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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 08:39

Not having kept in touch at all With FIA GT Championship racing I have just spent a few moments, open mouthed, watching the start of today's European-series round from Navarre in Spain. I vividly recall thin grids at World Championship level during the mid-70s recession, but here only eleven cars lined up on the starting grid. I then realised that one of those was the circuit safety car. So ten starters only...and from the TV coverage they outnumbered the spectators by some margin...

The thin-grid story of the 1926 French GP at Miramas, with only three starters, is well known...are we witnessing an FIA Championship reach its nadir, or perhaps there's still some way to fall? What has been the thinnest international Championship grid thus far - he asked idly, on a sunny Sunday morn...

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 27 May 2012 - 08:39.


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#2 VDP

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 08:49

Estoril, Premio international da costa dol sol in july 1977

9 cars practised and 8 at start and six cars classified. A race won by Alfa Romeo with a hat trick

Robert

#3 ensign14

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 08:51

Sometimes quality is more important than quantity...1958 Argentine GP only had 10 starters, one of whom broke down on the startline, but any race with Moss, Fangio, Behra and Hawthorn starting was surely worth the admission fee.

Then you look at the 1992 world sportscar championship. From its 11 starters, the Monza 500km had precisely one classified finisher...

#4 john ruston

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 09:46

At least a million to do a GT championship.

Lots of dosh for very little publicity.

Not like it used to be!

We saw the best days and now have the possibility of discussing (arguing)about it on places like this.

To much technology in these new cars.

More people want to do Historic's as pretend races but at the same time less people want to watch them do it. Only Goodwood and perhaps LMC bucks the trend

About 30,000 people paid for Monaco weekend.Less than last time.

#5 RCH

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 10:34

Can someone explain current GT racing to me? We have GT1, GT2, GT3, GT4, GT789 for all I know! What's the difference? I'm a huge fan of '60's GT cars and racing yet I find I have very little interest in GT racing now, and if I'm not interested then how can they expect the general public to be? Rant over.

#6 nicanary

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 10:55

Can someone explain current GT racing to me? We have GT1, GT2, GT3, GT4, GT789 for all I know! What's the difference? I'm a huge fan of '60's GT cars and racing yet I find I have very little interest in GT racing now, and if I'm not interested then how can they expect the general public to be? Rant over.


Although we're in danger of going off-thread here (sorry,Doug), I absolutely agree. I don't know either, but assume that it's all down to degree of modification from standard spec..The trouble is, when you offer such a variety of classes to prospective entrants, you run the risk of the whole shebang being thinly spread.

I've long held the opinion that Le Mans and similar races should be held for production cars, even if they are limited production models like the Pagani for example. Endurance races should be about speed AND reliability - it improves the breed. (mind you, those Audi diesels usually finish as far as I can make out). If you have slower cars, you have reduced safety concerns, and hopefully therefore larger grids can be allowed. The lower costs of preparation will entice more entrants.

Am I being naive?

#7 RTH

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 11:03

Good points all.
Grid sizes are directly proportional to the cost of competing and the ability of that group to pay for it .
I remember a competitors meeting in the winter of 89-90 in the Silverstone club house for potential competitors in the BRDC British Group C championship. It all sounded good we had a C2 Tiga the room was packed with 100 plus interested parties right at the end they annouced there would be an extra registration fee of £2500 ( which bought you nothing).

First round end March 1990 - 3 cars entered ! (and not us ) panic set in they cancelled the fee I think 6 cars started but the damage was done grids were barely double figures for all the rounds and it was cancelled for 1991

#8 taylov

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 11:06

.....Then you look at the 1992 world sportscar championship. From its 11 starters, the Monza 500km had precisely one classified finisher...


Things got worse as the 1990's progressed...the 1997 Donington FIA Sportscar Championship round attracted a reasonable 17 entries but only 9 turned up, of which the BRM P301 did not start (what a surprise).

Of the eight that made the grid, only five were Class A cars but with 2 Ferrari 333SP's, 2 Courages and the Joest Porsche WSC95 with drivers including Pescarolo, Ferte, Campos, Theys, Martini, Johansson and Policand it was a case of quality not quantity, and a classic Porsche-Ferrari battle was only resolved with just 4 laps to go when the Ferte/Campos 333SP ran out of fuel giving the win to the Porsche of Johansson/Martini.

