Marcos in GT racing in 2004

Very early in 2004, yet and, with no cars entered for the very sad looking Daytona 24 hours this year, it's really a case of rounding off 2003 news.

There were a number of Marcoses out in the Classic Eiffel races on the 14 Mile Nurburgring circuit and one of them performed extremely well in the damp conditions.

Marcos at Nurburgring
Above : Mike Tice rounds one of the 'Rings many bends. Photo courtesy :

The Volvo 1800 of Mike Tice actually led the race for a while and was eventually placed an impressive second overall. Finishing just 30 seconds behind the winning Corvette, Mike said "I later discovered that there was enough fuel in the tank for me not to have stoppped, which cost me a minute."

Marcos at Nurburgring
Above : Marcos 1800 swoops down the hill in the lead. Photo courtesy :

After the 300Km race, Mike said "After buying the Marcos everybody laughed when I started entering it for endurance classics, but we've silenced the critics".

There was no Marcos presence at Daytona for the 24 Hour race, but I did get this mail from Eric Jan Bron, from Knook Racing :

Hello mark,

here is a short update on the absence of Marcos in the 24hrs of Daytona.

As you might know the famous LM600 of cor euser is since last year (2003) no longer allowed in the 24 hours of Daytona due to a maximum cyl cap. of 6 ltrs. (Cor has i believe 6.9 ltrs).

Therefor our crew did enter the 24 hours of Daytona in 2003 with the Marcos Mantis of Peter van der Kolk (mainly because of sponsorship of Peter). There were plans to enter the 2004 event, but due to lack of sponsoring the plans were canceled.

The Marcos Mantis of Peter van der Kolk is now in bits and pieces after a successful 2003 winning the overall championship in the dutch supercar challenge and the b-class in the Euro GT series. For the season of 2004 the Mantis from Peter van der Kolk will come out in the Dutch Supercar Challenge again with a brand new 5 ltr engine (over 550 hp). This is the case for some of the Mantis cars Cor Euser is running as well.

Knook Racing's Marcos Mantis
Above : Knook Racing's Mantis.

Take a look at the website of Rob Knook for more info on the cars. The site will apear in English as well.

Thanks to Jan for that.

The Spanish GT opener at Albacete, starting at 8PM on April 25, saw good results for the Marcos LM600 crews. The Meycom car of former champions, Miguel Ángel de Castro and Ángel Burgueño, took pole position for the first race, but at the start a small error by Castro, saw Cor Euser take the lead, in his LM600. After the pitstops, the Seat GT took the lead, but engine failure for this car, allowed the Meycom car to take victory. Cor Euser, sharing with Van Dongehn, finished 4th, some 41 seconds behind the winning crew.

De Castro/Burgueno took victory
Above : De Castro & Burgueno won at Albacete

Euser was on the pace, finishing 4th
Above : Cor Euser raises dust on the way to 4th.

There are no LM600s present in the British GT series, but a Mantis appeared in the GT Cup class at Donington on the 3rd of April. Driven by Chris Beighton and John Finnemore, the Team Tiger car (seen last year in the Britcar series) qualified 13th, but was out at the start of race 1, by being rudely bumped into the gravel by another car.

In race two, the car last until lap 19, when it was sidelined with a mechanical failure.

At Mondello Park, on 8th/9th May, the car took part in first qualifying, placing 14th, but was not shown on the second session timings and did not take the first race start.

However, it was out for the second race and was placed 13th, 2 laps down at the finish. This equated to 6th in the GT Cup class.

Beighton/Finnemore at Mondello
Above : Beighton and Finnemore in the Team Tiger Mantis at Mondello Park - Photo Courtesy British GT site

It seems that the Euro GT series has been canned this year for lack of entries.

As far as I can tell, therefore, Marcos racing programmes are restricted to the UK and Spain, but there is much good news from both series.

In Spain, the GT series moved to Jarama from May 20-23, for the second round the Spanish GT series.

In the first practice, the two LM600s lined up 2nd and 3rd, with the Meycom car of Miguel A. De Castro and Angel Burgueno edging ahead of the MRI car of Cor Euser and Danny Van Dongen. They were both headed on the grid by the Seat Toledo GT (nothing like a SEAT Toledo!) of Jordi Gene (brother of Williams tester and stand in, Marc) and Gines Vivancos.

In second practice, the Spanish duo edged ahead of the SEAT, but the MRI car only qualified 9th (I'm beginning to wonder if the two drivers take it in turns to qualify and race in the two sessions/races - If anyone knows, get in touch).

An interesting performance comparison was the presence of the Mosler of Balfe and Taylor, seen in the British GT series in 2003. It qualified behind the Marcos pair for race 1 and behind the Meycom car for race 2.

