AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 16, 2012) – Mexican race driver David Martinez was quickest in practice Friday for Saturday’s Historic Grand Prix support race at the 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ at the Circuit of The Americas™.
Historic Grand Prix is an American series that brings back memories of some of Formula 1’s vintage years, the period from 1966 to 1983 when the cars ran to a three-liter engine formula and developments included the famous “ground effect” cars of the early Eighties.
The HGP organization is comprised of more than 50 owner-drivers of authentic vintage 3-litre models with a goal to preserve the historically correct presentation and performance of the cars, some of them originally driven by racing legends such as Niki Lauda and Mario Andretti.
Martinez, driving a 1980 Arrows A3 formerly raced by Italian Grand Prix star Riccardo Patrese, set a fastest lap time of 2 minutes 04.921 seconds on the 3.427-mile (5.516 kilometre) Austin course. That compared to a 1:38.125 set by Sebastian Vettel in opening practice for the contemporary Formula 1 cars that will race over 56 laps Sunday.
Danny Baker took second with 2:10.33 in his ex-Keke Rosberg Williams FW08, followed by Arie Luyendyk with a lap time of 2:10.35 in a 1979 McLaren originally in the hands of multiple world champion Alain Prost.
Martinez was thrilled by his first experience of the new American venue. “The track was just incredible. And the atmosphere of an F1 race! I’m grateful to be able to drive one of these cars,” he said. “The track is still very slippery since it’s the first time we are using it but waiting for practice was exciting. Getting that out of the way, we are going to focus on getting better and having a good weekend.”
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner (1990, 1997) Luyendyk agreed. “It’s really a beautiful track. I especially like the first part of the track, which is downhill, and the turns are contoured in such a way that you can go just flat out in 5th gear,” he said. “I was happy with my lap time. I won the first IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway and I’m hoping to win the first race here.”
The qualifying session for Historic Grand Prix will take place Saturday at 10:30 CST and the 14-lap race at 15:20.
AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 17, 2012) – American Dan Marvin brought memories flooding back when he won the Historic Grand Prix support race at the 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.
Marvin, from Larkspur, CA, drove a 1974 Brabham BT44 once raced by Brazilian Carlos Pace and left the 30-string field in his wake as he won by three and a half seconds from the 1980 Arrows A3 in the hands of Monterrey, Mexico native David Martinez.
Martinez, whose car was originally campaigned by Italian three-time Grand Prix winner Riccardo Patrese, had been quickest in both free practice and qualifying but the pole-sitter, grappling with an electrical problem, had no answer to Marvin’s early speed in the 10-lap race.
Third place went to Dallas driver Charles Nearburg in a 1980 Williams FW07, one of the cars that kick-started Sir Frank Williams’ team’s great years with cars designed by Patrick Head. It was first raced by Australian Alan Jones, who went on to win the world championship with Williams in 1980.
Marvin took the win with a time of 21 minutes 14.34 seconds and was quick to praise America’s newest race-track. “It was the most difficult I may have ever driven, very demanding, quirky and technical,” he said. “It’s a terrific facility and I’m astonished at the quality. I hope it will wake people in the US to F1.”
Historic Grand Prix is a high-speed history lesson for Formula 1 fans, a thriving North American category that strives to bring Grand Prix cars from the period 1966-83 back to the track in as near-original condition as possible.
The field contains some of the most evocative names in Formula 1 history, including machinery once driven by Grand Prix greats like Mario Andretti, Gilles Villeneuve, Niki Lauda and more.
As Marvin, a former Daytona driver, said: “It’s interesting for the spectator to be able to see where the cars they see Sunday came from – and they came from the cars we were driving today. You can see them at their birthplace and where they are now.”