Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1982-1992: the years Formula One took a back seat.

From 1982 to 1992, the 24 Hours of Le Mans drew spectator crowds of more then 600,000 every spring to the French countryside; more then any other motorsports event in history. During this period, Le Mans grew and even surpassed Formula One in viewer interest.

The reasons were simple, these were the days of the mighty Group C. Days when it wasn't Ferrari or McLaren that dominated the news headlines, instead it was teams like Porsche, Lancia, Jaguar, Mercedes and even Madzda that took the cake. Teams like these were building machines that pounded the asphault of the Mulsanne at speeds of over 250 mph.

These were arguably the greatest days of racing, the golden years. The era saw more technological advancement then any other period. Cars like the Lancia LC2, Porsche 956, and the Jaguar XJR's were driven by real men. Men of the likes of Jackie Ickx and Derek Bell. Team like this were captained by the greatest of minds, like that of the late Tom Walkinshaw. These minds were pioneers of the sport, designing cars that even today, stand as engineering marvels. Without them modern day Formula One would be nothing.

Today, all that remains of the Group C are relics sitting in museums and private collections. Even still though, simply a whisper of the phrase "Group C" is enough to send shivers down the spine of any true race fan.

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