Grand Prix Masters

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Grand Prix Masters
GPMasterslogo.jpg
The Grand Prix Masters logo.
Category Single seaters
Country International
Inaugural season 2005
Folded 2006
Drivers 18
Engine suppliers Cosworth
Last Drivers' champion United States Eddie Cheever
Last Constructors' champion United States Team GPM
Official website gpmasters.com

Grand Prix Masters was a one-make motor racing series featuring retired Formula One drivers. The inaugural (and sole 2005) event, at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in South Africa, took place on 11–13 November, but the series folded after a 2 race season in 2006.

Concept

Grand Prix Masters was modeled on the lucrative seniors tours of golf and tennis. In order to compete, drivers must:

  • Have retired from all forms of open wheel racing
  • Have competed in F1 for two complete seasons
  • Have passed a medical examination
  • Be more than 45 years (later 40 in 2006) on 1 January for the season to follow, and have retired from F1 for two complete seasons.

Car

2005 GP Masters Car

All participants race identical open wheel cars, which are based on the 2000 Reynard 2KI Champ Car. The chassis was built by English constructor Delta Motorsport,1 and was powered by a naturally aspirated, 3.5-litre, 80-degree V8 engine produced by Nicholson McLaren. The engine was based on the Cosworth XB engines previously used in IndyCar racing, and according to the series' organisers, it produced more than 650bhp at 10,400 rpm with over 320 lb·ft (434 N·m) torque at 7,800 rpm.

In 2007 cars were to have been powered by a Mecachrome 90-degree V8 4.0 litre. It developed 600 bhp (450 kW) and revved to in excess of 9500 rpm.2

Gearbox operation is fully manual, and controlled by a contemporary paddle shift arrangement.

Grand Prix Masters promoters boasted that the 650 kg cars reach 200 mph (320 km/h). Claiming that the combination of stable aerodynamics and considerably simpler technology (than in use in modern Formula One) better demonstrate driver skill and promoted overtaking, electronic "drivers' aids" (such as traction control, power steering and ABS) were absent, and brakes were made of steel rather than carbon (as in many contemporary single seater race cars) to increase braking distances.

On track

The Grand Prix Masters car first ran in late-September 2005 in the hands of Delta Motorsport Operations Director Simon Dowson. He reported a successful shakedown, despite appearing to sit very high in the car, his helmet appearing to sit level with the top of the roll-over hoop.

In mid-October 2005, Nigel Mansell and René Arnoux tested the car at the Pembrey Circuit in South Wales. 26 October saw the first multi-car test for the series, with Mansell, Andrea de Cesaris, Stefan Johansson, Derek Warwick, Alex Caffi, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Patrick Tambay and Christian Danner running at the Silverstone Circuit in England.3 De Cesaris was fastest, Danner slowest whilst Tambay crashed.

Champions

Season Champion Team Champion
2005 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Team Altech
2006 United States Eddie Cheever United States Team GPM

Controversy

There were questions surrounding the fitness of the former Formula One stars who ended up competing in the series. Participant Christian Danner questioned the ability of 1980 World Champion Alan Jones and former GP winner Patrick Tambay in particular, given the rapid expansion of these drivers' waistlines since retiring from racing. Jones hit back claiming the only time Danner had seen a Grand Prix podium was when he passed it on the way to the lavatory. Jones' lack of fitness at the first GP Masters event might suggest Danner's assessment had some merit.4

2005: First race

The first event took place at Kyalami in South Africa on 13 November 2005. Nigel Mansell took pole then won after battling hard with Emerson Fittipaldi. Riccardo Patrese was third. Andrea de Cesaris finished fourth after a storming drive, where he pushed past Derek Warwick. Stefan Johansson spun out early on. Jacques Laffite retired with damaged right-front suspension after colliding with René Arnoux. As predicted, Alan Jones proved a disappointment. In practice he was up to ten seconds off the pace of Mansell, before pulling out of the race –- ostensibly due to neck injury. He was replaced by Eliseo Salazar.

2005 result

South Africa Kyalami (South Africa), November 13
Rank Driver Team Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Team Altech 50:55.154
2 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Team LG 50:55.562 + 0.408
3 Italy Riccardo Patrese Team Goldpfeil 51:15.816 + 20.662
4 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Team Unipart 51:16.854 + 21.700
5 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Team Lixxus 51:17.007 + 21.853
6 Germany Hans Joachim Stuck Team Phantom 51:18.355 + 23.201
7 Germany Christian Danner Team Unipart 51:19.272 + 24.118
8 United States Eddie Cheever Team Altech 51:27.359 + 32.205
9 Netherlands Jan Lammers Team LG 51:27.932 + 32.778
10 Chile Eliseo Salazar Team Altech 51:38.573 + 43.419
11 France Patrick Tambay Team Lixxus 52:06.738 + 1'11.584
12 France René Arnoux Team Golden Palace 52:07.890 + 1'12.736
13 France Jacques Laffite Team GMF 43:44.471 17 laps (DNF)
14 Sweden Stefan Johansson Team Phantom 3:33.040 28 laps (DNF)

2006 calendar

In January 2006 GP Masters announced it would hold events in the following venues:

The race scheduled for Monza was cancelled due to noise limits.5 The Kyalami event would later be cancelled as well.

