Diary: Laying the cornerstone for RACER

Diary: Laying the cornerstone for RACER

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Diary: Laying the cornerstone for RACER


On this day in 1979, the company that would eventually create RACER magazine and RACER.com was founded by Paul Pfanner, Suzette Catheron-Smith and the late Geary Brown.

The company’s very first project was the creation of livery illustrations and collateral materials (LEFT) for the original Interscope-entered, factory Porsche Indy car that sadly never raced due to a last-minute rules change by USAC prior to the 1980 season. The car seen in these materials is the venerable Parnelli chassis with which Interscope ace Danny Ongais won five USAC Indy car races in 1978, which had been retro-fitted with Porsche’s six-cylinder turbo engine that had been evolved from the Porsche 935 and 936 prototypes.

A radical all-new Interscope chassis that had been designed around that engine eventually did see action after being reworked to accommodate a conventional Cosworth V8 instead. It’s shown below with Ongais at Indianapolis in 1982, decked out in traditional Interscope black rather than the white Porsche livery it had been slated to run in.

Porsche eventually had another change of heart and entered IndyCar racing at the tail end of the 1987 season with its own works team and V8 engine, by which time Interscope itself had closed down its Indy car operation. How might history have been different if Danny “The Flying Hawaiian” Ongais, Interscope and Porsche had gotten their shot in ’80?