It's well into the 2005 season (actually July!) before I start writing this, mainly due to too many commitments elsewhere.
However, Marcoses have been in action in the British, Dutch, Belgium and Spanish GT series with some success, considerable in places.
In the UK, the season got underway at Donington Park in April. The Team Tiger Mantis of Finnemore and Beighton was back, after some excellent results towards the end of 2004.
At Donington, they qualified 16th, 5th in the GT3 class and finished the 2 hour season opener in 11th, 2nd in their class.
Above : Team Tiger, 2nd in Class at Donnington - Photo courtesy : Gary Harman
At Croft, in May, where only the GT3 runners raced (the GT2 cars took in a race in France), they qualified well for the two races, 3rd in each, but the races were disappointing, being classified just 11th and 16th.
The teams treked north and south in late May, with a round at Scottish circuit, Knockhill, followed just 7 days later by a round at Hampshire circuit, Thruxton.
At Knockhill, the Tiger Marcos took the GT3 pole for the first race and qualified second in class for the second. Sadly, they failed to finish the first race and were non-starters for the second.
Things were better, though, at the fastest British circuit. They qualified 10th and 11th for the two races, which equated to GT3 3rd and 4th, but failed to finish the first race. The second race, on the Sunday, was much better as they fought their way through the field to take the lead at the compulsory pitstop.
A close fight ensued for the lead, with a Morgan Aero 8, but the Marcos pairing held on to take the win by feet.
Above : Team Tiger, victorious at Thruxton - Photo courtesy : Gary Harman
The Thruxton round had been bought forward to allow teams preparing for the Le Mans 24 hours longer to prepare, so the next outing for the Team Tigre Mantis was not until late June, at the traditional post Le-Mans Castle Combe in Wiltshire.
The car was qualified 10th and 11th, equating to two 3rd places in class and race one resulted in a 5th in class. This was 11th overall, with a high attrition rate in GT2.
Above : Team Tiger on the grid at Castle Combe - Photo courtesy : Gary Harman
In the Sunday race, the Mantis pairing came good again, with a great last lap move netting a class victory over a Ferrari 360.
In Holland, there are Marcos Mantises and an LM600 in action in the Dutch Supercar Series (which, by the way has a great website with TV programmes, in English, of the races that you can watch online! Thanks to Dick van Elk for letting me know.).
The series started at Zandvoort on 27th March, with two races.
Cor Euser's Mantis took second behind Rob Knook's Stealth B6 (formerly raced in the British GT series) in race one. Lex vd Meijden finished 6th, winnning the Supersports class. Other Marcos drivers were Paul Gebbink (8th), Nol Kohler/Hans Ambaum (10th), Jan De Wit (12th) and Dennis Swartz/Patrick Moritz (14th).
Above : Zandvoort start - Photo courtesy : DutchSupercarChallenge site.
In the second race, Euser was again the runner up, behind a Dodge Viper this time. Lex vd Meijden again won his class, with all the other runners from race one also finishing.
On 8 May, the series supported the Truck GP at Assen. In the first race, Euser again finished behind the Pieter Dubois/Rene Wijnen Dodge Viper (it's a new style car, rather than the one that dominated GT racing for some years).Lex vd Meijden was winner in the supersports class.
In the second race, Peter Van Der Kolk and Jan De Wit, both in Mantises, received penalties which dropped them to 2nd and 3rd overall. Cor Euser was placed 7th.
The series moved onto Hockenheim, in Germany, on 22nd May. Euser's Mantis+ was finally victorious in race 1, ahead of the Dodge Viper, a Porsche and a BMW M3 V8GTR. Lex vd Meijen was 5th, winning his class in his more standard Mantis, ahead of Kohler/Ambaum and Swartz in theirs. Van De Kolk's MP600 (not sure what this is - A Mantis with a Chevy engine?) was classifed 27th, some 10 laps behind Euser.
In the second race, the Viper got the better of Euser. Vd Meijen was 5th, again winning his class. Swartz was 7th, with Vd Kolk 18th. Kohler/Ambaum's car failed to finish.
On the 19th June, the teams moved onto Spa to support the 12 Heures de Spa event with another brace of races.
The Viper again won race 1, with Cor Euser second. A. Janssen won the supersport class in a Mantis as Lex vd Meijen broke his winning run with a retirement. Van Der Kolk also retired his Marcos MP600.
Above : Mantises at Spa - Photo courtesy : DutchSupercarChallenge site.
In race two, Lex vd Meijen returned to winning ways, taking his class with 8th overall, two places ahead of Cor Euser, who finished a lap down on the winning Dodge Viper. Kohler/Ambaum, Janssen and De Wit all finished, but Dennis Swartz retired his car.
In Belcar,a number of Marcoses have been in action.
