A look back at Jim Busby Racing and their BFGoodrich Porsche 962’s, circa April 1985…

Following on their 1984 IMSA series participation, in which Jim Busby Racing had campaigned a pair of Lola Mazda T616’s with sponsorship by BFGoodrich, the start of the 1985 IMSA season saw the team step up in class with their debut of two Porsche 962’s, with  continued sponsorship provided by BFGoodrich, and engines built and tuned by the Southern California-based Porsche specialists, ANDIAL.

The first opportunity to see these cars in person for those of us in Southern California, would be at the Los Angeles Times Nissan Grand Prix, to be held at Riverside International Raceway in April of 1985.

With the fielding of a two car team, two separate driver line-ups were created and announced; BFG Porsche 962 # 67, would be piloted by team owner and driver, Jim Busby, and teammate Rick Knoop.

#67 Jim Busby Racing_ Jim Busby,Rick Knoop_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway _April 1985

Their sister car, BFG Porsche 962 #68, would be driven by the team of Pete Halsmer and John Morton.

#68 Jim Busby Racing_Pete Halsmer & John Morton_ BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway _April 1985

And by virtue of being the latest team to join the Porsche 962 juggernaut, Jim Busby Racing was assured of drawing the Porsche faithful to their garage area on race weekend, to check out their new team cars.

#67 Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway _April 1985

#67 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 _spare body parts_Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

#67 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 _spare front end in pits_Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

The first challenge to be faced by the two teams at Jim Busby Racing would be the qualifying of their Porsche 962’s for the weekends 6 hour endurance race…

#67 Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Practice & qualifying_Riverside Raceway _April 1985

#67 Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_practice & qualification-Riverside Raceway _April 1985

#67 Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Practice & qualifying_Riverside Raceway _April 1985

#67 Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Practice & qualifying_Riverside Raceway _April 1985#67 Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Practice & qualifying_Riverside Raceway _April 1985

#67 Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_practice & qualification-Riverside Raceway _April 1985

#67 & #68_ Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962's_Practice & qualifying_Riverside Raceway _April 1985

#68 Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962's_Practice & qualifying_Riverside Raceway _April 1985#68 Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962's_Practice & qualifying_Riverside Raceway _April 1985

#68 Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962's_Practice & qualifying_Riverside Raceway _April 1985

#68 Jim Busby Racing_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Pete Halsmer, Practice & qualifying_Riverside Raceway _April 1985

By the end of qualifying, Pete Halsmer and John Morton in the #68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 had qualified second, with the #67 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 of Jim Busby and Rick Knoop, qualified in sixth place. Thus the stage was set for Jim Busby Racing and the following days 6 hour endurance race. Now it was time for the team to formulate their respective pit strategies for race day.

As the sun dawned Sunday morning, it quickly became apparent that the racing community and fans would once again be rewarded with a beautiful, clear sunny Southern California day, perfect weather for an endurance race.

With the competitors aligned in formation and being paced by the pole sitter,  the cars accelerated towards the stat/finish line, and with a wave of the starters green flag, the race was underway.  The obvious challenge facing the two Jim Busby Racing teams over the next six hours would be to get the #68 BFG Porsche 962 into the lead, and maintain their position to the end. Their second challenge would be to assist the #67 car, to work its way up through the field, and at the end, hopefully be in position to score a podium finish. I’m sure no one at the start could have imagined the triumphant success that the Jim Busby Racing team would share later that afternoon…

The following shots are of the two team cars at speed, each running their individual strategies and race pace…

#67 BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Jim Busby at the wheel_Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

Jim Busby behind the wheel at speed, approaching turn 8

#67 BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Rick Knoop,approach to turn 7_Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

Co-driver Rick Knoop, entering the downhill section into turn 7

#67_Jim Busby Porsche 962_approaching turn 6_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

#67 BFGoodrich Porsche 962, with Jim Busby behind the wheel, on the uphill section into turn 6…

#67 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 in traffic_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

#67 working its way through traffic, turn 8…

#67_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_overtaking traffic into turn 6_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

#67 chasing down slower traffic, entering turn 6…

#67_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Jim Busby Racing_back straight_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

Car #67 exiting turn 8, accelerating down the back straight…

#68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962_leading #86 Bayside Disposal Porsche 962 , turn 8 _Riverside Raceway_April 1985

BFG Porsche #68 leading the #86 Bayside Disposal Porsche 962 of Bruce Leven, through turn 8…

#68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962_in traffic, turn 8  _Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

#68, BFG Porsche 962 lapping slower traffic, approaching turn 8. (Note the red racers tape stripe across the right front headlight. This was used by the team during the race to visually differentiate car #68 car from its teammate, the #67 team car, since they were virtually identical when viewed from the front. The teams could then monitor each car as they crossed the start / finish line, or upon entering the pits for service. At a glance, the crews instantly knew which of the two cars was coming in without seeing the cars number on the fender top).

