Pacific Grand Prix
|Based in: Thetford, UK
Founded: 1984 (active 1994-1995)
Principal: Keith Wiggns
Pacific achieved major success in every racing class it entered, except Formula 1. In 1984 they took Bertrand Gachot to the British Formula Ford 1600 title competing against the likes of Damon Hill and Martin Brundle. In the 2000 series they won again with Gachot in 1985 and JJ Lehto in 1986.
1988 saw the team entering Formula 3 and Lehto won the title at his first attempt. For 1989 Formula 3000 was the target and once again Lehto was the driver, this time partnered with Eddie Irvine. Their success was not quite as complete as in the lower formulae although Lehto did earn an F1 drive as a result of his efforts. 1990 saw things going right again when Christian Fittipaldi took the F3000 title.
For 1994 the teams owner Keith Wiggins mounted his attack on the major league and he quickly learned that things were different when you played with the big boys. Running Ilmor engines and employing Gachot and Paul Belmondo, son of the French film star, the team never finished a race. Engine problems proved the worst of it and after Canada they never made the grid again that year.
In January 1995 it was announced that Mr Ko Gotoh, whose family founded the giant Japanese Tokyu Corporation, was becoming a shareholder in Pacific Grand Prix. A single month later, the team also announced a merger with the dying Team Lotus, rebranding itself as "Pacific Team Lotus".
The new season and new car promised much but delivered little. The PR02 was a good car and had a more reliable Ford Cosworth ED engine in the back but a lack of funds saw Gachot forced to step down to allow a series of rent-a-drivers to be used in an attempt to meet the cash shortfalls. It was downhill from their and the team closed its doors at the end of the 1995 season.