The team was founded by former mechanic Keith Wiggins in 1984, to race in the European Formula Ford Championship, with Norwegian driver Harald Huysman and Marlboro backing. Huysman won both the European and Benelux titles. On Huysman's advice, Pacific entered Bertrand Gachot in British Formula Ford with a Reynard in 1985. The following year, Gachot, also part of the Marlboro World Championship team, won the Formula Ford 2000 crown for Pacific. Marlboro stayed with Wiggins' team in FF2000 in 1987, winning the British title with J.J. Lehto.
In 1988, Pacific entered the British F3 Championship with Lehto and a Reynard car, and won the title on their first attempt. Wiggins did not want to stay in F3 and moved up to Formula 3000, once more in association with Reynard and Marlboro. However, Lehto and Eddie Irvine's season was disappointing and the tobacco company's support moved to rival DAMS in 1990. The team returned to form in 1991, taking Christian Fittipaldi to the F3000 crown.
Having won in every junior category it had participated in, by 1992 Wiggins was determined that Pacific Racing would make the step up to F1 for the 1993 season, in the process renaming the team as Pacific Grand Prix. Lacking an in-house engineering staff and conscious of how limited his timescale was, Wiggins contacted F3000 constructor Reynard Racing to design and build the new PR01 chassis, hoping to benefit from several years of research and development that Reynard had invested in their recently scrapped in-house F1 project. Unfortunately for Pacific, the Rory Byrne-led design team had gone to Benetton at the end of 1991 and Reynard had sold the design (still in form of paper drawings) to Ligier. The small PR01 design team, working at Reynard but nominally employed by Pacific to conform to FIA Regulations, were forced to start a new design based on what little of the Reynard F1 research remained and utilizing a number of minor components from Reynard's F3000 chassis in an attempt to constrain costs. With their roots in the same project, the resulting Benetton B193, Liger JS37 and Pacific PR01 shared the same slab-sided, raised-nose profile that later became standard in Formula One.
Unfortunately, a recession and resulting failure of investors to pay up postponed their 1993 entry and they were unable to enter F1 until 1994. The year was a disaster. Paul Belmondo and former Pacific driver Bertrand Gachot started the season as drivers, with Oliver Gavin testing. The PR01, designed for the 1993 season, had undergone none of the vital wind tunnel testing required to refine the car's aerodynamics, had seen only a few dozen miles of track testing and its Ilmor 3.5 L V10 engine was underpowered by 1994 standards. That season the team did not finish a single race and from the French Grand Prix onwards, neither car qualified. They scored a total of zero points that season.
By 1995, having merged with the dying Team Lotus, things looked up. The obsolete Ilmor engines had been replaced by Ford ED V8s and a whole host of new sponsors were brought in. Good news also came when the PR02 was guaranteed a start each race, with Larrousse and Lotus disappearing from the entry lists and only Forti coming in. Belmondo had been replaced with Andrea Montermini. Having had no luck in the first half of the season, team partner Gachot vacated his seat in mid-1995, making way for two pay-drivers, Giovanni Lavaggi and, later, Jean-Denis Deletraz. Gachot later returned after the money of the two pay-drivers dried up, with Pacific's best finishes that season being 8th in the German and Australian Grands Prix.
At the end of the 1995 season, the team withdrew from Formula One and Wiggins went back to Formula 3000, resurrecting Pacific Racing with Olivier Tichy and Marc Gené as drivers. Gené left the team after his accident at Pau, and Tichy continued alone until the team quit in mid-season. In 1997 Wiggins also attempted to enter sportscar racing and the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a heavily modified BRM chassis known as the P301 and using Nissan engines. Following a series of failures for the project into 1998, Wiggins closed the team.