In race 1, the Meycom car seized an early lead and held onto it until lap 15, when the SEAT took the lead. However, the LM600 was ahead again on lap 25 of the 26 lap race and took the victory. Euser's car dropped to 6th in the opening laps of the race, but fought back strongly (with Euser at the wheel?) in the latter stages to finish where it started, in 3rd.

De Castro/Burgueno took double victories at Jarama
Above : De Castro & Burgueno followed victory at Albacete with two at Jarama.

Euser was on the pace again
Above : Cor Euser followed Meycom duo home in race 2.

In the second race of the weekend, the Porsche 911 GT3 of Manuel and Pedro Mello Breyner seized an early lead ahead of the Meycom LM600. However, by lap 2 the Marcos was ahead again, holding its lead over the MRI Marcos and another Porsche (who squabbled over second for some laps), until lap 14, when the MRI car took over the lead, with the No 7 Porsche taking over second and the Mosler third. The Meycom car fought back up to second on lap 21, with the number 7 Porsche slipping down the order.

On lap 24, the Meycom car passed the MRI car to take a second victory, with the Euser car following it home for a clean sweep.

Meanwhile the British GT series has visited Snetterton and Castle Combe.

Only the Team Tiger Mantis, driven by Chris Beighton and Finnemore and running in the GT Cup class, represented the marque in these races, but it is fair to say it made a big impression.

At Snetterton, on June 5/6, the Mantis qualified 3rd in class for each race. In race 1, the Mantis duo came through to take the class win, in 9th overall, as more fancied runners fell by the wayside. Unfortunately, mechanical troubles in race 2, prevented them following this up with another good result in the second race of the weekend.

Beighton/Finnemore at Snetterton
Above : Beighton and Finnemore in the Team Tiger Mantis on way to victory at Snetterton - Photo Courtesy Gary Harman

Moving on to the, now traditional, post Le-Mans weekender at Castle Combe, Beighton and Finnemore qualified the red and black (I suppose it's orange, being a Tiger, but it looks red to me!) Mantis 3rd and 4th in class for the two races. They followed the good qualifying performance with a second place in race 1, on the saturday and finished 2nd in class (in a tight battle over 2nd and 3rd) on the Sunday, which became another class victory when the 'winning' Elise was found to be under weight and was disqualified.

Beighton/Finnemore at Mondello
Above : Team Tiger Mantis at Castle Combe. Photo Courtesy Gary Harman

** LATEST ** - The year has been and gone, but there was plenty of Marcos action around the tracks of Europe.

The LM600s in the Spanish GT series continued to perform well.

At Estoril in late June, Cor Euser and Danny Van Dongen, starting from pole, finished behind a Porsche in the first race and went one better in the second race of the weekend (despite starting further back on the grid), leading home the pole-sitting, de Castro/Burgueno LM600, which had been a disappointing 11th in the first race.

The series moved onto the Circuito de Valencia in September, In the first race, neither LM600 made the chequered flag. De Castro/Burgueno were out after 12 laps and the Euser/Van Dongen car at 19. Marcos honour, in the high attrition rate, was upheld by Manuel Saez-Merino and Peter Van der Kolk (NL), who bought their Mantis home in 7th overall and 2nd in class.

Things were better for the LM600 of Spanish pairing De Castro/Burgueno in the second race, when they won, ahead of the Shaun Balfe/Nigel Taylor Mosler. Sadly, the Euser/Van Dongen car again failed to finish.

Battle between the Mosler and Marcos was rejoined at Jerez in October, but without Cor Euser's rainbow coloured car, which was badly damaged in a crash in a Belcar race at Spa.

Roughly translated from Cor's website, it seems that Cor Euser had just taken over the car at a pitstop, when a hub broke. The consequence was a heavy crash at Radillon. Cor was taken for a medical check-up, but escaped with just a headache.

Unfortunately, the LM600 was not so lucky...

Above : This accident in a Belcar round at Spa, ended Cor Euser's 2004 LM600 exploits. - Photo courtesy Cor Euser

Full details of the incident, which kept the LM600 off the track for the rest of the season, can be found on Cor's website.

The Mosler duo pipped the LM600 by under a second in the first race, but the second race tipped things back in the Marcos team's favour as the Mosler finished 4th, with the LM600 duo second, behind the Ferrari 360 driven by Luis Monzon and Javier Diaz.

Above : All year, the Marcos/Mosler battle was close - Ending just one point apart at the end. - Photo courtesy Spanish GT website

At the final race of the season, in Barcelona on 14th November, the Miguel Angel de Castro/Angel Burgueño LM600 lined up on the pole position and was fastest in the morning warm-up.

