Marcos in GT racing in 2009

Although the marque has been defunct for a while, 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Marcos.

So, it's good to be able to report that LM600s and Mantises (along with numerous historic 1800s) continue to run competitively in top level GT racing.

At the first Dutch Supercar Challenge race, at Spa on 10th - 12th April, Cor Euser's LM600 Evo was the only Marcos entrant (none of the Mantises from previous years showing in the lower classes).

Cor put the car on the front row, just .6 second behind Martin Short's 'works' Mosler.

The LM600 on saturday at the Spa DSC opener - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

In the Saturday race, Cor was only able to finish a lapped 7th, sharing the car with Jan Joris Verheul.

Sunday went better, with the LM600 challenging for the lead and finishing a strong 2nd (Cor driving alone in this race).

On Sunday, Cor finished a strong second to the Works Mosler - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

In the UK, the Britcar series saw two Topcats Mantises out.

Both these cars now feature Chevrolet 7 litre engines.

Topcats Mantises dice along the pit straight at Silverstone - Photo Courtesy Gary Harman

The two cars were entered in different classes.

In class 2, Mercer and Bullock qualified 9th overall and the class 3 car of Harrison and Huggins was 12th - Both cars outqualified both Topcats Moslers.

Class 3 Topcats Mantis leads the way at Britcar series opener - Photo Courtesy Gary Harman

The cars ended up 8th and 9th overall at the end of the 2 hour race (they covered 77 laps of Silverstone's International circuit in that time, with the class 3 (no 35) car 3rd in class.

Cor Euser's Marcos exploits continued in the DSC throughout the year.

At Rockingham Raceway (in the UK, despite's its American style name and layout) in May, Cor put his LM600 on pole, won first race, after battle with Martin Short's Mosler.

LM600 leads Short's Mosler at Rockingham - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

Honours were reversed in the second race, where Cor just lost out to Short in second race.

The Pinksterraces were held at Zandvoort early June, with only the SS2 and lower classes present.

The Van Der Sliks qualified their Mantis 4th, but were classified 5 laps down in race 1. Sadly they failed to start race 2.

Van Der Sliks only Marcos in action at Zandvoort in SS2 race - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

The big class cars were also at Zandvoort, in mid June, to support the Masters of F3 event.

Euser put the LM600 on pole and in race 1 finished 3rd behind Mosler and Porsche

LM600 3rd and 1st at Zandvoort - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

He followed this up with an impressive victory in race 2.

Second Moritz team Mantis run by Sijthof pairing - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

The series moved onto the Euroraces event at Spa at the end of June.

Once again Euser put the LM600 on pole, and the Topcats Britcar Mantis was qualified 32nd, the two series running together at Spa, as they had at Rockingham.

Cor sadly completed only 3 laps in race 1. Jan De Wit was placed 31st in the race (driving the MRI Mantis), the Topcats car is not recorded as a starter in the DSC results.

Euser's LM600 leads Topcats Mantis - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

Warren Gilbert's Topcat Mantis did earn an impresive 9th in race 2, Jan De Wit and Cor Euser were classified 42nd and 43rd - retiring early.

Topcats Mantis took 9th in race 2 - Photo Courtesy Robbert Maas/DSC website

The series was at Zolder in July.

Yet again Euser was on pole, but in his Mantis for a change, the Sijthofs' Mantis qualified 8th for SS2 race.

Euser raced Mantis, to great effect, at Zolder - leading at start here - Photo Courtesy Robbert Maas/DSC website

The results were excellent too for Cor, with 2nd in race 1, followed by victory in the 2nd.

En route to victory in race 2 - Photo Courtesy Robbert Maas/DSC website

The Sitjhofs were 6th and 15th in their separate races.

Sitjhof's performed well, taking 6th in first SS2 race - Photo Courtesy Robbert Maas/DSC website

The series went to Germany for the annual Rizzla racedays at Assen in August.

Moritz pairing's Mantis 17th and 14th at Assen - Photo Courtesy Robbert Maas/DSC website

Euser was back in the LM600 and 2nd on the grid, behind Short's Mosler. SS2 Mantises 21st, 24th and 26th. Euser took 2nd in race one (again behind Short), with Carl Krieger' Mantis 16th, ahead of the Mortizes and the Sijthof's in 19th.

