I rounded out my 2007 review with the words, "Only time will tell if a Marcos can win a race in 2008, but don't write them off just yet..." and it's a great pleasure to say that 2008 has started with just such a win.
The first win of 2008 came from Marcos stalwart Cor Euser, who had his LM600 out (running in the top GT class) in the first round of the Dutch Supercar Challenge at the Nurburgring.
Normally there are two races at each event, but Christian Fey, who was at the race, tells me that the first was abandoned after 5 laps behind the safety car due to low visibility caused by spray and heavy rain.
On Sunday, the weather was warm and dry and Christian takes up the story.
Cor had a magnificient start and finished 2nd after the first lap. He had some problems following the leader and lost around 2 seconds.
After the pitstop he came out in first position and the second placed car had lost quite a few seconds.
Cor also had the new 'Mantis Magnum' in the pits with the latest 5.0 litre Mustang engine. Christian tells me they completed the car in the pits from Friday to Sunday and should be out at the next DSC round.
The Marcos Mantis of the Mortizes (Bert and Patrick) was also racing, running in the SP1 class, and was placed 28th, two laps behind the winner.
In the UK, there are no Marcoses in the BGT series, but Chris Finnemore and Jon Beighton have been campaigning their Mantis which did so well in the GT series in the last couple of seasons (albeit a curtailed one last year), but now running with a Chevrolet LS7 7 litre engine.
They were out for the A1 GP support event at Brands Hatch on 3rd/4th May and took 5th overall in both races. Up against cars such as Moslers and a Porsche 935(!), the Mantis performed excellently. The duo also ran their Sunbeam Tiger at the same venue, in the Heritage GT event.
TopCats are running up to 3 Mantises at races in Britcar
Jemco and ISL teams (seen at the Britcar 24 hours) are also regulars.
By July, Cor Euser had been mopping up in the Dutch Supercar Challenge.
Following on from his single win at the Nurburgring, Cor managed another win at Zandvoort on 12th May, sharing his Mantis with de Wit.
The car started from the pits (as did 25 other cars), but fought through to take the overall win.
Next round was at Spa, where the Marcorelly (actually the LM600) was 4th fastest in practice, behind an ex-DTM Audi TT and two Moslers.
In the race, Cor took the lead with a daring dive between the Audi (he'd passed the Moslers at the start) and a back marker. The race was then curtailed when a Lamborghini hit a BMW at full speed behind the pace car.
The Marcos Mantis of BERMUDEZ & DE CASTRO span to avoid the accident, but was then hit by a Porsche who was unable to avoid the numerous car across the circuit.
In the second race, the LM600 was again the class of the field, once again beating the DTM Audi and a Dodge Viper to take a clean sweep.
The series finished June at Hockenheim (the report wasn't online in time for the July site update), where Martin Short won both races in a Mosler.
In the first of the two races, though, Cor Euser and Jan De Wit were again the class of the field, taking second place ahead of the other DSC regulars, beating the Passat V8 star and two Vipers.
In Supersports 1, the Mortiz brothers were placed 12th overall, 6th in class.
For the second race, the Marcorelly/LM600 (it looks from the photos as if he raced the Marcorelly in race 1 and the LM600 in race 2...) ended up in a relatively lowly 7th, one lap down on the winners. The Moritz's were placed 15th overall, 7th in Supersports 1 in this race.
The DSC moved onto another German circuit, Oschersleben, in July.
Cor Euser qualified his car 4th for his race, whilst former LM600 driving Spanish GT champion, José Bermudez de Castro was out in a Supersports Mantis.
Sadly Cor endured a disappointing weekend, being classified last (7 laps down on the winner) in the first race and completing only 3 laps in the second race.
Bermudez de Castro, however, had quite a good event.
In the first race for Supersports 2 and Sports class cars, he was placed 4th and took the second fastest lap of the race.
He followed that up with a 7th in the second race, still on the same lap as the leader after 35 laps.
The Britcar series has continued, with races at Spa (At the end of May), Brands Hatch (14th June, so something for drivers who didn't get to Le Mans) and Silverstone (19th July).
At Spa, Edwards and Wilds were out after 14 laps in the ISL car, but Harisson and Huggin bought the Topcats Mantis home 26th, albeit 13 laps down on the victor.
At Brands, neither Topcats car finished. The Orange car's gearbox failed after 2 hours and the Green car one broke down with 10 mins to go.
This caused the chequered flag to come out so the Topcats other entry, their Mosler, won the race!
In the Silverstone round, Wilson and Huggin were placed 12th overall, but had run as high as 4th overall at the one hour mark and 6th at the two hour one. They did have the pleasure, though, of setting the fastest class lap.
A lot of Marcos owners were at the Le Mans Classic in July.
A couple of Mini-Marcoses were entered in the races, as they raced in period at the 24 Hours.
The races were by period, so the Minis found themselves sharing the track with Porsche 917s, Lola T70s and Ferrari 512Ms (as seen in the Le Mans film), which must've been quite entertaining for drivers of both kinds of car.
The white car of ESQUERRÉ, CHATELAIN, AUZANNEAU,BAUER had problems in qualifying Friday, but was placed 47th, 43rd and 44th in the three class races over the 24 hours.
The green PAUTIGNY/ROUSSEAU car was placed 48th, 51st and 49th (according to the results, although Gary tells me it did not race on Sunday PM).
Richard Porter (MMOC stalwart) got in touch to tell me that car 51 did indeed race on Sunday afternoon, but only completed two laps before retiring to the pits and provided a photo to prove it! (The body language says it all...)