#68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 & #5 Bob Akin Coca-Cola Porsche 962_entering turn 7  _Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

#68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962, passing Bob Akin’s #5 Coca Cola Porsche 962, downhill section into turn 7…

#68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 _entering turn 8  _Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

#68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 at speed, approaching turn 8…

As the field began stopping for the first of many scheduled pit stops over the course of the day, the following shots represent just several of those scheduled pit stops executed by the Jim Busby Racing teams during the race…

#68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 _pit stop & driver change _Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

Pit stop by car #68 for driver change, refueling and tires…

#67,#68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 _spare front ends_Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

Ready and waiting if needed…

#68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 _pit stop & driver change _Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

Driver change and new BFGoodrich tires…

Rick Knoop waiting to make driver change with Jim Busby_#67 BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

Rick  Knoop and crew awaiting arrival of car #67 for upcoming pit stop…

Rick Knoop & crew chief Jim Tully waiting for #67 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 to pit_Riverside Raceway_April1985

 #67 crew readied for driver change, new BFG tires and refueling…

Rick Knoop & crew chief Jim Tully and crew ready for #67 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 driven by Jim Busby to pit_Riverside Raceway_April1985

BFGoodrich Porsche 962, #67 approaching its pit box, with Crew chief, Co-Driver (Rick Knoop) and fuel man at the ready…

#67 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 _pit stop & driver change _Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

Pit stop underway; Jim Busby exiting the car, Rick Knoop behind the wheel, refueling and new tires at the ready…

After a day of very competitive racing, well choreographed pit stops and obviously a successful set of race strategies by Jim Busby Racing, the final hour of the race saw the #68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962 running in first place, with its sister car (#67) running in second. With each passing lap and as the clock ticked down, the crews continued relaying information to their drivers, updating them regarding each team cars relative position and the gaps / intervals to the next placed car, through the use of pit boards. As each car exited turn nine, the pit boards went out for the drivers to quickly read as they rocketed past the start / finish line to begin another lap…

#67_BF Goodrich Porsche 962_pit board_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

#68_BF Goodrich Porsche 962_pit board_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

As the final minutes began ticking down, the team anxiously awaited car #68 being given  the white flag, indicating the last lap. All that was needed to insure the overall win was to complete one final lap, with car #67 running a strong second place. The stress was evident on the face of team owner and driver Jim Busby, as well Alvin Springer of Andial ( standing to Jim Busby’s right) as they waited for car #68 to complete its final lap…

Jim Busby, Alvin Springer (of Andial) and crew awaiting car #68's last lap_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

By the time car #68 had made its way down the back straight and was exiting turn 9, the team had all made their way trackside, to cheer on car #68 as it crossed the finish line, winning the race…

Jim Busby and team cheering on#68 BFGoodrich Porsche 962_start/finish_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

And following shortly after, car #67 crossed the finish line, capturing second place, delivering  a one-two finish for the team…

Jim Busby Racing celebrating car #67's second place victory_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

Jim Busby, his son and a crew member celebrating the teams first and second place victories…

Jim Busby and son and a crew member discussing the teams 1-2 race victory_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

As cars #68 and #67 took their cool down lap, the crew made their way back to the pit wall to await each cars return to the pits, to pick up the team and drive them all to victory lane…

Car #67 heading to Victory Lane_Jim Busby Racing_Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

Car #68 heading to Victory Lane_Jim Busby Racing_Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

Cars #68 & #67 heading to Victory Lane_Jim Busby Racing_Porsche 962's_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

Cars #68 & #67 arriving at Victory Lane_Jim Busby Racing_Porsche 962's_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

Arrival of the team cars at victory lane…

Jim Busby, team owner and driver of car #67, celebrating his teams first and second place finish_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

One very happy team owner /driver: Jim Busby, celebrating his teams first and second place finish at the LA Times Nissan Grand Prix, April 1985.

(Below) John Morton and Pete Halsmer being awarded the first place trophy for their overall win at the LA Times Nissan Grand Prix, Riverside Raceway, April 25, 1985.

John Morton & Pete Halsmer_first place trophy_car #68_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_LA Times Nissan Grand Prix_April 25, 1985

John Morton & Pete Halsmer_first place trophy & Camel GT medals_car #68_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_LA Times Nissan Grand Prix_April 25, 1985

The second place finishers from car #67, Rick Knoop and Team owner /driver Jim Busby, celebrating on stage with teammates John Morton and Pete Halsmer (see photo below).

Jim Busby Racing_1st & 2nd place_#68-John Morton, Pete Halsmer,#67- Rick Knoop, Jim Busby_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

Entire Jim Busby Racing team and crew- celebrating their teams 1st and 2nd place victory_Riverside Raceway_April 25, 1985

#68_BFGoodrich Porsche 962_ Jim Busby Racing_car with 1st place trophy_Riverside Raceway_April 1985

The final photo opportunity of the day; car # 68 with its first place trophy.

Jim Busby Racing and their BFGoodrich Porsche 962’s had served notice to their competition that weekend of their teams depth and potential for success, and established themselves as a potential threat for the remainder of the 1985 IMSA season.

(All photos by the author)