The Wolf of Mosport
Walter Wolf stormed onto the Formula One racing scene in the mid 1970s with visions of grandeur. After purchasing a major stake in Frank William Racing Cars and rescuing the defunct Hesketh Racing team in 1976, the Austrian-born Canadian oil baron gave it the old college try and formed Walter Wolf Racing to compete in the 1977 Formula One World Championship.
With Jody Scheckter hot-shoeing the gold-and-black liveried Cosworth-powered Wolf-Ford WR1 to a slew of 13 podiums, including wins in Argentina, Monaco and Canada, Walter Wolf Racing finished fourth in the championship that year. However, Wolf’s F1 results dwindled over the next two seasons and the plug was pulled at the end of a disappointing 1979 campaign.
Meanwhile, the Wolf lore continued to grow in North America when Gilles Villeneuve took over driving duties for Chris Amon in the Can-Am racing series part way through the ‘77 season. The closed-wheel Wolf Dallara WD1 racer didn’t fare particularly well that year (12th overall), but it was an important stepping stone for Villeneuve in getting to F1.
It was Walter Wolf who helped get him an audience with Enzo Ferrari who later hired him to drive for the Prancing Horse in the 1981 F1 season. Villeneuve recorded two victories and two more podiums (including third place at the ‘81 Canadian Grand Prix) in 19 starts over two seasons for Ferrari before his fatal accident on May 8, 1982 during qualifying for the Belgium GP.
Wolf got involved in German Touring Car racing in the 1980s after fading away from open-wheel racing. However, in 2009, Giovanni Bellarosa, owner of the Italian racing team Avelon Formula, bought the rights to Walter Wolf Racing. After shortening the name to Wolf Racing, the company began to develop the Wolf GB08 – a CN class Sport Prototype – with high ambitions “to open a new era in the category.”
The Wolf Racing GB08 debuted in the 2010 Italian Prototype Championship where it was unmatched. In 2011, the dominance in that series continued alongside another dominant debut season in the Speed EuroSeries. Further success in the Eurosport Prototype and VdeV Proto Endurance Series’ and other endurance races helped cement the GB08 as the car to beat in Europe.
Built to the FAACN regulations and featuring a 255-hp two-litre K20 Honda Mugen engine mated to a Sadev six-speed sequential gearbox (available with or without a paddle shift), the GB08 is not street legal.
It is eligible to race in SCCA CSR classes, NASA Super Unlimited and at other North American venues in HSR and PBOC races; and, can be configured as an endurance car for races up to 25 hours long or a super fast track day car for lapping days, which is how we’ve been introduced to it by our friends at 6th Gear Inc.
Continue reading my experience with the Wolf Racing GB08 Sport Prototype on the IGNITION MAGAZINE website! And watch our video too!