It was the last 1982 race, and John Paul Jr had dominated the IMSA season as no one ever did before. He had clinched the championship but wanted to win that race for one good reason : he could become the first American driver to win the Porsche Cup. His task would by no means be easy, with Bob Wollek at the wheel of a John Fitzpatrick entered Porsche 935L also willing to clinch this title. A big fight was to be watched by 20000 spectators. Some new cars would also show up, adding some spice to the show. A nice weekend seemed to be put up by the organisers of the event. Jim Trueman entered a brand new March 83G Chevrolet, a car that was available for purchase right now to the customers. Ken Murray co-drove him. The car would prove very efficient right off the box. Kenper Miller and David Cowart had a 82G BMW powered. They knew that it would be a very difficult task against more powerful cars, but who knows. John Gunn had brought in his Phoenix JG1 Chevrolet, a prototype he built himself. Ricardo Londono would be his co-driver. Much more ambitious was Ted Field's operation. He had entered a pair of Lola T600s, which were both Chevrolet powered. One of those, however, was sporting a brand new V6 turbo built by Ryan Falconer. Very powerful, it should do very well in the hands of Danny Ongais and Ted Field. The other car relied on the traditional V8 6,0L normally aspirated. Another interesting and somewhat competitive entry was Bob Tullius' Jaguar XJR5 which was V12 powered. The 5,3L was still shy on power, but the car was still under development. It should do well in 1983. He was partnered by Bill Adam. The Grid Plaza S1 was another English prototype, which was powered by a Ford Cosworth DFL. Don Whittington and Fred Stiff would drive it, with a top ten finish in mind. The very last GTP car was very special, as Del Taylor and Frank Rubino would drive the now famous Chevron B36 Buick to one more race, trying to finish in the top ten, as they sometimes did this year. The remainder of the GTP class was held by Porsche 935s, with nine cars entered. Eight would actually run. The most sophisticated car was John Paul Jr JLP4 machine, which he was supposed to drive with his father, and Hurley Haywood. It would prove very fast again. Two other JLP built cars were entered, too.
Copyright Bill Oursler
Mauricio de Narvaez had a JLP3, co-driven by John Paul Sr. Mark Speer had purchased the JLP2, which he ran mainly in the endurance races. He and partner Terry Wolters were consistent enough to aim at the Camel Endurance title. They would have to face John Paul Sr in that very last race. Preston Henn entered three cars, all of them being different versions of the 935. Car number 6 was the one he purchased from Andial, who entered it at Riverside. Al Holbert and Doc Bundy were supposed to drive it with the boss. Cars number 9 and 09 were derivatives of the K3. Derek Bell and Randy Lanier would the second car. The former driver was hired following Bob Akin's 935L1 crash during practice. The car was virtually written off and never to be raced again. Doc Bundy and Bonnie Henn drove the other TBird Swap Shop car.
John Fitzpatrick entered two cars, with very strong drivers at the wheel. He would drive the 935L with Frenchman Bob Wollek, it was the fastest of the 935s entered. The second car, which was less suited to this kind of track, was the K4, shared by David Hobbs and again Bob Wollek. All those cars should provide us with a great race. The GTO class was very interesting, too, with a lot of cars able to win this class. John Greenwood was back with one of his mighty Chevrolet Corvette. His car was owned by T & R Racing, but he was to co-drive René Rodriguez and Tico Almeida in some selected races. They were on the pole. The other cars were less efficient, but the most impressive was Richard Valentine's GTP car, which was driven by the owner and Del Markle. Too heavy to be efficient, the car remained a crowd pleaser. Jack Swanson and Dick Gauthier were at the wheel of a GTP Chevrolet Camaro. Lloyd Frink and Ed Hinchliff drove car #03, which posted some good results the previous season. John Carusso was another good contender, with his usual Sanyo car. He would drive it solo. A pair Keeping track of Vettes backed cars was entered too, with Bard Boand and Rusty Schmidt driving one car, and Richard Anderson and Mike Stephens at the wheel of the second one. Mike Oleyar, another Corvette regular, was here too, co-driven by Sammy Feinstein. Vince Gimondo would drive the Dingman Bros entry and Ford Smith would drive his familiar car with Luis Sereix. Irwin Ayes and Al White were also at the wheel of a Corvette.
An interesting car, which was probably able to fight for the win, was the Electramotive Datsun 280ZX Tc driven by Don Devendorf and Tony Adamowicz. Always very fast, it was becoming also reliable.
