At Charlotte, Al Holbert and Jim Trueman had a very hard fought battle with the Group 44 Jaguar XJR5. At the end of the race, an overheating engine slowed him down but he nursed his car to the finish, earning a well deserved victory. Second at the end was the Porsche powered March 82G driven by Kenper Miller and David Cowart. Wayne Baker and Jim Mullen took the GTO victory aboard their now usual Porsche 934.
At Lime Rock, the Jaguar took its revenge and won the race. Second was the Porsche 935K3 driven by Bob Akin and John O'steen. Third and first in the GTO class was the BMW M1 driven by Diego Montoya who did a fine job beating the Porsche 934 driven by Wayne Baker and Jim Mullen. The GTU class was won by the Datsun 280ZX driven by Bob Leitzinger and Logan Blackburn. They got rid of the Mazda contingent led by Jim Downing and John Maffucci.
At Mid Ohio, Al Holbert did not take part to the race as he was successfully running the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving one of the works Porsche 956s. However, the Holbert Racing March 83G Porsche was entered and driven by Bobby Rahal, Doc Bundy and Jim Trueman. The rain shod event was won by the trio. Second again was the reliable Porsche 935K3 driven by Bob Akin and John O'steen.
Copyright Mark Windecker
They finished slightly ahead of the GTO winning car, which appeared to be the Chevrolet Camaro driven by Billy Hagan and Gene Felton. Second was a Porsche 934, but it was the Electrodyne backed car driven by Chester Vincentz and Dave White who was the best Stratagraph opponent.
Mazda took its revenge by taking the four top spots in GTU. Joe Varde and Jack Baldwin drove the Western Airlines car to a convincing win over Jim Downing and John Maffucci.
The next race was the special Paul Revere 250Miler run at Daytona on the 4th of July. None of the top contenders had been willing to take part in this event. Preston Henn had entered his Porsche 935L which was driven by Hurley Haywood and AJ Foyt. Starting from the pole, the pair won the race over Marty Hinze and Don Whittington, who drove a March 83G Chevrolet. Billy Hagan and Gene Felton again swept the GTO class with their Chevrolet Camaro. Second was a car that was run for the first time in 1983, it was the T and R Racing Ford Mustang driven by Tico Almeida and Ernesto Soto. Jim Downing drove his Mazda RX7 solo to capture the GTU class win, just ahead of Roger Mandeville in a similar car. A very eclectic field was to be seen for this particular race, and you could see the Mazda RX2 driven by Skip Grenier, which was a very outdated car, as well as a Ferrari 365GTB4 entered by Loren and Deborah McGee, or a BMW 2002 for Richard Burr.
Al Holbert returned to the series as a winner at Brainerd. Starting again from the pole, he easily won over Dave Cowart and Kemper Miller who drove A March 83G now fitted with a Chevrolet engine. Hurley Haywood drove the Bayside Disposal Lola T600. The car was Porsche powered but he could not run more than one lap in the race. Bob Tullius had one of his rare dnf, but it proved to be very critical ar the end of the season for the Championship. The car needed to be sorted out, apparently. Don Devendorf and Tony Adamowicz were back in winning form on this very fast track. They outpowered the opposition in their Datsun 280ZX Turbo. Fomfor was second on his reliable BMW M1. It was again a Mazda win in GTU, with Roger Mandeville and Amos Johnson taking their first success of the season. Jim Downing and John Maffucci took second and Joe Varde was partnered by Jack Baldwin to take third.
At Sears Point, under the sunny California weather, Al Holbert and Jim Trueman had a new success while Bob Tullius and Bill Adam again did not capture any point, with a fifteenth place finish. Two new Lola T600s were entered by Conte Racing and John Kalagian. This very first race was quite a success as the two cars made it two and three. John Morton was co-driven by Bob Lobenberg in the Conte Racing car taking a second place overall while John Kalagian and Rex Ramsey were third.
Don Devendorf and Tony Adamowicz were fifth overall and again easily won the GTO class at the wheel of their Datsun 280ZX Turbo. The car was a real eye catcher as well as a crowd pleaser. However, the Racing Beat Mazda RX7, driven by Pete Halsmer and Rick Knoop took second, which was quite fantastic for a three hundred hp shy car. Wayne Baker and Jim Mullen were third on their Porsche 934, which was a difficult car to drive on such a track. The GTU class remained a Mazda domination with Joe Varde and Jack Baldwin taking another victory over Roger Mandeville and Amos Johnson.
At Portland, it was quite the same story with Al Holbert soloing to a new win. Once again, John Morton and Bob Lobenberg were second but the third place finisher was quite outstanding. It was the Electramotive Datsun 280ZX Turbo which was utterly dominating the GTO field. Diego Montoya and Fomfor were again second with the latter's car. Roger Mandeville and Amos Johnson took another GTU victory but the second place car was not used to this finishing position. Indeed, it was a Porsche 924 Carrera driven by Bob Bergstrom and Tom Winters which broke the Mazda string, while Bob Leitzinger took third in his own Datsun 280ZX.
