Nissan Grand Prix du Mardi Gras, New Orleans Street Circuit
Winners average : 96,763km/h
Time : 01:45:04:797
|1||64||INTREPID RM1 Chevrolet 001||Wayne Taylor||81 Laps||1.GTP|
|2||83||NISSAN NPT91 90-01||Geoff Brabham||81 Laps||2.GTP|
|3||5||SPICE SE89P Chevrolet 002||Jeff Purner||81 Laps||3.GTP|
|4||65||INTREPID RM1 Chevrolet 002||Tom Kendall||80 Laps||4.GTP|
|5||19||SPICE SE90P Ferrari||David Tennyson||77 Laps||1.Lights|
|6||8||KUDZU DG1 Buick 002||Charles Morgan||77 Laps||2.Lights|
|7||32||SPICE SE89P Buick||Ken Knott-Firmin Velez||76 Laps||3.Lights|
|8||48||SPICE SE90P Acura 88-004||Parker Johnstone||75 Laps||4.Lights|
|9||9||KUDZU DG1 Buick 003||Jim Pace||75 Laps||5.Lights|
|10||98||EAGLE HF90 Toyota||Rocky Moran||75 Laps||5.GTP|
|11||84||NISSAN NPT91 90-03||Chip Robinson||66 Laps||6.GTP|
|12||3||JAGUAR XJR16 291||Raul Boesel||49 Laps||7.GTP|
|13||2||JAGUAR XJR16 191||Davy Jones||44 Laps||8.GTP|
|14||33||SPICE SE90P Chevrolet 013||Perry McCarthy||28 Laps||9.GTP|
|15||4||SPICE SE89P Chevrolet 001||Brian Bonner||20 Laps||10.GTP|
|16||99||EAGLE HF90 Toyota||Juan Fangio II||11 Laps||11.GTP|
|17||54||SPICE SE89P Buick||Hugh Fuller||1 Lap||6.Lights|
Cars that did not start
|1||NISSAN NPT91||Bob Earl-Geoff Brabham-Chip Robinson||GTP|
The inaugural New Orleans Grand Prix du Mardi Gras would be filled with a lot of drama. As expected, it would rain more than ever, filling the race with the action it implied. The field was thin, with only 16 cars involved, but on such a track, it would prove an advantage. Chip Robinson and Geoff Brabham were the favorites in their Nissan NPT91s, but they would have to face some hungry warriors. Juan Fangio and Rocky Moran were expected to do well in their Eagle Toyota HF90s, as were the two Jaguar XJR16s driven by Davy Jones and Raul Boesel. Two cars were more than eager to fight were the two Intrepid RM1s driven by Tom Kendall and Wayne Taylor. Those cars were particularly well fitted to this kind of track. Two Spice SE89Ps and one SE90P were also entered. Brian Bonner, Jeff Purner/Tim McAdam and Perry McCarthy could also do well on this very typical track. The Light class was only six cars rich, and it seemed that Parker Johnstone would have it served on a silver platter. David Tennyson was driving his Spice SE90P Ferrari while Firmin Velez/Ken Knott drove the semi-Works Spice SE90P Buick. A couple of Kudzu DG1 Buick was entered by Essex Racing, and driven by Charles Morgan and Jim Pace. Hugh Fuller drove the HDF Spice SE88P Buick.
Things seemed to start in a very bad way as a storm dumped 10 inches of rain in less than six hours. The friday scheduled test session would eventually slip to saturday, due to an underestimated time-task plan. The very first practice session made it through before the rain washed it out. Perry McCarthy would be the fastest of this First session in 1m11s828, followed by Tom Kendall and Chip Robinson. The next session would prove it was a Perry McCarthy show as he put a 1m01s495, but he was not quite satisfied with his time. The two Nissan NPT91s were behind him, followed by Tom Kendall. Davy Jones came in the next spot.
The race would start under a very stormy weather, but the crowd was above expectation. When the green flag was dropped, Perry McCarthy jumped into the lead, and remained unchallenged for 14 laps. Geoff Brabham and Chip Robinson settled for second and third, followed by Davy Jones Jaguar, Juan Fangio II in his Eagle Toyota, Tom Kendall and Wayne Taylor Intrepid Chevrolet. Tom Kendall would experience some brake problems, and would be forced to drop back. The track, which was in a relatively dry state, was beginning to become wet as the rain began to fall. Each contender tried to delay the moment for tire change. Perry McCarthy spun, but did not hit anything. Juan Fangio II hit the wall in turn three, which ended his day. The two leaders would have an off course before pitting. Then Perry McCarthy and half the field pitted for tires, except Geoff Brabham who opted to carry on as the rain cooled him off. He had some cooling problems with his suit, and the rain was finally a good option for him.
A full course caution had been set on order to clear the stalled Toyota. Geoff Brabham spun, damaging his rear wing. He stopped, changed his tires and had a new rear wing mounted, and went back to the race. At the restart, Davy Jones Jaguar XJR16 was in the lead, but he turned his car out of the final turn. He executed a three point turn around and went back in front of the pack, but his suspension was probably damaged, as he retired shortly after with a broken rear suspension. Then, it was Wayne Taylor's Intrepid Chevrolet who emerged on the top of the field, followed by Perry McCarthy and Tom Kendall. Perry McCarthy then seemed to go for the lead, but something went wrong and he finally hit the wall. The sun had reappeared and the track was drying, with puddles remaining in the shaded area. Wayne Taylor went in for a new set of slicks. He went back in fourth place, behind Geoff Brabham, Raul Boesel and Tom Kendall. Those three guys would have to pit for fresh tires too. Jeff Purner and Tim McAdam had gambled that there would be more rain, and opted not to pit for slicks. They were in second after the pursuers pit stop. Geoff Brabham was hot behind Jeff Purner while Chip Robinson would stop on the track with an ignition failure. Crew membres would come and replace the ignition box, allowing him to finish the race. Geoff Brabham and Tom Kendall managed to overtake Jeff Purner for second. The skies then opened up big, and the race would finally come to an end while Tom Kendall and Geoff Brabham spun off together, collecting Chip Robinson and Rocky Moran in the process. Geoff Brabham would get off and secure second place, while Jeff Purner overtook a struggling Tom Kendall who finished on fourth place. Wayne Taylor had maintained a consistent lead and would cross the finish line with a one minute marginal over Geoff Brabham. It was a well deserved victory, gained under horrendous conditions.
The Lights part of the race saw Parker Johnstone dominate the practice session, followed by the two Kudzu Buick driven by Jim Pace and Charles Morgan. The start of the race saw David Tennyson jump into second place behind Parker Johnstone. The latter would get a 13s advantage on his closest pursuers when his brakes let go. A 1m30s stop would be enough to fix the problem but rain fell shortly after, and he had to pit for rain tires. He rejoined under the yellow and then suffered from a reluctant windshield wiper. So David Tennyson inherited the lead early in the race. Running smoothly, he had to face a challenge from Charles Morgan. His engine was kind of overheating when the rain began to fall, which helped him to a certain extent. Charles Morgan Kudzu was suffering from its brakes. Jim Pace could have been a challenger, but suspension problems never allowed him to go higher than fifth place. Firmin Velez and Ken Knott took their Spice Buick to a dis appointions third place finish. David Tennyson worked his way to a well deserved victory in his Spice SE90P Ferrari.