On August 20, 1977, Mosport Park hosted a unique event that saw a round of the FIA World Championship for Makes and the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) Trans-Am series compete in the same six-hour contest but collect points for their respective championships.

This unique event was round six for the World Championship of Makes and race eight for Trans-Am competitors.

The nine-race World Championship for Makes season started in America at Daytona International Speedway with the 24-Hours of Daytona. After the opening round, the championship returned to Europe for events at Mugello, Silverstone and the Nurburgring. In July, the series crossed the Atlantic for 6-hour races at Watkins Glen International and Mosport Park. Round seven was held at Brand Hatch. Hockenheim hosted the penultimate weekend, with the finale taking place at Vallelunga, Italy.

The World Championship of Makes was for Group 5 Special Production Cars, Group 3 and 4 Grand Touring Cars and Group 1 and 2 Touring Cars. Some of the vehicles competing in the series included the Porsche 935, BMW 320i Turbo and non-turbo, Ferrari 365 GTB/4 and Lancia Stratos.

The Tran Am series consisted of eleven rounds which began in May at Seattle, Washington. Next teams travelled north of the border for a race at Westwood. Upon returning to the United States, events were held at Portland, Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen, Hallett and Brainerd. The Watkins Glen race would be a six-hour contest conducted with the FIA World Championship of Makes. Due to the length of the Watkins Glen event, drivers were awarded double points. Following Brainerd, the championship returned to Canada for another six-hour contest with the FIA series. Again Trans-Am competitors earned double points. Rounds nine and ten were a doubleheader weekend held at Road America. The season ended at Quebec’s Le Circuit Mont Tremblant.

In 1977 the SCCA introduced two classes for the Trans-Am series – Category I and II.

  • Category I - Many of the cars in Category I are from the SCCA amateur ranks - B and C Production and A Sedan cars. These are street-based vehicles such as the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro that have been modified for racing.
  • Category II - The Category II cars are built strictly for racing. The class is for FIA Group 4 and 5 vehicles such as the Porsche 935 Turbo and U.S. GTs. The U.S. GT rules were quite liberal allowing, builders to create tube frame chassis cars. Almost any modification was permitted as long as the vehicle retained the original block and heads. As a point of comparison, a Category I Corvette with a 454 cubic inch engine is required to weigh 2,950-pounds and restricted to 10-inch wide rims. This car produces approximately 500-horsepower. Its Category II counterpart is allowed 16-inch wide wheels and if a 460 cubic inch engine is used, the car tips the scales at 2,500-pounds. A Category II Porsche 935 Turbo produces approximately 700-horsepower.

The Mosport six-hour contest had a high attrition rate and only eleven of the twenty-two starters were classified as finishers.