2006 results

Qatar Losail International Circuit (Qatar), April 29
Rank Driver Team Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Team Altech 52:06.000
2 Germany Christian Danner Team LUK 52:06.562 + 0.562
3 Belgium Eric van de Poele Team Golden People 52:07.174 + 1.174
4 United States Eddie Cheever Team Altech 52:09.016 + 3.016
5 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Team Lixxus 52:09.420 + 3.420
6 Italy Pierluigi Martini Team Global 52:11.710 + 5.710
7 Netherlands Jan Lammers Team LG 52:13.044 + 7.044
8 Sweden Stefan Johansson Team Altech 52:14.339 + 8.339
9 France René Arnoux Team Golden People 52:15.068 + 9.068
10 Italy Riccardo Patrese Team INA 52:15.423 + 9.423
11 France Patrick Tambay Team Lixxus 52:21.506 + 15.506
12 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Team LG 52:35.788 + 29.788
13 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Team INA 33:29.621 8 laps
14 Chile Eliseo Salazar Team Phantom 52:22.127 11 laps
15 Germany Hans Joachim Stuck Team Phantom 9:28.882 19 laps
Eddie Cheever won the 2006 race at Silverstone.
United Kingdom Silverstone Circuit (United Kingdom), August 13
Rank Driver Team Time Gap
1 United States Eddie Cheever Team GPM 1:01:06.625
2 Belgium Eric van de Poele Team Golden Palace 1:01:25.302 + 16.677
3 Germany Christian Danner Team LUK 1:01:45.180 + 36.555
4 Germany Hans Joachim Stuck Team Phantom 1:02:02.139 + 53.514
5 Italy Alex Caffi Team Altech 1:02:11.648 + 1:03.623
6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Team INA 1:02:15.492 + 1:06.867
7 Italy Pierluigi Martini Team Motorola 1:02:54.980 + 1:46.355
8 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Team Altech 1:01:13.217 + 1 Lap
9 France René Arnoux Team Golden People 1:01:55.250 + 2 Laps
10 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Team INA 1:01:34.298 + 2 Laps
11 France Patrick Tambay Team Lixxus 1:01:49.162 + 3 Laps
12 Sweden Stefan Johansson Team Virgin Radio/BP 55:22.246 + 4 Laps
13 Netherlands Jan Lammers Team LG 34:44.025 13 laps
14 Chile Eliseo Salazar Team Phantom 19:30.140 20 laps
15 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Team Lixxus 5:39.035 26 laps
16 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Team Altech 31:44.608 26 Laps

2007 calendar

Three races would be held in 2007, all cancelled due to organiser bankruptcy (see below section):

Bankruptcy

On 18 September 2007, Delta Motorsport, supplier of the GP Masters chassis, announced they were filing a petition with the British High Court to have the GP Masters Operating company placed in liquidation6 due to non-payment of invoices. Following a hearing on 28 November 2007, the Grand Prix Masters series was officially wound up.7

GP Masters should not be confused with the Masters Series, owned by Ron Maiden, which runs various historic race series.

In the first quarter of 2008 Delta Motorsport stated that they intend to re-launch the series under the name F1 Masters using the original car that they manufactured for the GP Masters series.8

Driver statistics

Driver Age in 2005/2006 GP starts GPM starts GPM wins Podiums
United Kingdom Nigel Mansell 52 187 3 2 2
Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 61 149 3 0 1
Italy Riccardo Patrese 53 256 3 0 1
Italy Andrea de Cesaris 48 214 3 0 0
United Kingdom Derek Warwick 53 147 3 0 0
Germany Hans Joachim Stuck 57 93 3 0 0
Germany Christian Danner 49 47 3 0 2
United States Eddie Cheever 49 143 3 1 1
Netherlands Jan Lammers 51 41 3 0 0
Chile Eliseo Salazar 53 37 3 0 0
France Patrick Tambay 58 123 3 0 0
France René Arnoux 59 165 3 0 0
Sweden Stefan Johansson 51 103 3 0 0
Belgium Eric van de Poele 46 29 2 0 2
Italy Pierluigi Martini 46 124 2 0 0
Italy Alex Caffi 43 75 1 0 0
France Jacques Laffite 64 180 1 0 0
Australia Alan Jones 61 117 0 0 0

References

External links








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