Silver Haired Racers

Sun, 6 November 2005, 07:03

In just over five days, at nine o’clock on November 11th to be precise, fourteen names from the history of Formula One will once again, step into the cockpit, to compete at a circuit as famous in the history of the sport as they are, Kyalami in South Africa.
The first race in the Grand Prix Masters series will take place on Sunday 12th, with some famous names of days gone by, racing each other in identical cars.

The purpose built single seaters have been designed and built by Delta Motorsport in the UK, and are powered by a 3.5-litre Nicholson McLaren V8. Engine builder John Nicholson, who built and raced his own F1 Lyncar in 1974, has taken the ex Indycar engine and produced a unit capable of producing in excess of 600bhp. The cars weigh in at 650kg (excluding the driver) and feature a six-speed paddle shift gearbox but all other electronic driver aids have been kept to a minimum to allow the “Grand Prix Masters” to race on as level a playing field as possible.

It will be no easy task for the likes of Alan Jones, Nigel Mansell and Hans Stuck Jr, with speeds in the region of 200mph and cornering forces of around 2.5g, but even though few have raced competitively in the last five years, their very competitive spirit will have seen all of them visiting gyms in preparation, and once strapped in not one of them will be keen to be slowest, and last! Stefan Johansson, had a huge spin in testing at Silverstone, but this just reinforces just how hard ALL of the drivers will be trying once the lights flash green on Sunday.

Most of the major “set up” areas are restricted; in an effort to ensure that it’s the drivers that matter, and there is no doubt it will be a fascinating race to watch, with three World Champions amongst their number, and several who were more than capable of becoming champion in the right car.

This has to one very much worth watching.

Drivers confirmed for Kyalami are Rene Arnoux (France), Eddie Cheever (USA), Christian Danner (Germany), Andrea de Cesaris (Italy), Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazil), Alan Jones (Australia), Stefan Johansson (Sweden), Jan Lammers (Netherlands), Jacques Laffite (France), Nigel Mansell (UK), Hans Stuck (Germany), Riccardo Patrese (Italy), Patrick Tambay (France) and Derek Warwick (UK).

Steve Holter
Daily F1 News

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