1985 Lancia LC2 Group C
- Powered by a purpose-built V8 Ferrari Turbo Engine, capable of over 800 bhp!
- Double podium finisher, Double pole-sitter and three-times fastest lap setter in only three events
- Lancia and Ferrari, a true Italian powerhouse combined
- The final LC2 built for the Lancia Martini Racing Team
- The ultimate specification Lancia Martini LC2
- Chassis no. LC2-0007
The Lancia LC2
The Lancia LC2 was conceived in 1982 to enter the newly formed FIA Group C Sport Racing category. Huge emphasis and resource was put into the project, with Giampaolo Dallara responsible for Aluminium monocoque design. The Italian manufacturer called upon its sister company, Ferrari, to supply a purpose-built, twin-turbocharged, DOHC V8 engine. In full qualifying spec with 3.0 bar of boost, it is reported over 800 bhp was available to the drivers!
The result of Lancia, Ferrari and Dallara’s work was the LC2, and it was fast … immediately, claiming pole position at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1983 by a monumental 11 seconds over the Porsche! The LC2 went on to claim victories at the 1000 kms of Imola, Kyalami and Spa-Francorchamps along with 13 pole positions! Only seven of these Group C monsters were built, with Lancia building a further two chassis for privateers later.
LC2-0007 at the 1985 Shell Gemini Brands Hatch 1,000 kms
Chassis LC2-0007 was the final Works-Lancia Martini LC2 built, and in 1985 made it’s debut at round 8 of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Shell Gemini 1000 KMs of Brands Hatch, UK, in September. The drivers of car number 5 for this event were Mauro Baldi, Bob Wollek and Andrea de Cesaris. Baldi was an accomplished driver and would go on to win the 1990 World Sportscar Championship and 1994 Le Mans 24 Hours. Bob Wollek was a member of the French National Skiing Team before moving to sportscar racing and winning the Le Mans 24 Hours four times! De Cesaris made his career predominantly in Formula One, driving for McLaren, Alfa Romeo, Ligier, Brabham, Minardi, Tyrrell, Jordan and Sauber.
This car qualified 2nd on the grid for the Brands Hatch 1000 KMs using the qualifying specification, 800 bhp engine, only half a second behind the sister car of Patrese. No other team troubled Lancia for the front row! Having switched to the race specification engine overnight, the Lancia team immediately locked into battle against the two works Porsches infront of the 26,000 spectators. The weather was unexpectedly warm, causing the Michelin tyres to wear fastest than expected, allowing the Porsches to gain and pass. Chassis LC2-0007 crossed the line in third place on its debut, having started on the front row, and claimed the fastest lap of the race with de Cesaris driving!
LC2-0007 at the 1986 Kouros Cup, 360 kms di Monza
The FIA decided that for the newly re-named 1986 World Sports Prototype Championship, three ‘sprint’ races would be added to the calendar. These races were to be held over a distance not much longer than a Grand Prix and had a mandatory mid-race driver change, with the first race being the season opening Kuoros Cup at Monza on 20th April.
For the 1986 season, Lancia developed the LC2 further, improving the under-body aerodynamics which now sported deeper and wider Venturi tunnels, leading to an increase in downforce, whilst also increasing the front track by 30mm. The engine was also enhanced, gaining 40 bhp and an electronic fuel injection system which reduced fuel consumption. A Thorsen differential was also fitted, and importantly the chassis weight was shaved by 20 kg to the regulation limit of 850 kgs. Lancia also chose to enter only a single car for the season, chassis LC2-0007, with Andrea de Cesaris and Alessandro ‘Sandro’ Nannini as drivers.
The developments clearly helped, with LC2-0007 claiming pole position by a colossal 2 seconds over the Joest Racing-entered Porsche 956. Pole position for a Lancia with a Ferrari engine at the Monza circuit, the stage was set for a thrilling race! LC2-0007 started well as the flag dropped and maintained the lead, swapping regularly with the Porsche 956, before running into fuel issues with only ten laps remaining. This LC2 crossed the finish line in second place, less than a minute behind, and having claimed the fastest lap of the race again!
LC2-0007 at the 1986 Kouros 1,000 kms of Silverstone
The first endurance event of the 1986 FIA World Sports Prototype Championship was the Kuoros 1000 kms of Silverstone, with Lancia again entering the sole LC2, chassis LC2-0007. De Cesaris and Nannini were again sent to drive, with the pair securing pole position, for the second race in succession. The pole lap time was set on hard compound tyres in the first practise session, and put the team tantalisingly close to the 150-mph average lap speed. The car made a good start and was holding a strong pace, building a lead of over 12 seconds in only 12 laps! The team lost time in the pits as they changed the rear brake pads, but sadly struck issue later with the fuel system electronics. The car rolled into the pits with the mechanics spending more than an hour working on the electrical and fuel systems, eventually curing the fuel pressure problem. De Cesaris was sent out for a few laps to establish a new Group C lap record at 1 min 13.95 seconds, a full two seconds faster than the previous record, then the healthy Lancia was parked as Cesare Fiorio drove away from the track with his entourage. This lap record, amazingly, was established with a full fuel tank!
Incredible speed form the LC2 in what would become the Works team’s swansong, with Lancia deciding to withdraw and focus entirely on the FIA World Rally Championship where they were experiencing phenomenal success. Lancia went on to become the most successful manufacturer in World Rally Championship history, a position they retain to this day!
LC2-0007’s post factory life
With Lancia withdrawing from the FIA World Sports Prototype Championship, chassis LC2-0007 was sold to Vern Schuppan, winner of the 1983 Le Mans 24 Hours with Rothmans Porsche driving a 956. Schuppan sold it to Dr Shigeo Imai in Tokyo, Japan, who used the car once before selling it.
The car was next owned by father and son team, Richard and Bryan Benton, who had more fun than anyone ought to be entitled to have, regularly competing against each other at various events, owning two Lancia LC2’s! The engine was rebuilt and tested by Marcovicci-wenz in 2003, prior to it being campaigned in the Group C championship at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza. The car then competed at the 2004 Le Mans support race. During this time, the car was maintained by Group C specialists, Phil Stott Motorsport Ltd. In more recent years, the car has passed to an enthusiastic French competitor who regularly exercised the car at the Dix Mille Tours events at Paul Ricard.
This Lancia LC2 endured phenomenal success in its three-race history, claiming two podium finishes, two pole positions and three fastest laps! The opportunity to own any LC2 is special, but the chance to own the ultimate and final Lancia Martini-entered LC2 is not to be missed.
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