Just goes to show that even a 2 hour race can be exciting with 5 competitive cars.

Tony

#9 jj2728

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 11:53

2005 USGP......6 starters

#10 arttidesco

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 12:14

I've long held the opinion that Le Mans and similar races should be held for production cars, even if they are limited production models like the Pagani for example. Endurance races should be about speed AND reliability - it improves the breed. (mind you, those Audi diesels usually finish as far as I can make out). If you have slower cars, you have reduced safety concerns, and hopefully therefore larger grids can be allowed. The lower costs of preparation will entice more entrants.

Am I being naive?


I'd go for a road registered in California production series at Le Mans that should eliminate some of the monkey business around what production means :up:

BOT it only takes two vehicles to make a race as any drag event will demonstrate. Is/was there not an FIA sanctioned Drag series if so then the run off for the final will surely have only had two contestants ? Sorry I called you Shirely, I'll get my coat :rolleyes:



#11 nicanary

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 12:19

I'd go for a road registered in California production series at Le Mans that should eliminate some of the monkey business around what production means :up:

BOT it only takes two vehicles to make a race as any drag event will demonstrate. Is/was there not an FIA sanctioned Drag series if so then the run off for the final will surely have only had two contestants ? Sorry I called you Shirely, I'll get my coat :rolleyes:



I'm pleased that you're Frank and Earnest about this.

#12 dwh43scale

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 14:14

Back to GT1 and Navarra - online coverage of yesterday's race was however good with some good midfield battles (even a bit of rubbin' is racin'). Didn't see the race today, but perhaps yesterdays exploits explain the small grid ...

#13 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 14:27

Unfortunately the rules are changed all the time , and there are so many classes so that all can win , add to that , a race at where(?) won't help ?

No the real pathetics are in modern F1 where you save tyres for the race by not doing all qualifying and the very worst is that the fastest is not ahead either it's for pole position or lower on the grid ! That simply is nuts IMO.

#14 Stephen W

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 14:46

1958 Argentinian GP - 10 starters (I suspect this was related to the cost of getting cars over there from Europe)

:wave:

#15 Rob G

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 14:49

1958 Argentinian GP - 10 starters (I suspect this was related to the cost of getting cars over there from Europe)

:wave:

It was more due to lack of cash on the organizers' behalf, so much so that it wasn't known until the eleventh hour whether the race would be held or not.

#16 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 20:22

Precisely. The most telling factor limiting that small entry was the extremely late announcement that the race really would take place...and really would count towards the World Championship competition.

DCN


#17 scheivlak

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 20:26

2005 USGP......6 starters

But it was 20 car grid.

#18 elansprint72

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 22:11

Can someone explain current GT racing to me? We have GT1, GT2, GT3, GT4, GT789 for all I know! What's the difference? I'm a huge fan of '60's GT cars and racing yet I find I have very little interest in GT racing now, and if I'm not interested then how can they expect the general public to be? Rant over.


I'm absolutely with you on this. Ever since I saw my first motor race, back in the 50s, it was GT racing for me (OK; I admit being mildly interested in F1 & F2 single seaters, very briefly... but only when the drivers hopped from those cars to GTs to Saloons at the same meeting). I can't quite get what is going on with GT789 either. As for GTS; well- that looks like an excuse to make brand-new cars which "pay homage" to the things we knew and loved back in the 60s/70s.

#19 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 23:17

Several series her in Oz have had poor numbers. The F3 cars this year are struggling for about 10.
In the past the big Sporties always suffered for numbers, field padded with clubbies and production sports.
And towards the end of the Tiny Tourers here they seldom ever had more than about 10. But really 2 Audis and 2 Bimmers were the only competitive cars.
The GpA cars were not much better at times either.
This is all at National Championship level.

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#20 Rob29

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 05:23

Precisely. The most telling factor limiting that small entry was the extremely late announcement that the race really would take place...and really would count towards the World Championship competition.

