Cyber Cup Champions

 

Elliott Forbes-Robinson - Drivers Champion
Elliott Forbes-Robinson II, 1999 Cyber Cup Drivers Champion
Elliott Forbes-Robinson, II (EFR), 1999 Cyber Cup Drivers Champion, scored Cyber Cup points in more events than any other sports car driver in the world. EFR started the year with a win at the 24 Hours of Daytona with his teammates Butch Leitzinger, who finished second, and, Andy Wallace, who finished third in the Cyber Cup championship. From there, EFR went on to post a hard fought second at Sebring with Leitzinger, and with two other wins at Limerock and Mid-Ohio. One third place finish, 3 fourth place finishes (one at the Petit le Mans), one fifth place finish and two sixth place finishes gave EFR a total of 128 points, 9 points ahead of Leitzinger. It was this consistency that kept EFR at the top of the Cyber Cup standings all year. EFR also won the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) drivers championships.

EFR is a man as surprised about his success this year as many others around the world. He states about the year, "You know, I didn't have the role as lead driver. We have some very talented drivers on the team and I am not the quickest. This is a team sport, though, and a lot of people contributed. We were lucky so many times. Like at Road Atlanta in the spring, when we blew a head gasket on the last lap and still finished. We always seemed to find a way to finish. And, I believe, the Lord was on my side this year. Can you believe that we almost won at Sebring? Here we were racing this old car against the latest and best [stuff] that the factories had! Unbelievable."

I think the world of sports cars was given a great lesson in the appreciation of age and maturity this year. The car that EFR drove this year was chassis # 002 Riley & Scott Mark III. It was built in 1995 and, Pat Smith, Team Manager of Dyson Racing, says about the car, "It has 45,000 miles on it and it is a five year-old car!" We are not sure how many miles our champion, EFR, has on him, but he raced his first race in 1969 in a Shelby Cobra 289. So, he has raced in four decades! At 56, EFR says, "I've said that I will continue to race as long as it is fun, and this year was great at Dyson Racing. And, as long as I can keep up, I'll keep doing it."

It takes a lot of skill to race and win when you are racing against the world's best. EFR found ways to get the car to the finish and with his smart and consistent driving, has managed to finish the year at the head of the pack of the best sports car drivers in the world.

Ferrari, Constructors Champion
Ferrari 333 SP

Photos by John Brooks

The JB Giesse Team Ferrari has won the ISRS Constructors Championship for two years in a row, and drivers, Collard and Sospiri, have won the drivers championship for two years in a row. Ferrari's new nemesis, the Judd powered Lola is shown on the right at the start of the Kyalami, South Africa race on November 28, 1999.

 For the second year in a row, Ferrari has captured the Cyber Cup Constructors Championship. The venerable Ferrari 333 SP was hampered this year by the ALMS, ACO and USRRC air intake restrictors. The car that has nearly dominated the American sports car racing scene for the past five years was only able to score one victory this year in America. In Europe, it was a different story as Ferrari dominated the SportsRacing World Cup (ISRS) series. In the ISRS season-opener at Barcelona, Spain, Ferrari scored a 1-2-3-4-5-6 finish.

As the year progressed, Ferrari began to see a strong challenge to its dominance in Europe by the Judd V10 powered Lola of DAMS. Still, Ferrari scored six wins, nine seconds, nine thirds, nine fourths, nine fifths, ten sixths, three poles and eight fastest laps during the year to propel Ferrari to the championship.

Ferrari's main focus is Formula One, where it won the 1999 Constructors Championship, and it has ironically ignored the sports car program where the Ferrari 333 SP has become the most successful race car that Ferrari has ever built. Rumors of revamped engines and an updated car have so far have not realized. Was 1999 the swan song year for the Ferrari 333 SP?

BMW Motorsport, Team Champion
BMW Motorsport, 1999 Cyber Cup Teams Champion
 

BMW Motorsport, 1999 Cyber Cup Team Champion, started the year at Sebring with an 'out-the-box' win with their new BMW V-12 LMR. From there, it was to the 24 Hours of Le Mans where BMW posted their second win against one of the strongest fields in Le Mans history comprised of the factory efforts of Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan and Panoz.

The Charly Lamm led Schnitzer team campaigned two cars in the American Le Mans Series and posted four wins at Sebring, Sears Point, Laguna Seca and Las Vegas to go along with their Le Mans victory. The team had a heartbreak at the Petit Le Mans when driver Jorg Müller spun out of the lead seven miles from the finish.

BMW had three second place finishes, two thirds, a fourth and a fifth during the year to add to its strong and consistent finish with its two cars. BMW driver JJ Lehto finished fourth in the Cyber Cup Drivers Championship while Joachim Winklehock finished sixth, Steve Soper ninth and Bill Auberlen 11th.

BMW Motorsport will be focused on Formula One next year as the engine supplier for Williams. Former Formula One driver Gerhard Burger has been the head of the racing effort and has watched over the BMW-Williams relationship.

Ferrari V-12, Engine Champion
Ferrari V-12, 4 liter 1999 Cyber Cup Engine Champion
The 4-liter, normally aspirated Ferrari V-12 is the 1999 Cyber Cup Engine Champion after finishing a close second to Ford in 1998. This year, the rules makers tried to tame the high revving V-12 and free-breathing engine with air restrictors. They succeeded in doing that in America and at Le Mans. Still, the Ferrari V-12 won the Cyber Cup Championship by a comfortable 62 points over the second place Ford V-8 engine. Due to Ferrari's dominance in the SRWC/ISRS and due to the sheer number of Ferraris running in series around the world, Ferrari was able to win championship.

Ferrari and the dominant Ford team struggled this year with the new rules for engines and air restrictors. I asked Pat Smith, Team Manager of Dyson Racing, how many different engine configurations the team went through this year searching for a combination would that allow them to be competitive. Smith replied, "Five. We had a 5.0 liter, 5.1, 5.3, 5.5 and ended with the 5.7 liter."

The huge 8-liter Chrysler/Dodge V-10 in the Dodge Viper GTS-R dominated the FIA-GT series and finished in third place. Viper Team Oreca put three cars on the track and raced in Europe in the FIA-GT and in the American Le Mans series where they dominated GTS.

The fourth place engine, the BMW 6-liter V-12, is one of the highest tech engines in the world at this time. But, since BMW did not share the engine with the privateer teams, there are not enough copies of the engine to move BMW higher up the list. The engine did propel BMW to five wins and five seconds in 1999 with their factory effort.

The engine that created a great deal of excitement in the sports car world in 1999 was the 4-liter Judd V-10. The engine has a Formula One connection and is a light-weight, high-revving screamer that seems to handle the air restrictions better than the Ferrari 4-liter. Doran Racing who has been the leading Ferrari team in America for the past five years has chosen the Judd V-10 to drop into their Reynard chassis for 2000.

 

Cyber Motorsports is a division of
Laser Solutions, Inc.

Copyright 1999 Laser Solutions, Inc., Atlanta, GA