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2006 Race Reports

Paul Ricard, France, 19 - 20 August 2006

  Click here to see more photos from the event  
  A 'first' for Group C/GTP Racing as a support race for the FIA GT Championship at the Paul Ricard HTTT Supercar 500 race weekend.

As you will see from the photos, and also when talking to the drivers, this fabulous circuit and its infrastructure presented us all with an amazing experience, both physically and visually!

This famous circuit, scene of many memorable F1 races in the past, has since been developed into the safest and most technically well supported race track in the world, and until very recently, has been used exclusively for testing by many of the biggest names in motor sport.

The weekend was split into four track 'sessions' with 30 minute free practice and qualifying periods, a 30 minute 'sprint' race followed by a two driver (optional) 60 minute race on Sunday. Unlike the FIA GT racers, we were using the full circuit with the chicane in the 'middle' of the Mistral straight, so a direct comparison with lap times could not be made (!).

But, looking at the sector times, and taking into account the different main straight configurations, it is fascinating to consider that a modern GT race car; Corvette CR6, Maserati MC12 GT1 and Aston Martin DBR9, with a professional driver, is now capable of approaching the times of a 15-20 year old prototype, with an amateur pilot, such is the progression of 'road/race car' development. Conversely, we would be way off the pace of a modern prototype such as the Audi R8, such has been the pace of all race car development, so it is all relative!!

FREE practice was very much an experimental session with drivers trying to get to grips with the flat nature of the track coupled with the multi coloured run-off areas, and the need to pay great respect to the technical nature of some of the tightening radius corners! The Jaguar XJR12D of Nick Rini, Mauro Pane and Justin Law came to a halt with electrical problems but, with a combination of skill and some good fortune, Don Law's team got the voltage for the throttle pot perfect first time and the car then ran like a dream and the most glorious V12 audio!

Qualifying was just too short for the multi driver cars, as was demonstrated by many in the races but top of the pile was Chris Randall in the Nissan NTP1 GTP in 2:05.090 (105.075mph), followed by Paul Whight in the fabulous Aston Martin AMR1 (sonorous too!) and Philipp Brunn in Henry Pearman's Skoal Bandit Porsche 956.
Race 1
  Race 1 was 'dented' at the front by the demise of Paul Whight's Aston with throttle problems, leaving Chris Randall an unfettered run to the flag and a maiden win for the Nissan after three long years developing the Nissan by Phil Stott's team for father Nick. A super result with fastest lap in 2:02.834 at an average of 106.38mph.

Philipp Brunn 'drove the socks' off the Porsche 956 with a time of 2:03.715 to take second and Jim Mullen just managed to hold off Klaus Frers in his 'rejuvenated' Porsche 962 (Phil Stott's team having worked wonders for Frers car since Spa), after a fabulous 'dice' that saw them swap places several times, Mullen just having the edge in top line speed to take third place.

Meanwhile, Neil Clark in his 'new' C1 Spice was warming to the theme, having taken 14 seconds off his qualifying time and raced past Oddie (Argo GTP), Rini (Jaguar XJR12D) and Nick Randall (C1 Spice) to finish a superb 5th . Behind him, Nick Randall made sure of a fine 6th but a battle royal commenced between Rini and Oddie as they used all their '700bhp' and skills to get to the flag first. Oddie had got past Rini once and considered a final inside move towards the end but 'old shoulders' stood the test of time and Rini took an excellent 7th.

Jim Loftis from Washington DC, in his rotary Mazda 757, could only marvel at the 'others' power but take another Class 4 win in his first season with Group C/GTP Racing.
Overall result:- Chris Randall
Philipp Brunn
Jim Mullen
Class Winners:- GTP1 - Chris Randall
GTP2 - Philipp Brunn
GTP4 - Jim Loftis
Race 2
Race 2 saw another fine drive and the second win for Chris Randall (2:03.277) and Mauro Pane and Justin Law in Nick Rini's Jaguar XJR12 (Law 2:03.355) fought hard against the clock to take second with Jim Mullen taking an excellent third place in his Spice Chevrolet GTP followed by Klaus Frers, Porsche 962 (with a change to the rear wing settings mid race) who could not quite match Mullen, despite the latter's problems later in the race with his brakes starting to 'fade'.

Unfortunately, soon after Ian Stinton had taken over from Neil Clark in the C1 Spice, he had gearbox problems but not before posting a stunning 2:06.689. These two guys should make a great new pairing in 2007!

