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Pacific Grand Prix (the team that is!)


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#1 D.M.N.

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 14:07

I was just doing some internet searches on F1, when it shockened me that I came across, what looks like the old official Pacific Grand Prix website! The copyright notice at the bottom says:

"© Copyright 1995, Pacific Grand Prix Ltd., All Rights Reserved.
Last Modified: 1 October 1995"

Which seems to make it just about fully official... that'd mean their last update was right after the 1995 European Grand Prix (although I do see some 1995 Pacific GP press releases on there). as it has quite a few press releases on there. For a team of that size, I'm quite surprised they actually had an official website!

There isn't a huge amount on there, as the website was made 14 years ago, but I thought I'd share the find with you anyway!;)

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#2 PeterElleray

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 14:26

well , considering that we weren't on the internet at the time, had no email addresses, communicated by fax and phone (if the bill had been paid), that does come as soMEthing of a surprise...

probably produced by Mark Gallagher as a separate entity, he was the commercial manager.

Peter (ex Pacific design team member - of 3...)

#3 Leigh Trevail

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 14:49

Around that time I was hauling out of the Jeyes factory which was almost next door to Pacific Racing . One day I had my young nephew with me and we called in to ask if they had any promo posters or decals that he could have. The girl on the desk looked embarrassed and apologised when she said that they had none whatsoever, she took his address and promised to send him some when they came in, needless to say nothing ever arrived!

#4 PeterElleray

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 14:59

Originally posted by Leigh Trevail
Around that time I was hauling out of the Jeyes factory which was almost next door to Pacific Racing . One day I had my young nephew with me and we called in to ask if they had any promo posters or decals that he could have. The girl on the desk looked embarrassed and apologised when she said that they had none whatsoever, she took his address and promised to send him some when they came in, needless to say nothing ever arrived!


if it was after oct. 1995 they didnt have the next months staff wages either...

if you were on the same site then you could have had a free tour without anyone knowing. One day mid summer 1995 we decided to open the back door to the unit to let some air up into the drawing office which was at the top of the back stairs, in the roof, and like a greenhouse. anyway, life was as usual frantic, one thing led to another, attention wandered and then, finally, mid october, when the autumn was closing in, and we werent getting any warmer when the heating was turned on - we remembered opening the door in july....

#5 fines

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 21:18

Great story, Peter! :D

#6 Rob

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 21:41

Is this some sort of record for website that has been abandoned for the longest whilst still being accessible? :)

Always had a soft spot for Pacific, hailing from my part of the world. I've still got a model PR02 on my shelf.

#7 PeterElleray

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 22:04

Originally posted by Rob
Is this some sort of record for website that has been abandoned for the longest whilst still being accessible? :)

Always had a soft spot for Pacific, hailing from my part of the world. I've still got a model PR02 on my shelf.


Yes - whilst its quite inspiring at times to be working for such a small operation, in your heart of hearts you know that you're never going to get anywhere. For me it was a foot back in the door of Formula 1 after several years away, and a last opportunity to travel to the Grand Prix - it didnt seem to have changed a great deal since i was last a regular in 1986, i think it came on apace in the latter half og the '90's.

Probably the last Grand Prix car to be drawn entirely on drawing boards, by hand, with pencils and mistakes..

Peter

#8 Rob

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 22:14

Originally posted by PeterElleray
Probably the last Grand Prix car to be drawn entirely on drawing boards, by hand, with pencils and mistakes..


For the budget and resources you had, you did an absolutely cracking job. I miss having the small teams around.

#9 PeterElleray

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 22:56

Originally posted by Rob


For the budget and resources you had, you did an absolutely cracking job. I miss having the small teams around.


Thanks - well, i have to say that Frank (Coppuck) had a good solid understanding of what it would take to do a decent mid '90's F1 car, Peter Weston brought a lot of recent Lotus know how and auto gearbox expertise, whilst the guy who had the least opportunity to show his stuff was the aerodynamicist Dave Watson, who had no wind tunnel programme to speak of after the initial studies. I did the suspension, rear layout and lots of bits and bobs, and travelled to some of the races.