Mosport was a big change in the series with a great battle between between the two main contenders for the GTP crown. This was to last for the two thirds of the race when it seemed that the Holbert Racing March 83G Porsche would once again win the odds. However, it looked like it would not be their day, as the car would stop with an engine problem, losing the race to the Jaguar, which was consistently driven by Bob Tullius and Bill Adam. They finished less than one lap ahead of Kenper Miller and David Cowart on their March 83G Chevrolet. Third was a true feat accomplished by the Mazda RX7 driven by Rick Knoop and John Morton. They had a real dream race of their own and they easily captured the GTO class win. The Oftedahl Pontiac Firebird driven by Craig Allen and George Schwarz were surprisingly second overall, and the two Canadians enjoyed their race very much at their home track. Roger Mandeville and Amos Johnson took a new GTU victory over Jim Downing and John Maffucci, for a new Mazda sweep. The race proved quite desastrous for Hurley Haywood, who started with Peter Lockhart on the Executone March 83G Chevrolet. Peter Lockhart had a very furious start and destroyed his car on lap three, misjudging his tyres temperature. Then, Hurley Haywood jumped later in the Preston Henn's Porsche 935K3, but he crashed it heavily on lap 196, badly breaking his leg in the process. The season was over for him.
Courtesy Tony Adamowicz and John Blakemore
The next race was to bring excitement to the IMSA fans as Ford unveiled its new GTP racer. The Ford Mustang GTP was a new and fantastic car. Best of all, it was wild looking and front-engined. Powered by a 1,7L Turbo engine, the car would bring a new blood to the series. Once again, it was Al Holbert who managed to win the pole but Klaus Ludwig, who was co-driven by Tim Coconis, was on the second spot. The race was a big fight the two cars until the March 83G Porsche faltered. At that point, the Ford Mustang GTP took back the lead of the race, and never relinquished it!
The Ford Mustang GTP won its first ever race! It looked like the new racer would become'a real threat to the usual IMSA contenders, but they had to confirm their new found domination. It was alas not to be. Second overall was your dream GTO car as the Datsun 280ZX Turbo finished two laps down the overall winner. The car was ahead of every other running GTP car. Don Devendorf and Tony Adamowicz did a fantastic job on their powerful racer. Second in class was the Pontiac Firebird driven by Rob Dyson and Ken Slagle who had their best race ever.
The GTU class was quite as usual with Roger Mandeville and Amos Johnson winning again over Jim Downing and John Maffucci, with Joe Varde and Jeff Kline taking third. The Jaguar XJR5 did not enter race. Was it to prepare the next race? One may wonder, but Bill Adam departed from Group 44. He was to be replaced by Doc Bundy. The new pair entered and won the Pocono event, while Al Holbert and Jim Trueman had a new bad race, retiring from the race on lap forty nine. The race featured for the first time the three makes March-Jaguar-Ford and every could hope for great racing action. In fact, most of the major conrenders dropped from the race in the early stages, and the Jaguar finally had a race of it all. Gianpiero Moretti and Sarel van der Merwe finally had their best race of the year at the wheel of the Moby Dick Porsche 935L. They were three laps down the winers. Third overall was the winning GTO car, and it was the Stratagraph Chevrolet Camaro driven by the Billy Hagan-Gene Felton duo. The Electramotive Datsun 280ZX Turbo was not entered, and was never to be seen again on the IMSA circuit, to everyone's dismay. Jim Downing and John Maffucci broke Roger Mandeville's string of wins and took the victory over Tom Winters and Bob Bergstrom, who drove their Porsche 924 Carrera.
The Daytona Finale would end up the season, and Al Holbert, who had already clinched the Championship, won again. The Jaguar was not entered, but Ford had one Mustang GTP for Klaus Ludwig and Bobby Rahal. Once again, the car proved fast but it was plagued with reliability problems, shedding an accessory drive belt. Bob Akin had entered a brand new car, dubbed Porsche 935-84. It was a completely new car. While looking like a Moby Dick replica, it was unique, and proved very fast for its first race ever. Starting third, Bob Akin and John O'steen finally took a very encouraging second place overall. The car would be a regular 1984 entrant. The race featured a lot of new cars, which were supposed to make for the next season field. Amongst these new cars, a new March 84G Buick powered, entered by Pegasus Racing, was driven by Mark Speer and Ken Madren to a sixth place overall, but it was four laps down the winning car. Gianpiero Moretti had a former 935J he shared with Sarel van der Merwe, and he finally took a seventh place. Bob Garretson had re-converted his Porsche 934 to its former look, which was the 935K3. Wayne Baker, Jim Mullen and Tom Blackaller did not finish the race.
Copyright Mike Smith
Fomfor did have abother great race and won the GTO class t the wheel of his own BMW M1. John Carusso and Phil Currin took second, which was an excellent result, on the BASF backed car. The GTU class was won by the Porsche 924 Carrera driven by John Schneider and Bruce Leven, and it was the first win for such a car in this class. Roger Mandeville and Amos Johnson took a second place, with Deborah Gregg and Elliot Forbes Robinson finishing third, also driving a Porsche 924 Carrera. The shape of things to come? Al Holbert had a new IMSA crown and proved he was better as ever. The Jaguar was its best opponent and Bob Tullius finally ended up second in points, probably losing one of his best chance to win the title. Things would get tougher in 1984 with the arrival of the US version of the Porsche 956, the 962, and many other new GTP cars. Wayne Baker was the GTO champion, with Jim Mullen taking second. Roger Mandeville was the GTU Champion after winning most of the end of season races. Jim Downing lost the Championship in the final races to his long-time opponent, but it would continue in 1984.