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1979 Race of Champions

Marlboro/Daily Mail Race of Champions

Sunday, April 15, 1979
Fastest Lap:
Piquet, 1m17.46
1979 season:

Sunshine Day

Brands Hatch, April 15th

SNOWED OFF on March 18th the Race of Champions meeting was held in glorious sunshine on Easter Sunday before a fair-sized crowd, which should indicate to over-enthusiastic race promoters that the old-established principle (now long forgotten) of starting a new season at Easter wasn't such a bad idea. The idea behind this year's Race of Champions was to raise money for the Gunnar Nilsson Memorial Fund for cancer research, the likeable young Swede dying from cancer just prior to his thirtieth birthday. Hopefully everyone was giving their services freeof-charge for the meeting, the finance-orientated Formula One Constructors Association agreeing to put on a benefit-show for the occasion. When the meeting was originally suggested for Easter Sunday the FOCA threw their hands up in horror, saying it was impossible with the Grand Prix season in full swing. However, nothing is impossible, even to FOCA, and when the original race date of March 18th was abandoned because of snow on the Kentish stadium, it was agreed to support the event on Easter Sunday, April 15th. On April 8th they were all racing in California, on Thursday April 12th they were at a test-day at Zolder in Belgium, and on Saturday April 14th they were due at Brands Hatch for practice. With a schedule like that it was not surprising that some of the promised entry fell by the wayside. It was too much for the teams of ATS, Fittipaldi Automotive, Ensign, Merzario and Frank Williams Engineering. However, entries came from Team Lotus, Brabham, McLaren, Ferrari, Shadow and Arrows.