Ian Dawson, who now runs the lmp diesel programme locally has always been a good team manager, Humphrey Corbett joined from Simtek mid season as an experienced race engineer, and there were other good people around. Jerry Bond, who later worked on the Bentleys was chief mechanic, and had years of f1 experience going back to the early 1970's.

there was a healthy lack of ego and pretention and a decent team spirit over the winter of 94/95.

I think the cracks were begining to show before mid season '95, the budget had effectively run dry and frustration was begining to show. we should have seen the writing on the wall in july but when the end came in novemebr it seemed to catch most of us by surprise. too close to it i 'spose.

still, im glad i was involved.

peter

#10 Leigh Trevail

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 07:13

I always had a lot of respect for Keith Wiggins. When it became obvious that Pacific were never going to achieve much in F1 some people locally started to give him a bit of flack. To me getting a car onto the grid of a Grand Prix is a small victory in itself and like Rob I have the models to remind me of that achievement. I believe that I am right in saying that after the collapse of the team; Keith lived in a Transit campervan parked in a friends driveway, he had put everything he had into the racing.

#11 ivandjj

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:41

Originally posted by PeterElleray

I think the cracks were begining to show before mid season '95, the budget had effectively run dry and frustration was begining to show. we should have seen the writing on the wall in july but when the end came in novemebr it seemed to catch most of us by surprise. too close to it i 'spose.


there were stories at the time that pacific pay drivers didnt actually pay.

montermini was mentioned as having paid almost nothing. deletraz was mentioned too. dont know about lavaggi.

only one who paid was oliver gaving who didnt get to race at adelaide after all.

all this is from newspapers and my memory. wondering how much of it is true? and would the pay drivers money change anything regarding 96'?

#12 PeterElleray

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:48

Originally posted by ivandjj


there were stories at the time that pacific pay drivers didnt actually pay.

montermini was mentioned as having paid almost nothing. deletraz was mentioned too. dont know about lavaggi.

only one who paid was oliver gaving who didnt get to race at adelaide after all.

all this is from newspapers and my memory. wondering how much of it is true? and would the pay drivers money change anything regarding 96'?


not sure of the specifics, we heard the same stories - and also that a number of the sponsors didnt pay up aswell - that came from a prime source. i think the budget effectively ran out before the first race....

#13 PeterElleray

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:50

Originally posted by Leigh Trevail
I Keith lived in a Transit campervan parked in a friends driveway, he had put everything he had into the racing.


that must have been just after he moved out of the gents washroom in the factory.

#14 D.M.N.

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:57

It was so good to see the small teams with not very much at all still managing to bring the car home and get decent results. It was a miracle that Pacific got to 1995 considering what happened in 1994 with the team.

I presume it was a similar story with the Forti and Simtek teams?

#15 brabhamBT19

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 12:20

werent they officialy called Pacific Team Lotus?

Was that merger burden or advantage? I ask that because Lotus were in debts. Did pacific took over the debts?

#16 PeterElleray

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 12:32

Originally posted by brabhamBT19
werent they officialy called Pacific Team Lotus?

Was that merger burden or advantage? I ask that because Lotus were in debts. Did pacific took over the debts?


there was no merger. that was simply an 'accomodation' that was intended to bring the kudos of the Lotus name to Pacific, and help it seek funding, and , at the same time, keep the Lotus name in Formula One for a little longer in an attempt by help David Hunt (who visited occassionally), who had bought the assets, relaunch.

A few Lotus personnel did join Pacific, but you would expect that when a race team closes and there is another one just down the A11. Most of the rest of the Lotus old boys ended up at rtn, which is where i returned to myself when pacific inverted itself..

peter

#17 Rob

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 12:40

Originally posted by D.M.N.
It was so good to see the small teams with not very much at all still managing to bring the car home and get decent results. It was a miracle that Pacific got to 1995 considering what happened in 1994 with the team.

I presume it was a similar story with the Forti and Simtek teams?


Forti had Parmalat and Marlboro money in 1995 so it's hardly comparable. Even then they were dead last, behind the other small teams.

Simtek had a car that looked promising, but only got as far as Monaco before going under.

Deletraz definitely defaulted on payment. There's a quote from Keith Wiggins saying something along the lines of "On talent alone we're not willing to keep him."

