CONSTRUCTORS: PACIFIC GRAND PRIX
Name: Pacific Grand Prix
Former racing mechanic and driver Keith Wiggins established Pacific Racing at premises at Snetterton in 1984 and landed Marlboro backing to run Harald Huysman in the Benelux and European FF1600 Championships. The Norwegian driver won both titles.
Huysman introduced Wiggins to another young driver called Bertrand Gachot and when Harald moved to Formula 3 in 1985 Wiggins agreed to run Gachot in a Marlboro-sponsored Reynard in the British Formula Ford 1600 series. It was a great success and there was another title in 1986 when Pacific and Gachot entered Formula Ford 2000 racing, once again with Reynard.
The success led to continued backing from Marlboro and Pacific ran Finn JJ Lehto to the British and European FF2000 titles in 1987 and moved into British F3 the following year again with JJ. It was a great success and Pacific won the British F3 title at its first attempt.
For 1989 the team moved to a new factory at Thetford and went into the European Formula 3000 series with Marlboro-sponsored Reynards for Lehto and Eddie Irvine. It was not a success. Marlboro transferred its support to DAMS and Pacific struggled with Lola chassis and Canadian Stephane Proulx and others. In 1991 Wiggins went back to Reynard, signed up Christian Fittipaldi and Antonio Tamburini and the pair won three times (Fittipaldi at Jerez and Nogaro and Tamburini at Le Mans).
For 1992 Marlboro returned and Pacific ran Laurent Aiello and Jordi Gene but without success. Having won the F3000 title, Wiggins had set his sights on F1 and in September 1992 he established Pacific Grand Prix. Unable to fund the program for 1993 he ran David Coulthard and Michael Bartels in F3000 with the Scotsman coming close to winning the series. While this was happening Wiggins took the decision to go ahead with a Reynard-designed F1 car, built by Reynard Composites and powered by an Ilmor V10 engine.
The Pacific-Ilmor PR01 was not a success despite the best efforts of Gachot and Paul Belmondo. The pair qualified for only a few races and retired in all of them. In the mid-season Wiggins announced that the design of a new car - the PR02 - had been brought forward and a sponsorship deal was signed with drinks company Ursus. The team switched to Cosworth engines and Frank Coppuck and aerodynamicist Dave Watson designed the PR02.
That winter Japanese businessman Ko Gotoh and Bertrand Gachot both bought into the team and Gachot remained as a driver with Andrea Montermini. The results were, however, disappointing and both drivers had to step down to allow pay-drivers to take over in an effort to keep the team going. This meant that good results were impossible and at the end of the year the team was forced to quit F1. Pacific ran a Formula 3000 team in 1996 and tried to build up a BRM sportscar program but Wiggins was forced to close down the operation in October 1997. He went to work for Lola in the United States of America.