Team MRI's Mantis in hands of Carl Krieger at Assen - Photo Courtesy Robbert Maas/DSC website

It was a poor second race for Euser, down in 15th, but Martin Short also failed to finish, which was good news for Cor's championship hopes.

The Mortizes were 14th,Krieger 17th and Sijthof's 19th and last classified finisher.

LM600 took second in race one at Assen - Photo Courtesy Robbert Maas/DSC website

The series returned for the penultimate weekend at Spa in October.

Euser was second behind a Dodge Viper on the grid, the Sitjhofs 28th and Moritzs in 33rd.

After an eventful race, Euser was victorious in race 1, with the Moritzs 23rd and Sitjhofs 25th.

Chaos breaks out behind LM600 at Spa race 1 start - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

Race 2 saw Euser repeat that victory and take the DSC title for 2009, a great result for the Marcos stalwart in the marque's 50th anniversary season.

Euser crests Eau Rouge in gloom of race 2 - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

Sitjhofs and Moritzs were 29th and 30th in their Mantises.

Moritz's car was a regular competitor all season - 23rd and 30th at Spa in October - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

The season finished at Assen again.

With the championship already won, Euser was a relatively lowly 4th on the grid, with the Sitjhof's 6th on the SS2 grid.

In the first SS2 race, the Sitjhofs took a pleasing podium (3rd), although they sadly retired in the second race.

Sitjhofs took a podium in SS2 race 1 at Assen finale - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

In the GT/SS1 race, Euser was second in both races, behind Short's Mosler in the first and a Ferrari 430 in the second.

Euser on the podium for both Assen races too, despite already being champion - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

Final championship points were :
Cor Euser (Marcos) 219 points
Martin Short (Mosler) 193 points
Robert de Graaff / Philippe Ribbens (Dodge Viper) 191 points

In Britcar, the Topcats Mantises continued to punch well above their weight.

At Rockingham, they qualified 7th and 8th and the HARRISON / HUGGINS car went onto finish 5th, 2nd in Class 3, even leading the race overall at one stage thanks to a long stint. The other car, driven by Mercer and Bullock was classified 19th, 6 laps down on the race winner.

Above : Class 3 Mantis lead briefly overall at Rockingham - Photo courtesy Britcar site/PJ Cherry

The next round was at Spa Francorchamps. Jon HARRISON/Neil HUGGINS qualified the number 35 car 12th, with the Mercer and Bullock car 18th.

Above : Spray and Mantises at Spa - Photo courtesy Britcar site/PJ Cherry

Harrison and Huggins finished 10th in the Britcar race, although the other car was only classified 32nd, 11 laps down on the race winner.

Topcats invited some Marcos owners and Jem Marsh along to the marques 'home circuit' at Castle Combe in August (as an acknowledgement of the 50th anniversary) and the team put on a great show.

Mick Mercer qualified the 'green car' third on the grid (the very fastest cars were not present at Castle Combe, it should be said), whilst Jon Harrison and Charlotte Gilbert (what a delightful woman she is, btw) put the other car 8th.

In the race, the cars showed well. Mercer delighted the Marcos contingent by seizing the lead and holding it until the Prosport nipped past half way around the first lap.

Above : Mercer sneaks the lead off the line at Castle Combe.

However, despite the Prosport's insane speed, Mercer was able to hold off the competition all the way to the pitstops and come in second.

Meanwhile, Jon Harrison long stinted and got his car up into second place by the time he pitted and handed over to Charlotte.

Richard Fores took over number 35, but unfamiliar with the car and circuit, couldn't hold off the chasing Ferrari and dropped to 3rd.

Above : Topcats Mantis at speed at Castle Combe

Charlotte Gilbert ran very well initially, but not having raced in over a year, could be forgiven a small mistake which resulted in a spin. After a checkover in the pits revealed no real damage she was back out and ran as fast as ever and classified 22nd.

Fores took 3rd at the chequered flag, in spite of some stirring driving as he got to grips with the car in the latter stages.

Above : Class 3 car fends off Porsche as Class 2 closes in to lap them.

The all dominant Prosport lost all but 3rd gear in the last few laps and was just pipped to the victory by the Ferrari.

A 4 hour race was held at Snetterton (also in August) and the cars qualified 3rd (Mercer) and 7th (Harrison).

At the one hour mark, Harrison and Huggins were running 4th, with Mercer, Fores and Paillard down in 17th after early problems with a broken drive flange.

