Group C/GTP Report, Paul Ricard - August 19-20

Jim Graham’s Group C/GTP cars were supporting the FIA GTs at Paul Ricard last weekend, with a 30 minute ‘sprint’ race followed by a one hour (optional two driver) 60 minute race on Sunday. A chicane on the Mistral made lap time comparisons with the GTs irrelevant.

But Jim Graham points out that “a modern GT race car, 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!”

Chris Randall in the Nissan NTP1 GTP led the timesheets in qualifying, with a 2:05.090, followed by Paul Whight’s Aston Martin AMR1 and Philipp Brunn in Henry Pearman’s Skoal Bandit Porsche 956 (above).

But Whight’s AMR1 had throttle problems in race 1, leaving Chris Randall to lead home Brunn in the green and white Porsche: it was the first win for Randall in this series.

Jim Mullen and his Spice just managed to hold off Klaus Frers in his Porsche 962 for third, these two exchanging places several times.

Meanwhile, Neil Clark in his ‘new’ C1 Spice chopped 14 seconds off his qualifying time as he moved smoothly up to fifth, past Oddie (Argo GTP), Rini (Jaguar XJR12D) and Nick Randall (C1 Spice).

Rini and Oddie had a fine old battle for seventh, with Jim Loftis in ninth in his lovely Mazda 757

1 88 Chris RANDALL Nissan NTP1 GTP 31:28.665 15
2 33 Philipp BRUNN Porsche 956B 31:32.405 15
3 12 Jim MULLEN Spice GTP 33:28.074 15
4 39 Klaus FRERS Porsche 962 33:29.280 15
5 23 Neil CLARK Spice C1 DFR 32:33.398 14
6 80 Nick RANDALL Spice SE90 - DFR 32:55.118 14
7 32 Nick RINI Jaguar XJR12D 33:20.922 14
8 28 Richard ODDIE Argo Chevrolet JM20C 33:22.493 14
9 203 Jim LOFTIS Mazda 757 32:23.450 12
Not Classified
18 Paul WHIGHT Aston Martin AMR-1 4:16.540 2
Fastest Lap
88 Chris RANDALL Nissan NTP1 GTP 2:02.838 15

Nick Randall did it again in the one hour race, well clear of Mauro Pane and Justin Law in Nick Rini’s Jaguar XJR12, with Jim Mullen third again (his brakes fading by the end).

Klaus Frers was fourth again, his race including a change to the rear wing settings mid race.

Sometime British GT racer Ian Stinton joined Neil Clark in the #23 Spice, but gearbox problems intervened, while it was turbo problems that afflicted Henry Pearman’s 962 once he got in, although the problem was sorted out and the car did finish.

1 88 Randall Nissan NTP1 GTP 1:01:56.560 28
2 32 Pane/Law Jaguar XJR12D 1:02:38.723 28
3 12 Mullen Spice GTP 1:02:33.353 27
4 39 Frers Porsche 962 1:01:59.349 25
5 23 Clark/Stinton Spice C1 DFR 1:04:11.654 20
6 33 Pearman/Brunn Porsche 956B 1:02:16.089 19
7 80 Randall Spice SE90 - DFR 12:18.139 5
8 18 Whight Aston Martin AMR-1 0
9 28 Oddie/Hepworth Argo Chevrolet JM20C 0
Fastest Lap
88 Randall Nissan NTP1 GTP 2:03.277 11

Did Chris Randall's success have anything to do with his 'co-driver'? This little orange bear certainly seems to think so: "Apologies for my long stay of absence but I have been busy helping Phil Stott Motorsport develop the Nissan GTP prototype. It's been a long haul but my work here is now done and I will soon be back home. The fruits of my labour this year include 2 X 3rd 1 X 2nd and now 2 X 1st after getting the car really well hooked up at Paul Ricard. The team didn't want to let me go but it's about time I brought my good luck and driving talent to pastures new."


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