It was expected that the race would be dominated by the Group 5 factory Porsche. But when the car retired, all eyes were focused on the two Trans-Am title contenders, Peter Gregg and Ludwig Heimrath. Gregg and Bob Wollek finished first, driving the No. 59 Brumos Porsche 934 Turbo. However, protests were lodged by Heimrath concerning the rear suspension on Gregg’s car. Heimrath was eventually declared the winner.
Porsche sent a single entry to compete in the Group 5 category at Mosport Park. Sharing the No. 1 Martini Racing Porsche 935/77 was Jacky Ickx and Manfred Schurti. In five starts, the factory team had three victories. The most recent was in round five at Watkins Glen International. As expected, the Porsche qualified on the pole. Unfortunately, the team’s race only lasted thirty-four laps due to a head gasket failure.
The No. 23 BMW 320i was entered in the Group 5 Under 2.0-liter division by Rudiger Faltz. The BMW is fitted with a 280-horsepower Formula 2 engine. In round three at Silverstone, the car was driven by Ronnie Peterson and Helmut Kelleners, who won their category. Sharing the Faltz BMW at Mosport Park was Eddie Cheever and Canadian favourite Gilles Villeneuve. They started eleventh overall and won Group 5.
Competing in Category I of the Trans-Am series was Bob Tullius driving the No. 44 Jaguar XJS. Prior to round eight at Mosport Park, Tullius’ record included two victories, but he was second in the title chase. At the Watkins Glen event, he enlisted the services of Brian Fuerstenau and used him again at Mosport. The pair started fourteenth overall and second in class. After six hours of competition, the pair won their category.
The Tran Am Category I points leader heading into the Mosport weekend was former open-wheel racer, John Bauer. In round eight of the series, Bauer shared the driving duties with Can Am competitors Tom Spalding and Elliot Forbes-Robinson. At Watkins Glen, Spalding co-drove with Bauer to a second in class. The trio would finish in the runner-up spot, but Bauer’s championship lead dropped from twelve to two points.
McLaren North America entered a BMW 320i Turbo for David Hobbs and Ronnie Peterson. Hobbs was a regular in the IMSA series. He had some success with the BMW that was reported to produce over 650-horsepower. At the Watkins Glen event, Hobbs and Peterson retired early. They started third at Mosport and encountered issues during the race and finished eighth overall, but won the over 2-liter class.
Another IMSA regular who entered the Group 5 division at Mosport Park was Jim Busby. In the previous round, Busby and his co-driver, Tom Frank, finished ninth in class. Sharing the No. 61 Porsche 935 with Busby at Mosport was local racer Eppie Wietzes. They were the sixth fastest during the qualifying session. Unfortunately, an engine failure forced the team to retire after just forty-five laps.
Vasek Polak brought a couple of Porsches to Mosport Park. The No. 0 Porsche 934 was entered in the Trans Am Category II division for Skeeter McKitterick and Monte Shelton. Shelton was competing fulltime in the Category II class and until round eight, he was campaigning in his own Porsche 934. The duo had problems during the race and did not complete a sufficient number of laps to be classified as a finisher.
Starting on the outside of the front row was the No. 16 Vasek Polak Porsche 935 piloted by George Follmer, 1972 Can Am and Trans-Am champion, and Brett Lunger. Although they were second fastest in the qualifying session, the entry was over two seconds slower than the pole-winning factory Porsche. Like half the field, Follmer and Lunger retired from the event. Engine problems on lap-80 ended their race.

1TA2Heimrath / MillerPorsche 934/5240-
2Gr.5Cheever / VilleneuveBMW 320i234-
3TA1Tullius / FuerstenauJaguar XJS229-
4TA1Spalding / Bauer / Forbes-RobinsonPorsche Carrera RSR227-
5TA2Bytzek / Bartling / BytzekPorsche Carrera RSR224-
6TA2Shaw, Jr. / MeisterPorsche Carrera RSR224-
7TA2 Overing / Hochreuter / TalbotPorsche Carrera RSR222-
8Gr.5Hobbs / PetersonBMW 320i Turbo215-
9TA1Brandt / OleyarChevrolet Corvette214-
10TA2Maier / JollyPorsche Carrera RSR200-
11TA1Rynone / Wiernicki / WiernickiChevrolet Corvette199-
DNFTA1Wood / Mead / LazierPorsche 911187Engine
NCTA2Shelton / McKitterick / HaywoodPorsche 934/5154-
DNFTA2Ridgely / CookPorsche Carrera RSR114Engine
DNFTA2Agor / NichterChevrolet Monza94Differential
DNFTA1Engels / NagelChevrolet Corvette92Engine
DNFGr.5Follmer / Lunger / SheltonPorsche 93580Rocker Arm
DNFGr.5Busby / WietzesPorsche 93545Engine
DNFTA2Cord / AdamsChevrolet Monza42Engine
DNFTA1Mancuso / CoykendallChevrolet Corvette37Differential
DNFGr.5Ickx / SchurtiPorsche 935/7734Head Gasket
DNFTA1Adam / ChampionPorsche 91115Accident
DSQTA2Gregg / WollekPorsche 934/5243Illegal Suspension

Copyright Notice:
All content (photographs and text) appearing on this website are the exclusive property of © www.zoompics.com and are protected under International copyright laws. The subject matter on this website may not be reproduced, copied, stored or manipulated.

© Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019

Return to home page.