DCN

Seem to remember 3 more cars were stuck in BA docks due to a strike,but made it to libre race a week or two later.
Re.current GT racing problen seems to be to many championships-GT3 from Navarra,GT Open from Nurburgring on same day.Same problem with F3 which has about 5 european championships at last count.British,spanish,italian,german,FIA.+GP3

#21 john aston

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 06:42

It's a phenomenon I have experienced all too often. Last week we had a race for Saker(yeah, me too)sports cars at Croft. 45 minute race , and I think 7 starters and 3 finishers. An echo of last years Chevron GR8 (geddit ?) race with similar stats and a 20 second a lap gap between pole and last man on grid . One make series- forget it- with hon exceptions of TVR Tuscans and BMW M1s

#22 arttidesco

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 07:05

One make series- forget it- with hon exceptions of TVR Tuscans and BMW M1s


... and at the risk of sounding passé Caterhams.


#23 doc knutsen

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:43

Good points all.
Grid sizes are directly proportional to the cost of competing and the ability of that group to pay for it .
I remember a competitors meeting in the winter of 89-90 in the Silverstone club house for potential competitors in the BRDC British Group C championship. It all sounded good we had a C2 Tiga the room was packed with 100 plus interested parties right at the end they annouced there would be an extra registration fee of £2500 ( which bought you nothing).

First round end March 1990 - 3 cars entered ! (and not us ) panic set in they cancelled the fee I think 6 cars started but the damage was done grids were barely double figures for all the rounds and it was cancelled for 1991



That story triggers some less than pleasant memories. At the time, I, too, was planning to do the British Gr C series, in my self-built C2 car. However, I was turned down by the BRDC when they realised that my car had an 1800 BDT engine, the club stating that they did not wish cars with turbocharged engines to start in their series! It should be mentioned that the BDT was a much cheaper alternative than a DFV, and perfectly legal in C2 at the time. The club informed me that I would be welcome to enter, if I fitted a BDG engine...

So we did the Interserie instead. They welcomed us with open arms, even offering travel allowances for us. :well:

#24 Ralliart

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:57

1939 Yugoslavian Grand Prix - 5 car grid..two Auto Unions, two Mercedes and a Bugatti. 4 finished...4th 19 laps behind. Run on 3 September, at least there was a reason.

#25 RTH

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:15

That story triggers some less than pleasant memories. At the time, I, too, was planning to do the British Gr C series, in my self-built C2 car. However, I was turned down by the BRDC when they realised that my car had an 1800 BDT engine, the club stating that they did not wish cars with turbocharged engines to start in their series! It should be mentioned that the BDT was a much cheaper alternative than a DFV, and perfectly legal in C2 at the time. The club informed me that I would be welcome to enter, if I fitted a BDG engine...

So we did the Interserie instead. They welcomed us with open arms, even offering travel allowances for us. :well:


Interesting any photos Doc.

#26 doc knutsen

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:41

Interesting any photos Doc.


http://www.shag.no/c...ory/other-cars/

Story, pics and even a video teaser.

#27 RTH

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:06

Yes, looks nice.

#28 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 17:18

Can someone explain current GT racing to me? We have GT1, GT2, GT3, GT4, GT789 for all I know! What's the difference? I'm a huge fan of '60's GT cars and racing yet I find I have very little interest in GT racing now, and if I'm not interested then how can they expect the general public to be? Rant over.

The race that prompted Doug to start this thread was a round of the FIA GT1 World Championship. Except all the cars were GT3! The FIA GT3 European Championship was also at Navarra, and only had 11 cars on the entry list.

#29 D-Type

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 21:09

Sadly, this sorry situation is a spin off of the development of F1 as a money spinner to the detriment of the rest of motor sport

[rant deleted as we've all written it and read it before]

But is the trend irreversible?

#30 skyblueracer

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 21:26

this weekend at Silverstone the Blancpain series has 53 entries . So why does the world "GT1" or should that be GT3 pretending to be GT1 have so few entries?
I must agree that when most of us were younger we all understood what a GT car was ,and non of this GT1 ,GT2,GT3 or GT4 ,just look at the field at any historic GT race GTO , Cobra against MGB and Morgan just like the 60's,so why the confussion now.











































#31 scheivlak

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 21:38

Meanwhile, the recent Nurburgring 24 hours race had a 200+ cars entry http://www.nuerburgr...ennen.final.pdf and 166 starters http://www.nuerburgr...AL_COMBINED.pdf

So that's still possible if you just allow different categories.
The race was watched by 235.000 spectators BTW....

