Grand Prix Masters
The Grand Prix Masters logo.
|Last Drivers' champion||23x15px Eddie Cheever|
|Last Constructors' champion||23x15px Team GPM|
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.
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.
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, 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 Script error: No such module "convert". torque at 7,800 rpm.
In 2007 cars were to have been powered by a Mecachrome 90-degree V8 4.0 litre. It developed Script error: No such module "convert". and revved to in excess of 9500 rpm.
Gearbox operation is fully manual, and controlled by a contemporary paddle shift arrangement.
Grand Prix Masters promoters boasted that the 650 kg cars reach Script error: No such module "convert".. 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.
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. De Cesaris was fastest, Danner slowest whilst Tambay crashed.
|2005||23x15px Nigel Mansell||23x15px Team Altech|
|2006||23x15px Eddie Cheever||23x15px Team GPM|
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.
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.
|1||23x15px Nigel Mansell||Team Altech||50:55.154|
|2||23x15px Emerson Fittipaldi||Team LG||50:55.562||+ 0.408|
|3||23x15px Riccardo Patrese||Team Goldpfeil||51:15.816||+ 20.662|
|4||23x15px Andrea de Cesaris||Team Unipart||51:16.854||+ 21.700|
|5||23x15px Derek Warwick||Team Lixxus||51:17.007||+ 21.853|
|6||23x15px Hans Joachim Stuck||Team Phantom||51:18.355||+ 23.201|
|7||23x15px Christian Danner||Team Unipart||51:19.272||+ 24.118|
|8||23x15px Eddie Cheever||Team Altech||51:27.359||+ 32.205|
|9||23x15px Jan Lammers||Team LG||51:27.932||+ 32.778|
|10||23x15px Eliseo Salazar||Team Altech||51:38.573||+ 43.419|
|11||23x15px Patrick Tambay||Team Lixxus||52:06.738||+ 1'11.584|
|12||23x15px René Arnoux||Team Golden Palace||52:07.890||+ 1'12.736|
|13||23x15px Jacques Laffite||Team GMF||43:44.471||17 laps (DNF)|
|14||23x15px Stefan Johansson||Team Phantom||3:33.040||28 laps (DNF)|
In January 2006 GP Masters announced it would hold events in the following venues:
- 23x15px Losail International Circuit (Qatar), April 29
- 23x15px Autodromo Nazionale Monza (Italy), May 5 (cancelled)
- 23x15px Silverstone Circuit (United Kingdom), August 13
- 23x15px Kyalami (South Africa), November 12 (cancelled)
The race scheduled for Monza was cancelled due to noise limits. The Kyalami event would later be cancelled as well.
|1||23x15px Nigel Mansell||Team Altech||52:06.000|
|2||23x15px Christian Danner||Team LUK||52:06.562||+ 0.562|
|3||23x15px Eric van de Poele||Team Golden People||52:07.174||+ 1.174|
|4||23x15px Eddie Cheever||Team Altech||52:09.016||+ 3.016|
|5||23x15px Derek Warwick||Team Lixxus||52:09.420||+ 3.420|
|6||23x15px Pierluigi Martini||Team Global||52:11.710||+ 5.710|
|7||23x15px Jan Lammers||Team LG||52:13.044||+ 7.044|
|8||23x15px Stefan Johansson||Team Altech||52:14.339||+ 8.339|
|9||23x15px René Arnoux||Team Golden People||52:15.068||+ 9.068|
|10||23x15px Riccardo Patrese||Team INA||52:15.423||+ 9.423|
|11||23x15px Patrick Tambay||Team Lixxus||52:21.506||+ 15.506|
|12||23x15px Emerson Fittipaldi||Team LG||52:35.788||+ 29.788|
|13||23x15px Andrea de Cesaris||Team INA||33:29.621||8 laps|
|14||23x15px Eliseo Salazar||Team Phantom||52:22.127||11 laps|
|15||23x15px Hans Joachim Stuck||Team Phantom||9:28.882||19 laps|
|1||23x15px Eddie Cheever||Team GPM||1:01:06.625|
|2||23x15px Eric van de Poele||Team Golden Palace||1:01:25.302||+ 16.677|
|3||23x15px Christian Danner||Team LUK||1:01:45.180||+ 36.555|
|4||23x15px Hans Joachim Stuck||Team Phantom||1:02:02.139||+ 53.514|
|5||23x15px Alex Caffi||Team Altech||1:02:11.648||+ 1:03.623|
|6||23x15px Riccardo Patrese||Team INA||1:02:15.492||+ 1:06.867|
|7||23x15px Pierluigi Martini||Team Motorola||1:02:54.980||+ 1:46.355|
|8||23x15px Emerson Fittipaldi||Team Altech||1:01:13.217||+ 1 Lap|
|9||23x15px René Arnoux||Team Golden People||1:01:55.250||+ 2 Laps|
|10||23x15px Andrea de Cesaris||Team INA||1:01:34.298||+ 2 Laps|
|11||23x15px Patrick Tambay||Team Lixxus||1:01:49.162||+ 3 Laps|
|12||23x15px Stefan Johansson||Team Virgin Radio/BP||55:22.246||+ 4 Laps|
|13||23x15px Jan Lammers||Team LG||34:44.025||13 laps|
|14||23x15px Eliseo Salazar||Team Phantom||19:30.140||20 laps|
|15||23x15px Derek Warwick||Team Lixxus||5:39.035||26 laps|
|16||23x15px Nigel Mansell||Team Altech||31:44.608||26 Laps|
Three races would be held in 2007, all cancelled due to organiser bankruptcy (see below section):
- 23x15px Bucharest Ring (Romania), May 20
- 23x15px Kyalami (South Africa), September 23
- 23x15px Losail International Circuit (Qatar), November 17
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 due to non-payment of invoices. Following a hearing on 28 November 2007, the Grand Prix Masters series was officially wound up.
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.
|Driver||Age in 2005/2006||GP starts||GPM starts||GPM wins||Podiums|
|23x15px Nigel Mansell||52||187||3||2||2|
|23x15px Emerson Fittipaldi||61||149||3||0||1|
|23x15px Riccardo Patrese||53||256||3||0||1|
|23x15px Andrea de Cesaris||48||214||3||0||0|
|23x15px Derek Warwick||53||147||3||0||0|
|23x15px Hans Joachim Stuck||57||93||3||0||0|
|23x15px Christian Danner||49||47||3||0||2|
|23x15px Eddie Cheever||49||143||3||1||1|
|23x15px Jan Lammers||51||41||3||0||0|
|23x15px Eliseo Salazar||53||37||3||0||0|
|23x15px Patrick Tambay||58||123||3||0||0|
|23x15px René Arnoux||59||165||3||0||0|
|23x15px Stefan Johansson||51||103||3||0||0|
|23x15px Eric van de Poele||46||29||2||0||2|
|23x15px Pierluigi Martini||46||124||2||0||0|
|23x15px Alex Caffi||43||75||1||0||0|
|23x15px Jacques Laffite||64||180||1||0||0|
|23x15px Alan Jones||61||117||0||0||0|
- Delta Motorsport - About Delta
- Mecachrome powers the Masters
- Video on YouTube
- You Can Go Home Again - AutoWeek Magazine
- autosport.com - GP Masters News: Winding up order served on GPM
- autosport.com - GP Masters News: Masters series officially wound up