Open main menu

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 two-race season in 2006.

Grand Prix Masters
GPMasterslogo.jpg
The Grand Prix Masters logo.
CategorySingle seaters
CountryInternational
Inaugural season2005
Folded2006
Drivers18
Engine suppliersCosworth
Last Drivers' championUnited States Eddie Cheever
Last Constructors' championUnited States Team GPM

Contents

ConceptEdit

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.

CarEdit

 
2005 GP Masters Car

All participants raced 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 was 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 trackEdit

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.

ChampionsEdit

Season Champion Team Champion
2005   Nigel Mansell   Team Altech
2006   Eddie Cheever   Team GPM

ControversyEdit

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 raceEdit

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 resultEdit

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

2006 calendarEdit

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 resultsEdit

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

2007 calendarEdit

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

BankruptcyEdit

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 liquidation[6] 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 statisticsEdit

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

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Delta Motorsport - About Delta Archived 2008-10-06 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Mecachrome powers the Masters Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Video on YouTube
  4. ^ You Can Go Home Again - AutoWeek Magazine
  5. ^ http://www.gpmasters.com/news_050506.htm[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ autosport.com - GP Masters News: Winding up order served on GPM
  7. ^ autosport.com - GP Masters News: Masters series officially wound up
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2008-08-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit