Pacific Grand Prix  

Official Name: Pacific Grand Prix (1994)
Pacific Team Lotus (1995)
Nation: United Kingdom
Founded: 1994
Team Principal(s): Keith Wiggins
Past Drivers: Bertrand Gachot (1994-5): 27 entries, 16 races, 9 DNQs, 0 points
Andrea Montermini (1994-5): 16 entries, 15 races, 0 points
Giovanni Lavaggi (1995): 4 entries, 4 races, 0 points
Paul Belmondo (1994): 16 entries, 2 races, 14 DNQs, 0 points
Jean-Denis Délétraz (1995): 2 entries, 2 races, 0 points
First GP: 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix Best Finish: 8th
Last GP: 1995 Australian Grand Prix Best Grid: 19th
Entries: 33 Grands Prix: 22 Non-starts: 26
Wins: 0 Podiums: 0 Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0 Points: 0 Retirements: 32

1994 16 entries, 5 Grands Prix, 0 points, Not Classified
1995 17 entries, 17 Grands Prix, 0 points, Not Classified

Pacific Grand Prix

Founded by former racing driver-turned-mechanic Keith Wiggins in 1984, the Pacific Grand Prix team rose through the junior ranks of Formula Ford, Formula 3 and Formula 3000 over the course of the next eight years, winning championship titles in every category along the way.

In 1992, Wiggins decided to enter Formula 1 for 1993, but was forced to delay his entry by a year while he sourced further funding.

The team’s first F1 entry, the PR01, was designed off the back of the still-born Reynard F1 project, using a number of Reynard’s Formula 3000 components to keep costs down.

But the lack of funding meant that the Ilmor-powered PR01 – which bore many visual characteristics to the previous year’s Benetton – had scarcely any pre-season testing or development, although the outfit was well-intentioned, with drivers Bertrand Gachot and Paul Belmondo signed on for the 1994 season.

The year was a disaster and the PR01 never saw the chequered flag on the rare occasion that either made the grid. The tragedies of the San Marino Grand Prix saw the technical rules given a major shake-up to improve driver safety, and Pacific simply didn’t have the funding to keep pace.

From the Canadian Grand Prix onwards, neither Gachot nor Belmondo was able to qualify, and there were serious concerns that the team would collapse before the year was out.

Normal circumstances would dictate that the team cut its losses, but at the risk of complete disqualification of its entry, the team had to soldier on and attend the remaining Grands Prix despite knowing it couldn’t get onto the grid.

All the while, the team focused on the design of its PR02 challenger for 1995. The team merged with the dying Team Lotus outfit in the off-season – taking on a number of staff and technical know-how – while Gachot bought a stake in the team to keep it going.

With the field shrinking to 26 cars for the season, the two Pacifics were – now being piloted by Gachot and Andrea Montermini – at least guaranteed to qualify.

Now powered by a venerable customer Ford ED V8 engine, the PR02 was a much better, although no more reliable, car. Having had no luck to improve the team’s fortunes and with the outfit’s bank balance dangerously in the red, Gachot vacated his seat so the pay drivers could have a go, only returning for the final races of the season when no more rent-a-drivers could be used.

Once again, the team failed to come close to a points-paying finish, and Wiggins was forced to close the team’s doors at the end of the season, resurrecting the Formula 3000 operation, which only survived for a further six months before it too was forced to shut down.

Wiggins’ technical connections helped to land him a senior role with Lola, where he proved an important figure in resurrecting the constructor’s fortunes in the Champ Car World Series in North America.

In 2000, he joined forces with the Herdez brewery group to buy out the Bettenhausen Motorsports team, which he renamed HWM Racing, which still runs today in the IndyCar Series.

CLICK HERE to return to our team profiles.