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Johnny Herbert in his championship-winning Reynard 873 in June 1986.  Copyright Phil Rainford 2016.  Used with permission.

British Formula 3 1987

At last Eddie Jordan Racing won the title. After five years of losing out to West Surrey Racing, Dave Price Racing and Madgwick Motorsport, Jordan secured continued sponsorship from Stelrad, and added the driving services of highly regarded Johnny Herbert. For many years, F3 had seen little technical variation, with Ralt RT3s and John Judd Volkswagen engines being the standard choice, but the emergence of Reynard and the arrival of new engines from Toyota and Alfa Romeo meant that the key in 1987 was getting the right package. The EJR package of Reynard 873 and Spiess-tuned VW gave Herbert a narrow edge which he exploited by winning five races.

Ralt and Reynard shared the 18 race wins evenly between them. Ralt's leading runner was Bertrand Gachot, but Gary Brabham, Martin Donnelly and future World Champion Damon Hill all won races in the new Ralt RT31. Field sizes were down slightly from 34 to 32, and concerns were expressed about the level of promotion from the BARC and BRDC. A threat was expected from the new Vauxhall/Opel/Lotus series which, with the benefit of hindsight, need not have given anyone sleepless nights.

The races

08 Mar 1987 > Silverstone

15 Mar 1987 > Thruxton

05 Apr 1987 > Brands Hatch

12 Apr 1987 > Silverstone

20 Apr 1987 > Thruxton

04 May 1987 > Silverstone

17 May 1987 > Brands Hatch

25 May 1987 > Thruxton

07 Jun 1987 > Silverstone

28 Jun 1987 > Zandvoort

05 Jul 1987 > Donington Park

12 Jul 1987 > Silverstone

02 Aug 1987 > Snetterton

09 Aug 1987 > Donington Park

16 Aug 1987 > Oulton Park

31 Aug 1987 > Silverstone

06 Sep 1987 > Brands Hatch

13 Sep 1987 > Spa-Francorchamps

18 Oct 1987 > Thruxton

1987 Lucas British Formula 3 Championship table

1Johnny HerbertEddie Jordan Racing Reynard 873 - VW Speiss79 pts5 wins
2Bertrand GachotWest Surrey Racing Ralt RT31 - Alfa Romeo Novamotor64 pts3 wins
3Martin DonnellySwallow Racing Reynard 873 - VW
Intersport Racing Racing Ralt RT31 - Toyota 3S-G TOMS
61 pts2 wins
4Thomas DanielssonMadgwick Motorsport Reynard 873 - VW
Madgwick Motorsport Reynard 873 - Alfa Romeo Novamotor
56 pts3 wins
5Damon HillIntersport Racing Racing Ralt RT31 - Toyota 3S-G TOMS49 pts2 wins
6Gary BrabhamJack Brabham Racing Ralt RT31 - VW Brabham37 pts2 wins
7=Philippe FavreReynard R&D Reynard 873 - Alfa Romeo Novamotor22 pts1 win
7=Perry McCarthyMadgwick Motorsport Reynard 873 - VW Brabham
Madgwick Motorsport Reynard 873 - Alfa Romeo Novamotor
22 pts 
9Steve KemptonTerropol Promotions Reynard 873 - VW
Reynard R&D Reynard 873 - Alfa Romeo Novamotor
18 pts 
10=Niclas SchönströmSwallow Racing Reynard 873 - VW Neil Brown17 pts 
10=Peter KoxMike Rowe Racing Reynard 873 - VW
Mike Rowe Racing Reynard 873 - Toyota 3S-G TOMS
17 pts 

Points table from Autosport 10 Dec 1987 p42 (and checked against Autocourse 1987/88 p265). The points system was 9-6-4-3-2-1 with an extra point for fastest race lap.

Although Johnny Herbert used Siegfried Spiess's VW engine to win the title, VW's hold on F3 was being loosened. As well as the Toyota 3S-G powerplant being used by Martin Donnelly and Damon Hill at Swallow Racing, West Surrey Racing had Novamotor's new Alfa Romeo twin spark unit in Bertrand Gachot's Ralt RT31, as did the Reynard R&D team. Madgwick Motorsport converted their Reynard 873s to this powerplant during the season.

VW engines were used in a total of seven race victories, Alfa Romeo in seven, and Toyota in four.

There was a Class B championship run "for cars pre-March '87 without electronic management systems or six-speed gearboxes" which was won easily by Gary Dunn in a Reynard 863-VW.