The 1986 IMSA series consisted of eighteen race weekends. There were four categories of cars – GTP, GTP Light, GTO and GTU. With the exception of six events the Prototype cars competed together while there was a separate event for the GT category. The exception to this was the Daytona finale which did not include GTU. During this season, Watkins Glen hosted two events - the first was in July. It was titled the ‘Camel Continental’ which included all four classes and was 500-miles in length.

There was added incentive for teams to win this event as series sponsor R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and its Camel brand were offering a record purse of $75,000 to the winner. If the overall winner came from the Lights, GTO or GTU ranks they would earn $80,000. This prize money did not include any manufacturer’s contingency awards.

Derek Bell and Al Holbert drove the Lowenbrau Porsche 962 to victory. Their progress was hampered when Bell had to fight brake problems and oppressive heat during the last 100-miles. The team won the opening round at Daytona but Holbert was not on form again until mid-season – he would go on to win the 1986 GTP class title.
Finishing second just 9.377-seconds behind the winners were Oscar Larrauri and Gianpiero Moretti. The duo was also in a Porsche 962 which was prepared by Brun Motorsport. Brun Motorsport was founded in 1983 by Walter Brun and the team was best known for winning the 1986 World Sportscar Championship. The second place at Watkins Glen was the team's best result during the 1986 IMSA season.
GM entered the IMSA series with cars built by Lola - T86/10 models. The Chevrolet Corvette GTP entered by Hendrick Motorsports qualified on the pole. The car was driven by South African Sarel van der Merwe and Doc Bundy. The team led early but dropped down the standings finishing fifteenth overall and tenth in the GTP class. During the season, the team had mixed results but won the Road Atlanta and Palm Beach rounds.
Representing General Motors in the GTO division was Jack Baldwin in the Peerless Chevrolet Camaro. For the 500-mile race at Watkins Glen, he shared driving duties with NASCAR racer Geoff Bodine. They qualified second, behind Willy T. Ribbs, and won their class finishing eleventh overall.
Phil Conte entered the No. 46 Buick Hawk which was March 85G powered by a turbocharged Buick V6 motor. With engine preparation by McLaren, the team became the Buick factory effort in the IMSA series. The lead driver was Whitney Ganz and in longer events he would share the car with Jim Crawford. At Watkins Glen the pair started eighth and finished third in GTP.
Willy T. Ribbs was entered in the Brooks Fryberger Chevrolet Camaro and was scheduled to share the car with Wally Dallenbach. Ribbs was the fastest qualifier in GTO, however, upon exiting the pit-lane during the morning warm-up he left a trail of oil. Perhaps this incident contributed to the car retiring after only 15-laps.
Huffaker Racing, a successful automotive engineering company from northern California entered two GTU Pontiac Fieros during the 1986 season. The primary drivers were Terry Visger and Bob Earl. However, they shared driving duties for the longer races. The No. 50 car was shared by Newsum and Woodner at Watkins Glen where they failed to finish. The Visger/Earl car finished seventh in GTU.
The Jim Busby - B.F. Goodrich team entered two Porsche 962s. At Watkins Glen the No. 67 car was shared by Jim Busby and John Morton and the duo of Jochen Mass and Darren Brassfield drove the No. 68 car. The Mass/Brassfield car finished 5-laps behind the winner but seventh overall and in GTP.
BMW entered two March 86Gs which were powered by 2-litre turbocharged engines. The duo of Davy Jones and John Andretti drove the No. 18 car and finished fifth at the June event. The pair would return in September for the Watkins Glen 500 Kilometres and score a victory. The second car was driven by veterans John Watson and David Hobbs. At the end of the season, BMW withdrew from the series.
The GTO Toyota Celicas effort was a collaboration between Indy Car designer Roman Slobodinsky and Dan Gurney’s All American Racers. In 1983, Gurney entered the Toyotas in the GTU class and moved up to GTO in 1986. The Celicas were converted from front to rear wheel drive and powered by 2.0-liter turbocharged engines. At Watkins Glen, the Aase/Cord Celica finished ninth in GTO.
Group 44’s Jaguar XJR-7 was designed by Lee Dykstra and powered by a 6.0-liter V12 engine producing over 600-horsepower. Group 44 was renowned for their immaculate car preparation and the XJR-7 was no exception. Bob Tullius and Chip Robinson finished ninth at Watkins Glen but won the season finale at Daytona.
The Porsche 962 was designed to meet IMSA race regulations. The 956 model failed to comply because the pedal box was ahead of the front axle which compromised driver safety. The 962 was the first Porsche to employ a monocoque chassis with ground effects. It was powered by a 2.6-liter DOHC 6-cylinder engine which produced approximately 620-horsepower.
The BMW GTP cars were fitted with an M12/14 Formula 1 engine. It was an inline 4-cylinder DOHC with 4-valves per cylinder motor. These 2-liter turbocharged engines were reputed to have made over 800-horsepower.
Morrison-Cook entered two Corvettes in the GTO division. Unlike their competitors, these cars were not constructed using the latest tube-frame technology. They maintained the original chassis, bodywork and suspension as they served as test beds for Chevrolet Engineering. The No. 88 shared by Ron Grable, John Heinricy and Bobby Carradine finished a very credible fourth in the GTO class.
The No. 86 Bayside Porsche 962 was driven by Bob Wollek. The sister car was driven by, team owner, Bruce Leven, Paulo Barilla and Bill Adam. In 1986, Wollek not only competed in the IMSA series but was also a factory Porsche driver competing in international endurance events. He started fifth at Watkins Glen but was the first GTP car to retire after completing only nineteen laps.
Scott Pruett and former Olympic Decathlon Gold Medal winner Bruce Jenner shared the 7-Eleven Roush Racing Ford Mustang. Pruett was a successful go-kart racer who had made the transition to cars in 1984 - debuting in a GTU Mazda. But by midway through the following season, he was hired by Jack Roush. Pruett and Jenner finished second in GTO at Watkins Glen.

