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PRO-SPORT 3000 TROPHY

For ISR written by Stephen Herbert

The Pro-Sport 3000 Trophy was inaugurated in 1992. The series used a Merlin built chassis and a 3-litre Ford Scorpio engine and promised to be the fastest sportscar championship in Great Britain. The cars very much had a Group C look about them. The inaugural race was won by Eugene O’Brien, but small fields in the first two seasons meant a few Sports 2000 cars were sometimes admitted to boost the grids. Peter Hardman was the man to beat in the first three seasons and was champion in 1992, 1993 & 1994. In the first two seasons the racing wasn’t that inspiring but in 1994 there were some great races between Matt Aitken, Peter Hardman, William Hewland and Klaas Zwart. Grid numbers increased in 1994 to a height of 15 cars at the Snetterton round in July.

Official championship status was awarded in 1995, with the organisers hoping the series would develop into a European championship. These ambitions suffered a setback when a planned race at Zandvoort in May 1995 was cancelled when only 10 entries were received. In 1995 the series came of age with some fantastic battling for honours between Nigel Greensall, Matt Aitken & William Hewland, with Hewland being crowned Champion at the seasons end.

1996 saw a new company take over the promotion of the series and big things were promised. Grid were hoped to be exceed 20, again European races were planned for the future and a new Spyder version of the Pro-Sport was going to be introduced as ways the series could be improved. The year was dominated by William Hewland with only Eugene O’Brien, who competed in selected races, able to offer any real challenge. The grids reached 16 cars at Mallory Park in August but varied at about 10-12 all year.

Again for 1997 the organisers promised the grids would reach the 20 mark, this didn’t happen and grids actually dropped to below 10 as the season progressed. The two fastest drivers that year were Nigel Greensall and William Hewland but neither of these contested the whole championship. The battle for the crown was between Nigel James and Mike Millard, with James taking the crown at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Championship suffered because twice companies promoting the series went into receivership, so in 1997 an Owner’s Club took over the control of the Championship and instigated changes for 1998. These included a name change to the ‘Sportscar LM3000 Championship’ and a new engine deal to replace the out-of-date Ford Scorpio engine. For 1998 new classes were added to the series. The Protosport Evo3 built by Beecroft Racing was admitted to the series and a class for SR2 cars from the International Sports Racing Series was added (although this never had any entries). The series therefore again suffered from a lack of entrants with most races only attracting 10 or so entries. Nigel James dominated the series taking wins in all but two races.

After seven seasons and the grids having never reached more than 16 the BRSCC organised a new championship for 1999 called the ‘Open Sportscar Series’. This catered for Sportscar LM3000 (or Pro-Sport 3000) cars, Protosport Evo3 cars, 2-Litre Supersports cars, Sports 2000 cars and the new Radical Clubsport coupe cars. The Radical coupe utilised either a Kawasaki or Suzuki 1200cc engine and there were very fast, as they had a very good power-to-weight ratio.

These measures didn’t inspire many new entrants into the series and it continued with about the same number of competitors as in previous seasons. The racing didn’t live up to the hype of the David v Goliath battles of LM3000’s against Radical’s and was actually quite dull, series stalwart Phil Armour was crowned champion at the series end. At Oulton Park in October, 19 Radical Enduro cars joined the field in a guest handicap race. This was judged a success so for 2000 the rules were changed again. From 2000 the championship will be opened up to also include SR2 cars from the SportsRacing World Cup, Radical Enduro cars and Clubmans Sports cars.

Pro-Sport 3000 cars were also regularly campaigned in the Castle Combe Special GT Championship and the Winter Special GT Championship, whilst also making fleeting appearance in the Interserie. The prototype Spyder car also raced at the Daytona 24 Hours in 1997 finishing 33rd with Nigel Greensall, Peter Hardman, Mike Millard and Kevin Sherwood driving.

Presented by ISR Roman Krejci.