Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Encouraging Signs for Global Sports Cars Future

But we've been down this road before, so what will really happen? Especially now that the Dreaded COVID 19 Pandemic has totally Upset Ye Applecart!

Once again, Here's another story that's been stuck in Ye Driftwood upon thou Isle 'O Nofendersville, Ah-waitin' it's turn to be Dried-off 'N Placed upon the No Fenders story Rotisserie Yuck-Yuck-Yuck!

Ah, thou power of the Well Timed Press Release, Eh? As I found myself more excited about the prospects of a single, truly Unified Global Sports Cars Prototypes category over this year's Paltry season opening 24 Hours of Daytona weekend's entrants, Wayback at the end of January, remember that Y'all? Like Seriously, only eight top flight DPi entries, Huh?

As I Don't think Yuhs can correlate anything out of these numbers, (below) for which I was momentarily drawn to the year Y2k, nee 2000 like a Moth to a Flame, Ouch! Regarding another languishing No Fenders tome regarding the long forgotten mighty BMW V-12 Prototypes.

Primarily due to a Cheeky comment Sky Sports F1 Commentator; Err
Pundit Johnny Herbert made last year during a Friday's Formula 1 Free Practice session somewheres 'bout how the V-12's were never very reliable still sticks in My Craw. Like I Dunno, did 'Ol Johnny forget 'bout Thee McLaren MP4/6 of 1991? Yuhs know the car Ayrton Senna won his third and final F1 World Championship with...

 Thus for Humour, I've previously looked up the 2000 24 Hours of Daytona race results Wayback on January 24th, thou Eve of this year's Rolex 24. Before All Hell with my Gory winDOUGHS 10 Arse-symulation attempts began! Which I won't bother Y'all 'bout again. Other than may be One Bloody Day in the Future I'll actually be able to use the Gory Machine! But I Digress...

And perhaps it's just Mwah, but I actually see a silver lining from the Corona Viruses COVID 19 Pandemic's major interuption of Motor Racing, specifically for Sports Car racing. As it serves as a catalyst to see Sports Cars re-invent itself, as the Sport is in need of major change Globally.

Focusing primarily upon North American Sports Car racing, which see's the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship under new leadership, with former Mazda Motorsports Boss John Doonan at the Helm as newly anointed IMSA President. How will the sport transition to a rosier future?

Alas, Thanks solely to Herbert's Cheeky comment, my cursory examination of that year's 38th running of Thee 24 Hours of Daytona under the auspices of Grand Am, as the New series Inaugural event, when Sports Cars began their own rendition of The Split with the rival American Le Mans Series. (ALMS)

Hence, the 2000 Rolex 24 at Daytona's race results revealed a Monstrous field 'O 78 racing cars taking thou Green Flag; Aye Karumba! As Thar were a total of 21 Prototypes entered in the SRSR Class, whatever Thee Hell that was?

Which appears to be from the very Sketchy info I can discern on Ye Intrawoods', the Grand American Road Racing Championship was initially comprised of five classes, including Sports Racing I & Sports Racing II for its premiere Prototypes categories. Which Arse-sumedly is what SR stood for before thou introduction of the de Riggour Daytona Prototypes (DP) designation. While the other three classes were for the various GT Tintop Saloons' categories.

This two-tier Prototypes category which I've now discovered was based off the long defunct FIA Sportscar Championship Rules, for which SRI Open Top Prototype Chassis were allowed a maximum displacement of 6,000cc Naturally Aspirated or 4,000cc "Blown," aka Turbocharged lumps', (engines) a la what raced at Le Mans. Whereas the SRII chassis were limited to six cylinder engines and 3,000cc and contested "lower" events.

Hence, we can see the worrying trend currently affecting Sports Cars Globally, when these 78 Starters made up more than Double the amount of this year's 58th Rolex 24's field of 38 entries!

Although to be Fair to Sports Car racing, All Motor Racing series have seen marked Declines in Thar numbers of entrants. Like Gory Hell, RASSCAR' only allows 40 entrants vs. it's long traditional number of 43...

As it's Prototypes ranks Included three of those gorgeous la Scuderia normally aspirated V-12 Ferrari 333 SP's, with Doran Racing & Risi Competizione running 333 SP 98 models.

not to mention those wondrous Whittington Brothers were in the race, with Thar lead driver being some Field Chap, presumably Ted Field of past Interscope Racing fame; El Correctomundo? Albeit the car classified DNF, 67th Overall was a Lola B98/10 Ford entered by Intersport Racing instead, which retired from engine maladies.

Alas, I've since learned that lead Driver was actually John Field, owner of Intersport Racing, which primarily competed in the rival American Le Mans Series (ALMS) instead. Although it appears the team had two entries at Daytona, both retiring, P66-67 Overall respectively. 

As I was somewhat Cornfuzed, knowing that the two Whittington Brothers who won the 1979 24 Heurs du Mans had both been sent to the Gray Bar Motel for being involved in Drug Smuggling during IMSA's "Checkered" past...

As the #37 Intersport racing Prototype was actually driven by John Field, Dale & Don Whittington. As Don was released from Jail after serving an 18-month prison sentence. While Dale is the youngest of the three Whittington Brothers, who Died at the relatively young age of 43, just three years after this Rolex 24 outing.

Yet the 38th running of the Rolex 24 was won by the Dodge Viper GTS/R of Team Oreca Racing, piloted by Olivier Beretta, Karl Wendlinger and Dominique Dupuy.

With the Corvette Racing's C5.R with Ronnie Fellows, Justin Bell and Chris Kneifel  at its controls as the crème filling of a French Dodge Viper Sandwich!

Or should that be le Oreca ménage à trois Wee-Wee! Which included a Bloke by the name of David Donohue at the keyboard of the third place Viper.

On a side note, if the name Kneifel sounds familiar to Yuhs? It's because he went on to serve as CART's (IndyCar) Chief Steward between 2001-04. And scored his best career result in '01, winning the 24 Hours of Daytona with Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Frank Freon for Corvette Racing...

As the Overall Podium was a Clean Sweep by "Second Rung" Grand Touring Over (GTO) Class competitors with the first Prototype, the Dyson Racing Riley & Scott Mk III/Lincoln finishing fourth overall.

Yeah, that's right, Lincoln Mercury briefly ran in motor racing under the Auspices 'of its parent company FoMoCo, i.e.; Ford Motor Company.

Although perhaps this No Fenders tome is gonna Drive Y'all to Drinkin' when Singing 'bout that 'Ol Hot Rod Lincoln; Hya!

For the second half of this Zany No Fenders Double Header story, see; RETRO: Reliving Another forgotten Golden Age of Sports Car racing...