David Purley in the Pilbeam-modified Chevron B30 at Brands Hatch in March 1976.  Copyright Ted Walker.  Used with permission.

ShellSport Group 8 1976

The first season of the Group 8 series was given the title of ShellSport 5000 European Championship, positioning it as a continuation of the F5000 series, but now with Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula Atlantic cars added to the mix. Only a handful of the 5000cc beasts appeared, and one of these - a 1973 Lola T330 - won at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday in the very capable hands of Alan Jones. F5000 veteran Keith Holland also won a race in Len Gibbs' Lola T400, and former champion Bob Evans made a brief appearance in the almost-forgotten McLaren M25. The first F1 cars to appear were Divina Galica's Surtees TS16 - the combative former Olympic skier silencing many of her critics with a fabulous drive in the rain at Thruxton - and Spaniard Emilio de Villota in the Lyncar 006, but they were soon joined by Brian McGuire's more up-to-date Williams FW04 and he scored the first F1 win for the Williams marque at Thruxton in September. Mike Wilds in a Shadow DN3, Guy Edwards in an Ensign N174 and Damien Magee in a Penske PC3 improved the quality of the field substantially, and Edwards won at Oulton Park in September in the spare car from RAM Racing's GP team, a Brabham BT42/44B.

However, the cars that were most successful were both powered by Cosworth's 3.4-litre Ford GAA engines: David Purley's Chevron B30 which had been developed by Mike Pilbeam for the LEC team over the winter, and Damien Magee's Hexagon-owned ex-RAM Racing March 75A, although he swapped this for Hexagon's Penske later in the season.

The races

21 Mar 1976 > Mallory Park

28 Mar 1976 > Snetterton

16 Apr 1976 > Oulton Park

19 Apr 1976 > Brands Hatch

31 May 1976 > Thruxton

20 Jun 1976 > Brands Hatch

27 Jun 1976 > Mallory Park

01 Aug 1976 > Snetterton

30 Aug 1976 > Brands Hatch

12 Sep 1976 > Thruxton

18 Sep 1976 > Oulton Park

24 Oct 1976 > Brands Hatch

07 Nov 1976 > Brands Hatch

1976 ShellSPORT 5000 European Championship table

1David Purley3.4-litre Chevron B30 - Ford GAA V6172 pts6 wins
2Damien Magee3.4-litre March 75A - Ford GAA V6
(F1) Penske PC3 - Cosworth DFV
107 pts2 wins
3Keith Holland5-litre Lola T400 - Chevrolet V895 pts1 win
4Divina Galica(F1) Surtees TS16-4 - Cosworth DFV57 pts 
5Mike Wilds(F1) Shadow DN3B - Cosworth DFV
(F1) Ensign N174 - Cosworth DFV
51 pts 
6Val Musetti(F2) March 742/752 - Swindon BDX
3.4-litre March 752 - Ford GAA V6
43 pts 
7Richard Scott(F/Atl) Modus M3 - Ford BDA Nicholson
(F1) Shadow DN1 - Cosworth DFV
(F2) Modus M3 - Swindon BDX
42 pts 
8Brian McGuire(F1) Williams FW04 - Cosworth DFV32 pts1 win
9Richard Robarts(F2) March 752 - Ford BDG Richardson
(F2) March 762 - Hart 420R
30 pts 
10Guy Edwards(F1) Ensign N174 - Cosworth DFV
(F1) Brabham BT42/BT44B - Cosworth DFV
28 pts1 win
11=Brian Henton(F/Atl) Boxer PR276 - Ford BDA Swindon
(F2) Boxer PR276 - Swindon BDX
27 pts 
11=Bill Gubelmann(F2) March 732/752 - Ford BDG
(F2) March 732/742 - Ford BDG Hart
27 pts 
13=Ray Mallock(F2) Lola T450 - Swindon BDX
(F2) March 75B - Swindon BDX
26 pts1 win
13=Emilio de Villota(F1) Lyncar 006 - Cosworth DFV26 pts 
15Derek Bell(F1) Penske PC3 [02] - Cosworth DFV25 pts 

Points table from Autocourse 1976/77 p246.