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Marlboro Masters 1998:


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Demonstrations at the Marlboro Masters are mostly sponsored presentations. Sometimes they're uninteresting and sometimes they're exiting. This year there were two presentations: one with the Chrysler powered Bitter GT1 and one with the Ford Supervan 3. I liked both of 'em, the first because it was unique and the second because it was brutal.

DEMO1.jpg (36025 bytes)This is the still-born GT1 contender developed by Toine Hezemans, a famous Dutch touringcar and prototype racing driver of the late sixties and early seventies. During 1997 he entered two Lotus Elises V8 in the GT1 class of the FIA GT championship, both for his son Mike and former Le Mans winner Jan Lammers. The project wasn't successful, but Toine thought there was some potential.
After Lotus stopped funding the team he wanted to continue and started developing his own car under the name of Bitter, an exotic car manufacturer who wanted to establish its name in racing.

DEMO5.jpg (38050 bytes)A new body was designed around the original Elise racing chassis. The new car was fitted with the V10 engine of the Dodge/Chrysler Viper, placed before the rear wheels. It was then called the Bitter-Chrysler GT1 and in 1998 it took part in a few races unsuccessfully. Funds ran out and Toine had to stop the project.
Besides lack of budget the car's rather low power to weight ratio was a weak spot. This was caused by the heavy V10 engine, which was originally designed for a light truck before the Chrysler company put it in the Cobra wannabe Viper.
Still it's a beautiful looking car with a mighty engine. The design itself should be converted to a roadgoing supercar, I think it's pretty and powerful enough to sell...
Jan Lammers raced the car round the Zandvoort circuit for a few laps to the delight of the crowds, finishing with a tire burnout on the main straight.


DEMO6.jpg (68383 bytes)The Ford company took to the track with the 3rd revision of the Supervan. The Supervan series started in the seventies when a Transit delivery van was fitted with formula one technology. Every decade since a new Supervan was developed with current bodywork and technology.
This Supervan is the latest in the series and has an Ford Cosworth V10 racing engine in its cargo space, driving the rear wheels. The engine is quite similar to that in the Steward Grand Prix cars; it even broke down after a few laps.

DEMO7.jpg (62921 bytes)It reached incredible high speeds down the straights, cornering proved more of a problem. Hired driver Michael Vergers (of British Formula Ford fame) took some VIP's with him (one at the time) for a quick lap.
The Ford Transit Supervan is specially built for demonstrations and promotional use, it does not race. It would be interesting to see how it holds up against other fast cars like Porsche 911 GT2's or even the Bitter-Chrysler featured before in the demonstration.

DEMO8.jpg (43122 bytes)Although it was spectacular to look at and made a real F1 racing sound, the demo lasted too long and became boring. The main causes of that were the breakdown of the car and the apparent need tot repair it because some of the VIP's still wanted their lap around the track.

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