Pacific Grand Prix News Service

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PACIFIC GRAND PRIX : TEAM HISTORY

Pacific Grand Prix was born in September 1992 when Keith Wiggins, Managing Director of Pacific Racing, announced plans to take his team into Formula One within two years. With an enviable record of winning every motor racing championship it had contested, Pacific's reputation was outstanding and the world of Formula One eagerly anticipated its arrival. Despite limited resources the team entered and completed the 1994 Formula One World Championship, drivers Bertrand Gachot and Paul Belmondo at the wheel of the team's Pacific-Ilmors. The season was used to learn about Formula One, and to develop the team's structure in readiness for a competitive second season in 1995.

Pacific was founded in 1984 when Keith Wiggins engineered Norway's Harald Huysman to championship winning success in both the Benelux and European Formula Ford Championships. The following year Pacific began a successful two year partnership with Frenchman Bertrand Gachot, winning the British Formula Ford 1600 and Formula Ford 2000 titles plus the FF2000 World Cup.

During this time Pacific cemented a strong relationship with Philip Morris Inc., and with sponsorship from the Marlboro brand the team achieved further championship wins for Finland's JJ Lehto in the British and European Formula Ford 2000 championships, and the World Cup, plus second place for Jason Elliott. In 1988, with Lehto still heading the driver line-up, Pacific won the prestigious British Formula 3 Championship at its first attempt.



In 1989 Pacific entered the FIA Formula 3000 Championship, its two Marlboro-sponsored Reynards being driven by JJ Lehto and Ireland's Eddie Irvine. By 1991 the team had established itself as the pace-setter in Formula 3000, Brazilian ace Christian Fittipaldi winning the championship title.

In 1992 Pacific was again competitive in Formula 3000, Spain's Jordi Gene winning the first round of the championship and being ably supported by Frenchman Laurent Aiello. For 1993, while Pacific's Formula One plans were being developed, the team continued in Formula 3000 with David Coulthard and Michael Bartels. Coulthard won one race and finished third in the championship.

In October 1993 Pacific unveiled its first Formula One car, the Pacific PR01 powered by the Ilmor V10 engine, and the team entered the World Championship with drivers Bertrand Gachot and Paul Belmondo. This necessitated a major investment in new resources but Keith Wiggins ensured that the team remained lean and efficient during its debut season.

Initially based in premises at Snetterton racing circuit near Norwich, in 1989 Pacific moved into a 1000 sq. metre factory in Thetford, approximately 75 miles north east of London and 30 miles south west of Norwich. Pacific Grand Prix currently employs 35 personnel and is expanding even further in readiness for the 1995 Formula One World Championship.

In January 1995 it was announced that Mr Ko Gotoh, whose family founded the giant Japanese Tokyu Corporation, was becoming a shareholder in Pacific Grand Prix, bringing valuable investment and business expertise to the team.

In February Pacific announced that it had forged a strategic alliance with Team Lotus, enabling one of the most famous names in Formula One to continue in the World Championship. Under the 'Pacific Team Lotus' banner, Pacific's second year in Formula One took on an exciting new dimension, and the team is confident that the all-new Pacific-Ford PR02 will prove highly competitive.


Championship Victories


1984     1st Benelux Formula Ford Championship             H Huysman
         1st European Formula Ford Championship            H Huysman

1985 1st British Formula Ford Championship B Gachot

1986 1st British Formula Ford 2000 Championship B Gachot 1st Formula Ford 2000 World Cup B Gachot

1987 1st European Formula Ford 2000 Championship JJ Lehto 1st British Formula Ford 2000 Championship JJ Lehto 1st Formula Ford 2000 World Cup JJ Lehto

1988 1st British Formula 3 Championship JJ Lehto Nigel Moores International Top Team Award

1991 1st FIA Formula 3000 Championship C Fittipaldi


© Copyright 1995, Pacific Grand Prix Ltd., All Rights Reserved.
Last Modified: 1 October 1995