1GTPHolbert / BellPorsche 962Holbert Racing148-
2GTPLarrauri / MorettiPorsche 962Brun Motorsports147-
3GTPGanz / CrawfordMarch 85GConte Racing146-
4GTPAkin / Cobb / WeaverPorsche 962Bob Akin Motor Racing145-
5GTPJones / AndrettiBMW GTPBMW North America144-
6GTPWatson / HobbsBMW GTPBMW North America143-
7GTPMass / BrassfieldPorsche 962BF Goodrich143-
8GTPAdams / HotchkisPorsche 962Hotchkis Racing141-
9GTPTullius / RobinsonJaguar XJR-7Group 44138-
10LightsMorgan / BlackburnTiga GT286Morgan Performance135-
11GTOBaldwin / BodineChevrolet CamaroPeerless Racing135-
12GTOJenner / PruettFord MustangRoush Racing134-
13LightsBellm / SpiceSpice SE86CLSpice Engineering134-
14GTOVincentz / BauerPorsche 930Electrodyne Performance133-
15GTPvan der Merwe / BundyChevrolet Corvette GTPHendrick Motorsports133-
16LightsDowning / MaffucciArgo JM19Certified Brakes131-
17LightsKatz / Alsup / PhillipsTiga GT286AMF Racing131-
18GTPLeven / Adam / BarillaPorsche 962Bridgestone-Bayside129-
19GTUMandeville / SmithMazda RX-7Mandeville Auto Tech128-
20GTOGrable / Heinricy / CarradineChevrolet CorvetteMorrison-Cook Motorsports126-
21GTUKendall / ReedMazda RX-7Clayton Cunningham Racing126-
22LightsMarsh / Pawley / MarshTiga GT286Mid-O Racing125-
23LightsMeyer / RothbarthRoyale RP40Mike Meyer Racing125-
24GTOHester / HasseyFord MustangRaintree Corporation124-
25LightsFinotto / Melgrati / FacettiAlba AR6Gaston Andrey Racing123-
26GTOFonseca / ValverdePorsche 934Latino Racing122-
27GTUGreer / MeesMazda RX-7Dick Greer Racing119-
28GTUSilberberger / KruegerMazda RX-7Tryolean Racing119-
29GTOAase / CordToyota Celica TurboAll American Racers115-
30GTUKryder / Ritz / WhelanNissan 280ZXKryder Racing111-
31GTUBacon / ArgetsingerMazda RX-7Al Bacon Racing111-
32GTUEarl / VisgerPontiac FieroHuffaker Engineering109-
33GTOWalker / NorthamChevrolet CorvetteGreg Walker Racing107-
34GTUJohnson / ShawMazda RX-7Team Highball102-
35GTUHendricks / JonesPorsche 914-6Dynamic Air Conditioning97-
36LightsLoring / HoneggerDenaliZ & W Enterprises97Accident
37GTOKimbrough / GennoneChevrolet CamaroOMR Engines92Accident
38GTPBusby / MortonPorsche 962BF Goodrich88Engine
39GTOTaylor / Zwiren / RamseyPontiac FirebirdBob's Speed Products75-
40LightsCoppelli / AndreyAlba AR2Gaston Andrey Racing74Accident
41GTUWoodner / NewsumPontiac FieroHuffaker Engineering66Accident
42LightsFowells / MillerArgo JM19MSB Racing43Accident
43GTPRedman / HaywoodJaguar XJR-7Group 4440Engine
44GTORiggins / CarterPontiac FirebirdDingman Brothers Racing39Engine
45LightsBell / KlineRoyale RP40AT&T35Engine
46GTOPetery / Hotchkis, Jr.Chevrolet CamaroVan Every Racing29Engine
47GTPDrake OlsonPorsche 962Dyson Racing25Engine
48LightsSteve DurstTiga GT285Ball Bros Racing22Oil leak
49GTOBenny ParsonsOldsmobile CalaisTex Racing21Engine
50GTPBob WollekPorsche 962Bridgestone-Bayside19Steering
51GTOWilly T. RibbsChevrolet CamaroBrooks Racing15Drive shaft
52GTOAsh TisdelleChevrolet CamaroVan Every Racing13Engine

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