#32 TimRTC

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 21:51

It is a spiral. Series like the FIA GT1 lose viewing figures, so sponsorship dries up, so there are less racers and thus less people watch.

I saw some of the first race on Channel 4 and the production quality looked more like a minor UK club meet, certainly not a top FIA series. This equally does not attract viewers who these days expect sleekly produced television.

#33 Rob29

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 06:05

It is a spiral. Series like the FIA GT1 lose viewing figures, so sponsorship dries up, so there are less racers and thus less people watch.

I saw some of the first race on Channel 4 and the production quality looked more like a minor UK club meet, certainly not a top FIA series. This equally does not attract viewers who these days expect sleekly produced television.

When did you see this? Do not recall this only GT3 on Motors TV.May have been listed for ESPN or some such which I do not get,as extra subscription required-already paying sky £60 per month :rolleyes:

#34 Doug Nye

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 06:43

This received from Brian Redman:

Reference your question re least number of starters in an international race:

Keimola, Nordic Series, 1969

Promised 1,000 pounds starting money to race at Keimola by promotor, Curt Lincoln, the teams undertook the long journey to
be told: "sorry chaps - no money".

Pretty well en masse, everyone withdrew their entry and the race was held with THREE cars.

Curt's son-in-law, Jochen Rindt 1st.

Curt's driver, Leo Kinnunen 2nd

Both driving Porsche 908s

Third and last was Hans Laine in a Porsche 906. (Hans would die in a 908 in practice at the Nurburgring in 1970, I think.)

Kind regards, Brian

(Well thank you Brian - and the washing machine goes to...}

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 30 May 2012 - 06:44.


#35 BRG

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:21

this weekend at Silverstone the Blancpain series has 53 entries . So why does the world "GT1" or should that be GT3 pretending to be GT1 have so few entries?

Sports/GT racing only seems to work when not organised by the FIA.

#36 Richard Young

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 14:24

And now it appears possible that the FIA will take over the WRC. Tiny rally entries anyone ?

#37 TimRTC

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 17:54

When did you see this? Do not recall this only GT3 on Motors TV.May have been listed for ESPN or some such which I do not get,as extra subscription required-already paying sky £60 per month :rolleyes:


You might need to register:

http://www.channel4....hampionship/4od

Zolder looks a lot better, probably got more established camera stands, the first race seemed to be shot entirely from ground level making it very hard to follow, you can see some of this in the 'previously' clips at the start of the show.

C4 do rather bury this, like their other motorsports shows (ITV4 are rather guilty too, only showing the DTM on a Saturday morning for instance, while they replay the BTCC numerous times and their ITV player is very poor on the PS3).

#38 D-Type

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 19:42

And now it appears possible that the FIA will take over the WRC. Tiny rally entries anyone ?

Well, they killed the Safari when they forced a move from the traditional Easter date, when the army of volunteers who helped run it weren't at work.

#39 ryan86

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 23:27

WRC appears to have been dying for a decade.

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#40 Spaceframe

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 09:43

WRC appears to have been dying for a decade.

And with a quite decent TV coverage to document it  ;)

#41 Stephen W

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 09:27

The first Formula F100 race at Oulton Park on 14th March 1970 had just 4 entries - the grid was bulked up with Clubmens cars. Those that turned up were: Ray Allen, Peter Denham and Vivian Taulford-Cook (Royales) with Nick Cole (Nerus).

Then in 1971 at the F2 Mallory meeting on 14th March despite the programme carrying no less than 25 entirs only three cars turned up : Brendan McInerney (BT35), James Hunt (713) and Roger Williamson (713). Again the grid was bulked up this time with FF1600s.