On 27th March, at Zolder, only Wim Noorman/Danny Van Dongen's Mantis was ready and it was placed 7th overall (5th in GTA, the top class), 4 laps down on the race winner in a two hour long rance.
The weekend of the 16th & 17th April, saw the series supporting the LMES 1000km race at Spa with two races. An LM600, driven by Risto Virtanen and Max Weisenburger, was present as well as a second Mantis, for Bert Moritz/Rob Happe. Noorman/Van Dongen were the best performers in the first race, finishing 15th, two places ahead of the LM600 runners. The second Mantis, was classified 34, 3 laps down on the winners.
Above : LM600 at Spa - Photo courtesy : Gary Harman
In the second race, the LM600 duo were placed 10th, one place ahead of the Noorman/Van Dongen Mantis. The second Mantis was classified 40th, two laps down on the other cars and 3 laps off the winner.
Above : Moritz Mantis in the rain at Spa - Photo courtesy : Gary Harman
The series returned to Spa on the 11th June and, once again, it was the more developed LM600 of Virtanen/Weisenburger that had the edge in qualifying.
However, after 6 hours of racing, it was newcomers Paul Gebbink and Jan Wit, who were the best place Marcos runners in their Mantis, finishing 18th. Wim Noorman and Danny Van Dongen were joined by Cor Euser in their car and finished 22nd. The Bert Moritz car was non-classified and the other Mantis was an official retirement.
The series joined forces with the British EERC series for a meeting at Brands Hatch on 26th June. Only the Wim Noorman car made the journey, finishing the race in 8th place.
Above : Eurotech Mantis at Brands Hatch - Photo courtesy : Gary Harman
Finally in Spain, the LM600s of Cor Euser/Jesus Diez De Villarroel and Pedro Nevoa/Jose Mª Perez Fontan have been in action, along with a number of Marcos Mantises in various classes.
The season opened at Jarama, on April 16th/17th.
For the first race, Euser/De Villarroel -qualified 3rd, but dropped to last place at the start, but retired on lap 9. The second LM600 of Nevoa/Perez Fontan of the former championship winning team, Meycom, finished 20th overall in race.
Above : Jarama Race 1 start - Photo courtesy : Spanish GT Website
The secoond race saw Euser/Villarroel qualify 5th. The team was classified 8th in the race, although the lap chart placed the car 1st for laps 19-26 and 2nd overall at 27 lap distance. The discrepancy being due to a drive through (25sec)Penalty and Stop/Go (150sec) penalty applied to a number of cars.
Above : Cor Euser's LM600 in action at Jarama - Photo courtesy : Spanish GT Website
The series moved onto Valencia for the second round on May 14th/15th.
Euser/Villarroel were placed 2nd in Qualifying, taking 3rd place in the race.
Above : Valencia Race start - Photo courtesy : Spanish GT Website
In the second race, Euser/Villarroel qualified 4th, finishing the race 6th, with Jose/Fontan Meycom team LM600 starting 14th and finishing 12th, 8th in GTA.
Above : Meycom LM600 at Valencia - Photo courtesy : Spanish GT Website
The cars were on the GP circuit in ESTORIL on June 25th/26th.
In the first Estoril race, Cor Euser/Jesus Diez De Villarroel qualified 2nd and led from the start (except for around pitstops) until lap 18 when the car retired.
Above : Estoril Race start - Photo courtesy : Spanish GT Website
Euser/Villarroel were non-qualifiers for the second race (No idea why - Can anyone help?), with the Meycom LM600, qualifying 11th and racing to 10th.
Above : Estoril Race action - Photo courtesy : Spanish GT Website
** LATEST ** Meanwhile, numerous former Mantis Challenge cars have been in action in EERC/Britcar races throughout Britain, notably the Topcats team.
Above : Topcat Marcos in Britcar action at Brands Hatch - Photo courtesy : Gary Harman.
In the second half of the year, Belcar action resumed in August at the Zolder 24 Hours.
Wim Noorman, Danny Van Dongen, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cor Euser qualified 10th (4th in GTA) and finished 14th, 77 laps behind the winner. Bert Moritz,Rob Happé and Dennis Swart qualified 36th 6th in GTA, finishing 25th (186 laps behind winner on 613 laps).
At the Racing Festival at Spa Francorchamps in October, Wim Noorman and Danny Van Dongen's Marcos Mantis was the only entrant, but failed to start...although many Marcoses featured in the Dutch Supercar event on the same programme.
The season rounded out at Zolder, on 23rd October, where Noorman/Van Dongen's Mantis was placed 26th, 10 laps down on the winner. 14 Risto Virtanen (Finn) and Max Weisenburger's (Belgian) Marcos LM600 ERG Motorsport GTA and Bert Moritz and Rob Happé's Marcos Mantis Moritz Racing GTA and Dennis Swart's GTB class Mantis were entered but didn't appear.