Two Ford Mustangs were entered too, with the strong T & R machine, driven by Tico Almeida and Ernesto Soto. This Holman and Moody prepared car was one of the class favorites. Another Ford Mustang was fielded by Marketing Corp of America, and driven by Milt Minter and John Morton. Another Ford product was the Mercury Capri driven by Ron Hunter, Duane Eitel and Doc Recknagel. Two Gordy Oftedahl entered Pontiac Firebirds should also play an interesting part in this race. Bob Raub and Chris Gleason just won the Road America round, while Chip Mead and Sam Moses would run the second car. Billy Hagan and Gene Felton were the favorites in the Stratagraph Chevrolet Camaro. The car was powered by a V8 5,4L built by Ed Pink. Bob Gregg entered his own car, after selling his Porsche Carrera. He was partnered by Bob Young. Robert Overby and Don Bell shared another Chevrolet Camaro, from the previous generation. The same could be told of Ken Murray's car, which he shared with Chris Doyle.
Nort Northam and Ed Kuhel were regular entrants from Florida, as well as Bobby Diehl and Roy Newsome. Hoyt Overbagh would enter his Chevrolet Monza, still backed by Oberdorfer Research. Some BMW M1s were entered, too, and they still could be valuable contenders, even though they had been restricted. Diego Montoya had purchased the Tony Garcia Montura car, and Roberto Guerrero was his one time co-driver. Canadian Uli Bieri and Matt Gysler drove an ex-David Deacon machine, still in its attractive black with stripes livery. The Porsche contingent was still very strong in GTO, with two Porsche 934s, three Porsche 924GTRs and seven Porsche Carrera RSRs. Chet Vincentz and Wayne Baker shared the Electrodyne 934, which was the most competitive car. They would try to prove that the 934 was still a real contender. Werner Frank had his own 934 entered, but he was somewhat less competitive. The Porsche 924GTRs were underpowered GTO cars, and even with good drivers could not be as fast as the top guns. Ludwig Heimrath and his son, who were the fastest from the squad, would start from row sixteen. Deborah Gregg and Elliot Forbes Robinson, in the Brumos entry, were just behind. George Drolsom, partnered by John Hotschkis, was many rows behind. The Porsche Carrera RSRs, once the rulers of the Camel GT, were now regular backmarkers. They could play a part in the enduros, but not in the shorter events. Lance Van Every and Ash Tisdelle shared the beautiful blue Van Every Racing entry. Luis Gordillo and Manuel Villa, in the Pennzoil of Puerto Rico car, were strongly co-driven by Diego Febles. Ted Hulse fielded his familar white with two blue stripes car for himself. Greg Pusey would run his first event in the Drax Racing immaculate car. John Hulen and Ron Coupland, who were longtime GTU entrants, now entered a red Carrera which beautifully turned out. Ron Case entered his own car and Ken Madren-Paul Gilgan were at the wheel of the Pegasus Racing car. A brand new car, which came untested, was the Oldsmobile Starfire driven by Brent O'neill. The car was a Chevrolet Monza clone, with a smaller engine. It was also less developed but was fast instead. The remainder of the field was held by GTU cars. Mazda RX7s and Datsun 280ZXs would fight it off, with the Porsche 911s watching over. Jim Downing and John Maffucci were eager to win, but they had to hold off Roger Mandeville and Amos Johnson, in the Mandeville Auto Tech car. The two teams had been competing very hard all season long. Back with a Mazda was Kent Racing, with Lee Mueller and Joe Varde running a Mazda RX7. Jack Dunham and Jim Mullen were not very far from the duo. Only three other cars were entered, should we say, as the Datsun ZX field was consistent in this race. Doug Carmean and Ed Pimm drove the Red Roof Inns car. Al Bacon and Bob Lane should also have a good race. Rick Cline, a SCCA regular, had brought his own car, while the Scuderia Rosso car was driven by Jim Fowells and Ray Mummery. Bob Leitzinger, co-driven by Logan Blackburn, led the Datsun squadron, with George Alderman driving his own car with Walt Bohren, who made an extra, being used to drive Mazdas. Reed Kryder would enter his own car and drive it solo, as well as Charles Morgan. Jim Fitzgerald would not drive a Bob Sharp Racing car, but his usual SCCA car too with David Bell. Bob Speakman and Ted Schumacher drove the familar Z car which regularly entered in years. The Porsche 911s were local ones, as was the 901 Shop team car, driven by Jack Refenning and Mike Schaefer. Fred Snow and Tom Cripe did the same in the Ours and Hours car. Jack Rynerson and Van McDonald had purchased the ex-Rusty Bond car, and it still displayed the same decoration. Klaus Bitterauf and Vicki Smith were regular GTU contenders, as Gary Wonzer was. The last GTU car was a 914/6, driven by Doug and Harro Zitza and William Wessel. No Toyota was to be seen, and AAR was busy setting up a new operation for the upcoming season.
