1979 Race of Champions

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1979 Race of Champions
Non-championship race in the 1979 Formula One season
Brands Hatch 1976-1987.svg
Race details
Date 15 April 1979 (1979-04-15)
Location Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit, Fawkham, Kent, England
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.206 km (2.6136 mi)
Distance 40 laps, 168.24 km (104.544 mi)
Weather Warm, dry
Pole position
Driver Lotus-Ford
Time 1:17.52
Fastest lap
Driver Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Time 1:17.46
First Ferrari
Second Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Third Lotus-Ford

The 1979 Race of Champions was a Formula One non-championship motor race held at Brands Hatch, United Kingdom on 15 April 1979. The field was made up of seven Formula One cars that competed in the World championship while the rest of the field usually competed in the Aurora series.

Race summary[edit]

Brabham had brought two brand new BT48s onto the circuit. Another new car introduced was the Lotus 80, but Mario Andretti only used it in qualifying. Ferrari's Gilles Villeneuve drove a slightly modified 1978 Ferrari 312 T3 instead of the new 312 T4.

At the start Niki Lauda got away well from the front row and quickly pulled a lead of a few seconds, while the pole sitter Mario Andretti was dropped down to third. Gilles Villeneuve was second, followed closely by Andretti and Nelson Piquet. By lap eight the chasing three drivers had caught Lauda and they were going nose to tail. But that didn't last for long, as Lauda had to pit at the end of the eight lap, but he was able to rejoin rather quickly. Villeneuve took over the lead, only to lose it a few laps later as he ran wide at the exit of Hawthorn corner. Andretti moved into the lead in his Lotus 79. On lap 11 Piquet was also forced to pit in, so the leading battle was between Andretti and Villeneuve, while Jochen Mass in the Arrows had taken advantage of the pitstops and moved up to third place.

The positions in the front of the field remained the same for the next 12 laps. Andretti's lead was up to four seconds after Villeneuve's mistake, but the Canadian closed the gap slowly but surely. By lap 26 Villeneuve was all over the back of Andretti and a few laps later took the inside line into Paddock Hill bend and retook the lead. Andretti had no answer to Villeneuve's pace and the gap increased rapidly. Piquet had moved ahead of Mass into third and his team mate Lauda, who had pitted twice, was fifth. A few laps from the end Piquet overtook the slowing Andretti as well. But in the end it was Villeneuve who crossed the line first, lapping everyone up to the fourth place man.


Pos. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid
1 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 40 53:17.12 3
2 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-Alfa Romeo 40 + 14.07 4
3 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 40 + 23.17 1
4 West Germany Jochen Mass Arrows-Ford 40 + 40.76 5
5 Austria Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo 39 + 1 Lap 2
6 Italy Elio de Angelis Shadow-Ford 39 + 1 Lap 6
7 United Kingdom Guy Edwards Fittipaldi-Ford 39 + 1 Lap 11
8 Belgium Bernard de Dryver Fittipaldi-Ford 38 + 2 Laps 18
9 South Africa Desiré Wilson Tyrrell-Ford 38 + 2 Laps 10
10 United States Gordon Smiley Tyrrell-Ford 38 + 2 Laps 17
11 Italy Giacomo Agostini Williams-Ford 38 + 2 Laps 16
12 United Kingdom Val Musetti March-Ford 36 + 4 Laps 19
13 United Kingdom Robin Smith Ensign-Ford 36 + 4 Laps 20
Ret United Kingdom Rupert Keegan Arrows-Ford 35 Engine 9
Ret Spain Emilio de Villota Lotus-Ford 34 Engine 12
Ret United Kingdom Philip Bullman Surtees-Ford 24 Spun off 14
Ret United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford 18 Gearbox 7
Ret United Kingdom Tiff Needell Chevron-Ford 16 Accident 15
DNS Republic of Ireland David Kennedy Theodore-Ford Gearbox 13
DNQ Austria Gerd Biechteler March-Ford


  • Pole position: Mario Andretti – 1:17.52
  • Fastest lap: Nelson Piquet – 1:17.46


  • "Formula One World". Retrieved 1 February 2008.

Previous race:
1978 BRDC International Trophy
Formula One non-championship races
1979 season
Next race:
1979 Dino Ferrari Grand Prix
Previous race:
1977 Race of Champions
Race of Champions Next race:
1983 Race of Champions