In the British GT Championship, Beighton/Finnemore's season fizzled out a little.
At Silverstone on a wet, but drying track, they qualified 16th (6th in GT3), coming home a slightly disappointed 17th, 6th in GT3, 2 laps down in 2 hour race.
At Mondello Park in Ireland, they qualified well on GT3 pole for race one (3rd for race two), but retired after 6 laps of the first race and failed to make it back out for the second race.
They did not enter the season finale at Silverstone.
The Dutch Supercar series also saw lots more Marcoses in the thick of the action in the second half of the year.
On 17th July, the series was at Zolder for the Super Prix. Here Cor Euser took the first race win in his Marcos Mantis+.
In the Super Sports (SS) class, Hans Ambaum took the class win (5th overall) in his Mantis, with Lex van der Meijden second in class.
Dennis Swart's SS class car was out after 7 laps.
In the second race, Euser again took the race win (ahead of a brace of Dodge Vipers and a pair of BMW M3 V8s), with Dennis Swart recovering from the first race retirement to take 6th overall and 1st in the SS class. Van der Meijden was 21st overall, 9th in SS, which Hans Ambaum was a disappointed retirement at the 4 lap mark.
On August 7th, the cars were at Assen for the Rizla Racing Days.
Cor Euser again won both races at this event.
In the first race, Jeroen van der Heuvel was placed 9th in a second Marcos Racing International car.
Lex van der Meijden was 12th overall and Nol Kohler 21st, but Dennis Swart again retired, at the 8 lap (of 27) mark.
In the second race, van der Meijden was 6th overall, Dennis Swart 13th, Nol Kohler 14th and Jan de Wit 25th (only starting this race in car 44) , but van der Heuvel was out after 4 laps.
Over the weekend of the 9th & 10th September, the Dutch Supercar challenge was supporting the Silverstone 24 Hour race in the "Britcar" Festival.
Was again, Cor Euser stamped his authority on the field with a win (and fastest lap) in race, ahead of Garry Woodcock's Mosler and a Dodge Viper.
Swart, van der Meijden and Nol Kohler were 1st, 2nd and 3rd (9th, 10th and 11th overall) in Supersport in Mantises, whilst Jan de Wit was 22nd (two laps down) and Carel Krieger retired after 14 laps.
In the second race, Euser's run of dominance was broken.
Euser finished 7th overall, with van der Meijden and British GT3 runner Chris Beighton taking 11th and 12th. van der Meijden was second in Supersport (behind a BMW M3 V8), whilst Jan de Wit finished 17th and 4th in SS. Swart retired at 12 laps and Kohler at 3.
On 2nd October, the series was at the Spa-Francorchamps Racing Festival.
In the first race, Cor Euser's Mantis+ finished second behind the Dubois/Wijnen Viper. A Janssen in a Mantis was 8th and 3rd in Supersports, with Jan de Wit down in 25th overall.
Peter van der Kolk's MP600 was out after 8 laps and Lex van der Meijden's Mantis retired after 5 laps.
Race two saw Lex van der Meijden finish as best Marcos runner overall, in 8th, winning the Supersports class. Cor Euser finished a disappointing 10th (1 lap down on the winners), with supersport runners, Nol Kohler and Hans Ambaum sharing a car right behind him. A Jannsen was 13th and Jan de Wit was 17th. Dennis Swart retired at 4 laps and Peter van der Kolk didn't take the start.
The season rounded out on 23rd October at Zandvoort.
Cor Euser shared the unique MP600 with Peter van der Kolk and took 3rd in the first race.
Nol Kohler was 5th, Lex van der Meijden 7th (a lap down), Dennis Swart 27th (3 laps down) and Jeroen van der Heuvel 31st (4 laps down).
In the second race, Euser and van der Kolk failed to complete the first lap, leaving Nol Kohler to finish an excellent second overall, just ahead of Lex van der Meijden's Mantis.
Jeroen van de Heuvel and Dennis Swart also had great races, finishing 6th and 7th.
Overall, Cor was pipped to the DSC GT class championship by Rene Wijnen and Pieter Dubois in their Dodge Viper, after fighting them all season.
In Supersports, though Marcos Mantis drivers ruled the roost, with Lex van der Meijden taking the title and Nol Kohler, Hans Ambaum, Dennis Swart and Jan de Wit all featuring in the top 11 overall.
SPANISH GT action continued at Albacete, Jerez and Montmello (Catalunya), throughout September, October and Novemeber respectively.
At Albacete on the 18th September, the Meycom LM600 of JESUS DIEZ DE VILLARROEL and JOSE Mª PEREZ FONTAN qualified 6th and 7th for the two races.
