101 Don Bell-Terry Wolters 110 Laps 3.Lights
12 92 LOLA T616 Mazda HU3 Mike Gagliardo-Chris Kneifel 107 Laps 4.Lights
13 13 ARGO JM19 Mazda 109 Frank Rubino-Ray Mummery 103 Laps 5.Lights
14  7 FORD MUSTANG PROBE 003 Klaus Ludwig-Doc Bundy 95 Laps 9.GTP
15 07 FORD MUSTANG PROBE 002 Lyn St James-Pete Halsmer 95 Laps 10.GTP
16 51 JRE SR71 Ford C02-02 Steve Johnson 94 Laps 11.GTP
17 80 ALBA AR6 Ferrari 005 Ruggero Melgrati-Martino Finotto 83 Laps 6.Lights
18 04 JAGUAR XJR7 002 Brian Redman-Hurley Haywood 77 Laps 12.GTP
19  5 PORSCHE 962 113 Bob Akin-Jo Gartner 76 Laps 13.GTP
20 24 SPICE FIERO PSGTPL1 Bob Earl-Gordon Spice 59 Laps 7.Lights
21 61 ARGO JM16 Buick Brent O'neill-Steve Shelton 53 Laps 8.Lights
22 15 MARCH 85G Buick 2 John Kalagian-Jim Mullen 30 Laps 14.GTP
23 12 BMW GTP 86G-2 John Watson 1 Lap 15.GTP

Cars that did not start

    3 PORSCHE 962 107B Oscar Larrauri-Massimo Sigala GTP
    9 TIGA GT286 Porsche 331 Deborah Gregg-Mike Brockman Lights
   16 PORSCHE 962 101 Drake Olson GTP
   46 HAWK Buick 1 Whitney Ganz-Ken Madren GTP
   79 ALBA AR5 Chevrolet 006 Skeeter McKitterick-Bill Koll Lights
   86 PORSCHE 962 109 Bob Wollrk-Paolo Barilla GTP
   06 ALBA AR5 Buick Joe Varde-Tico Almeida Lights
    6 TIGA GT286 Buick 321 Charles Morgan-Logan Blackburn Lights
   22 MARCH 85G Chevrolet 5 Art Leon-Franz Konrad GTP
   39 PHOENIX Alfa Romeo John Gunn GTP

American domination

A record numbers of fans would enjoy some kind of a perfect day. The race by itself was one of the fastest ever to be run at Road Atlanta. The domination by Porsche was to be shaken down by two American marques : Chevrolet and Buick. It was good news for the IMSA series which would have its best season ever. Porsche would be over powered by the big turbos. While the practice sessions were highlighted by two big accidents involving Franz Konrad, who drove the Leon Bros March 85G Porsche, and Drake Olson's Porsche 962, Sarel van der Merwe would settle himself on the pole position. He would post a 1m12s001, which was the new track record. Al Holbert was second in 1m13s053! John Paul Jr, which was expected to give Sarel van der Merwe à run for the pole, was hampered by a wrong suspension set-up. The Jaguar XJR5s, who won last year's event, were out paced and Chip Robinson started ninth.

The start of the race was given under a warm and breezy afternoon, and BMW would experience another fire in the engine bay of one car. Unexpectedly, Al Holbert was in the lead for the first ten laps, followed by John Paul Jr. Sarel van der Merwe was third, ten seconds behind. Then John Paul Jr overtook Al Holbert and took the lead. Following the three cars were the two Ford Probes driven by Pete Halsmer and Klaus Ludwig, then Chip Robinson's Jaguar XJR5. Jochen Mass and Jo Gartner trailed. John Paul Jr would stretch his lead by 10 seconds fifteen laps later. John Paul Jr was out of reach for thirty three laps, then an incident would suddenly change the plot. John Kalagian March 85G Buick spun, and a full caution would then be run. Sarel van der Merwe dashed into his pits. Doc Bundy stepped in. Then it was Pete Halsmer, John Paul Jr and Chip Robinson to pit for fuel and a driver's change.

Al Holbert, Klaus Ludwig and Jochen Mass remained in their cars. Al Holbert and Klaus Ludwig had taken over the top two positions but they would lose their positions when the green flag was out. Doc Bundy took over the lead, followed by Whitney Ganz, whose car was running less good than the leader's and Bob Tullius, who ran quite well. Doc Bundy was running fast, in the 1m17s range, and would lap Derek Bell, under rather dangerous conditions. He would pit on lap 70, leaving Whitney Ganz in the lead for one lap. Sarel van Merwe returned to the lead over Derek Bell, who was counting on a better mileage. Al Holbert was in after the Porsche 962 pit stop. The two Ford Probes were having trouble with ignition, and retired both. Sarel van der Merwe was counting on a car which was getting better and better. His advantage over John Paul Jr was 47s when he pitted for his final stop.

Al Holbert was third, followed by Chip Robinson. After his final pit stop, the Corvette GTP led by a scant 4s. Traffic would play a role in this last part of the race. The Hawk Buick had trouble with its brakes, and had to pit for a splash and go too. When John Paul Jr restarted, he was 29s down Doc Bundy. The race would end up That way, with Al Holbert finally on the lead lap thanks to its two pit stops. Bob Tullius finished fourth, two laps down, while John Morton and Jochen Mass were another two laps down. The Lights class was dominated by the new Spice Fiero, who led the first thirty laps, then Bob Earl was sidelined by an electrical problem. Jim Downing's Argo JM19 Mazda took over but had to pit to fix an alternator problem. Teammates John Maffucci did a great job and took back the lead sixteen laps later. Mike Brockman and Steve Durst had led the class but suffered from a slow puncture in the closing stages of the race. They finished second in their Tiga GT285 Mazda, one lap down. Third place went to the Argo JM16 Buick driven by Don Bell and Terry Wolters. A very exciting race, in the end, and two American manufacturers in the two First spots beating Porsche. The 1986 season was probably the most promising ever.