:wave:

#42 Mallory Dan

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 10:18

Formula Talbot probably deserves a mention here, 3 cars at 1st race IIRC

#43 Chris Townsend

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 20:59

The first Formula F100 race at Oulton Park on 14th March 1970 had just 4 entries - the grid was bulked up with Clubmens cars. Those that turned up were: Ray Allen, Peter Denham and Vivian Taulford-Cook (Royales) with Nick Cole (Nerus).

Then in 1971 at the F2 Mallory meeting on 14th March despite the programme carrying no less than 25 entirs only three cars turned up : Brendan McInerney (BT35), James Hunt (713) and Roger Williamson (713). Again the grid was bulked up this time with FF1600s.

:wave:



A pedantic historian writes, four F3s showed up for that first race of the 1600cc formula at Mallory, which was I think actually run on the 13th March, but Colin Vandervell, who qualified second, failed to start with a broken oil pump on his BT35. Of the three that started only two scored points as Hunt was disqualified with a leaking air restrictor.

The worst 1971 grid, in F3, has to be at Oulton on 15 May. Three arrived [Sonny Eade, BT28; Chris O'Brien, BT35; John Bisignano March 713M] everyone else was at Zandvoort. Ran with the Motoring News GT Championship contenders. Bisignano failed to start, O'Brien's throttle cable broke after four laps, leaving Eade the only F3 finisher.

Edited by Chris Townsend, 02 June 2012 - 21:18.


#44 LittleChris

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 22:24

Chris O'Brien has posted here in the past ( but not been seen for 5 years or so )

#45 Stephen W

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 10:31

A pedantic historian writes, four F3s showed up for that first race of the 1600cc formula at Mallory, which was I think actually run on the 13th March, but Colin Vandervell, who qualified second, failed to start with a broken oil pump on his BT35. Of the three that started only two scored points as Hunt was disqualified with a leaking air restrictor.


Posted Image

Terribly sorry Chris, obviously Mallory put the wrong date on their programme.

:wave:

#46 Chris Townsend

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 12:58

Posted Image

Terribly sorry Chris, obviously Mallory put the wrong date on their programme.

:wave:


I was wondering how the BARC fitted in two heats of F2 plus a BOC FF race, plus the F3s - looking at my copy of that programme I see that the F3 race is event 5.
As the BOC round was scheduled as the preceding event 4 did the nine formula fords that had just finished their race just go straight to the assembly area to join up with the F3s? (And in the cases of Harness and Rouse skipping their celebrations for second and third)
The FFs that ran as "grid fillers" in F3 weren't non qualifiers - there weren't any, only 16 started the BOC race - they were people who'd finished in the top ten FF.
So, this suggests to me that the races ran in a different order, until I looked again at my programme I'd wondered if they'd run it on the Saturday afternoon.

#47 Stephen W

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 16:42

I was wondering how the BARC fitted in two heats of F2 plus a BOC FF race, plus the F3s - looking at my copy of that programme I see that the F3 race is event 5.
As the BOC round was scheduled as the preceding event 4 did the nine formula fords that had just finished their race just go straight to the assembly area to join up with the F3s? (And in the cases of Harness and Rouse skipping their celebrations for second and third)
The FFs that ran as "grid fillers" in F3 weren't non qualifiers - there weren't any, only 16 started the BOC race - they were people who'd finished in the top ten FF.
So, this suggests to me that the races ran in a different order, until I looked again at my programme I'd wondered if they'd run it on the Saturday afternoon.


If memory serves I think there was a short delay between the FF race and the F3/FF race to allow for (a) the prize presentation and (b) the FF cars being preppped for the next race. It was quiet dull when the final race started!


#48 Barry Boor

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 14:09

I have to admit to toal confusion over these G.T. categories these days. However, as a complete opposite to the pathetic grids theme of this thread, I was watching on-line (t.v. has packed up again) on Sunday afternoon, the Blanpain (white bread???) G.T. endurance race from a soggy Silverstone and I do believe there were 50 starters or thereabouts.

So that series is hardly struggling.

#49 LittleChris

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 15:34

Had visions of the french equivalent of Mothers Pride sponsoring GT racing but Blancpain are apparently a watch maker Barry. :lol:

#50 Barry Boor

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 15:46

Not any watch that I can afford, I'll be bound!