Copyright Jean Marc Teissèdre
The practice sessions would be eagerly disputed, with Bob Wollek running great, and beating Danny Ongais two year old record in 1m42s476. His main goal was to capture the very rewarding Porsche Cup. Followed by Danny Ongais Lola T600 fitted with the new engine. John Paul Jr was next, followed by Jim Trueman's new March 83G Chevrolet. John Greenwood set the best lap in GTO in one of his Chevrolet Corvette. The weather was very fine for the race, with seventy three cars under the green. At the start, John Paul Jr was the promptest and litterally swallowed his opponents. In fact, he did not keep his position and Danny Ongais overtook him, then Bob Wollek did the same before the end of lap one. Then John Paul Jr got black-flagged for jumping the start : he would have to make a stop-and-go. He restarted, and spun in the next lap. While Danny Ongais easily led the race, Jim Trueman, in his brand new car, slid and hit the guardrails : he was out. Danny Ongais suddenly pitted with a puncture. A caution period was set, following Jim Trueman's off course. At the restart, Danny Ongais was in seventh place, and began to work his way through the top positions. He would easily do so, and pass Derek Bell and Bob Tullius in one blow, but the latter suddenly hit violently the wall at high speed. The car was destroyed, but the driver was unhurt. A new caution period was set. Many of the top cars would pit for fuel during this period. Danny Ongais was third after passing John Paul Jr, he was now in third place, just behind the two John Fitzpatrick Racing Porsches. He overtook David Hobbs and began to chase Bob Wollek, when Mauricio de Narvaez crashed his Porsche 935 after hitting the wall. A new caution period, and Bob Wollek got out of the car. Danny Ongais took the lead but had to pit with a tire shredded. David Hobbs became the new leader, followed by John Fitzpatrick in the Moby Dick. John Paul Jr was back with a vengeance, and would overtake John Fitzpatrick. David Hobbs then would lend his car to Bob Wollek, while John Paul Jr took the lead. In the meantime, Danny Ongais had retired, with engine problems. He would take a drive in the second car. John Paul Sr, who had lost his drive in Mauricio de Narvaez car, was content to be back his son's car, but unfortunately, the latter would retire a few laps later. Caution period, again. Bob Wollek again was the leader, with John Fitzpatrick as his co-driver. David Hobbs was second in the K4, but in third was now Danny Ongais in the non-turbo Lola T600 Chevrolet. Not to be deterred from his Endurance Championship ambitions, John Paul Sr was dealing with Chip Mead, and would rent a ride in his Pontiac Firebird. This would allow him to finish the race and pick up the points he was in need for. The deal was concluded as he would offer a big amount of bucks. Out was Sam Moses. Bob Wollek was still in the lead, but Danny Ongais looked rather unbeatable, and he grabbed the lead in a pretty easy way, while Bob Wollek had to pit for fuel one last time. Doc Bundy, who was running well in the Preston Henn's Andial built 935L, was now ahead of Bob Wollek.
The Frenchman would charge hard against Doc Bundy, and pass him in a very neat way. The latter would then spin, and lose his nose. He had to pit. The race was set, and Danny Ongais-Ted Field now held a comfortable forty second lead over Bob Wollek-John Fitzpatrick, while Derek Bell and Randy Lanier were third in another Preston Henn entered car. Doc Bundy-Al Holbert finished fourth. In fifth place came the first GTO car, which was the Stratagraph Chevrolet Camaro driven by Billy Hagan and Gene Felton. They were followed by Don Devendorf, in his Datsun 280ZX Tc, who clinched the title in this class. John Paul Sr ended up third in class, and it helped him grab the Endurance title, just ahead of Mark Speer and Terry Wolters. His son was the 1982 IMSA Champion, and a new star was born. The GTU class was won by Jim Downing-John Maffucci, who was also the 1982 GTU Champion. A nice race, who ended up a fine IMSA season.