Despite all the problems and management changes Spyker cars continued to compete on circuits around the world. The Spyker Squadron entered the C8 Spyder GT2R in the six-round European Le Mans Series, the Sebring 12 Hours and of course the ever popular 24 Hours of Le Mans. Instead of building new cars the two 2006 cars were rebuilt and upgraded to 2007 specifications. One of the cars was run by the private team of Speedy Racing, owned by Swiss Spyker dealer Alexandre Pesci.
Results of the 2007 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race were dramatic for Spyker however. Both cars were entered by the Spyker Squadron; the number 85 factory car was driven by Belicchi, Caffi and Chiesa and the number 86 Speedy Racing Team car by Janis, Hezemans and Kane. Despite the experienced and accomplished driver line-up Spyker couldn't make a lasting impression. Remarkable about the driver line-up was that Speedy Racing Team drivers Belicchi and Chiesa were now placed in the factory car while teammate and former Formula 1 driver Alex Caffi competed against Spyker in a Ferrari 430 GT in the European Le Mans Series that same season.
Spyker's Formula 1 Team should have been the crown on the efforts to promote the make by racing. Unfortunately things panned out very differently and instead of a crown the F1 Team became the proverbial stone around the neck of the company. Two cars were entered for the 2007 season.
At the start of the season the Spykers were piloted by Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil. Albers lost his seat after 9 races due to sponsor problems and disappointing results. Sutil on the other hand surprised many by driving consistently and getting the most out of the car. Markus Winkelhock replaced Albers for 1 race (and managed to lead the race for a few wet laps) and for the rest of the season the seat was taken by Sakon Yamamoto, a fairly nondescript driver who brought a fresh infusion of money into Spyker's F1 effort.
Near the end of the season it became clear that Spyker wasn't able to support a F1 team any longer. The company was losing money on a big scale and had to take cost-cutting measures. After the season had ended it was announced that the team was sold to Indian entrepreneur Vijay Mallya, the 664th richest person in the world, and would be renamed into Force India. This ended Spykers involvement in F1 but remarkably former Spyker CEO Michiel Mol remains a stakeholder in the Force India team.
Who would have thought that entering a new century would include the resurrection of Spyker? More than 100 years after the first Spyker prototype a new one appeared. After a lapse of exactly 75 years Spyker production has been resumed and hopefully it brings forth the same engineering excellence for which the original company was renown. One thing seems for sure: Spyker cars will remain a rare sight on the road and only affordable for the extremely rich. A pity really....
Used sources for this tour:
Have you seen any classic Spyker cars in museums or collections which are not shown in this tour? Please let me know!
...finish by clicking the arrows pointing right...