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GTP: Sounds Of Laguna Seca IMSA GTP, 1987

August 14, 2009 by GTP.com 

What happens when a 16-year-old Marshall Pruett drives down to Laguna Seca to watch the 1987 IMSA GTP race with a camera in one hand and a tape recorder in the other?

First, he takes a bunch of photos that range from blurry to overexposed. Second, he fashions a hook out of a coat hanger to suspend his tape recorder from the fence on the outside of turn 2, then captures some of the most delightful sounding racing cars he’s ever heard.

More than twenty years later, and with that cassette tape somehow managing to remain intact, I transferred the audio to my laptop, cleaned it up as best I could, and posted it below.

The warbling sound at the beginning of the tape is accurate — it’s a driver pumping the brakes to warm them up, hence the engine note rising and falling. From there, the first big HOLY %$!* burst of sound (at 00:41) is a Group 44 Jaguar XJR-7 streaking by at full chat.

I don’t know all of the physics and mechanics behind it, but the Group 44 V-12 engines had a completely different sound than the TWR V-12s. The XJR-9s and 12s had more bass — they had equal parts Motown Soul and Memphis funk coming from their exhausts.

Group 44’s had more treble and lived at a higher register — they were operatic in the tinny heights they reached. I still grin today whenever I hear this tape.

Take a listen and experience the Jags, Porsche 962, Buick and Chevy turbos, a Ford V-8, and variety of Pontiac and Mazda-powered Lights cars as they sounded back in 1987.

GTP: 1987 Sounds of Laguna Seca from GrandTouringPrototype.com on Vimeo.

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