Brunn had again driven brilliantly in the Porsche 956 to post a 2:06.546 but on changeover to owner Henry Pearman, a hitch with the turbos left Henry in the pits for several laps, but they got going again to take the Class 2 win.
Overall result:- Chris Randall
Mauro Pane/Justin Law
Jim Mullen - Spice GTP
Class Winners:- GTP1 - Chris Randall
GTP2 - Philipp Brunn/Henry Pearman
  We would particularly like to thank Stephane Ratel, Patricia Kiefer, Anne Bernard, Jürgen Barth and Birgit Spaltmann for all their help and good humour over the weekend.  
  We would also like to thank the many officials of the meeting who helped us too, including:-  
Steward of the meeting Alain MAHE
Steward trainee Gérard NEVEU
Clerk of the Course Jacky LAMONTAGNE
Daniel BLAS
Competitors relations Patricia DESMOTS
Manuella PRADES
Secretary of the meeting Lidwine DE GEA
Chief Scrutineer Michel RAMU
Chief Medical Officer Jean DUBY
Chief Timekeeper Mike SALMON
Press Officer Frédéric ESPINOS

It was very difficult for the multi-driver cars to concentrate on best times as they could only get 3 laps each! Bearing in mind this is a new circuit to all our drivers and is fast. The race lap times tumbled when people had some real time in the car to improve.
1 88 GTP1 C Randall Nissan NTP1 GTP 2:05.090 7   168.12
2 18 GTP1 Whight Aston Martin AMR-1 2:07.138 10 2.048 165.42
3 33 GTP2 Brunn Porsche 956B 2:08.300 12 3.210 163.92
4 32 GTP1 Pane Jaguar XJR12D 2:09.205 11 4.115 162.77
5 33 GTP2 Pearman Porsche 956B 2:11.460 12 6.370 159.98
6 32 GTP1 Law Jaguar XJR12D 2:12.194 11 7.104 159.09
7 39 GTP1 Frers Porsche 962 2:12.302 13 7.212 158.96
8 12 GTP1 Mullen Spice GTP 2:12.784 13 7.694 158.38
9 23 GTP3 Stinton Spice C1 DFR 2:15.264 9 10.174 155.48
10 28 GTP1 Hepworth Argo Chevrolet JM20C 2:20.608 11 15.518 149.57
11 80 GTP1 N Randall Spice SE90 - DFR 2:22.311 13 17.221 147.78
12 28 GTP1 Oddie Argo Chevrolet JM20C 2:27.421 11 22.331 142.66
13 23 GTP3 Clark Spice C1 DFR 2:28.488 9 23.398 141.64
14 203 GTP4 Loftis Mazda 757 2:34.977 11 29.887 135.70
15 32 GTP1 Rini Jaguar XJR12D 2:36.615 11 21.525 134.29

  Race 1  
1 88 GTP1 Chris Randall Nissan NTP1 GTP 31:28.665 15   167.03
2 33 GTP2 Philipp Brunn Porsche 956B 31:32.405 15 3.740 166.70
3 12 GTP1 Jim Mullen Spice GTP 33:28.074 15 1:59.409 157.10
4 39 GTP1 Klaus Frers Porsche 962 33:29.280 15 2:00.615 157.00
5 23 GTP3 Neil Clark Spice C1 DFR 32:33.398 14 1 LAP 150.73
6 80 GTP1 Nick Randall Spice SE90 - DFR 32:55.118 14 1 LAP 149.07
7 32 GTP1 Nick Rini Jaguar XJR12D 33:20.922 14 1 LAP 147.15
8 28 GTP1 Richard Oddie Argo Chevrolet JM20C 33:22.493 14 1 LAP 147.03
9 203 GTP4 Jim Loftis Mazda 757 32:23.450 12 3 LAPS 129.85
Not Classified
  18 GTP1 Paul Whight Aston Martin AMR-1 4:16.540 2 D.N.F. 163.96
Fastest Lap
  88 GTP1 Chris Randall Nissan NTP1 GTP 2:02.838 15 106.38mph 171.21

  Race 2  
1 88 GTP1 C Randall Nissan NTP1 GTP 1:01:56.560 28   158.44
2 32 GTP1 Pane/Law Jaguar XJR12D 1:02:38.723 28 42.163 156.66
3 12 GTP1 Mullen Spice GTP 1:02:33.353 27 1 LAP 151.28
4 39 GTP1 Frers Porsche 962 1:01:59.349 25 3 LAPS 141.36
5 23 GTP3 Clark/Stinton Spice C1 DFR 1:04:11.654 20 8 LAPS 109.20
6 33 GTP2 Pearman/Brunn Porsche 956B 1:02:16.089 19 9 LAPS 106.95
7 80 GTP1 N Randall Spice SE90 - DFR 12:18.139 5 23 LAPS 142.46
8 18 GTP1 Whight Aston Martin AMR-1   0 28 LAPS N/A
9 28 GTP1 Oddie/Hepworth Argo Chevrolet JM20C   0 28 LAPS N/A
Fastest Lap
  88 GTP1 C Randall Nissan NTP1 GTP 2:03.277 11 106.00mph 170.60

  GTP1 Group C1, C1a & GTP cars 1988 - 1993  
  GTP2 Group C1 & GTP cars 1985 - 1987 + all earlier Porsche 956/962s  
  GTP3 Group C2 & Camel Lights cars 1988 - 1993  
  GTP4 Pre 1985 Group C, C1 & GTP cars, Pre 1988 Group C2, Camel Lights & C Junior cars  
  GTP5 Interesting sports cars from a similar period.  

Click here to see more photos from the event

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