The battle raged throughout the two part race, but the Marcos pairing emerged 3 seconds ahead of the second-placed Mosler duo of Shaun Balfe and Nigel Taylor. Unfortunately for the Marcos team, the greater consistency of the Mosler team gave the British pairing victory in the championship by a single point.

Still, another excellent performance in Spain by the ageing LM600s and an iota of luck earlier in the season would have seen the Spaniards regain their title.

Meanwhile in Britain, the Team Tiger Mantis continued its great form of Castle Combe to become a serious GT Cup title challenger as the season progressed.

At Oulton Park, in July, Beighton and Finnemore finished second in class in the first race, behind the Lotus Elise. They were less successful in the second race, being last classified finisher, some 8 laps down on the race winner.

Above : A good second in class was best result at Oulton Park - Photo courtesy Paul Sands website

Silverstone's GP circuit hosted the next round in August, featuring on the LMES bill. The car was slowest GT Cup qualifier in the first session and failed to show at all in the second session, as a result of a mechanical breakage. The car did race, but the results were disappointing, with a lowly 19th (last classified finisher) and 11th (5th in Class) in the two races.

Above : Showing on Silverstone's GP circuit was disappointing - Photo courtesy Paul Sands website

Fortunately, at Thruxton, on August Bank Holiday Monday, things picked up again for the team. The car only qualified mid-field in both sessions, but proved well suited to the fast sweeps of the Hampshire circuit and (with a little help from ailing competitors) took a brace of class wins in the two races, one of which was dry and the other wet.

Above : Team Tiger took a pair of class wins, in the wet and dry, at the Hampshire circuit - Photo courtesy Paul Sands website

Going into the very wet Brands Hatch finale in October, the Team Tiger Mantis had an outside chance of taking the GT Cup title, something very few people would have predicted, given the Mantis' performance in past years (having never been designed as a full blooded GT car, rather a one-make racer based on a road car).

Above : Team Tiger came to Brands Hatch as championship outsiders - Photo courtesy David Lord/British GT website

Sadly, a broken gearbox prevented the car practicing or making race one and there ended their title challenge. However the car was out for the final race of the season, albeit finishing a distant 13th, 6th in GT Cup.

Above : Tricky conditions for all prevailed at Brands Hatch - Photo courtesy David Lord/British GT website

So, another so near and yet so far story, but both the Spanish team and Team Tiger deserve recognition and congratulations for performing so well in 2004. Hopefully, both will be back to achieve more in 2005.

Elsewhere, Cor Euser's rainbow coloured Marcos did win a title. However it was not his familiar LM600, but a Mantis, entered into the Dutch Supercar Challenge GT class.

Above : Cor Euser/Jos Menten were the dominant force in the GT class of the Dutch Supercar Challenge. - Photo courtesy Supercar Challenge Website

With double header races at circuits in Holland, plus the Nurburgring, Spa, Oschersleben and the Lausitzring, Cor and team mate, Jos Menten, notched up wins at Zandvoort, Spa, the Nurburgring, Oschersleben and Zolder to take the GT title by 40 points, ahead of Porsche GT3RS driver, Luca Moro. This was achieved despite not scoring (probably not competing, I suspect) at Assen in May and the Lausitzring in September.

More details can be found at

Cor's other great event of the year was the GT double header which took part (under the Euro GT banner, although there was no series in 2004) at the Marlboro Masters at Zandvoort in August.

The first of the two races coincided with Cor's 500th race start and, for this race only, his rainbow hued LM600 bore the race number 500 (one for the model makers, there). With competition like David Hart (in a Viper) and Duncan Huisman (in the much fancied factory BMW M3 GTR), this was no easy stroll, but Cor and his LM600 proved their class to take the win.

Above : To mark Cor's 500th race, the car bore the number 500 - Photo courtesy Cor Euser's Website

Cor then followed it up with victory in the second race, to make a perfect celebration weekend of it.

Herman Buurman and Jos Menten also took places in other Eurotech LM600s.

Above : Cor Euser celebrates victory in his 500th race - Photo courtesy Euro GT Series Website

Full details can be found on the Euro GT series website.

As well as those efforts, Marcos 1800s continued to win HSCC and FIA classic sportscar races all over the UK and Europe and Mantis challenge cars also featured strongly in the Britcar/EERC events in the UK as well as in other series throught Europe and further afield.

Whether the factory will return with the TSO remains to be seen, but it seems certain that, somewhere, there will be Marcoses in the thick of the action in 2005. If there are, and I know about them, I will cover their progress.

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