The 1979 running of the famed Daytona 24 Hours - officially given the ridiculously long name: "1979 Winston GT-World Championship for Makes World Challenge for Endurance Drivers 24-Hour Pepsi Challenge" - was a remarkable event. "Turbos laying all over the pits like popcorn" was how one attendee described the carnage.
In qualifying, the Jolly Club-entered Porsche 935 smashed the previous lap record by 6 seconds. Normally, professional drivers would tackle a 24-hour enduro with a more restrained approach, but not on this day! It was like qualifying all over again and the pace was to prove unsustainable.
The Interscope team principal, Ted Field, qualified the car in 8th and made a point of taking the start. Unlike his hired guns, Danny Ongais and Hurley Haywood, Field was able to resist the temptation to "go racing" against the best Porsche drivers that the USA and Europe had to offer. It is this maturity that can likely be credited for the eventual result.
Overcooked turbos and blown gaskets were the culprits, forcing many of the pre-race favorites to retire early on. A mature performance by the trio in #0 had Interscope Racing out front for good by 1:00 am. But after the carnage suffered by most of the field, a Porsche 935 victory couldn't be that easy! With 7 minutes to go and a staggering 53-lap lead, Ongais radioed that the turbo was packing up. The smoke from the turbocharger was unmistakable. He came to a stop 100 yards before the finish line and waited. As the flag dropped, signaling the completion of 24 grueling hours, Ongais limped the now normally aspirated Porsche over the line for the win!
- 2002 Zonee Grand Champion
- 2002 Modell Fahrzeug Model of the Year