Above : Topcats Mantises at the start of the 4 hour race at Snetterton - Photo courtesy Britcar site/PJ Cherry

At two hours, Harrison and Huggins were 4 laps down on the leader and running in 8th, but only 2nd in Class 3. The Mercer/Fores/Paillard car was running 16th at this stage.

At the 3/4 mark, Harrison and Huggins had the class 3 lead and were 6th overall, whilst Mercer's car was still 16th due to the laps lost early on.

In the last hour, however, problems hit the number 35 front running Marcos. The car was driven straight into the garage very late on and a broken drive shaft was diagnosed, but, with just 18 minutes of the race left, a repair was going to be difficult.

Ironically, the Mercer/Fores/Paillard steady late race pace, saw it leap frog a number of cars in the last hour and take 12th overall (4th in Class 2), just one place behind the Harrison/Huggins car, which was repaired just as the flag fell and didn't return to the track.

The usual Britcar halo-event (the Britcar 24 hours) was curtailed to a 6 hour race (oddly called the Britcar 500...) in October 2009 as the depressed economy bit (The organisers are promising it will be back in 2010).

Above : Topcats Mantis at the start of the Britcar 500 - Photo courtesy Britcar site/Bluefly Photography

Mick Mercer and Richard Fores were once again entered in the Class 2 number 17, joined, as at Snetterton, by Luc Paillard, with regular drivers Jon Harrison and Neil Huggins being joined by Rob Wilson in the Class 3, number 35.

The class 2 car was on the 5th row (of 22), with the class 3 car on the 8th - Respectable performances in a field of highly competitive machines and drivers.

After one hour, Mercer/Fores/Paillard were placed 26th (5 laps behind the race leader, 6th in class - 4 laps behind the class leading Prosport, the performance of which at Castle Combe and here suggests is in the wrong class really), with the class 3 car of Harrison/Huggins/Wilson 31st, one lap further back.

Above : Class 3 car competitive again - Photo courtesy Britcar site/

At the two hour mark, the class 2 car was up to 16th, 5th in class, with the class 3 car still in 31st overall.

By three hours, trouble had hit the Mercer/Fores/Paillard car, which had dropped one place behind the class 3 car to 29th.

At 2/3rds distance the class 3 car was up to 26th, with the class 2 car dropping down to 28th.

With an hour to go, the number 35 class 3 car was 24th, 10th in class, with the class 2, number 17 car clawing back up to 26th.

Above : Class 2 car ran near the front for most of the race - Photo courtesy Britcar site/PJ Cherry

At the end of the race, both cars were classified, with the class 3, number 35 car 21st and the class 2, number 17 car 23rd.

A final, 'into the night' race was held at Brands Hatch in November.

Above : Cars being prepared for Brands finale - Photo courtesy Britcar site and Bluefly photography

Sadly neither car was classified, with the Harrison/Huggins car going out on lap 1 and the class 2 car, driven by Fiorentio and Fletcher on this occasion making it to lap 70.

Above : Race for 17 ended on a tow rope - Photo courtesy Britcar site/PJ Cherry

Some good performances by both Topcats Mantises didn't yield any great upsets, but the cars were as popular as ever with the crowds and it's to be hoped that the Mantises will race again in 2010, although Topcats also run a Mosler, which was 3rd at the 500.

Above : Topcats Mantis pairing as seen at Rockingham - Photo courtesy Britcar site and Gary Walton

Euser's overall victory in the Dutch Supercar Challenge was a remarkable achievement in the face of some top quality competition (Martin Short was 4th overall at Le Mans two years ago in a self run car) and it's a testament to his engineering skills and enduring enthusiasm for the Marcos marque (the latter further evidenced by his presence at Prescott running passenger rides - How did I only get to know about these right at the end of the day! :( ) that 50 years after the first Marcos was raced the marque was able to scoop a prestigious international series.

Cor Euser 2009 Dutch Supercar Challenge champion - Photo Courtesy Roel Louwers/DSC website

The performance of the Topcats Mantises continue to impress, too, and, like all the Marcoses in the DSC, they are always hugely popular with the race going public.

Let's hope the public get to see lots more Marcos racing in 2010!

A big thank you to Gary Harman for news and photos for this section of the site and to the Britcar and DSC sites for the use of photos, too.

Britcar Website

Dutch Supercar Challenge Website

Return to the Marcos Racing Page