1996 Grand Prix of Miami

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United States 1996 Homestead
Race details
Race 1 of 16 in the 1996 IndyCar season
DateMarch 3, 1996
Official nameMarlboro Grand Prix of Miami
LocationHomestead, Florida, United States
CourseOval
1.527[1] mi / 2.457 km
Distance133 laps
203.091 mi / 326.843 km
WeatherTemperatures reaching up to 66.9 °F (19.4 °C); wind speeds up to 14.7 miles per hour (23.7 km/h)[2]
Pole position
DriverPaul Tracy (Penske Racing)
Time27.681
Fastest lap
DriverGreg Moore (Forsythe Racing)
Time28.385 (on lap 131 of 133)
Podium
FirstJimmy Vasser (Chip Ganassi Racing)
SecondGil de Ferran (Hall Racing)
ThirdRobby Gordon (Walker Racing)

The 1996 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami was a CART race at the Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, held on March 3, 1996. It was the first round of the 1996 IndyCar season, and first CART race since the open-wheel split in 1996. It was preceded in the 1996 racing season by the inaugural Indy Racing League race in Orlando, which was not contested by any of the CART drivers that appeared at Homestead. Jimmy Vasser scored the first win of his CART career. It was also the second major racing event at the recently completed 1.527-mile oval, which had previously hosted a NASCAR Busch Grand National event in November 1995.

Report[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

Due to rain on Saturday afternoon, the qualifying session occurred on Sunday morning. Canadian driver Paul Tracy, on his return to Marlboro Team Penske after spending a year at Newman/Haas Racing, set the pole with a lap of 198.590 mph (27.681s) in a Penske PC25-Mercedes car. All of the qualified cars were newly-built for the 1996 season, with CART having adopted new technical rules that altered the underbody tunnels and sidepods, and were expected to reduce downforce and increase the focus on mechanical grip.[3]

Race[3][edit]

On the start, Mark Blundell spun and Roberto Moreno had an unrelated contact with the wall. Then, the start was aborted for the second time, as Tracy was deemed to have jumped the start. At the end of lap 1, another caution came out as Michael Andretti hit Maurício Gugelmin and lost his front wing. After the restart, Tracy continued to lead for 8 laps of racing, until rain began to fall. The cars circulated under caution period conditions until the decision was made to red flag the race with Tracy in the lead.

The race restarted after a half-hour delay, with Tracy continuing to lead the race comfortably while second-place was contested between Gil de Ferran, Vasser, and Scott Pruett. Meanwhile, Al Unser, Jr. hit Carlos Guerrero, and fell a lap down to repair his front wing. Andre Ribeiro and Robby Gordon made contact on Lap 82 while fighting for position, bringing out a caution period. During the ensuing pit stops, Tracy retired from the lead due to a transmission failure. On the same lap, rookie Alex Zanardi crashed under caution as his wheel separated following his pit stop.

Light rain again delayed the restart until Lap 102. De Ferran led at the restart, but slower traffic in front of the leaders enabled Vasser to overtake and hold onto the lead until the finish.

Pos No. Driver Team Chassis Engine Tyre Laps Time/Retired Grid Laps Led Points
1 12 United States Jimmy Vasser Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard 96I Honda F 133 1:51:23.100 3 32 20
2 8 Brazil Gil de Ferran Hall Racing Reynard 96I Honda G 133 + 3.156 2 18 16
3 5 United States Robby Gordon Walker Racing Reynard 96I Ford XD G 133 + 3.740 7 0 14
4 20 United States Scott Pruett Patrick Racing Lola T95/00 Ford XD F 133 + 3.744 4 0 12
5 18 United States Bobby Rahal Team Rahal Reynard 96I Mercedes G 133 + 4.368 5 0 10
6 11 Brazil Christian Fittipaldi Newman/Haas Racing Lola T96/00 Ford XD G 133 + 16.664 15 0 8
7 99 Canada Greg Moore R    Forsythe Racing Reynard 96I Mercedes F 133 + 20.660 6 0 6
8 2 United States Al Unser Jr. Marlboro Team Penske Penske PC25 Mercedes G 132 + 1 lap 13 0 5
9 6 United States Michael Andretti Newman/Haas Racing Lola T96/00 Ford XD G 132 + 1 lap 10 0 4
10 28 United States Bryan Herta Team Rahal Reynard 96I Mercedes G 131 + 2 laps 11 0 3
11 32 Mexico Adrian Fernandez Tasman Motorsports Lola T96/00 Honda F 131 + 2 laps 16 0 2
12 15 Canada Scott Goodyear Walker Racing Reynard 96I Ford XB G 131 + 2 laps 22 0 1
13 9 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Hogan Penske Racing Penske PC25 Mercedes G 131 + 2 laps 12 0 0
14 1 Brazil Raul Boesel Brahma Sports Team Reynard 96I Ford XD G 131 + 2 laps 17 0 0
15 10 United States Eddie Lawson R Galles Racing Lola T96/00 Mercedes G 131 + 2 laps 20 0 0
16 31 Brazil Andre Ribeiro Tasman Motorsports Lola T96/00 Honda F 130 + 3 laps 9 0 0
17 21 United Kingdom Mark Blundell R PacWest Racing Group Reynard 96I Ford XB G 129 + 4 laps 19 0 0
18 19 Japan Hiro Matsushita Payton/Coyne Racing Lola T96/00 Ford XB F 124 + 9 laps 23 0 0
19 16 Sweden Stefan Johansson Bettenhausen Motorsports Reynard 96I Mercedes G 115 Transmission 18 0 0
20 22 Mexico Carlos Guerrero Scandia/Simon Racing Lola T96/00 Ford XB G 112 + 21 laps 21 0 0
21 36 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio II All American Racers Eagle Mk. V Toyota G 108 Fuel 26 0 0
22 25 United States Jeff Krosnoff R Arciero-Wells Racing Reynard 96I Toyota F 102 Engine 25 0 0
23 3 Canada Paul Tracy Marlboro Team Penske Penske PC25 Mercedes G 84 Transmission 1 83 2
24 4 Italy Alex Zanardi R Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard 96I Honda F 83 Accident 14 0 0
25 7 Brazil Marco Greco Scandia/Simon Racing Lola T96/00 Ford XB G 64 Electrical 24 0 0
26 17 Brazil Mauricio Gugelmin PacWest Racing Group Reynard 96I Ford XB G 53 Accident 8 0 0
34 Brazil Roberto Moreno Payton/Coyne Racing Lola T96/00 Ford XB F 0 Accident 27 - -
49 United States Parker Johnstone Brix Comptech Racing Reynard 96I Honda F - Accident in practice - - -

Notes[edit]

Championship standings after the race[edit]