Although they retired at the 3 lap point in race 1, they bounced back with a 3rd place in race 2.
Above : Meycom LM600 at right in Albacete start Photos : Courtesy Spanist GT website
The MARCOS RACING INTERNACIONAL Mantis GT of JOSE L. BERMUDEZ DE CASTRO and COR EUSER took GTC pole for race one and converted it to second in class in the race , 21st overall. They went one better in race two, taking the GTC class with 18th overall.
At Jerez on 16th October, the Meycom LM600 JESUS DIEZ DE VILLARROEL JOSE Mª PEREZ FONTAN qualified 6th & 3rd for the two races. They repeated the Albacete lap 3 retirement, but again came back in race 2, to take 2nd overall.
The MARCOS RACING INTERNACIONAL GTC Mantis of JOSE L. BERMUDEZ DE CASTRO and COR EUSER qualified 22nd (1st GTC) & 33rd (6th GTC), converting these grid placings into 23rd, 3rd in GTC and 21st, 1st in GTC.
A second MARCOS RACING INTERNACIONAL GTC Mantis for PAUL GEBBINK qualified 31st, 4th in GTC & 28th 1st in GTC taking an impressive win in race 1 (19th overall), but not appearing on the race 2 results at all.
Rounding at the season, a longer race at Montmello, on the 13th November saw the HERMAN BUURMAN/YELMER BUURMAN MARCOS LM 600 qualify 3rd, but only take 7th in the race, 2 laps down on the winner.
Above : Herman Buurman's LM600 was a rare site in 2005 Photos : Courtesy Dutch Supercar website
COR EUSER and PEDRO NEVOA were also out in a MARCOS LM 600, qualifying 9th and finishing 8th – 2 Laps down and right behind the Buurman pairing.
A MARCOS RACING INTERNACIONAL GTC Mantis for JOSE L. BERMUDEZ DE CASTRO/ FRED. Van PUTTEM took 2nd in the GTC class, in 28th overall.
Presumably, with the championship out of their grasp the Meycom team skipped this race.
Overall, the Spanish GT series must be viewed as disappointing for Marcos drivers and teams, Cor Euser was highest placed overall in 16th with JESUS DIEZ DE VILLARROEL 19th overall, JOSE L. BERMUDEZ DE CASTRO 22nd, JOSE Mª PEREZ FONTAN 28th, PEDRO NEVOA 36th and HUGO GODINHO and NUNO CABRAL joint 48th.
However, Bermudez De Castro was the overall GTC class champion, which means a Marcos did win a championship in 2005!
A number of Marcos teams also took part in the Britcar 24 hour race at Silverstone in September.
Cor Euser, over for the Dutch Supercar series, had his Marcos Mantis, whilst regulars Topcats had a pair of cars (Car 42, driven by John Harrison, Rupert Douglas-Pennant, John Taylor and Gerry Taylor. Car 43, driven by Mick Mercer, Richard Fores, Luc Paillard & Rupert Bullock) and Jemco and ISL (Team Tiger from the BGTCC) ran a car apiece.
Euser ran well in the early stages, but fell from contention after 4 hours.
At the 6 hour mark, the two Topcats cars were running 17th and 18th (13 and 14 laps behind the leader), the Jemco car was 22nd (17 laps down),the ISL car was 35th (24 laps down) and Euser was classified 37th, 31 laps down.
At the halfway mark, one Topcats car (Number 43) was up to 15th (27 laps behind the leader), the Jemco car was 19th (35 laps down), one place ahead of the second Topcats entry (37 laps down) and Euser had climbed back to 26th overall (51 laps behind the leader). The ISL car was 41st, 97 laps down.
After 18 hours, the lead Topcats car (Number 43) was 9th overall, 35 laps down on the race leading Mosler. Euser was up to 17th, now just 57 laps behind after running well.
The other Topcats runner (42) was 21st (66 laps down), the Jemco car 35th (134 laps down) and the ISL car (147 laps behind).
All the Marcos Mantises were classified finishers.
The ISL car was 34th on 407 laps, the Jemco car 32nd on 427, the second Topcats car 20th on 522 laps, Cor Euser's car finished 16th on 532 laps, but the highlight performance of the race was the Topcats number 43 Mantis team.
They were placed 7th place overall (and 1st Cup class car) on 559 laps, 44 behind the winning Mosler.
Above : Topcats Mantis takes 7th in Silverstone 24 Hours - Photo courtesy : http://www.sportspics.ltd.uk
For 2006, expect to see Mantises in action and a rumour is circulating that the LM600 might make a return to FIA racing, branded as a TSO GT, as
the new road car features the same running gear, now, as the LM600 - Be great to see that, if it's true.