Wiggins joined Lola and helped the constructor reclaim ground in the Champ Car World Series. With a foothold in the United States, the mechanic-turned-team manager joined up with the Herdez brewery and in 2000 acquired Bettenhausen Motorsports, renaming it HVM Racing, which he still runs today. In 2006, Paul Stoddart, former owner of the Minardi Formula 1 team, bought an interest in the team and re-christened it Minardi Team USA.
|1984||Benelux Formula Ford 1600||Harald Huysman||1st|
|European Formula Ford 1600||Harald Huysman||1st|
|1985||British Formula Ford 1600||Reynard||Bertrand Gachot|
|1986||British Formula Ford 2000||Reynard||Bertrand Gachot||1st|
|1987||British Formula Ford 2000||JJ Lehto||1st|
|European Formula Ford||JJ Lehto||1st|
|1988||British Formula Three||Reynard-Toyota||JJ Lehto||18||8||6||11||113||1st||n/a|
|Macau Grand Prix||Reynard-Toyota||2||JJ Lehto||1||0||0||0||n/a||Ret||n/a|
|1989||Formula 3000||Reynard-Mugen||24||Eddie Irvine||10||0||0||0||11||9th||7th|
|1990||Formula 3000||Lola-Mugen||24||Stéphane Proulx||11||0||0||1||0||NC||NC|
|1991||Formula 3000||Reynard-Mugen||29||Antonio Tamburini||10||1||0||1||22||4th||1st|
|1992||Formula 3000||Reynard-Mugen||1||Laurent Aïello||10||0||0||0||3||13th||4th|
|1993||Formula 3000||Reynard-Cosworth||8||David Coulthard||9||1||0||2||25||3rd||4th|
|1994||Formula One||Pacific-Ilmor||33||Paul Belmondo||16||0||0||0||0||NC||NC|
|1995||Formula One||Pacific-Ford||16||Bertrand Gachot||11||0||0||0||0||NC||NC|
|1996||Formula 3000||Lola-Zytek||28||Patrick Lemarié||16||0||0||0||2||=13th||7th|
|29||Cristiano da Matta||16||0||0||0||7||=8th|
|1997||Formula 3000||Lola-Zytek||14||Oliver Tichy||8||0||0||0||14*||7th||9th|
|Intl. Sports Racing Series||BRM P301-Nissan||14|| Franz Konrad|
|24 Hours of Le Mans||BRM P301-Nissan||14|| Eliseo Salazar|
|1998||Intl. Sports Racing Series||BRM P301-Nissan||14|| Tim Sudgen|
|1989||Reynard 89D||Mugen V8||SIL||VAL||PAU||JER||PER||BH||BIR||SPA||BUG||DIJ||17||7th|
|1990||Lola T90/50||Mugen V8||DON||SIL||PAU||JER||MON||PER||HOC||BH||BIR||BUG||NOG||0||NC|
|1991||Reynard 91D||Mugen V8||VAL||PAU||JER||MUG||PER||HOC||BH||SPA||BUG||NOG||69||1st|
|1992||Reynard 92D||Mugen V8||SIL||PAU||CAT||PER||HOC||NÜR||SPA||ALB||NOG||MAG||24||4th|
|1993||Reynard 93D||Cosworth V8||DON||SIL||PAU||PER||HOC||NÜR||SPA||MAG||NOG||29||4th|
|1996||Lola T96/50||Zytek V8||NÜR||PAU||PER||HOC||SIL||SPA||MAG||EST||MUG||HOC||9||7th|
|Cristiano da Matta||9||4||5||Ret||Ret||10||5||7||20||Ret|
|1997||Lola T96/50||Zytek V8||SIL||PAU||HEL||NÜR||PER||HOC||ÖST||SPA||MUG||JER||8||9th|
|1994||Pacific PR01||Ilmor 2175A V10||BRA||PAC||SMR||MON||ESP||CAN||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||POR||EUR||JPN||AUS||0||NC|
|1995||Pacific PR02||Ford ED V8||BRA||ARG||SMR||ESP||MON||CAN||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||POR||EUR||PAC||JPN||AUS||0||NC|
The Interview: Allan McNish - Not Very Formula One, but the Oldest New Boy in Town Has a Singular Drive ; from the Twilight World to the Full Glare with Toyota. Andrew Longmore Meets a Late Arrival with a Lot to Prove
Feb 10, 2002; Allan McNish has much to learn about his new world. He appears on time without a PR girl to choreograph his every step, and...