#18 Gary C

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 19:05

Peter, may I ask what you are up to today?

#19 PeterElleray

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 19:52

Originally posted by Gary C
Peter, may I ask what you are up to today?


You may Gary!

Very little is the answer - not too many LMP projects out there at the moment that need a designer as opposed to engineer, and i think you get stereotyped as one or the other - in reality i'm comfortable doing either and engineered the embassy car post LM last year - and also as either a 'sports car man' or a 'single seater man' - which is something i cant do much about. The Bentley experience has definately been a double edged sword in that respect

Well thats the sales pitch over..

Now, i am being 'encouraged' to do some writing, and there are a couple of book ideas floating around, one of which will probably amuse the TNF regulars, but it is original, i think! Maybe more on that soon.

Thansk for asking btw and i will make sure i finally catch up with you at one of the hysterics this season.

rgds

Peter

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#20 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 22:44

Peter,

One of my "mysteries" on the Where Are They Now? site is a chap called Paul Brown , designer with Pacific, who also worked for Zakspeed - I've tried, without success, to find a bit more about him - for example, his career since Pacific - his biographical details, age/date of birth/where he was from etc.

Unfortunately Paul Brown is a very common name which doesn't help the ol' Google check. Would you have any more details/recollections that might help (or even know of any way to contact him?)

I see he isn't mentioned in the website so he must have left long before the end presumably?

I'm glad the Pacific story is being brought back - with family in Norfolk, I often got the EDP press cuttings from them about the team & always hoped for the best with them, especially with Gachot, but alas the cuttings were not of great success. :( I still have the Belmondo Pacific model car in my collection - I liked that paint scheme of grey/silver...... :D

#21 PeterElleray

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 09:43

Richie,

i know Paul from his time at Zakspeed and afterwards, we are both lancastrians which at the time was not all that common in Formula One, and whilst i seem to remember he did have a connection with pacific at one time, he wasnt involved in any of the events we've discussed here during 1994-95. we spent all our time designing then running the pr02 - the blue car - the ex Reynard f1/f3000 car from 1994 had no time devoted to it at all, just an entry ticket.

and sorry, lost touch with paul many years ago.

peter

#22 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 18:15

Pacific had some team clothing done by a small firm here in Cumbria called RRS racewear. I think they went under before they were all delivered and I've got a Pacific GP jacket in the cupboard - no doubt a collectors item!

#23 PeterElleray

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 18:32

Originally posted by Derwent Motorsport
Pacific had some team clothing done by a small firm here in Cumbria called RRS racewear. I think they went under before they were all delivered and I've got a Pacific GP jacket in the cupboard - no doubt a collectors item!


yes that smells about right - how far from thetford would you be ?;) .

(no need to answer, i know the lake district, and the journey from norfolk and back, very,very well!)

#24 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 19:54

Originally posted by PeterElleray
Richie,

i know Paul from his time at Zakspeed and afterwards, we are both lancastrians which at the time was not all that common in Formula One, and whilst i seem to remember he did have a connection with pacific at one time, he wasnt involved in any of the events we've discussed here during 1994-95. we spent all our time designing then running the pr02 - the blue car - the ex Reynard f1/f3000 car from 1994 had no time devoted to it at all, just an entry ticket.

and sorry, lost touch with paul many years ago.

peter


Thanks Peter - every little helps... :up:

#25 Faustus

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 20:15

Peter, may I ask what you are up to today?


Looks like I arrived at this thread quite late.
Peter, weren't you with RML in 2006 or 2007? If so, I think you worked with a good mate of mine, Andy Ferguson.

#26 PeterElleray

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 23:57

Looks like I arrived at this thread quite late.
Peter, weren't you with RML in 2006 or 2007? If so, I think you worked with a good mate of mine, Andy Ferguson.


hi - no, very briefly in 2004, between the bentley and radical projects. in 2005 and 2006 i was doing the radical lmp. don't remember your friend im afraid.

peter


#27 Rob

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 21:19

I was amazed today when I stumbled upon this song on Youtube, a tribute to the Pacific Grand Prix team!

It's in French, but still amusing. :)