Pacific Racing PDF Print E-mail

Pacific Racing

Active 1994 and 1995
Base:Great Britain
Grand Prix entries33
World Championships0
Wins 0
Pole Positions 0
Fastest race laps 0
Points 0
First entry1994 Brazilian Grand Prix
Last entry1995 Australian Grand Prix

Pacific Racing was a Formula One team from Great Britain. The team took part in two full seasons, 1994 and 1995, entering 33 Grands Prix.

Origins and Success in Lower Formulae
The team was founded by former mechanic Keith Wiggins in 1984, to race in the European Formula Ford Championship, with Dutch driver Harald Huysman and Marlboro backing. Huysman won both the European and Benelux titles. On Huysman's advice, Pacific entered Bertrand Gachot in British Formula Ford with a Reynard in 1985. The following year, Gachot, also part of the Marlboro World Championship team, won the Formula Ford 2000 crown for Pacific. Marlboro stayed with Wiggins' team in FF2000 in 1987, winning the British title with J.J. Lehto.

In 1988, Pacific entered the British F3 Championship with Lehto and a Reynard car, and won the title on their first attempt. Wiggins did not want to stay in F3 and moved up to Formula 3000, once more in association with Reynard and Marlboro. However, Lehto and Eddie Irvine's season was disappointing and the tobacco company's support moved to rival DAMS in 1990. The team returned to form in 1991, taking Christian Fittipaldi to the F3000 crown.

Formula One
Having won in every junior category it had participated in, Wiggins was determined that Pacific Racing would make the step up to F1 in 1993, in the process renaming the team as Pacific Grand Prix. Lacking an engineering staff of his own and conscious of how limited his timescale was, Wiggins once more contacted Reynard to design and build the PR01 chassis. Although this seemed like a sensible decision given that Reynard had recently scrapped their own F1 project after several years of research and development, Reynard had already laid off their F1 design team and sold their engineering data and designs (still largely in the form of paper drawings) to Ligier. The small PR01 design team were forced to start a new design almost completely from scratch.

Unfortunately, a recession and resulting failure of investors to pay up postponed their 1993 entry and they were unable to enter F1 until 1994. The year was a disaster. Paul Belmondo and former Pacific driver Bertrand Gachot started the season as drivers, with Oliver Gavin testing. The PR01, designed for the 1993 season, had undergone none of the vital wind tunnel testing required to refine the car's aerodynamics, had seen only a few dozen miles of track testing and its Ilmor 3.5 L V10 engine was underpowered by 1994 standards. That season the team did not finish a single race and from the French Grand Prix onwards, neither car qualified. They scored a total of zero points that season.

By 1995, having merged with the dying Team Lotus, things looked up. The obsolete Ilmor engines had been replaced by Ford ED V8s and a whole host of new sponsors were brought in. Good news also came when the PR02 was guaranteed a start each race, with Larrousse and Lotus disappearing from the entry lists and only Forti coming in. Belmondo had been replaced with Andrea Montermini. Having had no luck in the first half of the season, team partner Gachot vacated his seat in mid-1995, making way for two pay-drivers, Giovanni Lavaggi and, later, Jean-Denis Deletraz. Gachot later returned after the money of the two pay-drivers dried up, with Pacfic's best finishes that season being 8th in the German and Australian Grand Prix.

Withdrawal and Aftermath
At the end of the 1995 season, the team withdrew from Formula One and Wiggins went back to Formula 3000, resurrecting Pacific Racing, but without the same success of previous seasons, the team quit at the end of the 1996 season. In 1997, Wiggins also attempted to restart BRM with a program for the 24 Hours of Le Mans supported by Nissan, once more with weak results, and Wiggins closed the operation in October.

Wiggins joined Lola and helped the constructor reclaim ground in the Champ Car World Series. With a foothold in the United States, the mechanic-turned-team manager joined up with the Herdez brewery and in 2000 acquired Bettenhausen Motorsports, renaming it HVM Racing, which he still runs today.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 December 2006 09:59

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