LATEST:Once again, the Marcos marque was well represented in the Britcar 24 Hour race.
There were 3 Mantises in the field in 2008 and, marque Founder, Jem Marsh was on hand to lend support.
Topcats fielded a car (Number 29, along with a Mosler), Chris Beighton and Jon Finnemore had their car (Number 9, previously used in the British GT series, but now packing a Chevrolet V8) and John Bryant fielded a 3rd (Number 12).
With some of the top runners from last year absent, 2008's race almost became a dream race for the Marque.
Beighton had his car on the 3rd row, Bryant's was on the 5th and the Topcats car on the 7th.
There was a major accident at the start of the race, but after the first hour Beighton led from the Topcats Mosler. The Topcats Mantis was 9th (and had fastest lap to its credit), but Bryant's car was 3 laps down in a lowly 48th place.
Bryant was up to 26th at the 2 hour mark, but Beighton's car was down to 18th. The Topcat Mantis, however, was now leading!
The Topcats car hovered in the top 6 until the 6 hour mark, by which time it was 3rd overall with Bryant 21st and Beighton 39th, some way behind.
By the 12 hour mark, The Topcats Mantis had clocked up 3 hours in the lead, which it retained until the 18 hour mark.
Bryant, by the 18th hour was classified 43rd and Beighton 45th, but both were effectively out of the race.
Sadly, by the 19 hour mark, things were going wrong for the fastest Marcos and it had dropped to 9th, a place it held at the 20 hour point.
The car was back to 9th at the next hour, but slumped to 14th, 24th and finally 27th over the next few hours, finally being classified an unrepresentative 29th, having completed 477 laps compared to the winning Porsche's 603.
Neither the Bryant car (on 178 laps) nor the Beighton car (on 108 laps) was a classified finisher, producing probably the marque's worst result in the Britcar 24 Hours, but for most of the race the Topcat Mantis had been a genuine contender for race victory.
|Team Tiger #29||1||18||36||32||27||39||42||43||44||44||45||45||45||45||45||45||45||45||45||45||45||45||45||NC|
Britcar's own site says:
After an early showing recalling Britcar days of yore, the Team Tiger Marcos expired with diff bolt failure after being delayed with a gearshift breakage.
The Bryant’s similar car, dusted-off after a year under wraps, collected debris from the startline incident, then suffered wheel problems.
There was a school of thought, before the race, that the overall winner could well come from Class 2, but probably never a thought that it might have been the Topcats Marcos Mantis.
Around 2am, though, it looked that way, and for the next eight hours too. The venerable machine, with a hotchpotch of BGT, TVR and Caterham pilots on board, grabbed the lead when the much-fancied Strakka BMW GTR fell sick during the night.
They had actually taken the lead temporarily as early as the two-hour mark, and had consistently run in the top five, but, at this point, they were never going to stave-off the flying Paragon Porsche’s recovery drive, though, then some minor niggles dropped them down the order, and a seized engine put paid to their race.
Nevertheless, it had been a stunning performance.
Marcoses continue to perform well in historic racing and I was at Castle Combe to see the car below in action.
For a while it led from the TVR Tuscan it's fighting with above and an E-Type Jaguar racer.
In the end, grunt gave the two bigger engined cars the edge, but the Marcos 1800 kept them honest to the end (especially the TVR) and won it's class easily.
The Dutch Supercar Challenge continued in August, September and October.
The Rizzla Racing Days took place at Assen in early August, with Cor Euser qualifying in 8th.
In the first race, held in the dry, Cor finished in 6th, but he was a non-finisher in the 2nd wet race.
The Moritzes had their SS1 Mantis out too, qualifying well down and not troubling their class rivals with a 29th and 30th overall.
The series moved to Zandvoort in early September and featured another first-dry/second-wet race combination.
Here Bermudez de Castro/van Putten and the vd Slik's performed well.
Bermudez De Castro and van Putten took a 6th in race one (22nd in race 2) and the vd Sliks were 6th in the very wet race 2 (12th in race 1).
As far as I can tell the top class cars didn't run at Zandvoort.
The end of September saw the series back at the Belgian Spa circuit.
Cor Euser had car trouble with the Marcorelly and was loaned a Mosler (finishing 27th in race 1), whilst Bert Moritz took his Mantis to 26th, 4 places behind Bermudez de Castro's similar car in race 1.
In race 2, Moritz and Bermudez de Castro again took 22nd and 26th overall. Euser's Mosler was 8th.
Cor returned with his trusty LM600 for the A1 series support race back at Zandvoort in early October.
Sadly, it didn't bring him much luck as, having qualified 4th, he was last classified finisher. Bert Moritz's SS1 class Mantis was a retiree.
In the SS2 race, the vd Slik's finished an impressive 4th, with José Bermudez de Castro in 6th.
Gwendolyn Hertzberger was a retiree in a Moritz entered Mantis.
The season finished at Assen again, on 26th October.
For Marcos stalwart Euser, the season ended, as it had started, on a high with a dominant (48 seconds clear of the second placed Viper) victory in the second race in treacherous conditions in his LM600.
This followed a fine 3rd place in the first race.
In the lower classes, José Bermudez de Castro placed 15th and 30th in his races.
So, the fear that maybe race wins were a thing of the past for the Marcos marque (aside perhaps from in historic racing) proved unfounded and Cor's win in the LM600 neatly bookends the year.
Roll on 2009!
Dutch Supercar Challenge Website